…And another one bites the dust. By “another one” I mean months…it’s crazy that we’re about to enter the fifth month of 2016; on the other hand, if you’re finding that hard to digest, then a Friday Fix helps that reality go down pretty smoothly. I digress. As we roll into May, it seems that brand storytelling and identity are pretty big on folks’ minds; in addition to brand-chat, this weeks’ Fix explores the art of storytelling, storytelling as it relates to social media, and how to market your nonprofit. So, kick back, relax, and get branded with the Friday Fix.
It’s always a joy when an author digs into the essence of storytelling, which is exactly what Balanchandar R does in this article. He starts be questioning what storytelling is and who has the authority to tell stories before exploring the “greatest storytellers of our time”; in this list, he looks at innovators like Richard Branson of the Virgin brand, Steve Jobs, and even Mark Zuckerberg. My favorite part of the piece? The 10-step formula he breaks down at the end regarding how to enhance the appeal of messaging and storytelling.
I like blunt questions; they’re better than say, blunt objects to find to hit yourself in the head with when you have writer’s block. In this article, Mark Masters poses six useful, thought-provoking questions that will get your focus where it needs to be. For example, “Can you provide a different view?” or “Would you read it?” (now there’s a scary question). Check out Mark’s piece for more.
While Tim Jones’ article targets an audience of higher education, the tips and the take-homes are applicable to all. He points out that social media for higher ed (and everyone) has evolved from the (hilarious) question of, “Can I get a Twitter?” or (my mom) “How much is Instagram?” (It depends on how many grams you want, Mom.) Now-a-days, social media is essential, and here Tim shares the highlights of the CASE Social Media and Community conference related to sharing social stories.
Rob McCarty references something I actually get (what? If you read about my shirt mentioned, you know I’m not cool) (spoiler: it’s the “Damn Daniel” catch-phrase). Anyway, we all know what social media influencers are, but who’s whom among those “wizards” of creating engaging content for brands? Check out Rob’s piece for five influencers worth watching.
So, I love the Harry Potter franchise, and Facebook knows this because they keep suggesting sponsored content related to HP, but I actually purchased one thing (so I guess it worked?). It’s a t-shirt that says, “My Patronus is (insert image of my Alma Mater mascot here).” What’s awesome about this shirt is that it’s instant branding; it tells people that I went to (insert university here), and I’m a huge nerd. It immediately, visually reveals (part of) my story and my identity. In this piece, Adam Frankel gets deeper than my nerd-girl shirt and highlights the ways that visual branding can help you preserve your identity, tell stories, and more.
So, the name of the game this week is all about the brand (not to be confused with the bran in your cereal, which is also important). In this article, Susan Gilbert first looks at what consumers are looking for (recognition, to be treated as an individual, ability to have a voice, etc.) before exploring how to take a fresh approach with your brand identity (because who doesn’t love a makeover?).
A lot of the content marketing rhetoric of late has focused on things like social media, visual content marketing, videos, telling stories with data, and virtual reality to name a few topics of note; what we haven’t looked at in a while (it seems) is the core of content marketing, which is strategy. Sure, we say, “This needs to be part of your strategy,” but there hasn’t been much digging into what constitutes a strategy. Enter Mark Simmons and this article on developing a fool-proof content marketing strategy. It’s just what you’ve been looking for to help organize your brilliant thoughts.
So I zeroed in on this piece by Jon Colgan for two reasons: one is because we’re kind of doing a brand-jam this week (it seems), and two is because I find I learn the most from people’s stories (you?). Also, the question had me kind of curious…why are you compared to Mark Zuckerberg? Spoiler alert: it has to do with emotional storytelling…definitely worth the read.
True story…I teach a creative writing class, and sometimes, my students can tell a story that is so raw and real that I know I’ll never forget them; other times, students have stories that I know are amazing, but they just can’t get personal and therefore can’t tell the story. Respectfully, not everyone can indulge their audience by getting raw with their material, but if they can, the payoff is well worth it. Check out how in Matt Brennan’s piece on letting the audience in.
The title of Joel Magalnick’s article is what compelled me to read it: “The Ocean’s Content Strategy.” Was he going to talk about how visuals tell a story and dig into brand identity or something in a really creative way? Um, not so much. Instead, he looks into Ocean Annie Crawley’s “Our Ocean and You” environmental campaign and how she engages audiences and inspires imaginations through it.
If you’re a nonprofit organization, chances are, you’re probably rolling in about as much dough as the average undergrad (but with less of a chance that mom’s bankrolling your snack fund). Needless to say, this means you probably don’t have a ton of money laying around for marketing; however, if you adopt a smart marketing approach (like the 10 tips suggested in this piece by Kathryn Jones), you’re going to be able to get meaningful exposure and (hopefully) see big results.
Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect.
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