Hurricane Harvey has come and gone. Now, it's time for the residents of Houston, Texas, to clean up and rebuild. Thankfully, they're not alone.
Groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Samaritan's Purse are joining with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin the tough task of putting lives back together. No doubt you're already helping spread the word about the relief efforts. Thank you!
Part of my background includes crisis communications for a disaster relief agency. Here are some tips our agency would often share with the media:
1) The most important thing you can do right now is to donate to legitimate disaster relief agencies. Let the pros get in and assess the situation. Support them with your funds so they can bring food, water and supplies to victims of the storm.
2) Make sure the agency you're supporting has a good track record of disaster relief work and uses their money wisely. When in doubt, check Charity Navigator or the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. You can also Google the company's name and see what's been written by them.
3) Don't encourage volunteers to go to Houston. Yet. Wait until the disaster relief agencies ask for help. If teams head down right now, they'll only add to the chaos.
4) If you are involved in a charity drive for victims, ask people to give only the basics. Avoid clothing drives. This creates extra work because clothes have to be sorted and distributed. Instead, team up with an agency and ask people to give what the relief agency recommends.
5) Keep your listeners up to date with the latest information from the relief agency you're partnering with. Let people know that their money and efforts are being used wisely.
The Houston clean up efforts offer great opportunity for us to shine brightly for Christ. Encourage your listeners to support the work of disaster relief agencies and when the time is right, to get involved and change lives.
Bill Arbuckle CMW
Rube Goldburg is known for his crazy contraptions. You've probably seen his drawings – complicated machines that accomplish a simple purpose: kicking a ball, using a napkin and opening a parachute. Goldburg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist whose goal was to help people laugh at how easy it can be to turn a simple job into something complicated.
In spite of his clever cartoons … we've never really gotten the message: keep it simple.
People like to think that creating a complex plan means that our idea is intelligent and attention getting. You see it when clients request an ad packed with a laundry list of sales and instructions. Or someone writes an online post that goes on and on. You know it won't work. There's just too much to pack in to 30 seconds or 140 characters.
Our job as communicators is to teach our clients that simple sells. People have a tiny attention span and won't catch it all. Our role – sometimes – is to gently push back and help clients cut through the clutter and connect.
How to start?
Look at your own projects. Your own content. Your own promotions. Where can you simplify? (Without cutting corners) What do you want people to remember? Are you stating it clearly? Can you say more with fewer words? Share your findings with co-workers and clients. Help them understand that simplicity sells.
Here's a challenge for communicators: keep all those Rube Goldburg contraptions on the printed page where they belong. And keep them away from your content, clients and promotions.
We communicate with mom every day. In fact, she's our top priority. But do you really know her? Here's a look at some of the latest stats and info on mom. (From GirlPowerMarketing.com)
• Over 70% of moms with kids aged 18 and under participate in the work force. That's a lot of working moms!
• 40% of U.S. homes with kids under 18 are headed by single moms.
• Women account for 85% of all purchases today.
• 75% of women are the primary shoppers in their families … and 92% of women pass on online or personal recommendations.
• Women also lead the way in electronics purchases – 61% of women either bought or initiated the purchase. (In order of purchase: smartphones, tablets, laptops, HDTVs)
• Over 90% of women take the lead in new home purchases.
• Women account for 93% of food and pharmaceutical purchases.
• The average age of new moms is 25.
• One out of every 11 women owns a business.
• 60% of moms believe organic foods are better for their health.
• 9 out of 10 women seek health information from online sources.
• Millennial moms (born between 1978 and 1994) make up about 20% of U.S. Moms.
• 81% of moms prefer texting over talking.
This is just a small sampling of the latest research from GirlPowerMarketing.com. Check out the research for more stats.
How will you use this information to connect better with mom on-air and online? With more moms in the workforce, the demand on moms are greater than ever before. Become her friend, her expert and the person who watches out for her and her family. The more you make an active effort to bring her the info and encouragement she needs, the more loyal she'll be to your station.
Did you survive the solar eclipse? Hopefully you have some fun memories – and maybe some photographs – to share. After all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Speaking of events, Monday's eclipse proved that people love events. Even though we're surrounded by hi-tech gadgets that allow us to watch and witness everything, we can't get away from the actual experience of “being there” and seeing it first hand.
So before you put the eclipse glasses away and file your photographs in a digital folder, take a couple of minutes to think about what made this moment in time special.
Was it the thrill of watching a live event unfold?
Was it the excitement of spending time with family and friends?
Did you look forward to booking a campsite or hotel and traveling to watch the event?
Was it the photos and souvenirs?
As you answer those questions, take notes about what made this event so special … and then take those thoughts and ideas and apply them to your next station promotion.
People crave experiences. That moment of “being there,” seeing things happen, being part of a movement or moment in history.
The good part? Not every experience has to be out of this world. Some can be small, but meaningful.
So how can you make your next big promotion an experience that your audience will look back and say, “I was there. I experienced it.”
Welcome back to the busy season! Kids are starting back to school, football season begins, Labor Day is a few weeks away … and then there's Thanksgiving and Christmas. Are you ready for it all?
The good news is that you have some time to plan. So grab a pen and paper or your favorite note-taking app and start thinking about all of the fourth-quarter promotion opportunities. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
1) Choose an end goal. Promotions are fun … but why do you run promotions? To get exposure? To get people connected? To sell ads or raise operating funds? Pick an end goal and stick to it. Example: If you want to get people connected, make sure every promotion drives connectivity. Capture email addresses. Capture home addresses. Find ways to get people to link to your Facebook and Instagram feeds. Be intentional about moving toward your goal.
2) Don't do everything. There are a lot of good promotional opportunities available in your community. But will every promotion help you reach your goal? As hard as it is to say “no,” you will need to say no to some good opportunities … because they aren't the best opportunities for your station.
3) Write down two or three “dream promotions.” What is that one big promotion that you've always wanted to do? Can you make it happen this year? How about the next big promotion? Give yourself some space to try something different this year.
4) If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Just make sure to keep it fresh. Maybe you have some annual traditions that listeners look forward to. Do they work? Good! But put some extra energy into them to make sure that people are excited and connected to your station. One of the worst “sins” you can commit in media is to be boring. So keep things fresh!
5) Set your schedule. Have you chosen an end goal? Looked for opportunities that will help you reach that goal? Now you're ready to plan. Take a look at your station calendar and start putting your fall schedule together.
Fall promotions can be a lot of fun … so choose your opportunities and enjoy!
Bill Arbuckle CMW