Monthly Archives: February 2012

Disability nonprofit uses YouTube to promote its Ambassadors

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Marriott Support Services has been developing its band of School Ambassadors since 2009. These 15 young adults with a disability speak to school groups, parents and employers about making the transition from school to adulthood as a person with a disability.

The Ambassadors talk about moving from a protective home and school environment to TAFE, work, public transport and independent living – all of which can be made more complicated by disability. They speak of the value of work experience, dealing with bullies and the secrets to their success.

Hootville is working with the Ambassadors in two ways:

1. Conducting group and one-to-one Speak Savvy 101 workshops to refine, expand and develop their presentations. Then supplying on-call assistance for 18 months.

2. Developing, shooting and editing 15 brief video biographies of the Ambassadors which will be uploaded to a new YouTube channel in a bid to wrangle more speaking gigs.

The group is comprised 100% of character actors and is a joy to work with. We’ll tell you when the videos are online in early April.

youtube for nonprofits

Trust us; YouTube is going to be big. Bigger than Friendster.

Here’s some wise words on getting the most out of your YouTube channel.

Videos are a great way to promote your speakers, staff, programs, bequests and events. Incorporating video into your website is the single most effective way to dramatically boost your online impact. To discuss, call Brett 03 9017 1062.     


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Nonprofit website development development

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Hootville Communications will be developing a new and vastly improved site for Inner South Community Health Services.  The project will be large as ISCHS has a broad mix of services from podiatry to parenting. We’ll incorporate social media and search engine considerations into everything we do. The new site will, true to Hootville’s philosophy, be more like a 24/7 unsalaried employee than an online brochure.  Our websites come with planning, training, technical back-up and graphic design. We’ll report back in six months time.

If its time to develop a better website for your organisation call Brett on 03 9017 1062.

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Conference emcee scores sixth event in a row

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Disability Employment Australia (formerly ACE National) has engaged conference emcee Brett de Hoedt for its national Disability Employment Conference for the sixth year running. This year’s conference is in Melbourne. If you work in disability employment you should join 500 or so of your colleagues (and Brett) at the Grand Hyatt Wednesday August 8 and Thursday August 9.

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Marketing staple limited in US

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Thankfully we don’t get them here too often but in the US they are marketing de rigeur. We speak of Robo calls – automated, annoying, pre-recorded phone calls commonly from political candidates, charities and big financial brands. Election years create a tsunami of such calls.

Calls banned? How will I find work at my age?

Former Prime Minister John Howard attracted broad criticism for using the technique in 2004. The Austalian Youth Climate Coalition tried aiming the robots at the pollies in 2010.

Anyhow the US Federal Communications Commission has surprisingly limited the use of the technique. Why? Well how would you like to come home to find this message on your voicemail? Oi vay.


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Squiggle takes Manhattan: NYC authorities threaten canine world’s greatest photo opp

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By Squiggle. Dateline: Manhattan

You know by now that it has been a sterling week for dachshunds thanks to Cinders the wire-haired dachshund taking out the hound section of the Westminster Kennel Club’s Dog Show in New York, New York. That’s right – wire-haired. Take that smoothies.

PR picture opportunity

Squiggle mobbed by an adoring pack of fans in NYC.

It’s only the third time in 136 runnings of the competition that a dachshund of any variety has taken out Best Hound. (I should know, I’ve been to most of these shindigs and won one of them). Anyhow, congratulations Cinders – you’re one talented bitch.

As part of my annual pilgrimage, I join other dogs of note at Sardi’s in the theatre district for lunch. Each year the Best in Show winner – this year a Pekingese called Malachy – joins us for meat from a silver platter. Great PR photo opp. The press hounds eat it up, just like Malachy and the free lunch. Everybody wins – belly rubs all round. It’s been that way since the late sixties.

Ah; the sixties. Heady days. We were all longhairs back then, whatever our breed. Widespread spading had ushered in the sexual revolution. I was driving to San Francisco when I picked up a beatnik hitchhiker named Robert Zimmerman… but I digress.

Well this year, the health department has stepped in to the picture. Haven’t they got cats to trap? Oh – if you think lunch for dogs at famous Broadway restaurants is a photo opportunity too far you ain’t seen nothin yet. Hello Wall Street.

Right I’m off to see The Book of Mormon. Ciao.


PR, statistics and big fat lies

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We’ve banged on about this before. Too many lobby groups – private and nonprofit – overstate their cases with statistics that simply don’t hold up to scrutiny. Too much is never enough.

How many people have your disease du jour? How many people does each new diagnosis affect? How many people enjoy community theatre each week? How severely will a round of redundancies impact on the lcoal economy? Really? That many?

This interview with Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute exposes some bad examples of overstatting one’s case. Get it? Overstatting.   And no you can’t use that as your own material.

Getting caught out with a loose and convenient mistruth would make for a bad day indeed. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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Training calendar for 2012 takes shape

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As you know most of our media and communications training is delivered to order. Individual organisations, alliances, partnerships and peak bodies all book us. We are booked to train at conferences or similar gatherings. We are often engaged by local governments which then offer the training to local community groups en masse.   

However, as in 2011 we will be offering a series of webinars in 2012. Our webinars are more niche and specific in nature and let anyone participate from anywhere without travel. Webinars – it’s the future and it’s now.  So what’s ahead?


apps for nonprofits

Don't worry, get appy.

App Savvy 101: ever wondered if your organisation should have an app for smartphone or Facebook? What’s possible? How do you find a developer? How much will it cost? Is it worth the investment?

New Site Savvy 101: your next website is the biggest opportunity you have to dramatically improve your communications and marketing. Don’t waste your time, money and hope on another lame site. We’ll look at: creating a brief; choosing a developer, choosing your content management system, choosing the bells and whistles, creating a site that is more like an employee than an online brochure. 

Social Media Savvy 101: Twitter and Facebook – how to ruthlessly exploit them, build cult-like followings, develop a practical policy, find the right tone and content. For newbies and up. 

SEO Savvy 101: It is simply pointless having a website unless you take informed, persistent steps to gain the best possible results on search engines such as Google. Learn simple, achievable ways to get on the first page. Not for nerds – for communications peopleand their bosses.

Or perhaps unmeasured mail is preferable.

eMarketing savvy 101: Email works. Learn how to make it work better than any other channel of communications – including social media. (Really!) Quickly send targetted communications to members, donors, volunteers or politicians at no cost. Better still – learn how to ensure that they get opened, read, passed along and acted upon. By the way – an eMarketing can save you tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Copy Savvy 101: we don’t waste time on spelling and grammar in this webinar. Instead we look at your audiences, lots of examples good and bad, define what makes good writing good and dissect headlines, quotes, captions, media releases, appeal letters and more.  

Details on costs, times and more coming soon.





Senators turn numbers and time into something real

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Those of you who weren’t listening to question time in the Senate Wednesday February 8 missed out a prime example of good interview technique. (You know who you are.)

Senator Wong seems pleased with Hootville's praise.

Minister for Finance Senator Penny Wong was casting doubt on the Opposition’s ability to deliver promised $70 billion in budget cuts. Rather than repeating a number that is so big as to be meaningless, she converted it into something very meaningful indeed:

“But, if those opposite want to talk about numbers, I suggest they have a look at the $70 billion that they have to find in the budget just to get to the starting line. Their backbench may not know this, but $70 billion is the equivalent of Medicare payments for four years. They are the sorts of cuts you have to find because of your lack of discipline. It is equivalent to two years of the age pension. That is the sort of cut you would have to find because of your lack of discipline.”

Accurate? We don’t know. An effective way to give bread-and-butter voters pause for thought? Yes indeed.  A rare moment of clear, effective communications by our Federal Government. Shame for them that only we were listening.

Tip: Make figures more real by converting them to something more readily related to.  Typically any number of people is described thus: 

“The number of people with the disease could fill the MCG on grand final day.”

Any large amount of liquid is immediately described in terms of how many times it could fill Sydney Harbour.  Can we update these? Please.

Want speaker training? See Speak Savvy 101.

Let Hansard reflect Hootville praise.

Fellow high profile South Australian Christopher Pyne made the nightly news as he pounced on Fair Work Australia’s (inexcusable and dodgy) glacial-paced investigation into (inexcusable and dodgy) ALP member Craig Thomson. The report into the former union honcho’s affairs started in 2009. This lead Pyne to opine: “The investigation has taken longer than Watergate, the Korean War, the building of the Sydney Olympic Stadium and the duration of the Rudd government.”

Hoorah for colourful language that places a statistic in context. In both these cases the examples will be readily picked up by supporters.

FYI: As emcee Brett once introduced Senator Penny Wong at a national conference by explaining (as her bio stipulated) that she was the first woman of Asian background to become a South Australian Senator. “Others may have applauded the breakthrough,” said Brett. “I however was furious, as I had long held on to the dream that one day, that particular accomplishment would be mine.” The Senator took the stage very slowly before thanking him for sharing. Brett as MC?


eMarketing mistakes from two big companies

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This week two major corporations: and (Fairfax’s real estate brand) both sent Hootville an email communication. Both were immediately deleted. Both companies are big enough to know better but failed to grasp some basic principals of eMarketing. What did they do wrong?

1. Relevance: We never signed up for this. We used these two sites as a place to advertise. We never wanted to receive weird employment and property-related emails from them. 

2. Value: We may have overlooked the pushiness if the emails had included a special offer, valuable advice or a welcome diversion – they didn’t.

3. Timelapse: Both companies have left things waaaay too long. We last did business with these companies years ago. Now they want to build a relationship with us? Uh-uh. Even if we’d loved their service back in 2009 we have moved on since and are seeing other sites.

4. Credibility: Despite the immense resources available to both Seek and Domain both emails were text-heavy and unenticing. In fact they were so poorly designed they looked fake.

Bosses sometimes think that an email database can be held up one’s sleeve for a rainy day. It can’t. Your subscribers must be nurtured with regular quality contact.  


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More media coverage for you this year – no excuses

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We love media coverage – nothing gives you better return on your investment or more influence. Specifically we love radio. More specifically, we love ABC Radio which devotes more airtime to the issues people like us want discussed. More specifically still we love ABC Radio National which has been fertile ground for our clients for over a decade. If you don’t listen to ABC Radio National you are missing out on some of the most (and least) interesting radio in the country.

Well good news  – Radio National has been rejigged. Beyond its new moniker RN; it has a new schedule with fewer pre-made documentaries and features and more live content. This equals many more opportunities for you. So too do many new programs on religion, ethics, media and food.  

Add up small audiences across the country and you get one big (and well-connected) audience.

The bad news is that the flagship news and current affairs program ‘PM’ which is broadcast on both Radio National 5pm in most states has been halved to 30 minutes. Dumb!  Happily ABC Local stations everywhere still play it at 6pm for the whole hour. Thanks to my erstwhile commentors for the clarification on this BTW.

Some possibilities on the agenda:

  • Breakfast with Fran Kelly (issues and news-drive stories)
  • Life Matters with Natasha Mitchell (personal stuff: relationships, parenting, caring, soocial trends, ageing, disability) 
  • Drive with Waleed Aly (10 new hours a week of news-driven content to be filled – fill it!)
  • Download this Show (social media, www, online activism – doing anything different online?)
  • Awaye! (Indigenous affairs)

Tune in and get a feel for the shows. Think of all your programs and priorities and find or devise a story. Need help doing this? Book yourself a Media Savvy 101.

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