Monthly Archives: May 2012

Reading list May 30, 2012

Icon for Post #2750

Brett thinks Malcolm Gladwell of Tipping Point et al is over-rated. Squiggle think Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw is “inspired”.

marketing advice

The revolution may not be digitised after all.

Regardless, the perennial New York Times best seller has penned a piece for The New Yorker on social media revolutions which is worth a read unless you’ve got work to do, in which case close this down immediately.

If you’re still reading this far you are looking actively for a distraction. You could do worse than 99 Problems But A Pitch Ain’t One which is for PR and comms folk like you. This goes double for consultants and freelancers. Warning: this site is very American and very corporate in its references.

twitter blooper

Naughty naughty bollocks. AKA lies.

This is oldish but a good PR blooper looking at true blue Aussie celebrities being paid to tweet. Cringeworthy, amateurish and possibly illegal. Courtesy of Mumbrella.

This is a MUST READ from Hubspot about your website and why people hate it.


The pen(cil) is mightier than the fraud

Icon for Post #2729

Journalism is still – even in this era – a glamour profession. Journalists are proud to be journalists – they have a professional ego and are slow to concede the full truth about why some stories are run while others are ignored.

Journalists love to tell you that stories get run on their merit and that they are always looking for a new angle and substantive issue. Some are, some of the time but most are trying against the odds and the clock to fill the space they have to fill.

They never reveal how malleable they are, pretending that they are quality controllers, tough nuts and cynical dudes able to see through our flimsy PR ploys. Yet day after day we see their stores – graduation day at the Police canine college (Squiggle loves that one) the unveiling of the Christmas windows, the rush of bargain-hunters at the Boxing Day sales et al. These are picture-driven stories which fill a lot of space, and make a lot of publicists happy. 

No matter how unvisual your story make it more visual before you pitch the idea to media. Create a crowd of supporters for your launch, hold it in front of a symbolic location, release some balloons, cut a giant cake, offer video of last year’s 24 hour dance-a-thon, letters of thanks or desperation* from a parent you assisted, archival photographs from the days of institutions for the people you now help in the community. You get our drift. Think visual, no matter what the story. 

Like feeding the chooks. But with pencils. And journalists.

This bollocks on the left was run for no other reason but the visuals. It’s the suave head of pencil maker Faber Castell Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell recreating a PR stunt one of his forefathers created. The Count is throwing to the ground 500 of his pencils from the tower of his own castle (yes, his own) to demonstrate their strength. None do and the media eat it up. The fawning stories this created were numerous and non-threatening. Among the many hits were articles on two of the world top 11 news websites: CNN and MailOnline. 

pr training

There. Up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No just a photo opp.

We guarantee that few journalists would acknowledge that such a transparent, pointless, angle-less, fraudulent, self-promotional idea could get past their editorial gatekeeping. Publicists: 15. Media: Love.  

Learn how to get more media coverage at Media Savvy 101.

*Yes, of course with permission. Duh. 


Tagged , ,

A good idea. Sadly not our own.

Icon for Post #2731

Here’s a good idea worth a mention.

1. Open conference. Brett recently emceed day one of the Interchange Outer East Keeping It Real conference in Melbourne’s leafy Upwey. Interchange Outer East works with young people, people with disabilities and other oft-excluded groups providing respite, social activities and post-school options. 

conference emcee

The view from the pulpit.

Every two years they shut everything down to gather as a tribe and confab. All staff attend. This alone is a little special but what makes this newsworthy is that Interchange makes it a point to invite clients, carers and volunteers too. Perspective expand, relationships are built. That’s not all – also on the invitation list are other agencies, clubs, service groups, local employers and government folk. Oh; it’s free for all. Even the conference dinner was $15 a pop. People talk “partnerships”, “innovation” and “inclusion” all the time. This is the walk. Kudos Interchange Outer East.

The agenda was far broader than might be expected. Speakers from Streat and The Big Issue covered social enterprises, 2011 Australian of the Year Simon McKeon spoke about philanthropy and the rich, Yooralla’s ComTEC unit presented a cool show-and-tell session and there was a presentation on recruiting CALD volunteers.  It was a broad approach to the issues facing Interchange. Impressive stuff.

BTW the Burrinja Conference Centre was excellent – spacious and confortable, better than average disability access, catering, parking, audio-visual set-up and staff service ethic. Remarkable back stage facilities too. Highly recommended if you are in that part of town.

Tagged ,

When to tweet?

Icon for Post #2717
when to retweet

Take the weekends off.

You tweet hard for the money, no doubt hoping that your followers will recognise your genius and retweet you. Well genuises, you can take weekends off as it seems that retweeters have better things to do on Saturday and Sunday. At least this is what this chart from HubSpot reveals.



getting more retweets

Ask and thou shall retweet.


Humans are strange but utterly malleable. As this HubSpot graph to the left shows, ask followers to retweet your content and they will. Even the wording of how you ask effects the influence you wield. Who knew? You do. Exploit it.   


Tagged , ,

Meet your funnel

Icon for Post #2683

Brett recently presented to 50 or so marketers and recruiters in the world of foster care. Convincing people to let a child into their lives is no small marketing task. He started by talking of the marketing funnel which goes something like this… 

The funnel is a much-used metaphor for the sales process and it’s an equally useful way to think of your marketing options. Let us explain:

media training and advice

Fill 'er up.

Whether you are selling a car or signing someone on as a donor, supporter or client it takes a while to move the prospect from being even vaguely aware of you to signing on the proverbial dotted line. It’s a process.

As the prospect gets closer to signing he is moving through the metaphorical funnel.

The funnel is an appropriate device as while you may get lots of people at the start of the process only so many come out the end. Also; you can’t get to the end of the funnel without entering it at the top. Of course the better salesperson or marketer you are, the more people you convert from casual browsers (top of funnel) to supporters (end of funnel). It’s more complicated for humans than for water.

Your goal as salesperson or communications person is to get people into the top of the funnel in the first place and then move them through the funnel as it gets narrower to the very end. Different marketing and communications options are suited to different stages in a prospect’s travel through the funnel. 

If you want to get anyone at all to the end of the funnel you need to fill the top of the funnel with the maximum number of people regardless of their motivation.  You need to reach lots of people who have never heard about you or your cause.

marketing advice australia

NFP CSAs are great for some. Not possible for others.

From a communications perspective this means the big, broad marketing channels such as advertising but paid mainstream advertising is a luxury few of us can afford. Even if we could afford it it is no guarantee of success. Ask General Motors.

For the car salesperson, the slick TV advertisement is just the top of the funnel – hopefully enough to inspire some warm bodies through the showroom door.  But that’s all. Then the salesperson has to ‘encourage’ the prospect through the funnel – test drives, brochures, follow-up calls, second test drives, price negotiation, trade-in valuations and so on. Maybe one in 20 prospects gets to the pointy end of the funnel.

So what can we use instead of advertising to act as a top-of-funnel marketing tactic; one aimed to maximise exposure to newbies and reignite people who half-recall us? Media coverage. After all, it is why we consume media in the first place. Media reaches new people in a credible and influential way and is far more affordable than advertising. Media is at the top of your funnel and should be prioritised as such. A presence at public events also offers broad exposure, though usually on a smaller scale. 

nonprofit marketing advice

This is a smart new site for a newly amalgamated bird nonprofit: Birdlife Australia.

What next? Well how are most prospects who have seen you in the media going to acquaint themselves with you? Website. This is true of prospective donors, employees, volunteers, referrers or clients. The website is vital and high in the funnel and should be prioritised as such. 

Then what? Well perhaps it’s the  – wait for it – telephone. Let’s face it eventually most of us have to make a call to transact many things – swapping energy providers, booking our first appointment with the chiropractor, enquiring about the upcoming volunteer info night, seeing if our son might be eligible for reading assistance. Dare we say it – many telephone experiences with nonprofits leave much to be desired. Calls go unanswered, messages go unreturned and it all goes into the ether as few nonprofits track conversions from incoming calls to outcomes.     

Then what? Perhaps it’s time for the written material to come into play. Note; by this stage the prospect is well into the funnel. Despite this, written materials – expensive, time consuming, decision-intensive and unmeasureable – get much fuss from nonprofits. Annual reports warrant external designers and much unpaid overtime from contributors. Brochures are (still) a big deal. Do they get people in the funnel? Nope.

media training nonprofits

Keeping in touch, building the brand, getting our money, funneling us through.

Then what? Well to build real relationships you need time and constant attention p this takes the form of social media, eNewsletters and regular magazines / newsletters.  This is where prospects (now connected to you) get to really know you and for what you stand. This is where you educate them on your issues (radicalise them, if you like) and take them through the funnel.

Then what? They are through the funnel and form your donors, supporters, clients, volunteers, staff members and more.     

Summary: people must enter the funnel if they are to become something special to you. Some marketing and communications options are particularly suited to this (media and web) and should be prioritised accordingly.

See social media and regular communications as ways to build on existing relationships, getting people through the funnel. Social media is great for many things but is overrated as a way to meet new folk. It could be better seen as a way to stay in touch with your most passionate suppporters as they work through the funnel.

Few people are drawn into or through the funnel by brochures or annual reports. Many, many, many are blocked by poor telephone experiences.

Tagged ,

Social Media Savvy 101 webinar announced

Icon for Post #2673

Due to public demand (yes, really) we are holding another Social Media Savvy 101 webinar Friday August 17. All the details right here. This will be the only Social Media Savvy 101 webinar until at least 2013.

Tagged , ,

Facebook app

Icon for Post #2652
facebook apps for nonprofits
This appears on the NGV Facebook page. Who could resist the offer to Napoleonise oneself?

Jay McCormack and Brett de Hoedt recently co-presented App Savvy 101. The session looked at both smartphone and Facebook apps. Facebook apps are probably lower on the priority list of many nonprofits but they do offer a way to build on your existing Facebook efforts. They may be a way to boost engagement and build friends. Apps may be more game-like than information based.

facebook apps
A simple three stage process.


Here’s what Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has gone with to promote its Napoleon exhibition.

The pictures to the left tell the tale of this Facebook app in action. What a cute, fun and shareable idea.

facebook app development
Voila! Dignified, authoriative and low-to-the-ground, much like the man himself.
Tagged , ,

Get more retweets, more often

Icon for Post #2641

If you are tweeting it’s natural that you want your content to be retweeted. (For newbies, “retweeting” is when a recipient of your message, forwards it to her followers.) 

Having your content exposed to more people is a key way to build your following. It’s a particularly honest way to build your following as only strangers who are impressed by your content will choose to follow you. Very meritocratic.

get more twitter followers

People love links.

So what content is most likely to be retweeted? Take a gander to the left at this graph from which shows that tweeters who usually contain links in their tweets are the most retweeted.

This tallies with what we know about successful content – don’t talk about yourself, share something of value. Sometimes that value may be found courtesy of a link to your site but often it will be a link to a news site, a blog, a picture.

Note that neither inspirational quotes nor bitchy 140-character diatribes about conservative politicians fall into this category. Nor do “Good morning / good evening” tweets.

Tagged ,

Public Media Savvy 101 workshop in Melbourne filling fast.

Icon for Post #2362

Hootville is holding a rare public Media Savvy 101 workshop in Melbourne Wednesday June 6, 10am to 4pm. It’s our first such workshop since 2010. We already have Bush Heritage Australia, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Victoria Legal Aid, Barwon Community Legal Service, Dental Health Services Victoria and Reseach, Edit, Write attending. Why not you?

media training in melbourne

Where the hell is everybody?

We guarantee an energetic, nonprofit-specific, highly practical workshop lead by Brett de Hoedt that will gain you media coverage that would otherwise go begging – or worse go to someone else. There will be lots of time for Q&A and learning from your peers.

Here’s what’s on the agenda.

Fee: $550 per person inc GST includes workshop, 30 or so pages of notes and four weeks of post-workshop, on-call coaching and advice. Morning tea, coffee and tea and beverages provided. This fee is a fraction of a private Media Savvy 101 workshop. Places are limited.

Our excellent nonprofit venue: Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Level 5, 50 Market Street, Melbourne. It’s a great space on the corner of Market Street and Flinders Lane, close to public transport and parking.

Bookings: email brett [@] hootville dot com with the names of participants along with your billing details and you shall be rewarded with an invoice.

Some of our testimonials.

Queries: Call Brett 03 9017 1062.

Want a Media Savvy 101 for just your organisation?  Who would blame you? Call Brett 03 9017 1062.

Want this in Brisbane, Perth, the regions or Adelaide? Call us and we’ll see. If you can pull together a couple of bookings, we can do the rest. Let’s make magic happen people.

Don’t thank the Academy. Be the Academy.

Icon for Post #2664

In our Marketing Savvy 101 workshops we explore the many and varied ways to prosecute your marketing plan. Sure we all realise that a website and perhaps social media is vital. Media coverage is obligatory for some and a bonus to others but awards and Halls of Fame are too rarely exploited.

Awards ceremonies needn’t necessitate a black tie gala. They needn’t even reward good behaviour. Why not take a leaf out of the The Razzies playbook which ‘celebrates’ the worst of cinema each year? We did when we suggested an awards ceremony for client Combined Pensioner and Superannuants Association. We celebrated the worst in government policy and corporate behaviour from the perspective of the low-income constituency that CPSA represents. Certificates were sent out to winners but more important were the media releases.

nonprofit marketing plan

If the sandwhich industry can do it…

Likewise Halls of Fame give you a chance to gain media coverage through rewarding the prime movers of your sector. We were chuffed to score significant coverage on disability employment issues when our client ACE National (now Disability Employment Australia) instigated a Hall of Fame.

There is no building devoted to them but it is a Hall of Fame nevertheless. Devote a section of your website to yours. If you want a ceremony to announce the inductees (always have more than one) incorporate it into your conference dinner or AGM.

If the sandwhich industry, stockmen and shearers can do it, so can nonprofits. Don’t wait for your peak body to do it – you may be waiting a while. And no, we are not making up that image above – there really is an industry body for sandwhiches and they do have awards and a Hall of Fame. Bless ’em and all they stand for.

awards ceremonies as PR stunts

And about time too.

Oh we just became aware of this PR-driven drivel. Mind you if they need an emcee… Bottom line – start some awards, get some added media coverage, build some relationships.




Tagged , ,
Page 1 of 212