Denise Portner Senior Vice President, SteegeThomson Communications
As communications professionals prepare to achieve a share of voice in 2020, you can position your organization for success with a few key strategies:
1) Connect your mission to the news
Take a hard look at what issues are likely to make headlines in 2020 and how your organization can contribute to them.
Take the issue of health care access and affordability, a topic consistently in the headlines, and sure to remain so in an election year. Universities have research, data, and experts to offer. Patient support organizations have constituents who can share their real-world experience. Foundations have grantees working on innovative approaches to address disparities. And arts organizations, through fine arts, dance, theater or music, also reflect the human impact of health disparities on society.
Whether your organization addresses immigration, substance abuse, educational debt, effects of climate change, treatments for cancer, affordable housing or the myriad challenges nonprofits address, you can prepare by identifying the people and content you have to contribute to the local and national discourse.
2) Focus on the most influential platforms and personalities
Media platforms today are a constantly moving target, so it’s a good idea to do a fresh scan of the websites, blogs, podcasts, social media handles and events that have gained traction in 2019. Which journalists, platforms, and personalities are gaining in followers who represent your key audiences or issues?
Update your media list and identify your top 10 influencers on whom to focus in 2020. Can you get your leadership involved by writing an article, being interviewed on a podcast, or inviting these influencers to speak at an event?
It’s not hard to identify influential platforms and personalities; simply look at a journalist or leader who has a command of your subject and a substantial following and take note of who it is they’re following or quoting.
3) Line up your stories and your spokespersons
For nonprofits, the building blocks for making news consist of both data and stories. Prepare for effective communications in 2020 by asking, “who are the fresh voices in our organization and who has the most enthusiasm for our mission? Who best represents the vision of where we’re going?” Of course, your Executive Director or CEO is the face of the organization and must be a dynamic spokesperson, but think broadly about who can carry your message.
Put on your “casting director” hat and identify those who come across well on video and in interviews, whether staff, clients, board members, or partners. Make sure they understand the organization’s mission, but help them hone their personal story and discuss how they can tell it in their own words.
Resolve in 2020 to open yourself up to new partnerships and platforms. Let the people you serve inspire your creativity and introduce you to new audiences. Let many be the voices sharing your vision!
About the Author: Denise is senior vice president at SteegeThomson Communications, a Philadelphia-based marketing and development communications firm devoted to the unique needs of nonprofit organizations. She oversees the firm’s strategic communications practice, serving clients in health care, education, foundations, human services, and the arts.