A Vermont designer’s marketing observations in Morocco


For her recent birthday, my wife wanted to wake up in an exotic location. She wanted to experience Morocco, despite the warnings from friends and family about "that part of the world" in this current geopolitical climate. Nevertheless, she persisted, and soon we were poring over printouts from Google Earth, planning the route that would take us around the entire country in seven days.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 7/27/17 10:00 AM

How to make your content work harder: Atomization


Yes, it takes a lot of work to create a stellar piece of content today. And there are no shortcuts. You need to develop the content strategy idea, do the topic research, do keyphrase research, check what your competitors are doing, write the piece, develop complementary graphics, refine, proof, optimize, publish, and promote your content. Phew! Rinse and repeat isn’t very appealing for any mission-driven organization right after such an effort. How can you make that epic content you worked so hard to produce work even harder?

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 7/13/17 10:00 AM

How to Answer WIIFM or “Do I See Me Now?”

I expect What’s In It For Me (WIIFM), to be crystal clear. And your customers do too.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 7/6/17 10:00 AM

How to work with your designer to get the best logo design

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 6/29/17 10:00 AM

Do Nonprofits Need a Creative Brief for Behavior Change?  


Having clear communication and a solid creative process between agency team members and your nonprofit management team is imperative.  It is important to get it right so that everyone can move toward the same project goals, especially when resources are limited. We’ve written about developing a plan for your next video and preparing for your next print project. We’ve also discussed marketing consistency. All of these have one thing in common - the creative brief.

Posted by Tara Pereira on 6/22/17 1:00 PM

Message Framing and Your Brain: Formula for change


If you’re like most change communicators I know, you spend quite a bit of time keeping up on what’s known and what’s new in communication, persuasion and cognitive bias. I know our team certainly does. But a spate of new brain science research is advancing understanding of how our brains work — and raising new questions about how to apply that knowledge to change minds.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 6/15/17 10:00 AM

Quick Tips for Effective Landing Pages


What is a landing page?

A landing page is simply the website page where your visitors land after they type in or click a link. The link can be on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) or from an article or from an advertisement. The purpose of any landing page on your website is specifically to prompt a certain action or result. Here are a few quick tips for effective landing pages to keep in mind.

Posted by Dave Bowers on 6/8/17 10:30 AM

When should you hire a marketing agency?


Is your nonprofit embarking on an outreach campaign focused on a new community? Does your government agency need message training on a new subject, or a social media plan that can be sustained by current team members? Should you hire a marketing agency?

For many smaller businesses and nonprofits in Vermont, there can be limited time, resources or expertise available for existing team members to commit to these critical activities. Time spent on marketing may be viewed by some as time spent away from the greater mission. I would say that your marketing or outreach communications is an essential part of advancing the greater mission you are working towards.

Posted by Tara Pereira on 5/25/17 10:00 AM

Paid, Owned, Earned Media: Are You in the Right Place?


You may have heard the terms "paid, owned, earned media" bandied about recently and been curious. You want to know more—understanding where and how your communications appear is as critical for those committed to social change as it is for major brand managers. eMarketer is a helpful start: "paid media is advertising inserted next to another’s content; owned media is brand-created content; and earned media is getting someone else to provide content about a brand." But these definitions are blurry in practice and not everyone is using them in the same way. It seems it's time for this marketer to share my view of how to use the paid, owned, earned media framework for your marketing strategy.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 5/18/17 12:00 PM

Prepress File Preparation: Your Print Production Checklist


Good prepress file preparation takes time. In the era of digital design, prepress work looks deceptively easy, but making sure your files are print ready takes time to do well. Integrated marketing campaigns that combine traditional and digital materials can be ruined during their launch by poor quality print work or an error. Unlike a digital design, your sloppy printed piece is time consuming and costly to correct, reprint and ship back out for distribution.

Posted by Dave Bowers on 5/11/17 10:00 AM

A 3-Step Guide to Message Triangles


For many years the message triangle has been one of the tools I use most often for clients and for myself. Whenever a major speech, news event or media interview looms, developing a message triangle is my starting point. Here’s why — plus a three-step guide to developing and using a message triangle effectively for your next speaking opportunity.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 5/4/17 10:00 AM

Video Marketing on the Nonprofit Buyer's Journey


Video is a very effective form of communication and can be especially powerful in nonprofit marketing and impact storytelling. One third of all online activity is spent watching video, and as a communication professional you want to use that to your advantage in telling your story. Let's look at a few examples of how to use video storytelling through your nonprofit's buyer's journey.

Posted by Tara Pereira on 4/27/17 10:00 AM

How to select the best typography for your infographics


You sit down at your computer to develop an infographic and couldn’t be more excited to share it with your mission driven audience. Then you suddenly remember you’re not a designer. Not to worry. In the online world today, nearly anyone has access to free graphic design software and tools to create an infographic. Unfortunately, the increase of free design tools has created an increase in badly designed infographics, and poor typography is often the reason. Your goal is to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time — a poorly designed infographic will be a big fail.

Posted by Guest Blogger on 4/20/17 10:00 AM

How to Keep 'Dark Social' From Hurting Your Nonprofit



In a 2016 study conducted by RadiumOne, it was reported that 84% of online sharing was now being conducted via ‘dark social,’ with Facebook coming in second at a mere 9%. At this point you might be thinking, ‘What is dark social and why didn’t I know about it until now!’ And that’s exactly the point.

Posted by Guest Blogger on 4/13/17 1:45 PM

Collaboration versus Consultation: What’s the difference?


We were ‘talking shop’ over breakfast recently, as business people are wont to do. After several mentions of ‘collaborative this’ or ‘collaborative that,” one of the group remarked that he wasn’t interested in collaborating with his professional advisers – what he wanted (and was paying for) was a consulting expert. It was a casual comment by a friend and fellow business owner, but it made me pause.

Posted by Pat Heffernan on 4/6/17 10:00 AM

Image Resolution and Quality: What you need to know.


Why do you need to know about image resolution? If you are ever going to print something, put a graphic on the web, or create a PowerPoint presentation yourself, you want to know about resolution and why it matters for quality.

If you are partnering with graphic design or website development professionals, you need to know what resolution is needed from your digital asset library so your deliverables can be top quality.

Posted by Dave Bowers on 3/30/17 10:00 AM

Vision Changes: Typography for Aging Audiences


A reader recently responded to my blog post Typeface Choice: Ask yourself Three Questions, by raising an important series of questions on changing vision, information accessibility and type readability for an aging population. The reader works for a nonprofit community support agency that is developing outreach materials for rural seniors, adults with disabilities, caregivers and potential volunteers, and wanted advice on the best typeface to use to “keep the printed conversation going with our target population.”

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 3/23/17 10:00 AM

Don't let your social media feed become a snowstorm


It is always interesting to me to watch the ebb and flow of major events on social media. It is natural to see themes on our Facebook feeds as the news of the days becomes relevant in our daily lives. We’ve all seen news stories take over our feeds. It can be done well and it can be done in poor taste. The organizations who do it best make sure their shared or original content is relevant to the larger topic and is consistent with their overall mission.

Posted by Tara Pereira on 3/16/17 10:00 AM