Most of us would probably rather spend our workday out in the field instead of glued to a computer. Even so, digital media can offer an incredibly useful toolkit to help support the work we do outdoors, so it’s worth learning how to harness its power for good. Here, we offer some tips and tricks to help you navigate the digital waters.
ASSESS YOUR CURRENT STRATEGY
It’s hard to know where you want to go without also assessing where you’re at and where you’ve been. Here are a few steps to take in order to assess your current digital media strategy:
- What have you already been doing in the digital space? Compile a simple list of previous and current strategies, which may include anything from email marketing to digital advertising spends.
- How effective have these strategies been? Review the list you created and reflect on any measurable successes, along with any places where you felt the outcome was less than desirable. Use every tool at your disposal to gather data: consider email marketing feedback, website analytics, social media engagement, and programs like Google Analytics, which offer another level of feedback about your web audience.
- What are your goals moving forward – and which strategies will support these? Do you want to grow your audience or increase overall engagement? Are you interested in selling a product or fundraising? Here, you might want to look back at your strategic plan (see our recent blog post about this topic) to help identify specific goals. Review the strategies that have potential to assist with those goals and decide whether your efforts should stay the same or ramp up as you look to the future.
DIGITAL MEDIA TIPS & TRICKS
Now that you’ve identified areas in which you want to improve or grow your overall digital strategy, it’s time to look at specific ways to enhance your efforts.
Content Marketing. No doubt you’ve probably heard the popular phrase “content is king” – but what exactly does that mean, and how does it apply to your organization or program? The great news is that “content” is a fairly broad concept – it’s really just information that’s delivered in any number of ways, most often via your website. Thoughtful content can help build and solidify your overall “brand” or public face, consolidate your message, and establish your organization as an authority on any given topic. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Quality over quantity. Thoughtful content keeps your message centered and considers your audience. The better your content, the more likely it will be shared, which will enhance your search engine rankings (i.e. the magic analytics that move your website and its pages closer to the top of searches on, say, Google). Make sure posts are at least 400 words in length, and use quality photographs (If you don’t have your own photos to use, Unsplash and Compfight offer high quality free photos; Canva and Pixlr offer free editing tools.)
- Consistency. The more regularly you post new content, the more often your audience will know to check with it – and the more they will engage with it. Also, the more content you post offers more opportunities for your website to turn up in online searches.
- SEO. Speaking of search engines, you want to consider learning the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, which is basically a thoughtful way to employ keywords throughout your posts, especially in the title, in the first sentence or two of your piece, and in the metadata description. If you have a WordPress site, the Yoast SEO Plugin is a great tool; other resources include Moz, BrightEdge, and Screaming Frog.
- Consider platforms. Make sure your content is viewable not just on a regular computer screen, but on mobile devices, as well. There’s a wealth of information here on how to optimize your site for mobile.
Email Marketing. Many of the content marketing suggestions above are also useful when you’re composing email marketing campaigns and newsletters; services like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and Constant Contact also offer tools within their interfaces to help you manage and connect with your audience. Here are a few additional pointers:
- Draw in your audience. Begin with a catchy subject line and include videos and photos that draw the eye.
- Think links. Direct readers to your website by linking your content within the newsletter. Also make it easy for them to subscribe by including an obvious subscription button or link.
- Offer a value-add. Consider including a coupon, access to additional content, a downloadable eBook or PDF, etc. as a value-add if readers subscribe to your mailing list.
Social Media Marketing. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) can be a fantastic tool for not just sharing the content you’ve created, but also connecting with and engaging your audience – or potential audience! Here are some suggestions from Hootsuite to help you craft a social media plan.
Videos and Podcasting. Video and podcasting content requires a more technical skillset, but can be a useful way to engage with your audience in a different way. The key with everything is to script out exactly what you want to say and shoot, keep it engaging, and be mindful of length (short is better), while also ensuring quality control. Video editing tools include iMovie, WeVideo, PowToon, VideoScribe, and Adoble Creative Cloud. Podcast tools include Audacity, Libsyn, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.
For more guidance on digital media strategy, check out our Guide to Digital Marketing 101: A Toolkit for Creative Engagement, which features the team from Colorado-based digital marketing company Mooncut Mountain Creative.
top photo by Blaise Vonlanthen