Marketing & communications, Marketing

Make your charity comms and marketing brilliant: 7 top tips

Get on top of your comms strategy

Are you wondering where to start with a communications strategy for your charity? Not sure the best approach to take with social media, e-newsletters and your website? Want to use storytelling to maximum effect? Thinking of making a film, but don’t have much budget?

You can tackle all these issues and more at the Charity Writing and Communications Training Days on 25 and 26 October 2016. Day 1 is packed full of writing and editorial advice, while day 2 focuses on communications and marketing more widely, with inspiring sessions on digital, social media, communications strategy, branding, PR, internal comms, storytelling and multimedia, among others.

Book before Wednesday 10 August for a 10% earlybird discount!

To give you a taster of what to expect, here are some top tips from day 2 speakers from the 2015 event, (take a look at our day 1 writing and editorial tips too):

1. “When trying to get media coverage, make your stories about people”

PR expert Gemma Pettman emphasised that people like stories about people, so that’s what you need to focus on if you want to get media coverage. Other key ways to impress the media include offering up interviewees, providing photo and video opportunities, and having statistics and supporting material on hand to help journalists.

2.“Simple is key in terms of engagement”

Maddy Durrant, communications manager at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, talked about the immense success of the charity’s #SmearForSmear social media campaign, which asked people, including celebrities, to post photos of themselves with smeared lipstick to raise awareness of the importance of smear tests.

The campaign engaged more than 100 million people on Twitter, and led to a 49% increase in website visits. Maddy explained that part of its success was simplicity – the #SmearForSmear hashtag was intrinsically linked to the call to action. She also said that sheer persistence was essential to get celebrities posting, as was targeting the right celebs – for example fashion models and reality stars who take daily selfies.

3.“The theory of change approach can make your communications strategy more effective”

Natasha Roe, director of Red Pencil, explained how the theory of change approach to creating a communication strategy can make it much more effective, and can help you plan and monitor how your comms and marketing work contributes to wider organisational aims.

Read more about the theory of change approach

4.“Every organisation has a brand, whether they like it or not, so it’s something that needs to be nurtured”

Avis Johns, director of Social Engine, highlighted how vital it is for any organisation to focus on branding, as brand is what enables people to choose your organisation over another. It will also empower your staff, bring loyalty from supporters and ultimately bring in cash.

5.“Don’t overlook internal communications”

Internal comms expert Sarah Browning advised delegates to focus on communicating well with their staff, pointing out that four out of five people say they want more information in the workplace, and nine out of 10 would rather hear bad news than be kept in the dark.

6.“It is possible to create great films on a budget”

Luke Pickering, head of marketing and communications at Sparks, has made effective films for as little as £200. He made it clear you don’t need a film degree to create great content, and by streamlining the process of filming and considering how to cut costs at each stage, you can do so on a budget.

7.“When doing email marketing, be personal, friendly, simple – and intriguing”

Dawn Newton of Morello Marketing advised that the best charity emails spoke to people in a friendly way, and had a maximum of three key messages, intriguing subject lines and beautiful imagery. She also recommended following the 80/20 rule – 80% of content should be useful to the reader, and 20% your promotion.

Charity Writing and Communications Training Days 2016

The Charity Writing and Communications Training Days 2016 are on 25 and 26 October 2016 – find out more and sign up today (10% earlybird discount until 10 August).

Jennifer Campbell is a copywriter, editor, editorial project manager and trainer working only with charities.