“How do you differentiate yourself from others in a hyper-connected world?” What a fun question.
Since my first blog entry over 10 years ago, I’ve watched great teacherpreneurs get their start blogging, facilitating workshops, serving as keynote speakers, and publishing books in print/digital format. Blogs served as an avenue to new jobs and work. Whether it was iPads in Classrooms, GoogleApps, Web 2.0 sites, digital citizenship, storytelling, or you name it, fellow educators have made income from their work. In this blog entry, I share 13 strategies that I’ve noticed non-profits and individuals have taken to increase their reach.
Personal Aside: While I have certainly explored these strategies, in some cases applied them to my own work, my focus on education, rather than profit, have made me reluctant to get paid for selling. As you review these strategies, which ones would you add to the list?
About the Strategies
Each of the following tips comes with quick phrase, rationale (quoted) and recommended action step. There are certain givens, such as a blog with accompanying podcast/vidcast, YouTube channel, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram account(s).
1. Identify target audience.
There’s always someone who says, “We need to increase our membership from 5,000 to 10,000 in the next three years.” But too often nobody really knows what our target membership should be, and nobody really knows how to do “smart growth” in membership. (Source)
If you’ve started to grow your SMS text list, send out a monthly text with a link to register for a free event. Most people have Smart Phones these days – just make sure your webinar registration page is mobile optimized. (Source | Example)
Action: Send out 1 link daily to members with a link to a web page. Each linked page include member invite.
3. Make on-demand content available.
Action: Build up your video content library and share it far and wide. Each video serves as a gateway to connecting with others.
4. Go global.
Social media and resources make competing in a global space, not only possible, but a requirement. You are no longer working within your state or geographic region.
Action: Expand your reach with webinars, pre-recorded video content, self-paced online courses that turn you into a certificate issuer.
5. Build community using social media that is actually used by majority of target membership.
Market where your members hang out. If you’re a professional business organization, advertise in an industry-specific publication, participate in LinkedIn discussions focused on topics related to your industry, or use social media to tweet about industry news using #hashtags that will generate followers or endorsers. Go where your members are and you will be able to find new members/leads to mine. (Source)
Action: Take advantage of online community sites that enable you to create a community presence, blend social media tools into them, and make member database management easy.
6. Create a printed card or keyring card.
By providing your new members with a professional membership kit and card, they will feel like they are a part of something special while being reminded of all the great benefits they will receive with their membership. A membership card can provide access to events, information and partner benefits (i.e. car rental discounts) and keep your organization top of mind all year long. (Source)
Action: Create a card that provides some tangible benefit to users. It could be as simple as 5 QR codes on a card that make it easy to access member resources via a mobile device.
7. Adapt blog content to video.
Adapt written content for multiple platforms, like YouTube, to increase reach and visibility. You can also convert snippets from your existing articles into images—which tend to have better reach on Facebook. These images allow you to leverage the power of social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram. (Source)
Action: Review your existing blog content. Convert one of your entries to a video to publish via your YouTube channel.
8. Enhance blog images with words.
Always include the title of your blog post on your graphic. That way, when you pin it to Pinterest, users will have a frame of reference and want to read it. (Source)
Action: Create images with the title of your blog, as well as the web address for easy reference.
9. Use LinkedIn Publisher and Medium to expand reach of blog articles and content.
Take advantage of the free content publishing feature on LinkedIn called Publisher. It can increase your exposure to your target audience and help build your credibility as an expert in your industry. In fact, LinkedIn Publisher can greatly expand the reach of your business on LinkedIn, regardless of your network’s size. (Source)
Action: Cross-publish content from blog, videos, to Medium and LinkedIn, which reach different audiences outside the usual.
10. Create advance schedule with multiple tweets for every blog entry.
Whenever you create a piece of content (article, podcast or video) for your blog or website, come up with a list of 10 to 20 social media posts at the same time that can be used to promote that piece of content. (Source)
Action: Use Tweetdeck (free), Buffer ($$$), Hootsuite ($$$) to advance schedule recurring blog posts from past and present into the future.
11. Create short ebooks using existing content, available in ePub and PDF formats.
Organizations (e.g. ClassTechTIps, MakeUseOf, ShakeUpLearning, SimpleK12) create short targeted audience FREE ebooks to increase their community memberships. (Example 1 | Example 2). Per some sources, the process can take 5-15 hours to organize content.
Action: Develop a publication schedule for 25-30 page ebooks using existing content.
12. Tap into member expertise to share ideas.
Action: Coordinate webinars, blog roundups (gee, there was a different name for that back in the day) featuring particular personalities and their content.
13. Collaborate or partner with others.
If after honest self-reflection the nonprofit determines that some of its services may duplicate services of another organization, it’s time to have a serious conversation. Leaders from each nonprofit will benefit from learning more about each other’s programs to determine whether there are opportunities for collaboration or strategic alliance. (Source)
Action: Reach out to other non-profits and build real partnerships. “Real” = actual collaborations and sharing of duties.
What additional strategies would you include in this list?