How To Tell Your Organization’s Story
Hello and Happy Monday! We are thrilled to be back in our studio editing this week after a powerful week filming Achievement First’s new teacher training all last week. You know you are doing something right when you miss your work all weekend.
This week we will be sharing our top tips for telling your organization’s story. These tips apply to a wide range of communication avenues like newsletters, brochures, websites, videos, blogs etc.
Let’s jump in- Today we’ll start with what questions you should ask and answer before a single word is written or interview is taped.
1. Who Is Your Audience?
The first step of any external communication is to identify your audience which should guide how you tell your story. This is really about owning your brand. If you know your target audience and what matters to them, you can tailor your message to how they see the world and what values are important to them. Meet them where they are at. Organizations have multiple audiences and stakeholders, so identifying which group you are targeting beforehand will ensure that you are building your brand, not diluting it. You don’t want to ask a potential board member to sign an online petition and you don’t want to ask someone who has never heard of your work to donate $1,000.
Align your messages and goals with who you are dealing with.
2. What Are Your Branding Gaps?
Identify gaps in your branding and let that guide the purpose of the storytelling. Are you addressing a social issue that many other organizations are also working on? If your organization gets confused with other organizations, you need to communicate what your ownable difference is. Do people not understand or care about the issue that you are addressing? You need to focus on communicating magnitude as well as the stories of people who are affected, to make people connect to the issue. Does your target audience not understand what you do? You need to communicate your theory of change. Is your organization perceived as outdated and dry? Perhaps you need to use an innovative media strategy like animation to show that you are relevant. Is your work controversial? Hone in on individual stories of success to show how your work has made a tangible difference in their lives.
Knowing your weaknesses will help you find a communication strategy that will propel your organization to the next level.
3. What Are Your Goals?
What is the purpose of the communication? What do you want people to walk away with? Do you want to fundraise? Educate? Make people cry? Do you want to gain subscribers to your newsletter? Do you want people to pass the video along to their friends? Clearly articulate how you will determine if your storytelling work is effective and then build your communication strategy around making that happen. Having clear goals will help you identify when your strategies are not being effective and prevent you from just doing something for the sake of doing it. If your goals weren’t achieved, think about why and reshape your strategy.
All these steps should be team activities. Building a strong brand requires that every member of your team is on the same page.
Effective storytelling comes from a place of awareness and reflection, so start here and we’ll be back tomorrow with advice for crafting the actual storyline.
Let us know what you think!
And because every post is better with photos- here are two photos we took in Ghana for Of Rags, a sustainable fashion company which believes that we should always know the story behind every product we interact with.