Week 4 – How do you select the right channel(s) for your organization? Once you’ve selected a channel, how do you create relevant and meaningful content for your audiences?
Selecting the right channel for your organization depends on knowing your audience. Who needs to get information from you, how should they receive it, how often, and in what manner? This gets back to my comments in Week 3, and my feeling is that you must know who your customer/client/audience is in order to know how you can reach them in the best way possible.
If a good portion of your market target is of an age most comfortable using older styles of communication (think regular phones, basic email, and written/mailed products), then a channel that is coming to them that is simple, straightforward, and direct may be the best bet. This group may be your dedicated volunteers, some whom might just like a phone call, a postcard, or a mailed flyer to let them know what is going on.
Here’s a concrete example that many organizations would face – how to manage an event. There are many moving parts to planning an event, and certain social media channels can help you do some of the work. That certainly takes some of the burden off of staff and volunteers. One item common to most events is the invitation itself, setting the tone and feel for the event, providing the particulars, and, lastly, letting those back at the ranch know how many to expect. Very important if you’re doing a fundraising event.
Event invitations would many times, but not always, go in the mail. A newer trend is the electronic invite, such as Eventbrite. It sends the invitations, it tracks the responses, categorizes them, tracks payments made, creates a mailing or check-in list – basically you can track the particulars of your event as each piece unfolds. This allows you to tailor content very specifically for your audience, change it at will, or at the last minute, and keep it direct and current for those receiving it.
Along with the Eventbrite invite, then you can advertise your event on Facebook, maybe reaching a different group of supporters, or just reinforcing the importance of this fundraising event. You may find that yet another group reads your organization’s blog, but is new to the fundraising event. They’ve now heard about it in another fashion. If your organization finds a Pinterest board tells a good story, then throw the information up there as well. Tweet the information and watch it get passed around.
I think the key here, is that with all of these examples you intentionally tailor your information. You make it specific, provide the relevant details, and use the right tone to accompany your channel of communication. Using the right tone for the respective audience, along with how and what you say can make all the difference. Back to the top, where it’s all about knowing who your audience is, so you can know how to speak to them. Maybe the channel then just comes naturally.