It’s not hard to create messages that are meaningful to your supporters, more worthy of sharing, more likely to build support. Here are my suggestions (ok, rules) for writting posts that build support.
RULE 1: Showcase The People Who Matter Most
Start planning your post with this prompt: “Here is another way our organization is changing someone’s life for the better.” Your post should include:
- The name of the person whose life is improved – even if it’s just a first name or initials.
- A picture of the person whose life is improved. If you can’t show her/his face, include a picture of the hands, the back, or some almost-identifying feature that makes this person real to your readers.
- Mention – by name – the program that is improving this person’s life and just a few details about how this person and your organization are working together.
- PRO TIP: Choose your words and images carefully. Are they well aligned with your mission, vision, and values? If your cause is about caring for others, should you use verbs like “fight,” “crush,” and “beat?”
RULE 2: Once You’ve Reminded Us Who Matters, THEN Ask for Support
In the post, always include 1-2 Calls For Support that make sense: “With your help, we can change more lives for the better.” Link to a donation page, a ticket-purchase page, an email address, a volunteer sign-up page, an event sponsorship registration, or other tools that make it easy for readers to support your organization in addressing the unmet needs in your community.
RULE 3: Give Your Communications A Little Permanence
Always post on your website first, then use email and social media to tease to the full post. Do this because
- Newcomers to your cause are more likely to read your website than the last 6 months of your social media stream.
- On your website, you can link to as many other pages as you like. On social media, you effectively get one link per post.
- Your website offers better analytics on the Post Page and conversion tracking (if applied) for the forms and response tools to which the Post is linked.
- When you are ready to update this person’s story in 3-6 months, you can emend your original post and re-promote it in emails and social-media posts.
RULE 4: Do More of What Works
On a monthly basis (at least!), evaluate the success of your post on goals you set at the time of the post – and then do more of what works. Make sure your staff and web administrator know you want to track data, and some easy places to start include:
- Number of gifts or Total Value of gifts generated by the post;
- Number of volunteer sign-ups or new subscriptions to your email list;
- The number of Pageviews of the Post itself + the support pages to which it is linked;
- New Likes/Followers/Shares on Social Media promotions of your post.
Your readers’ attention is so precious. As often as you can, reward their attention with quick stories about how you are improving lives. If you need help, I’m an email away!