Webinar: Your Communication Strategy: From Paper & PDF to Digital
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Webinar: Your Communication Strategy: From Paper & PDF to Digital

Hello everyone and welcome to the webinar,
Your Communication Strategy: From Paper & PDF to Digital. Just giving it a bit of time to allow all
attendees to join. And let’s do just a bit of housekeeping while
we’re waiting for the rest of you. My name is Silvia Bethencourt, I’m the Head
of Leep communityNet, and also the Head of Leep Online Communcations. Just a little bit about communityNet. I’m
sure most of you would have heard of it, but if you haven’t, communityNet is a website,
a Leep website, and we collect and curate information for the for-purpose sector. So that’s not-for profits, social enterprises,
for-purpose businesses, government agencies, community groups and so on. So if you haven’t heard of communityNet, I
encourage you to visit it, go to communitynet.ngo and have a look at the News, Events, Jobs,
Regional News (so if you’re in Western Sydney or Central West), news on Volunteering and
Digital Inclusion, Funding, and a lot more. And you will be able to subscribe to a number
of e-newsletters on there as well. You can also find links to all our social
media platforms, which are listed on the screen for you. So we encourage you to connect with us that
way as well. We’re going to have questions at the end of
the webinar but please feel free to access your panel on the right hand side where it
says Questions and post your questions throughout the webinar, and I’ll do my best to answer
all of them and discuss them at the end of the webinar. I’ll be sending you a resource links document,
at the end of today – it will have links to all resources I mention during this webinar,
so you don’t need to worry about making notes and trying to find the links. Along with that, I’ll be sending you just
a very short 3 or 4 questions evaluation survey and I’ll really appreciate it if you could
complete it. OK, might give it a couple more minutes. While
we’re waiting, this is the 4th in Leep’s webinar series this August. Our next webinar will
be next week, and it’s about corporate volunteering and how to access that. So if you go to leep.ngo
and click on 2017 webinars, you’ll be able to see the details. Our previous webinars that we ran this month
are also available on our YouTube channel. OK we might get started with the webinar today. If you’re sending your newsletters, term programs,
and other marketing information by mail or PDF, this is the webinar for you. And this
is what we’re going to be discussing today. We’re going to be talking about some of the
reasons your promotional communication strategy might include paper and PDF instead of digital
at the moment. We’re going to be discussing the top benefits
of going digital to motivate you to go there. How to go about it – we’re going to be talking
about planning, how to move your communications and promotional strategy online, and how to
do it. Some of the tools you can use to do that.
So we’ll be discussing the use of e-newsletters, your website, blogging and social media. So if you’re sending your communication promotional
material by mail or creating a PDF and emailing it, you obviously have your reasons to do
this. In my experience, the reasons usually are
– there are 2 of them. The first one is that our clients or our audience is not online.
Some of you are probably too young to even know what this picture is – I’m not gonna
tell you, you’ll have to Google it. I think sometimes this is how we imagine our
clients still communicate or this is the level of digital skills they have, and therefore
because our audience is not online, we don’t distribute our information digitally. The other reason you might have is ‘we don’t
know how to switch to digital or add digital to our promotional strategy’. ‘To digital
or not to digital!’. Sorry I’ll let myself out now. Just kidding! So those are the two reasons we find are most
common for people not to have a digital strategy. So let’s have a look at the first issue, which
is ‘our clients are not online’. Because of that, there’s no point in emailing them, or
directing them to a website, there’s no reason for you to have a social media presence, like
Facebook. And this might be a legitimate reason if you’ve got the evidence to back up your
claim that your clients are not online, and if you’re not relying on anecdotal data, because
a few clients have told you they’re not online, so you’re assuming that’s the case for the
majority of them. And I find that this is particularly the case
for organisations working within disadvantaged or underserved communities, services working
with a client group that statistically is less likely to be online. Such as older people,
people with disability, people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, and
so on. So if “our clients are not online” is
an assumption that your organisation is making, it’s time do some research. It will take
a little time, because of course you can’t email them or ask them to fill out an online
survey. So this is the time to start a spreadsheet,
get on the phone, or to ask them face to face – perhaps when you’re providing your service,
or when you’re holding an event, or when they first join your service, and record their
answers, and start getting that evidence together. For those clients that are telling you they’re
not online, or they’re online but they don’t use it, ’cause they don’t know how, it’s
worth asking why. Because this is an issue of concern.
The latest issue of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index, which has just been released,
tells us that although overall, digital inclusion is growing in Australia, so more people than
ever are connected, the digital divides are growing.
Between rich and poor, young and old, women (particularly older women), and men, between
different geographical areas, and amongst the other client groups I mentioned earlier. If your research is showing your clients are
not online, but would like to be, or are online but lack basic digital skills, it’s worth
asking if your organisation is in a position to help to get them online or to assist in
them getting basic digital skills. Can you start a digital mentoring program
at your centre or service? Or if not, can you refer them to one? At Leep we believe that digital inclusion
is about everyone, it’s about every service type and client group, it’s not an isolated
issue. It’s a social justice and social inclusion issue. Being connected is fast becoming a necessity,
rather than a luxury. So for example, increasingly a necessity in interacting with government
services (Centrelink, MyGov, online Health records, MyAgedCare, NDIS info, etc). More
and more of those services are moving online, and in the future it’s very likely that the
only way people are going to be able to access those services and interact with them and
get information from them will be online. We can help with either setting up a digital
mentoring program or with helping find one near you. I’m not going to go into any more
detail, because it’s not the purpose of this webinar, but it’s so crucial I wanted
to touch on it and if you would like more information or support with this, please head
to our website leep.ngo and have a look at the Digital Inclusion section. Last week we also ran a webinar on how to
set up a digital mentoring program and that webinar is now on YouTube; if you would like
to have a look at it. If you go to leep.ngo at the footer of our website you’ll find the
links to all our social media accounts and you’ll find the link to our YouTube channel
there. Let’s look at the second reason you might
have for your communications not being digital, is related to the how: this is the way you’ve
always done it, and it’s easy, and you don’t have the in-house know-how to move from paper
to digital or PDF to digital, and how do you even start? That’s where I hope I can help you today.
Cause I’m here to tell you it’s worth it, it’s not that hard, it’s possible,
and it just requires some planning and change in work habits and a little bit of a learning
curve. To get you motivated, I want to have a look
at 5 benefits of switching to digital communications – some of the things you will be able to
do that you can’t do now – and we’ll be going through how to do each of these things. So no. 1 is mobile reach – it’s estimated
that 50% of email communications are now opened via a mobile device. If you’ve ever tried
to read a long PDF on your phone, you know that it’s not fun! So in order to design
for maximum readability, you need to move those publications into an online platform. By the way, Google last year or the year before
started ranking mobile-friendly websites higher in search results, and they have an online
checker to check if your website is mobile friendly. If there are issues, it will list
them for you. So that’s really important – mobile reach. That’s only going to grow. Accessibility – now this is big one because
PDFs are not natively accessible. You have to make them accessible, and you can’t do
that with the free version of Adobe. And paper documents are not necessarily accessible,
if you have clients with a sight impairement for example. And it really doesn’t matter if your client
base are not people with disability – because accessibility should be at the starting point
of any online communications design principles. Your online communications need to be accessible
to, for example, people using screen readers, people using keyboard instead of a mouse,
screen magnifiers, and other tools to help with low vision, learning disabilities, contrast,
etc. So, no PDFs. Next one is about interaction which equals
engagement – paper and pdf are about passive information sharing – and switching to an
online strategy will increase your engagement with your community, your clients, your stakeholders.
Because you will be able to introduce interactive elements to your communication. And we’ll
be going through that in more detail. Segmenting your audience – what does that
mean? Your audience is probably made up of a number of different things, like those,
and it’s costly and it’s difficult to create different messages for these audiences via
paper or PDF. You might not want to send the same information to your partners or your
volunteers as you’re sending to your clients. So that’s really impractical to do, to create
different messaging if your mailing list is housed on Outlook for example, which is not
designed to be a user-friendly mailing list manager. And the number 5 benefit is about analysing
& evaluating – so at the moment, when you do your mailouts, how do you know how many
people are opening that envelope and how many are just chucking it in the bin? When you send your PDF newsletter or term
program or service flyer by email, how do you know who opened it; more importantly,
how do you know what they did after they opened it? You can’t. By going digital you will
be able to do both. OK! So now that hopefully you’re motivated
and excited about changing to digital, let’s go into the all-important HOW. And the first thing, of course, is planning. Having a plan will help you implement your
switch in easy stages, to establish a realistic timeline for switching, and keep track of
your progress. It doesn’t matter if it’s a spreadsheet,
a word document, written cards – whatever works best for you, as long as you commit
to it. Whatever method you use, your plan should
include a review of your promotional and marketing strategy (what you have currently and what
you do now), what resources you have to work with (and this is an important one to be really
realistic with, because you need to look at your budget, your staff expertise and time
– it’s very important that you set realistic goals), the platforms you are thinking of
switching to (e-newsletters, blogging, social media). Perhaps most importantly, who is actioning
all this and by when, and regularly reviewing and tweaking your plan and implementation
so that it’s on track and being followed and everyone involved is on the same page. Let’s have a look at some of the options
and tools that are available to you for switching to a digital communications strategy. So now that you have your plan, one of the
strategies you might be looking at is switching to e-newsletters.
(from paper or from PDF or Word or from your Outlook mailing list) We strongly recommend that you use a professional
e-newsletter service. It makes things a lot easier and they’re not that expensive. If
you have a small mailing list, I’ve listed there at the bottom the 3 top ones that people
are using. Mailchimp, which is my personal favourite
as a stand-alone e-newsletter service, Constant Contact and AWeber. Mailchimp, for example,
is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Over and above that, you
do have to pay, but I don’t believe it is a prohibitive cost. I will be sending you an infographic with
many more email marketing tools and what they can do. So why are we recommending you switch to a
professional e-newsletter service? All the benefits we outlined earlier, the
5 benefits, apply to this. All these services have ready-made e-newsletter
templates so you don’t have to start from scratch, and they are mobile-friendly, taking
the headache out of you having to make it responsive. They are also accessible, they have an option
to open the e-newsletter on a browser, so that can be read by screen readers, fonts
made bigger, etc. You can include interactive features – polls,
surveys, event registration links, etc. You can segment your audience – you can
create different mailing lists easily and give people the option of subscribing to different
ones – so you can have an e-newsletter for example for your volunteers, and have your
volunteers subscribe to that, and another one for your clients and so on. You can measure engagement – at the very
least, you should be able to keep track of how many people opened the e-newsletter (that’s
called your open rate) and the most important statistic, how many people clicked on a link
(to further information, to make a booking, to attend an event – this is your click
through rate). As I said my favourite amongst them is MailChimp
for the simple reason that it is really user-friendly, they use language that’s easy to understand,
they have a lot of tutorials and help and support on the website, and they have so many
templates to choose from, and they have really good support as well. We have a webinar we ran last year (6 hot
tips for your e-newsletter) that goes into more detail about how to get the most out
of this communication strategy, and that’s on our YouTube channel available for you to
watch. I go into more details about the importance
of mobile design, the best e-newsletter platforms to use, how to make your emails pop, how to
make your e-newsletter part of your online communication strategy, and why segmentation
and analysis are both essential to your success. What about your content? Where will your content
come from? How will you transfer the current content of your promotional material to digital? If you’re looking to just occasionally send
out information about your organisation and what it does, you can manually create the
content and insert it into your e-newsletter template and send it to your list every month
or couple of months. This is the most basic scenario and it’s fairly easy to do once
you learn how to use the e-newsletter service of your choice. But if you have term programs, or regular
events, or you compile information and resources for your clients around a specific topic,
how can you set up a wholistic online strategy that might encompass not only an e-newsletter,
but also includes website and social media? And it has to be something that is also easy
to implement and that’s as automated as possible to save you time That’s where your website comes in. Hopefully
you have one, that is both mobile friendly and accessible (very important points).
And it needs to be what’s called a Content Management System (or CMS for short) – examples
of these platforms include WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. The reason it needs to be a CMS
is that these platforms can be made to automatically draw content from the site and place it on
an e-newsletter, or a social media platform. It also has the advantage that your information
is available to search engines making it discoverable by people who might be looking for a service
like yours. This is an example of this strategy. This
is Leep’s communityNet, which is built on Joomla CMS. with an e-newsletter component
called AcyMailing. If you know communityNet, you know that we
have a number of segmented e-newsletters, both topic based and geographically based.
To create these e-newsletters, we set up the component to once a week, or once a fortnight,
depending on the e-newsletter, grab the latest content from the website and place it on the
template. The component also handles all subscribes
and unsubscribes and has really great analytical data for us to measure the e-newsletters’
success. I really think AcyMailing is the best e-newsletter component for Joomla. The
basic service is free but there are also paid options, and we use one of these because it
has better features obviously than the free version. It’s not expensive.
For WordPress, there are a number of plugins, most of them free – some of them are listed
here. I’ll be sending you links to all of these and also to an article that talks about
the top WordPress e-newsletter plugins that you can get for free. OK so let me show you a simpler example. This
might be a bit too much time and effort for a lot of you. I’m going to show you something
using WordPress and MailChimp, and it’s one of the easiest things to set up. There many ways of implementing this strategy,
and this is just one of them, and one of the easiest and less time consuming ones. This is the website of the Parramatta Koori
Interagency. It’s a very simple WordPress site, set up like a blog. It has a number
of administrators that regularly enter content into the website as blog posts. It also allows
for anyone to submit content to the site, which is moderated – so that any new posts
submitted go to the administrators for approval. It uses MailChimp as an e-newsletter service.
They have a sign up form on the site and anyone can subscribe.
MailChimp has been set up to interact with the site via RSS which stands for Real Simple
Syndication. Really RSS is just a way of getting to see the latest blog posts on a blog, chronologically,
the latest ones first. Once a week, all the new blog posts are automatically
inserted into an e-newsletter and sent out. The administrators don’t have to do anything
except enter the content, of course – the articles into the website and approve the
ones that are sent to them. The subscribes and unsubscribes to the list
are handled by MailChimp and they get reporting sent to them about open rate, click through
rates, etc. So this is an easy way that you could set
up a blog within your existing site or set up a new blog within a website and you can
enter content that will then automatically get put into an e-newsletter each week or
each month or however often you wish it, and sent to your mailing list. And your mailing
list is automated. PKI don’t have a social media presence,
they don’t have the resources or a real need to do that, but this type of setup could
easily be integrated so that posts could be published on Facebook or Twitter for example,
automatically as well. So there you go – that’s one way of having
your promotional content automated across different platforms, by using a blogging strategy.
Which will also have the added benefit of driving more traffic to your website, of making
you searchable on search engines and discoverable by a new audience perhaps. If you’ve never blogged before, you might
be wondering how to start – how to you build a blog post. What to write about and how to. I created this little infographic – I was
thinking how to create a tool that’s something you could have next to you when writing a
blog post, or a way to always have these 4 ingredients in your head that you’ll always
use to mix into a post. They say to write about what you know, and
I know cocktails. And I will tell you that the perfect cocktail has 4 ingredients, as
demonstrated by one of my favourites, the margarita. 4 ingredients, counting the salt,
which of course it’s a must. Ideas for blog post could include an event
you recently held, or a resource you recently launched, a story about a service you provide,
announcing your brand new term program, etc. Ingredient 1 is your evidence. So gather your
numbers. The number of people at your event, or the number of people you service, your
statistics about them, etc. Which takes us to ingredient 2. Numbers are
great, because they give you credibility, but the problem with numbers is that they’re
really boring. Your story is possibly the most important ingredient – it’s like
the tequila of your post, because people love stories not numbers and that’s where your
multimedia comes in. Be very visual telling your story. Lots of
photos, these days especially a video (doesn’t have to be great quality as long as the story
is good – it can be a video you’ve taken on your phone, or your tablet, and it needs
to be short to keep people’s attention, we’re talking 1-2 minutes long max).
Your story goes to demonstrate the difference you’re making and to tug at people’s heartstrings
in order for them to answer your call to action, which we’ll get to in a minute. Ingredient 3 is the reason people will read
your blog post. There has to be something in it for them. It could the download of the
resource you launched, or it could be that they’re invited to your next free event.
It’s the hook, people are busy and you need to think about what’s in it for them. Ingredient 4, your call to action, is the
reason you are writing the blog post. What is your call to action? What’s in it for
your organisation? Which could be something as simple as asking people to sign up for
your e-communications, or something much bigger like moving those heartstrings enough for
people to donate to your organisation, if your story is good enough. I will include a link to this infographic
in your links document so you can download it. Once you commit to blogging, how often should
you do it? I guess that will depend on how often you’re
thinking of integrating these with your e-newsletter strategy, for example, if you’re going to
be sending it once a month, or once a term. At Leep we have committed to blogging at least
once a month, more if we can. But of course we’re all time-poor so it’s not always possible.
But what is really important is that once you commit to that strategy is to follow it
through because there’s nothing worse than people coming to your website and going to
your News section and seeing something that’s 6 months old. It lessens your credibility
and trust in your brand, and your site. So do try to keep it up and if you can’t, then
it’s better not to have it at all than to have really outdated resources on your site. Once you’ve worked hard on your online promotions,
you’ll want to broadcast those efforts far and wide. And integrating into social media
is a great way of doing this. The social media platforms you will choose
to maintain depend on a number of variables, like where your audience hangs out, and how
much time you have. And it’s a good idea not to go into too many, but rather to do
your research, and strategically concentrate on a couple, and do those well. Whatever social
media platforms you decide to go with, these are some of the principles that really apply
across the board to all of them that you should be undertaking. Videos (particularly live streaming) is huge,
particularly through Facebook and Twitter. It’s not hard to do. At Leep events we have
often livestreamed. And it’s simply a question of setting up a couple of tablets, having
an internet connection, and we’ve had one livestreaming through Periscope (twitter’s
livestreaming platform) and the other livestreaming through Facebook live. Those videos are then
available later on as well for you to share and to use in a blog post for example. Short videos of the impact your service is
having – you can follow the perfect blog post cocktail for this. No more than a couple
of minutes, really punchy, telling a really good story, showing the difference that your
service is making. Photos of your events, clients, services…
Now photos and videos – don’t forget to ask for consent to have people in your event photos
for example. The best way to do this is to have a sign in sheet and to have an opt out
column, so rather than asking people to give you permission to have them on photos and
videos, ask them ‘if you don’t want to be on our photos and videos please sign here’.
And people are much less likely to opt out. If they do then that makes it a bit difficult
for you because then you have to make sure that those people are not on your photos and
videos. That’s the law and you must obtain permission. It’s really important to encourage engagement
through social media – don’t use it just as a passive information sharing tool; ask
questions, have polls, mention others, share what others are doing as well as what you’re
doing. And have an editorial calendar; this can be
really useful and I will send you a link to how to set one up. It’s not that hard, it’s
basically having perhaps a spreadsheet that lists all your online communication strategies
and then lists the dates, what you’re going to be posting and who’s going to be doing
it. And if you keep an editorial calendar running for the next month or 3 months or
so – it has to be fairly short term because it has to be fairly flexible – that will really
help you to keep focused and to keep up with your strategy. Some good tips that I want to give you – your
email signature for every staff member should be part of your promotional strategy. It should
at least have your website address, links to all your social media accounts, and if
possible, it’s a really good idea to have a banner on that email signature that changes
now and then. So for example we run the banner for the last week to promote this webinar,
and we have a generic banner that is just our Leep logo, but if we’re running a special
event or webinar we put that on our email signature and everyone has the same banner
promoting the event. It does not have to be a banner, it could just be a link that you
can add to your email signature for an upcoming event or something that you really want to
highlight, a service that you’re running, or a resource that you’re launching. Another good strategy – with communityNet
for example, and our e-newsletters, when we go to events or to conferences or we run events
ourselves, we have a couple of staff running around with an iPad and sign up people right
there. So that’s why it’s important to have a sign up form on your website. So show them
what it’s about, ask them do they wanna sign up, remind them that they can unsubscribe
at any time, and remember to have that on any email communications that you regularly
send out; you must have an opt out link by law (an unsubscribe link). If you are using
a professional e-newsletter service they will take care of that for you and put it there
themselves, so it’s very easy to do. So this is a really good way of starting to grow your
list and to really promote your online communications when you’re out and about. Another good strategy – I know we all hate
popups – but they work if you use them properly. We have a popup on communityNet for our different
e-newsletters. It’s a component we have set up that only shows it to a particular visitor
a maximum of once per month, not every single time they come to the website, and I think
that’s really important because that could get really tiresome and might completely turn
people off your website if you have a popup that appears every single time. So I reckon
a maximum of one time per week if you’re going to have a popup. We started using this
6 months or so ago and our email list has really grown from this strategy, so it’s really
worth it, they do work. Something else to do is to invest on a banner
for your events, a banner that lists your website address and links to, depending on
what platform you’re using the most, whether it’s your blog or your website. A really visible
colourful banner that you can take with you to different events you run or that you’re
running with partners. Sometimes you can’t do it all yourself or
you don’t have time to do it all yourself, and it’s actually more cost-effective to get
someone else to do it, pay them to do it. So for website development, if you’re looking
to revamp your website or you don’t actually have one yet, I’m not actually going to recommend
anyone because I don’t believe in doing that. I believe a website design company is only
as good as its last website – there are changes in staff, changes in management – so I don’t
like recommending anyone, but what I do recommend you do is that you use word of mouth. Ask
other organisations that do things that are similar to what you do, and if you like their
website ask them who did it for them and what the process was, how they found it. If you
come to any websites that you like the look of and they do similar things as you do, then
contact that organisation – people are usually more than happy to help you and let you know
who did their website and who to contact. For training for some of the issues we talked
about today, our training partner AMK Consulting – Anne-Maree Kerr – I’ll send you her contact
details on the list as well. She’s a fabulous trainer, she’s got so much knowledge, she’s
got very reasonable rates and if you’re looking to starting with social media or with blogging
or just about anything else we discussed today, and if you’re after some training, I recommend
that you contact her. At Leep, we can help you with e-newsletter
and mailing list creation and maintenance. So if you would like to have an e-newsletter
but you just don’t have the time to commit to doing it, contact us for help with that.
We do community e-newsletters for a number of partners, including City of Parramatta
Council, Hawkesbury Council, Fairfield Council, and we’re quite happy to look into maintaining
and creating and sending e-newsletters on your behalf – with your branding but with
our expertise behind it. Again, as I mentioned, digital mentoring programs
set up, do go to leep.ngo, watch last week’s webinar about setting up a digital mentoring
program. On our website we also have a directory that lists digital mentoring programs, mostly
around Western Sydney, but we’re trying to get it to grow. If you do have a digital mentoring
program be sure to add yourself to the directory, you can do that for free. And volunteering – if you’re looking for support
for volunteers, volunteer managers, perhaps getting help from volunteers to help you with
some of the things we discussed today, you can contact our Volunteering Solutions team
for support and resources. Question time is brought to you by my dog,
Lord Byron. He thanks you for listening to me today (he never does – at least not when
I tell him to do something). I’m just gonna see if I’ve got any questions.
If you’d like to ask me something, now’s the time. OK got a question here – ‘are you able to
help us optimise or use e-Tapestry – it’s a specific database system that we have paid
for but are having trouble finding the time to figure it out’. If you’d like to email
me directly and give me a bit more information. It might take just too much time right now
to discuss it, but I do know what you mean – I think that happens a lot in the sector
when we purchase or we have a platform that we’re having trouble knowing how to use it
or getting support on how to use it. So happy to take that further if you would like to
email me. My contact details will be at the end of the webinar here. Thank you, Bec. I don’t have anyone else. What I’m going to
do – I’d like to thank you for watching this. I’d like to remind you to head to communitynet.ngo
please and look at our e-newsletters and see if any of them are of interest for you to
subscribe. I’m going to be sending you that links document today, and I encourage you
to contact me with any questions or for further support that you need on this subject. So I’m [email protected], 4721 1866. Thank you for watching and bye for now.

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