Monthly Archives: March 2012

Need content? Think lists.

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Your website’s visitors and Google both want content – probably much more content than you are providing right now. Some organisations labour under the misapprehension that they don’t have content worth publishing. That’s wrong, unless you have no expertise, no opinions and no advice in which case you have bigger problems than finding web content.

One trick of copywriters that started with lifestyle sections of newspapers and magazine that has spread like syphilis to the online world is the list story.

list based stories for copywriters

List stories offer quick bitey, news nugetts.

The list story is just that – a list devoted to a topic. Brett used to churn some of these out when writing for The Melbourne and Sydney Weeklies. You know the sort of thing: 7 ways to beat the heat this Summer, The four hottest acts of the comedy festival, Three ways to land that big promotion, Six ways to add thousands to the value of your home. And on and on…

The TMW / TSW editorial team would devise a list story when deadlines were tight. It got the job done and no one got hurt.

List stories are everywhere, nowhere more so than online.

Free yourself by using the list format on a regular basis. Sit down, preferably with some smart colleagues and tally up a collection of possible list stories – that’s right a list of lists.

Five ways to reduce your chance of an asthma attack today.

Four ways to talk to your kids about your illness.

Six places you can contact for help if you lose your job this year.

You have the knowledge in your organisation; so use it.

Now in a post-modern twist we have a list-based story from BlogSpot that gives advice on – you guessed it – list-based stories. And no, we won’t now list three reasons to read it. Just read it and if you oike it, share it with the buttons below.

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Who says it’s tough at the top?

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Fact: The lower your nonprofit’s profile the more important Google is. After all if your website is going to ‘meet’ people who don’t know your organisation exists, you’re going to need Google to do the introductions.

SEO for nonprofits

Your listing on the third page? If so, read it and weep.

Bad news: As this extract from Hubspot points out, people don’t exactly dig deep when searching for information online. The first three options take up 58% of the click throughs. The rest get crumbs – and we haven’t even got to the bottom half of page one. Clearly SEO needs to be a priority, yet for most nonprofits it is not.

Plug: We’ll be running an SEO Savvy webinar again later this year but here’s one consideration for those of you who are already tinkering your site for certain keywords and phrases: go long. Yep looong.

Suggestion: The theory with “longtail” key words is this: everyone is battling for good results on short, popular search terms such as “animal charities” or “animal charity donations” where the traffic is thick, the stakes are high and the competition fierce. 

seo advice for nonprofits

The longer it goes, the easier it gets.

Chances are that you will never attain a high Google result on such popular and obvious key words. But what if you optimise your site for longer search terms such as “animal charities donation Brisbane”  or “no- kill animal shelters donation Brisbane”? Sure there is less traffic but the traffic that you will get is better qualified and the term is far less competitive. Try it.

The chart (above, left) shows that there are a lot of people searching variables of the most popular search terms on any given subject. How does one get this traffic? Start by adding geographies to your keywords and phrases that will draw people to the services pages of your site not the homepage – why not “cheap dentist in South Melbourne open weeknights”?

You can always test search terms at Google’s keyword tool. You can also read this article from HubSpot on the seven keyword mistakes people like us make.

Good news: The terms sought after by nonprofits are not nearly as competitive as those desired by the corporate world. Try getting to  Google’s page one for terms like “gyms + Perth” “car insurance + under 25” or “hotels+Sydney”.

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Media training for ChildFund Australia in Sydney

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Brett has been commanded to perform a second Speak Savvy media training workshop for ChildFund Australia in Sydney Thursday August 2. Our first session was in 2010. It’s good to be invited back – and not just because Brett suspects he may have left a good-as-new BIC GripRoller pen there and wants to see if he can find it. As before, Brett will work with approximately 10 country directors and program managers to prepare them for the world’s media. Anyone in Sydney interested in training Wednesday August 1 or Friday August 3?

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Reading list Thursday March 22, 2012

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nonprofit marketing reading

Cosy up to your screen and enjoy.

The Irish are revolting. Again. An interesting grass roots movement against a new tax that is clearly getting results. Or lack of results, so to speak. Care of the New York Times.

Retro protest movement poster and ephemera showcase care of Collectors Weekly.

Talking sense to climate change deniers care of Climate Spectator.


What’s the biggest pay rise you’ve netted for yourself when changing jobs? Guess what percent payrise members of the US Congress gain on average when they leave politics and become lobbyists. Now double it…again…again… Care of Boing Boing.

robo journalists

Karlbot and two buddies from the newsroom.

Oh yes – do you recall the robo call robots we spoke of recently? They had been made redundant due to new legislation in the US limiting such calls. Well there’s good news – those robots have found work in the media. As journalists.  Frankly robo-journos are hardly news. Look how well Karl Stefanovic has done for himself. Read all about it care of the The Verge.

The campaigning techniques of Stradbroke Island sand mining company Sibelco have been exposed. Guess what – all those letters were truly written by the “women of Stradbroke” after all. Care of The Australian.

How influential are you on Twitter?

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There are various ways to measure one’s worth as a Twitterer – the number of followers you have, the difference between the number of followers you have and the number that you follow and of course how often your tweets are retweeted. Hell – you may even analyse the value of the contents you disseminate.

social media training

Just 191,738 places to go...

One free, immediate way to measure and track your worth is at Retweet Rank which measures your retweets and ranks you accordingly. We mention this not because Retweet Rank ranks Hootville in the top 6% of tweeters globally but because…you know…we care about you. Deeply.    


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App Savvy 101 details announced

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App Savvy 101

Thursday April 26, 10am to 11.30 – (half full already, book soon)

apps for nonprofits

Don't worry, get appy.

The world has gone app mad yet most nonprofits remain unappy. This workshop – which is about marketing not technology – will help you decide if your organisation should develop an app for smartphone or Facebook.

Jay McCormack of Imponna joins Hootville’s Brett de Hoedt to co-present this thoroughly interactive 90 minute webinar for nonprofits – both tech savvy and not. On the agenda:

• The rationale for developing an app. Is it a worthwhile enterprise for you?
• What’s possible? What clever app could you offer the world?
• Developing a brief.
• Finding a developer.
• Choosing your platform.
• The all important: how much will it cost?
• Measuring the return on your investment. What can you reasonably expect?
• Examples from appy nonprofits.
• Promoting your app.

One big outcome of this webinar is that you will become a better informed client, likely to  gain more from your app developer. Knowledge = power. Be quick to book. All the details here.

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Hootville developing new community health website

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Hootville has started work on an entirely new, dramatically improved website for nonprofit Inner South Community Health Service. Like so many other nonprofits ISCHS has been under-served by its website for too long. That changes in about 20 weeks.

community healthservice website

Staff hold little nostalgia for the existing website.

The biggest challenge will be wrangling approximately 160 services – that’s right 160 – into more intuitive groupings to enable punters to find what they seek quickly. 

There is dental, GPs, drug and alcohol counselling, fall prevention, Indigenous-specific services, domestic violence services and many many more.  

At a four hour planning workshop today we reached broad agreement on approximately 15 service categories: physical, mental, social, family, youth, older etc. By the way – is it OK to use the term Seniors to refer to older people? Your alternatives are welcome Citizens.  

We’ll show you the ISCHS site it launches mid year. Meanwhile if you want to talk to us about developing or planning your next site call Brett on 03 9017 1062. To get more from your current online presence order up an Online Savvy 101.

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Too many nonprofits?

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This article from Huffington Post has an American perspective but how different is Australia? Do we have too many nonprofits? Are we overpopulated with under-resourced nonprofits? Is the focus turning from extinguishing a problem to sustaining our organisations? Are we replicating instead of consolidating? Are we spreading our talent too thin? (Oh YES.) Have we asked enough rhetorical questions? Very interested to get your comments.


News and current Affairs – people watch this stuff

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gaining media coverage

They're all just waiting for you to call.

All those seeking meaningful short term liaisons with news and current affirs TV take note – people are watching.  As these figure show, internet age or not, very large numbers of Australians still turn to TV for a hit of news and current affairs. In many cases, this may be the only hit they seek all day. Oh dear.

Nonprofits gain TV news coverage every day and gain a lot of profile for their efforts. 

Tips to gain TV coverage:

Think visual. No matter how acute your observations, specific your angle and timely your offer of assistance, the chief of staff will look more favourably upon you if you can create something of interest visually. Got experts with lab coats, recovered patients, sick kids or fluffy puppies? You are in the box seat.  

Think quick. TV won’t admit this but the vast majority of their stories are the result of other media coverage. TV generally follows the news not breaks it. Help them. If you can offer comment on the issue du jour from the morning papers and radio rush to the phone and pitch. You don’t have to be central to the story – just have an expert opinion on it.

You should already know what your issues are, likely external catalysts for media coverage about those issues (a report, an anniversary, a big speech) your spokespeople and case studies.

Be flexible: TV is bigger than you and will treat you accordingly. If you’re lucky enough to gain coverage the crew will want you when and where they want you. Prepare to spend your whole day nursing your CEO for a 15 second news grab. When they arrive the crew will want to move furniture, adjust the lighting and enlist your entire staff as background actors. You will be holding the reflective That’s showbiz.

Be talented? TV doesn’t take chances. It doesn’t give fresh faces an opportunity. It doesn’t care if you are best qualified to comment on an issue. It will opt for the most recognised, most experienced, most hungry talent every time. Get trained, get hungry and get some coverage.

Be connected. Chiefs of staff get hundreds of calls daily, reporters less. Who do you think will give you a greater opportunity to shill your story? You should already have the contacts for sympathetic journalists. Twitter makes contacting specific journalists easier than ever.

Interesting fact: comedy and eMarketing share a key element

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What’s the most important element of comedy? Timing. Likewise in eMarketing. That’s why we at Hootville drop our shoulders when we see eNewsletters arrive late in the traditional working day. See below.

free emarketing advice

Too late she cried. Cry earlier in the day and in the week.

The Lowdown is overwhelmingly read at work during worktime so we aim for the Lowdown to be part of people’s first download of email.

The goal is to be a part of people’s pre-work procrastination and to allow them more worktime to read our content during the day. It works. How do we know? We A/B test varying send times and check the results. Try that with mail.


Virgin clearly gets the worms with these early words.

We’ve had clients with audiences which are less clear cut. Eg: older audiences, parents or carers all of which are likely to have more varied reading times. For some of you, it would be worth asking new subscribers when they are most likely to receive (not read) your material and send accordingly. The fresher your email is in the inbox, the more enticing it is.

That’s why, 24 hours after the first distribution we resend the Lowdown to Citizens who failed to read it the first time. Same email, same recipient, different result about 20% of the time. Not bad huh? Do you resend automatically? Why not?  

Also – we don’t send Monday or Friday. Monday mornings are too caught up with the return to work and Friday doesn’t allow us to resend 24 hours later. Interesting fact #2.

BTW – at least 5% of you are away at any given time rising to 15% during school holidays.

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