Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blended Storytelling With Branded Content

Artist Unknown

nce upon a time, there was a small nonprofit that wanted to infuse some extra pizzazz into its social communications. Big Data left them confused and social media marketers were now telling them that engagement was so Social Media 1.0. Storytelling continued to be one of the best ways to connect with their community, but how to do it in a fresh way?


Although curation is another content buzzword that seems to have lost its cachet, it's actually a viable content strategy. To curate, in social media terms, is to find articles, videos, slideshows, etc. that would be of interest to your audience. In the past, this has usually meant pretty much re-posting or creating a 'round-up' list of items.

But curation can go beyond simply presenting another point of view, it can show side by side with your own editorial content about why you find the piece interesting and how you think the information has a bearing on what you do and why it might be interesting to others. For example, if your nonprofit distributes books in areas where books are scarce, you might include a newsfeed with items related to books and book distribution. Include content by brands well known and respected in your community. Spread your net a little wider than you may have been doing and encourage your audience to get involved by allowing comments.

Telling a Story With Others

Rather than only providing your own stories, how about teaming up with other groups to create stories with a bearing on your mission? Going back to the book distribution example, you could work with an education group to create stories about their students and even include stories from participants themselves. Rather than hearing from you about what your work does for your constituents, why not let the constituents tell their story in their own way with help from you?

Knowing Your Audience

Finally, remember that your audience is probably composed of at least three types of participants in various combinations:

  • People who like happy stories
  • People who like statistics and infographics
  • People who like to know how their donations are being used
Consider designing your site with those people in mind so that they can find what they're looking for easily. And vary up your posts on social platforms to target those segments individually.

Provide breadth and depth in your storytelling by curating content, partnering up to tell more and better stories, and vary your approach in publicizing via social media while keeping the comment door wide open. Increased audience and participation could be your happy ending.

Related Articles:

How Jenn-Air Used Data Beyond Ads
How Designing With, Instead of For, Promotes Understanding
Why Branded Content is Beating Editorial

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