How Infographics (And Their Tools) Can Supercharge Non-Profits

 

Best Infographic Tools

Best Infographic Tools

As you might remember, I’ve previously covered a list of easy to use, inexpensive/free online tools that non-profits can use to create amazing visuals. This time, however, I thought I’d take a step further and focus on how non-profits can generate infographics to grab the attention of their audiences.

Infographics take visuals one step further by providing engaging and important information in an easy-to-read and easy-to-share format. Infographics also have one of the highest ROIs when it comes to content marketing and one of the longest lifespans on social media, receiving social shares long after they first went live. Best of all, you don’t have to start from scratch when it comes to creating compelling infographics. You can re-purpose your blog posts and articles, using some of the affordable, easy-to-use online tools on the market to do so, supercharging your organization and your cause.

This post will focus on the types of infographic templates every non-profit should have in their toolbox and some of the most popular intuitive and affordable online infographic tools on the market.

Types of Infographic Templates

Problem or Pain Infographic

 

Pain Infographic

Problem or Pain Infographic

This is an infographic that focuses on the problem that your non-profit can solve. How you address the problem is usually answered in your mission statement. But how do you do that in infographic format?

You could show the problem in numbers, if you have data that’s compelling. Visualizing the problem with a chart or showing the numbers off in large font could definitely help audiences understand the problem better, such as the above example on the global education crisis.

Unique Solution Infographic

Unique Solution Infographic

Unique Solution Infographic

 

The second infographic template focuses on how your non-profit has a unique value proposition or solution to the problem. The more you can articulate your organization’s strengths and how unique it is, the more compelling the story becomes. Check out the great infographic from World Vision on how a goat can help a needy family.

Impact or Success Infographic

Impact infographic

Impact infographic

The primary purpose for this infographic is to show your audience and donors the kind of impact their contributions are having. Sharing success stories on how effective a campaign was and personal stories from the very people your non-profit is helping can really give your donors the big picture on where their contributions are going and who exactly they’re helping.

Annual Report Infographic

Annual Report Infographic

Annual Report Infographic

Turning the annual report into an infographic allows your audience to easily understand the key metrics and milestones-and share it on social media, extending your organic reach. Pick some key metrics to highlight such as amount donated, number of people helped as well as details about impact and the finances.

Campaign Infographic

Non Profit Campaign Infographic

Non Profit Campaign Infographic

This infographic has campaign specific information that will get your audiences to spread the word, generate buzz and hopefully increase your chances of meeting your targets. This infographic should have key information on what the campaign about, what the time frame is, how people can share the campaign and clear calls-to-action on how to donate.

Make sure you keep up the buzz with periodic campaign updates so that your donors know exactly how the campaign is going. Also, don’t forget to add your call-to-action, whether it’s asking viewers to donate by clicking on the link, sign up for a newsletter, share the infographic on Twitter with a branded hashtag or ask the viewer to go a specific landing page for more information.

Now that you know what kind of infographic templates you should add to your content library, let’s look at some tools you can use to make infographics.

 

Piktochart

This tool makes it easy for you to create and customize infographics with its templates. You can register for free and use the 600+ templates to create infographics, posters, flyers, reports and presentations. You’ll have access to fully customizable interactive charts and maps and 1000s of free icons and images inside the infographics editor.

You’ll also be able to password protect your infographics, download and email them or share with the world through social media and embed them inside your blog.

The non-profit package at $39.99/month USD will give you access to 600+ templates, 1 GB image uploads, HD image and PDF exports, custom color schemes and animated icons.

Timeline JS

This free to use, open source tool allows you to build visually rich, interactive timeline infographics using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet. Pick fundraising campaigns and events that have strong narratives and mark each event in the campaign as a key milestone to reaching your goal to make it more compelling for your audiences.

Visme

This free tool includes over 100 fonts, millions of free images, thousands of icons and 100s of professionally designed infographic templates. You can also create your own layouts by mixing and matching pre-designed content blocks from Visme’s library.

You’ll get access to 20+ chart templates, professional tables and the ability to connect to live data. You’re even given the ability to make the infographic more interactive by inserting video and audio clips, maps, polls and surveys.

Easel.ly

This web-based infographic tool offers you a range of easily-customizable templates to start with, along with access to a library of arrows, shapes and connector lines and different typefaces, colors, styles and sizes. You’ll also be able to upload your own images and position them in the infographic template with one click.

With the free account, you’ll have access to 25 stock photos, 4 charts, 10 fonts and 10 high quality premium templates. With the pro account (which is $3/month), you’ll get access to 321 high quality premium templates, 300,000 stock photos, 20 premium charts, 112 fonts, priority email and chat support and live training workshops.

Venngage

Simple and easy to use, this infographic tool allows you to choose from templates, themes and hundreds of charts and icons. You can also upload your own images and backgrounds or adapt a theme to suit your brand and even animate the images.

You can sign up for free but the premium non-profit plan at $10/month (50% off) will give you access to premium themes, templates, charts & icons along with privacy controls and ability to export to PDF and PNG.

Subscribe to GlobalOwls  for more informative posts on marketing strategies specifically for non-profits and follow In Retrospect Writing Services for everything related to PR, social media campaign strategies, tips and writing tools.

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How Content Curation (and Their Tools) Can Benefit Non-Profits

what is content curation

What is Content Curation

In a perfect world, you’d have all the time in the world to create compelling and informative content that lets audiences know who you are and what you’re passionate about. But, as we know, running a business takes time and energy and producing original content takes time that you might not always have.

Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch. Not only is it a good practice to re-purpose your content (which will be featured in a later post), you can also post good quality content from others. That’s the essence of content curation.

What is Content Curation?

How Does Content Curation Work

How does Content Curation Work

Basically, content curation is the process of sharing valuable content that resonates with your audience. Although there’s no real hard and fast rule regarding how much content curation you need to do, many organizations abide by the 80-20 rule; 80% content curation and 20% original content.

The content you curate can definitely be used in other parts of your content marketing strategy. You can share the content via social media but also re-purpose it through summaries in your e-newsletters and blog posts. You could also save curated stories and turn them into a monthly round-up of stories to send your audiences.

Here are some ways on how content curation can benefit your non-profit organization

Benefits of Content Curation

Benefits of Content Curation

Benefits of Content Curation

Establishes Your Organization as an Authority & Lends Credibility

Sharing external content positions your non-profit as a reliable source of information on what’s going on in the industry at large. When the content you curate is specifically relevant to your audience, it shows that you’re on top of the conversations happening around you and that you’re engaging in a dialogue with the industry’s most influential organizations.

Builds Goodwill

Being willing to engage with other industry experts, influencers and fellow colleagues in non-profit organizations not only expands your reach with new audiences but shows that you’re open to mutual collaboration. You’re showing your own audiences that you’re committed to providing them with the best content, whether it was written by your organization or another one.

Gives the Audience What They’re Asking For

Sharing more helpful information, even when you don’t necessarily have the time to write the information yourself, shows that you’re giving your audience what they asked for. Content curation lets you share more content with your audience-and provide them with more benefits-than you’d otherwise be able to. So win-win all around.

Content Curation in Action

How to curate content

How to curate content

Content curation isn’t just about scheduling content to be shared on social media. It’s about framing the information in such a way that audiences still receive your input.

-You can summarize the main points of the content
-Give it some context so audiences know why it’s important
– Add your own opinion about the content & your organization’s perspective about why this is valuable.

This section will focus on inexpensive and/or free to use content curation tools that will help you find the right content for your audience.

Get Started with Feedly

Feedly’s Smart Reader allows you to organize your sources into easy-to-read feeds, which includes blogs, media publications such as Business Week and even YouTube channels.

You can even monitor news about your organization and the industry by integrating Google Alerts and searching for specific articles inside Feedly. Any relevant articles you find, say on non-profit fundraising, can be saved and read at a later date and you can easily schedule them through Hootsuite to be shared via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email and more.

You’ll also be able to create shared feeds & boards with colleagues in your organization to curate, comment and prioritize specific articles to place into your content marketing strategy.

The free version allows you to have up to 100 sources of information, 3 feeds and 3 boards for both mobile and desktop. If you choose pro for $5.41/month, you’ll have access to unlimited sources, feeds, boards and the ability to integrate Google Alerts, share to social media and save to Evernote and OneNote.

Delve into ContentGems

A content discovery engine, ContentGems scans hundreds of thousands of articles on a daily basis. Once you sign up for an account, you can monitor their massive database of publications and blogs for relevant content. You can filter search results based on keywords, social signals and other advanced filter settings. Based on your sources and filters, you’ll receive a comprehensive stream of dynamic and timely content that you can plug into just about anything such as e-newsletters, your blog/website and social media.

The free option allows for 1 content search with 20 RSS feeds, a weekly e-mail digest, daily content suggestions and the ability to add up to 10 keywords to search queries.

Generate Your Own Curated Magazine with Flipboard

This mobile app makes it easy for you to curate content into a beautifully designed digital magazine. Once you get the app, you can ‘flip’ any article, blog post, photo or other media via a browser bookmarklet. The app automatically creates stunning layouts with all the content that look and feel like a professional designed digital magazine.

Create Custom Content Pages with Scoop.It

You can use Scoop.It’s active community to search for content by keyword, share curated content directly to your social channels and embed what you find on your website. The website will also display your curated content into elegant, magazine styled layouts that you can send out as e-newsletters.

For the individual plans, the free version allows you to create 1 personalized content hub/page, 1 keyword group per topic page and attach 2 social accounts to share the content on. The system will give you 10 scoops/day with basic content filtering. The pro version at $11/month allows you to create 5 content pages with 5 keyword groups per page, unlimited scoops and the ability to attach 5 social accounts. You’ll also be able to customize each page, schedule posts and check the analytics for each page.

Stay Organized with List.ly

If you love sorting information into lists and keeping content organized, you’ll love List.ly. You can gather information into useful lists which your readers can vote on, helping you to continually curate great content that audiences want to read. Whether you sign in on the website or use the iOS app, each list is photo rich and visually stunning. You can easily embed the list on your blog (via the WordPress plugin) and share it via social media.

Promote Content with Paper.li

Chances are you’ve probably seen Paper.li online, especially on Twitter. This free service is your secret weapon for content curation-it automatically helps you discover relevant content, curates it into an online newspaper and promotes the paper across the web. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes of your time on a daily basis.

The free account allows you to aggregate content from 10 RSS or social media sources, it will host your curated online newspaper and share it automatically via Twitter.

The pro account for $9 USD/month has everything the free account has but allows you to aggregate content from 25 sources and it shares your top article and web newspaper on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, including business pages. You’ll also be able to drive traffic to your site with a customer call-to-action overlay, remove ads, install custom widgets, videos and photos inside the paper, obtain subscribers and more.

For more marketing tools for non-profits, subscribe here and also be sure to subscribe to In Retrospect Writing Services for strategic marketing, public relations and social media expertise

 

Affordable Image Marketing Tools to Help Non-Profits Create Stunning Visuals

When you’re working on promoting your next fundraising event or a thank you initiative to long-time donors, you want to add a visual punch in your campaigns, to make it more exciting.

It’s been proven time and time again that people are more likely to engage with posts that contain photos and/or videos because the visual aspect makes the post more interesting to read. But if you’re on a budget, it can be tough to justify paying for platforms like Photoshop, especially if you don’t use it frequently and/or don’t have a graphic designer in house.

That’s why I’m sharing some of the most popular inexpensive and/or free marketing tools to help non-profits easily create stunning visuals to attract donors, engage fans and make events and campaigns more memorable.

 

Canva For Non-Profits

By far one of the most popular visual tools online today, Canva has a free premium version available for non-profits. You’ll be able to create any image, from infographics, e-books and Facebook ads to email headers and you don’t need to be a graphic designer to use it. It’s the intuitive visual platform even novices can use with an extensive selection of stock photos and other elements available for $1 each. You’ll also be able to upload your own logos and images to the site and incorporate them into your own designs. There are templates available if you’re looking for something more structured and several photo enhancing tools for any touch-ups you need.

Crello

Another popular option that’s free to sign up, Crello has over 65 million free stock images and over 10,000 free design templates. While there are some advanced design elements for $1/each, anyone can sign up and get started on the pre-loaded templates right away. They have designs for print, social media, animations, digital ads and just about anything you can think of that will work for non-profit events, e-newsletters and blogs. The inspiration community page with ideas from members will definitely get the creativity flowing.

Animoto

An affordable platform you can use to easily turn photos, graphics, and video clips into animated video slideshows, Animoto starts with a free two week trial with the paid version starting at $13/month. The basic package gives you over 700+ styles and 500 music tracks to choose from, for each video you create. It’s a platform that works to create great short form videos for Facebook and Instagram as it can easily convert the slideshow to the square format. You can add any images, clips and text you see fit, save it and share it to your respective platforms.

Boomerang from Instagram

You may have tried Boomerang by now, but in case you haven’t, you can use it to create mini-videos that will play a short burst of photos forwards and backwards. It’s a quick, free and quirky way to create a fun visual of a great fundraising event that will be undoubtedly catch the eye of fans and followers. You also have the flexibility to share it on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, not just directly inside Instagram.

Pablo by Buffer

Pablo by Buffer

Pablo by Buffer

Buffer, a well-known social media platform recently released Pablo, a graphic design tool specifically for social media. There is a selection of pre-uploaded photos and text overlays for your images to supplement any Facebook posts and Twitter status updates your organization may be posting. It’s also free to use so you don’t have to pay a fee to edit your photos or share them via social media to platforms such as Instagram as well as Facebook and Twitter.

PhotoPin

PhotoPin Stock Image Site

PhotoPin Image Site

This is a great search engine for images on Flickr that are marked under the Creative Commons license, which lets you use the photos for commercial and non-commercial use for free, as long as credit is given to the creator. Search results can be easily filtered and each image comes in a variety of downloadable sizes and contains the info how you can give the creator credit.

Infogr.am

This platform allows you to publish charts and infographics through a variety of templates. You’ll be able to add charts, maps, videos, images and anything else you and share it with the one-click share button or embed it into your blog. With the free plan, you’re given access to 37+ interactive charts, 13 map types and the ability to import data, run up to 10 projects with 3 pages/project. If you move up to the pro plan for $19/month, that expands to 500+ map types, 100 projects, 10 pages/project, privacy control and the ability to download HD images, gain access to 1 million images & icons, premium templates and live analytical data.

Lumen5

Lumen5 turns your blog posts, articles and any other long form content into a video. Upload the text into the platform, choose some photos and music to go with the text and then you can share it directly to Facebook or upload it to share wherever you like. The free version allows you to create unlimited videos and upload your own logo and photos for the videos you create. It also gives you access to 10,000,000+ free media files. For the pro account at $49/month, you’ll get all that plus the ability to upload your own watermark and outro with square videos, no credit scene and Lumen5 branding

Subscribe here for more marketing tips & fundraising ideas for non-profits, including cost-effective online fundraising ideas and creative & outside-the-box event ideas. Check back here often for more marketing strategies, social media tips and insights into PR.

Announcing New Service: Ghostwriting

What is Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting 101

 

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m expanding my writing services (which include copywriting, freelance writing (such as articles, ebooks & white papers) & blogging) to include ghostwriting! So what is ghostwriting? It’s basically the practice of having a writer create custom content for you but without their byline. So you have them create a novel, an article or a blog post but the name on the front and/or byline is your business’s name.

If you’re looking to have an article, blog post, e-book or other piece of content ghostwritten, contact me for my packages and rates!

 

What is Brand Journalism?

What is brand journalism?

What is Brand Journalism

 

Whether it’s a non-profit organization or a start-up, nearly everyone has a blog because they want to share important news on services/products and events with their audience.

Other companies, however, are starting to do more. On top of generating brand awareness and turning leads into paying customers through blogging, some companies believe they need to fill in the gaps left behind by traditional media.

Gaps due to the fact that traditional media is overwhelmed due to a lack of resources. As of 2010, there are officially 4.6 PR professionals for every journalist. Consequently, many companies are hiring journalists to build media operations in-house. Instead of waiting for media to cover stories, brands are generating their own stories and becoming their own journalists, hence brand journalism.

 

How to Encourage a Brand Journalism Program in Your Company

What makes a brand journalism program

How to create a compelling brand journalism program

Changing the culture as far as marketing goes can be daunting, but not impossible. PR & marketing teams play pivotal roles in educating the company’s senior management about the concept and best practices in order to get the approval from the top down.

Pick a team member to compile examples of brand journalism success such as case studies, white papers, social media and websites. Start slowly with one story and once the initial project has seen positive results, it’ll be much easier to sell senior executives on creating a brand journalism program.

Effective Brand Journalism=Strong Storytelling

Building a successful brand journalism program comes down to the strong stories that you develop. One of the most effective ways to help create strong stories is to adopt a ‘newsroom mentality’ among your media team. Your team of marketing, PR and traditional journalists sit down and have pitch meetings, develop editorial calendars and regular ‘beats’ or areas of coverage are assigned. Even if you have a small team or work for a non-profit organization, you can still manage a brand journalism program.

 

Not all Stories Make Great Brand Journalism

Elements that make a really good story

What makes a strong story?

 

Just like in traditional journalism, your team needs an ongoing selection of compelling stories to drive buzz for your brand, but not every story will fit the brand journalism guidelines. Criteria is as follows:

-Focus on the audience (Always consider what they care about and how they’ll benefit).

-Find a voice by featuring a real person who tells the story. Having someone that the audience can relate to makes the story more compelling. Some great examples would be having community leaders share their perspectives, business leaders share their experiences and notable influencers to give their expertise. Remember that the person audiences connect to will rarely be your company’s top executives or media spokesperson.

-Tying your content to larger big picture issues and/or statistics from well-respected organizations can help to give your content some creditability and make it more newsworthy

-Keep your message simple. Do away with any corporate jargon and use plain language where possible to make sure you audience understands what you’re talking about

-Add visuals. As audiences naturally gravitate to visuals, make sure to include photos, videos, slideshows, infographics and any other visuals you can think of to raise engagement levels with your content

-Un-brand your content. This means removing all branding that doesn’t fit seamlessly into the content. In other words, your company name may not appear in the headline as it does in a typical news release. It’s much more likely to be mentioned in affiliation with your expert who features in the story. Keep any and all branding subtle

Create content with your audience in mind, with a simple message that‘s visually stunning and allow the real people in your organization to tell their stories, without putting the company brand front and center.

 

Getting Your Brand Journalism Program Out There

 

How to Pitch a Strong Story

Story Pitching

Distributing brand journalism content starts much the same way it would with traditional media relations: you find the right journalists, build those relationships and share the stories. The difference between brand journalism and traditional media relations is all about attitude; it’s less about ‘story pitching’ as it is ‘content sharing’. Building strong relationships with journalists who trust you means that they will view your brand journalism program as a source of valuable content, rather than just another PR campaign.

When you distribute brand journalism content, make sure that it’s easily accessible to the journalists you’re sending it to. Make the content easily downloadable, the photos & videos easy to save and brand elements (if relevant) such as high resolution logos easily available. You want to make it as easy as possible for journalists to share your content through social media, websites and alike, increasing the chance of you growing your own audience.

When it comes to getting your brand journalism content out there through your company channels, it’s important to keep each platform’s audience in mind. Best practices include re-purposing said content for several different social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter by shortening it or making it into infographic. Doing this helps to amplify your message across platforms and increases ROI.

Sometimes, companies choose to create separate website hubs to act as news media sites to host their brand journalism content as well.

However you choose to distribute your brand journalism content, developing such a program will allow you to deliver buzz for your brand, amplify messages you create and increase ROI-without relying on the constraints of traditional media.

Stay tuned for more informative posts and infographics on brand journalism, thought leadership, content marketing, social media and everything having to do with PR and marketing.

How to Write High Converting Emails

After sending out an email newsletter promoting an event, have you been noticing a lower click through rate and social media shares, compared to the previous campaign?

Has event attendance and media coverage also gone down and you’re stuck on how to fix it

Well, there’s a few important elements that you have to remember in order to fix a situation like this. If you get these things right, you’ll see increases in:

  • Email Open Rates
  • Clickthrough Rates
  • Event Attendance

The Most Important Tip to Remember

In order to write high-converting emails, you have to focus what you want each element such as the subject line, the content and the call-to-action TO DO.

Decide on what you want each email element to do before proceeding with the campaign. That way, you’re not muddying the campaign’s intent and confusing your customers.

The role of the email subject line

The subject line has only ONE JOB: to sell people on opening & reading your email. The goal is to get people to actually open the email to READ more about your event, product or service.

Keep the subject lines short (around 10 words, if possible) and compelling by letting audiences know right away what the email is about. If the subject line is too long, it will get cut off when prospective attendees view the email on mobile. If it’s about a gala fundraiser, mention the fundraiser in the subject line. If it’s about a networking event with prizes, mention that.

Avoid putting your call-to-action in your subject line such as Call now, buy now, click here or act fast, Using terms like these in your subject line along with words such as ‘purchase’, ‘free’, ‘discount’, ‘best’, ‘guarantee’ or ‘urgent’ will turn off prospective customers because they feel like they’re being pushed to buy and many of these words will also cause your campaign to go directly into the Junk Mail folder.

Make sure you also A/B test your email subject lines before sending out the actual campaign to see which version of your subject line is more popular with your contact list.

Create engaging content

Audiences respond best to engaging, interactive content. Incorporate images, videos, infographics and slideshows into your content where appropriate to help promote events, services and new initiatives. Make sure you diversify the content too, sending a mix of visual graphics and original/curated content to keep things interesting.

Also, personalize your e-newsletters by making sure to include the name of the person you’re sending the email to, showing prospective customers that you know who they are and care about their attendance at your event.

 

Make your calls-to-action stand out

Don’t wait until the closing paragraph of your email campaign to display your CTA. Making your CTV stand out with a button, bright colors and placing it in more than one location in your e-newsletter will make it easy for subscribers to purchase tickets, download an e-book or donate funds to your cause.

Make sure your CTAs are also direct and to the point on what you want subscribers to do and make sure you focus on ONE action. Adding CTAs that tell customers to do more than one action will confuse them and dilute its effectiveness.

Subscribe here for more information on email marketing templates, content marketing and public relations!

 

 

 

 

Unit Publicity for Indie Film & Television Portfolio

I’m pleased to announce my brand new 2017-2018 Unit Publicity Portfolio that showcases my experience in running PR campaigns and media relations strategies for indie film & television projects all over the world. If you’re interested in my PR strategies, please contact me for more info. Take a look at my case studies for more in-depth looks into my project as well.

CASE STUDY: Unit Publicity and Media Relations Campaign for Short Horror Film Heartless

Heartless Poster

 

THE CHALLENGE

 As a unit publicist with experience running public relations campaigns for short films, an actor at a film festival and a horror film moving through a competition, this film presented challenges I hadn’t previously dealt with in my other projects. For my other short films, I’d had the benefit of support through the film event I was working on (see my Crazy 8s case study) or it was a one-off event such as the TIFF strategy for Peter Dacunha or helping Black Land through the Cinecoup competition.

Heartless is my first American-directed and produced short horror film where I didn’t have a film event, competition or team behind me as a jumping off point and a sense of urgency to make the publicity campaign flow easier. Heartless, and by extension, the film’s award-winning production company, Sunshine Boy Productions, also has the distinction of being the first film I’d actively pursued for publicity.

An unintended benefit of this being my first major solo unit publicity campaign, however, was the ease in obtaining film reviews where it had previously been difficult for my other film projects. Not only did the fact that Heartless is a horror film make it much easier to obtain reviews, Kevin & Jennifer Sluder, the film’s director & executive producer (and owners of Sunshine Boy Productions) have also been readily available for interviews as the production company is their primary business, rather than a side venture.

THE SOLUTION

Focusing on local media (newspapers, magazines, blogs), indie film podcasts, blogs and horror review outlets, I updated my media database based on the region the film was screening at on the festival circuit. As a result, I was able to pitch Heartless to countless local media in regions such as Lansing, MI, Durham, NC, Calgary, Alberta and the greater Los Angeles area.

In addition, I was also able to pitch interviews and reviews for Heartless with numerous horror and indie film media outlets worldwide such as Ready, Steady, Cut out of the UK, Rue Morgue Magazine out of Toronto, Canada, Promote Horror out of the US, Dave Bullis’s Indie Film podcast out of the US and Popcorn Horror out of Scotland.

For results and subsequent press coverage, please read my Case Studies and see my Unit Publicity Portfolio for more project examples.

CASE STUDY: Unit Publicity & Media Relations Campaign for Season 3 of APTN’s Moosemeat & Marmalade

THE CHALLENGE

As the unit publicist for APTN’s third season of the Indigenous cooking series, Moosemeat & Marmalade, this production stood out from my other indie film projects for a few reasons. 1) It would be my first time doing publicity for a TV series, 2) It would also be my first time promoting Indigenous food culture and 3) As a recurring client of The Social Agency (a boutique PR agency I do contract work for), they’d already established press coverage from numerous outlets across Canada for the past two seasons that saw the show increase in popularity.

So as the new publicist coming into the project, I had both the added benefit & challenge of pitching Canadian media coast to coast as well as trying to establish new story angles for a series that had already covered a lot of ground over two seasons. Additionally, I didn’t want to just obtain press coverage from outlets already familiar with the TV series, the goal was to expand coverage to reach completely new audiences.

There was also the media relations strategy between the outlets and the two co-hosts; Cree bush cook/Indigenous rights activist Art Napoleon and UK born Chef Dan Hayes, owner of The London Chef Cooking School, to consider.

THE SOLUTION

 Focusing on story angles such as the first-ever gleaned Vegetarian Chili recipe (meaning it used leftover crops after the harvest) and Indigenous food culture and sovereignty, I pitched several mainstream major city newspapers, blogs and radio stations across Canada.

As the TV series also filmed in several locations on the Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, Northwest Territories and overseas in the UK, I pitched the story angles to publications, radio stations and blogs located in these specific regions. Using the Indigenous food culture angle and Art’s passion for Indigenous food sovereignty and security, I was also able to secure interviews, coverage and recipes in Indigenous radio shows, newspapers and websites.

For the results & press coverage received, please go to Case Studies, where you’ll also find my other film & lifestyle PR campaigns. For more project examples, please check out my Unit Publicity Portfolio.

Online Team Collaboration and Organization Tools Part 2

Whether it’s the mad rush of the Christmas season or the busy summer sales rearing their heads, it can be tough enough to manage staff, new inventory and customer inquiries, without the added task of hiring new staff.

With so many people trying to manage new inventory and internal CRM systems, keeping everyone on task and on the same page can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve been following my blog, there’s no doubt you’ve probably read my previous post on Top 10 Social Media Apps to Improve Productivity and Organization, but I thought I’d add a few more affordable/free options that you may not have heard of before but go above and beyond to give teams easy to use collaboration & organization platforms.

On the Same Page

With a cloud-based collaboration platform like Same Page, business owners can sign up for free and log into their team account on their phones, laptops or tablets, increasing organizational efficiency.

‘Team owners’ can directly message staff, post in team chat windows and even use video calling to host remote conferences with staff members to assist businesses with stores situated in different locations.

Staff who are added as team members can easily upload diagrams and charts that show sales progress and even upload videos and photos of new products & services on the team page. Tasks can be given due dates and reminders can be assigned to relevant members, while the team task list can filter duties accordingly so they can be evenly distributed.

Staff members are able to keep track of their progress with the official task tracker and calendars – both team and individual – are available so everyone is aware of deadlines, meetings and special events.

Stress-Free Freedcamp

Freedcamp prides itself on being an all-in-one solution for team collaboration and organization. Business owners can have discussions with their staff in one place instead of dealing with scattered email threads and staff members can organize files in a state-of-the-art file system, backing up all information offline. Managers can also control staff rosters, tracking time on multiple staff members across multiple days.

Freedcamp gives staff members the option to assign tasks and set a goal by a certain date, notifying the team with progress updates as the goal moves closer as well. The software allows retailers to duplicate project templates, which increases productivity and eliminates the need to spend time and energy recreating homogeneous project types. This platform also has unlimited storage and allows for unlimited projects. Business owners and team members can take the tool on the go through the iOS app on Apple products.

Fleep

Known as the ultimate platform for project communication, Fleep gives you email compatibility just by adding someone to Fleep teams (and their conversations) with their email address. They’ll still be able to see the conversations as normal emails if they’ve not Fleep members as well. It’s an open platform, so anyone who’s a Fleep user can send messages to you, whether they’re a member of your organization or not, making it one of the easiest platforms to use for cross-team project collaboration.

You can create, assign, search and track tasks within the Fleep task management system and the native pinboard allows you to pin and edit notes on the side of each conversation. Every conversation’s photos and other files  can be found to the side in a conversation specific file drawer and you’ll be able to integrate video and audio calls. You’ll be able to have full message history, unlimited conversations & teams, unlimited integrations, 10 GB of file storage and  native apps for iPhone, Android, Mac & Windows with the free account. For 5 €/user/month to be billed annually, you’ll have everything free in Fleep, 100 GB of file storage, the ability for your company name & logo to be shown, managed accounts & messages. It’s also flexible with API and integrations from Dropbox, appear.in, to Slack and Google Drive.

Notion

This platform is known as the ‘unified, collaborative workspace’ for wikis, notes and tasks. Unified with Slack, you’ll be able to manage anything. On the document side, you can organize the pages by nesting the pages inside one another to keep things clean and organized at the same time. For wikis, you can drag and drop or embed 30+ different types content from anywhere and the wiki will update in real time. Content you can put in the wiki includes PDFs, iFrames, videos, Google Docs & Google Maps. For tasks, you can also build the perfect visual task board and integrate it with Slack.

If you sign up for the free account, you’ll get 600 blocks (blocks are drag & drop content such as photos, videos, text blocks etc.) for the desktop version, unlimited blocks for mobile use, unlimited members/guest & 5 MB/file upload. If you choose the $8/user/month option, you’ll have unlimited usage/control over your workspace, unlimited blocks for desktop and mobile use, unlimited members/guests, no file upload limit, admin tools and priority support.

Scoro

This last platform’s probably the most expensive out of this list but it’s also the most comprehensive. For 19€/user/month with a minimum of 5 users, you’ll be able to manage everything about a project on one page from invoices and expenses, planned tasks/meetings and manage your project portfolio by using configurable statuses (such as in progress) and tags.  You’ll also have access to the company news feed, file management and sharing, custom fields for multiple projects, CRM & quote management, financial & work reports, Calendar, Toogl, Dropbox & Mailchimp integrations.

If you spring for the premium package at 29€/user/month with a minimum of 5 users, you’ll get access to all that plus the ability to schedule tasks & projects to individual team members, schedule team meetings into the calendar and have completed tasks go directly into the work reports, eliminating the need for timesheets. You can also schedule invoicing and send out late invoice reminders along with tracking billable hours and have integrations with both Quickbooks and Xero.

With the right team collaboration and organization tools, retailers can better manage staff tasks. The aim is to avoid drop-offs in productivity by allowing staff members to spend time on what matters: keeping their customers happy during the holiday rush and expanding business.

Investing a little time and energy in the short term to find the best team collaboration tools will pay dividends in the long term and ensure the holiday rush is smoother and far jollier.