Keys to building film festival audiences!

Film festivals need a lot of promotions & marketing to be successful!

Keys to building film festival audiences!

Keys to building film festival audiences! Film festivals need a lot of promotions & marketing to be successful!

Here are my favorite keys to building film festival audiences:

  • Email: Email is one of the most important marketing tools you have to promote your film festival. According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, email is still 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.The Austin Film Festival uses email for direct communication to their audience. They see most of their returns from dedicated email subscribers, and use an email marketing platform to compare and report email performance.
  • Social Media: Visual storytelling comes to us naturally. Humans process visuals faster than they process text. Considering our attention span is about 3.9 seconds long, presenting information as visuals just makes sense.
  1. Facebook and Twitter are the two most useful social media channels for growing your audience. Facebook is more conducive to marketing with information, whereas Twitter is best for shoutouts, retweets and community engagement.
  2. Instagram is good for brand building and photo sharing, but it’s still a relatively small platform.
  3. YouTube is great to post behind-the-scenes video content on festival events throughout the year to keep people engaged.
  4. Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube & LinkedIn combined. Mainly, the site now attracts women in the age range 25-44 who love fashion, home decorating and family related products. As it gains more of a following, this is bound to change.
  • Sponsorships and Partnerships: Sponsorships can be a huge gateway to growing recognition and audience. Partnerships with institutions, brands, and businesses can bring additional value to your festival through in-kind donations and exposure. Getting businesses and influencers to back your festival where there’s a mutual exchange will build the momentum and your reputation. Use this social currency to expand your reach.
  • One-on-one promotions: We’re bombarded by messages every day. Community Engagement Committees are a great way to engage with people directly, and bring your value to them.
  • Press-kits: I’m a big fan of press-kits. They ensure that reporters, bloggers your audience and sponsors have what they need. Key to success is an easy-to-find contact link and phone number.
  • Off-line promotions: Don’t forget newspapers, flyers, flags, posters, presentations at community meetings and events, cross-promotions with other festivals, etc.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for building film festival audiences! If you’re interested in our CS&I Film Festival PR/Marketing Template? Contact deborah@creative-si.com.

 

Fight Prejudice with art, a website and Facebook

Share The Vision Through Art

“Diversity should enrich our lives. When we accept others, it elevates the human experience.” Embracing Differences Founder Charlotte Wilen

 

Embracing Differences is a nonprofit that engages metro Atlanta in a dialogue about ending prejudice and discrimination. The organization uses art to educate and promote a community where all people share a mutual respect for others without prejudice, hate or fear.

Their signature project “Students Draw The Line…Against Prejudice” was created to serve as a powerful weapon to help fight the battle against intolerance. The event, which takes place this November, involves students through high school submitting works of art, which are exhibited and displayed to the general public.

Using Art, a website and Facebook to Fight Prejudice

My team and I were tasked with finding a way to reach the community with Embracing Differences message and to encourage metro Atlanta to view an outdoor exhibit of the winning art.

First step was to update the Embracing Differences website

  • Start with a complete analysis of the website’s look, feel and content
  • The website was basic and was not very appealing. But, the organization was not in a position to develop a new website
  • Since Embracing Differences is focused on artwork, it was important to create visual integrity that resonated with their message
  • Visible link to donate was added to the navigation bar
  • Used 24Fundraiser for electronic fundraising. The fundraising header uses the logo for the signature event.
  • When we discovered that the site did not have the bandwidth to hold a lot of hi-res photos, we created a Press Center off-site that is linked to the Press Center icon.
  • An Application form to formally register for the competition along with an Application Packet gave teachers a chance to register for the competition and a teacher’s webinar without leaving the site.

Embracing Differences Facebook page –

  • Design Facebook page so it resonates with the same look and feel and theme of the website
  • Create hash-tags and use throughout posts
  • Post teacher training webinar Share the Vision through art
  • Update Facebook with relevant visuals and content daily
  • Encourage people to share posts with their networks
  • Create a People’s Choice contest to drive likes and interest in signature event
  • Used an app that allowed posting all 55 entries in categories.
  • Created a graphic in the Facebook header that leads people to Vote

Be sure and Like the Embracing Differences Facebook page and vote on your choice in Elementary, Middle and High School! Not going to the opening event? Come back to the Embracing Differences Facebook page after November 1st and see the judges and People’s Choice winners.

After the opening event, Students Draw the Line Against Prejudice hosts an outdoor exhibit of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each school category. The banner-sized art pieces will tell a story.

Some of the work will show struggles in the face of prejudice. And some will focus on positive experiences that diversity can create.

Would love to hear what you think after you view the artwork on Facebook!

 

 

Don’t forget the video when you plan special events!

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“Video is probably the most important way to evoke emotions in the people you’re trying to reach – and that emotion is going to lead to not just initial attention, but then lasting memory of your cause, engagement in your cause, and willingness to take action.” Liz Banse, Resource Media

Video is a very powerful form of communications. A well done video reaches well beyond our physical senses and engages our emotions. Video is the perfect medium for helping you tell your nonprofit story.

Did you know?

But, there’s a lot of ‘noise’ on social networks! How do you cut through the noise to garner attention to your nonprofit’s mission and events?

Think visually! Photos are good and video even better.

YouTube is known as ‘the place’ to post your videos. And, YouTube has a nonprofit program. Benefits of joining include:

  • Adding a Donate button to your channel.
  • Placing call-to-action overlays on your videos so viewers can click to visit your website, register for an upcoming event and learn more about volunteer & sponsorship opportunities.
  • Using live streaming video on your YouTube channel, which is great to engage your virtual event guests who cannot attend in person.

You want to create a video that showcases your mission and is engaging. You can use the video to introduce people to your nonprofit, appeal to donors and show at your events.

When posted on a Facebook event page or your organization’s YouTube site, the same video will make a great promotional piece for your upcoming special event.

I was recently introduced to Reflection Films, a company that specializing in marketing, fundraising and training videos.

I asked co-owner Rachel Jallinek if I could share a web excerpt of a video Reflection Films created for The Food Project, a nonprofit that has built a national model of engaging young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. The video was created for their 20th Anniversary and first gala.

The video clip really spoke to me. So I went to the website and watched the full video!

Don’t forget to take advantage of the new technology and social media sites to use your organization’s video to tell your nonprofit’s story at your events and to promote the event to draw greater audiences to attend.

Happy filming!

 

 

 

 

The Rise of Social Media Press Releases

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The Rise of the Social Media Press Release

Yesterday I visited a Facebook group in which I’m a member. I was somewhat taken aback when I read a post that started –

“Social media has forever changed how nonprofits and journalists distribute and consume news stories, yet the format of press releases has not evolved at all. Almost every communication medium out there has been impacted by the rise of social and mobile media, but not press releases.” (11 Tips for Making Nonprofit Press Releases Social and Shareable)

Well, I know I’ve been creating and posting social media releases (SMR) and releases that are Search Engine Optimized (SEO) since 2009 when I managed The Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore.

And, I’m far from the first!

Then I remembered the post The Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases by Brian Solis, written February 11, 2008.

The blog covers a lot of information about the creation of SMR and the evolution of press release wires and includes a description of what an SMR should include:

  • Headline
  • Intro paragraph, rich with key words, relevance and context (summary)
  • Supporting facts
  • Quote
  • Embeddable Video (The new VNR)
  • Embeddable Audio
  • Embeddable Images
  • RSS for the organization’s news
  • RSS for product/services info
  • Post in “insert social network of choice”
  • Blog this (links to blogging platforms)
  • Share on Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
  • Bookmarks
  • Relevant links
  • Digg, Reddit, and other relevant news aggregators and communities
  • Comments – Maybe also include a link to a hosted network on Ning or even a discussion forum
  • Contact: hcard, vcard, Linked, Facebook

I use a national or local release distribution service, depending on the scope of the release. All have templates in which you input your press release and include ways to ensure that they are SEO and SMR.

I love using the Atlanta Daybook for local news releases. They have direct reach into the newsrooms, corporate headquarters and nonprofits in my target market.

Once the release is posted I encourage members of the organization to share with their organizational partners and personal networks.

I also send my releases pasted to the face of a personalized email. When I do this I:

  • Keep everything flush left, including the header, sub-head, organization’s logo and contact information
  • Follow the classic pyramid with the most relevant information in the 1st paragraph
  • Ensure that the subject line has all the relevant information & piques interest in the release
  • Use keywords in the header and subhead
  • Hyperlink the name of the organization, project and/or event to the organization’s website in the 1st paragraph
  • Use a relevant quote in the third paragraph
  • Link details of relevant information back to the organization’s website
  • Provide a link to usable JPEG files housed in the website press room
  • Add a link to the website in the boilerplate
  • Add contact info to the bottom of the release
  • Post the release in the organization’s press room, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feed, blog and whatever social media platforms they use.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! Read through the suggestions in 11 Tips for Making Nonprofit Press Releases Social and Shareable and see which suggestions will work with your organization. Also checkout Marketwire’s Tips for Entering Your Nonprofit into the Social Media Environment and PRWeb’s Nonprofit News Release Services. You’ll find good information and some excellent examples of nonprofit social media releases.

Remember, no matter how social and shareable your release is, be sure that the information is relevant and worthy of distribution and creating positive conversations between your organization and your target markets. And, don’t forget that to have ‘real’ people follow up and respond to queries from the media and bloggers.

Any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from you!

How Nonprofits Can Embrace Social Media to Attract and Engage the Next Generation

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A Guest Post from Richard McMunn, Founder how2become.com

“Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most nonprofits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.”

Social media has pervaded the realm of interaction and communication in such a way, that words like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have become part of our everyday lives. We now live in a world where social media can enable revolutions, YouTube can turn people into global celebrities overnight, and everyone and their gran has a Facebook account.

Social media has changed the face of networking, communication and advertising and increasingly, non-profits and charities are beginning to use these tools to effectively engage people. Let’s look at some ways in which third sector organizations can use social media tools to appeal to a more media savvy generation that use social media as an intrinsic part of their social lives.  

Understanding the Nature of the Beast

Social media can help non-profits on a variety of levels. Firstly, social media tools are communications platforms, and very dynamic and interactive ones at that. The first way in which non-profits can leverage the power of social media is to communicate their cause and their work to a large audience. Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most non-profits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.

Different social media sites have different strengths. To give you an example, YouTube is predominantly an audio visual platform, and could be used to promote such content, and engage people in that way. The content and presentation can be designed to suit a specific audience.

For instance, as a non-profit we can aim to engage with a younger audience by targeted communication through videos, and other media. Facebook can be used to build a campaign, connect to people and connect people with each other, and to spread a message quickly.

Investing in Existing Supporters

Many organizations simply look at social media as a platform for incessant advertising and marketing. But we live in the age of increasing information overload, and it is becoming more and more difficult to get people’s attention. The fact is that impersonal advertising messages are far less effective than endorsement from someone you know and trust.

The beauty of social media lies in the fact that it allows people the power of reach. People who already support a charity or a particular cause and believe in it, have the power to create more awareness and help gain more support. As such, existing supporters of non-profits can play a pivotal role in fundraising and networking in this environment dominated by social media. Social media allows them to share their convictions and views with their own networks and give the cause the kind of impetus that was near impossible before.

In order to leverage the real power of social media, nonprofits must recognize this potential and invest in their existing supporters by providing them with essential tools and material to communicate the right message.

 Keeping Up-to-date with Changing Trends

Younger people have grown up with the internet as an integral part of their lives. Statistical research on social media usage in 2012 shows that over 95% of 18 – 24’s in the UK have a Facebook account; over 89% of the same age group actively use YouTube, with other social media sites like Twitter and Foursquare in close tow. It is possible to find detailed statistics of different platforms, users and demographics. To use social media sites successfully, it is important to understand the audience, and to use the right platform for engagement.

 Statistics also show that non-profits have increasingly begun to use social media for communication and engagement. In fact, the last year saw many charities and nonprofit organizations, both large and small, use social media for communication and fundraising campaigns. As the volume of advertising and communication on social media sites increases, non-profits will need to stay up-to-date with evolving trends in communication in order to optimize the contemporary media tools at their disposal.

Editor’s note: Richard McMunn, is the founder and director of the UK’s leading career website how2become.com.

Keeping your story alive after your event

 

 

My friend Stacy sent me a link to a press release about an upcoming event – Dawgs for Mito presents Carson’s ClassicStacy’s son Carson has mitochondrial disease, which causes developmental issues.

A family babysitter, Hannah Bossie, was so taken by Carson, that she decided to hold an inaugural golf tournament to raise awareness about Carson’s condition. Hannah and a team of students at UGA launched the first collegiate chapter of UMDF, a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for mitochondrial disorders and to provide support to affected individuals and families.

Now the chapter is holding its first event, a golf classic named in Carson’s honor.

Stacy asked if I could make some suggestions on how to get the word out about Carson’s Classic and help keep Carson’s story alive.

No question that events are a great way to create and engage a community to support your cause.  I set the stage for converting event donors to program donors in my last blog post.

Social media is key for making your event a success and keeping your story alive.

Here are some details on using social media to keep the conversation going:

Event website

  • Your event website serves as the hub for your event and after-event activities
  • Post awards
  • Post photographs and a link to download and/or purchase
  • Embed YouTube presentations
  • Provide easy to find links to your social media sites.

Facebook

  • Launch a Facebook page for your event.
  • Start building your community by inviting people to Like your page
  • Feature your sponsors & post their comments on their event participation
  • Provide event recaps in photos and videos
  • Thank participants, sponsors, volunteers
  • Quote participants about their experiences on your event page
  • Post a recap e-newsletter
  • After the event turn your friends into activists for your cause. Make sure you focus on opportunities to be engaged.
  • Link to YouTube presentations from the event
  • Share your successes

Twitter

  • Create a Twitter hashtag for your event
  • Share relevant information/content about your organization
  • Put links to your event in your tweets
  • Build engaged community before and during your event
  • Invite people to retweet information on your cause
  • Say thank you to people who retweet your post
  • Set up twitter to post tweets directly onto your Facebook page
  • Tweet links to event videos, & testimonials
  • Keep up your presence with meaningful information on your cause
  • Continue to build an interested community
  • Link to YouTube presentations from the event

LinkedIn

  • Create a group for your organization.
  • Post information about your events in your group.
  • At the same time, foster robust discussion groups and encourage members of your group to join the discussion
  • Link to YouTube presentations from the event
  • Share your successes

Your  social media initiatives should live on, extending the life of your events. Social media makes it easier for you to reach out to attendees, volunteers and sponsors and keep them engaged.

Need help with your social media initiatives for your next event? Please contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.