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Examining the wealth in your content

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Client: “I’ve got hundreds of photos for you!”

Designer: “Thanks, but I need six. Six good photos that reflect six values of your organization.”

Clients often have a wealth of material but have not really examined the wealth in their material. Taking a hard look at what your content and photos say is a difficult job. And sometimes you need an outsider to provide a perspective. If your goal is to reach beyond the usual suspects, then it’s critical to examine your content and the photos that you are presenting to prospective audiences.

When we look at your content and photos on your website we are not looking at Midge from the Fall Fundraiser in the same way that you may be seeing her. We don’t know Midge or how much time she put into organizing the event. We are looking at her expression, we are looking at the quality of the image, we are looking at what the photo actually says about the organization that would post this photo.

We also look at what you say and how you say it. Does the content you post reflect the values of your organization?

As they say, a photo speaks a thousand words. Are they the right words for you?

Who are you trying to reach?

One of our nonprofit clients selected the photos for their home page that featured the people who they like. They weren’t thinking about how a new prospect would think when they saw that all the photos were of white boys. If you want to appeal to a wider audience, you need to make sure there is a representation of different people with a good balance of genders, lifestyles, and ages being reflected. Think of yourself as a private school with a new incoming class every year. It’s not about who are your current students, it’s about who you want to attract for next year’s class. Define who your key personas are and then craft content to attract that demographic.

The acronym trap

Many of the advocacy groups we work with get lost in using too many acronyms. When you use dozens of abbreviations you are shouting “insiders only.” If you really want to create a case for outreach and fundraising you need to go beyond the core group who understand the short-handed and short-sighted shortcuts. (And we’ve learned that even core insiders get lost in the acronym trap.) Spell out your name in your marketing communications. Save your nicknames and shortcuts for your internal communications. When you are talking to new audiences act like they don’t know who you are — most of the time, they don’t.

The big picture

Most nonprofits do great work but don’t know how to tell their story in a simple, direct manner. The details are important for your work, but they are not relevant to new prospects who want to know what makes you tick (not how to build the clock). Take a step back, review the core goals and mission of your organization. Then examine how your new initiatives connect to your mission. What are the key factors that drive your work? Why is this work critical NOW?

Your past successes may be used to build your credibility and demonstrate how your experience and know-how contribute to your successes in addressing these critical needs.

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Langton Creative Group is a NYC communications design firm dedicated to improving the way businesses and organizations interact with their audiences. We were founded as Langton Cherubino Group in 1990.

245 West 29th Street
Suite 605
New York, NY 10001
212-533-2585