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Imagine

My thoughts and prayers for everyone affected by the tragedy in Boston.

When will it end?

For Sale: Breck Jacket

Jacket

 

These jackets sell for more than $300 from the gym store.

If you’re interested, email me at wendy at yourmediadirector.com.

Jacket flyer (doc)

Jacket flyer (pdf)

A faith community that knows its brand

I was hired by Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul to do some video storytelling for them around the question, ‘Why do you come to St. Mary’s.’

Going into this project I expected responses to fall into 3, maybe 4, categories. I didn’t have any idea what those categories might be but knowing Episcopal churches the way I do folks tend to gather around the ideas of liturgy, music, preaching and sacraments.

To my surprise, nearly every person I interviewed said, ‘Community.’

At first I was trying to pull more out of folks. “Tell me about the worship service,” I would ask. Or, “What was the first thing you noticed when you started here.”

On my second Sunday of filming I gave all of that up. Here is an example of a faith community that clearly knows and embraces its brand – from the leadership down to the regular old person in the pews.

Although the video might be a bit challenging to put together give the mono-thematic answers (I’m thinking of a more light hearted approach), I think Saint Mary’s has a lot to be proud of when it comes to building a sense of understanding, loyalty, and ownership among its community members.

Why I prefer the Vampire

I prefer Abe Lincoln as a Vampire Hunter (the book, not the movie) to the recent version of his life as told by Mr. Spielberg in the every so creatively-titled movie, Lincoln.

I know I’m bucking the trend. Lincoln is getting great reviews and everyone is nuts for Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Honest Abe…not to mention Tommy Lee Jones’ performance, which was equally spectacular.

However, in terms of story and the meaning being conveyed, give me the Vampire Hunter.

While the facts of Lincoln are more accurate, details are not always the best way to convey a message. Its the details that get in the way of conveying the truth. Did anyone besides me find themselves wondering during Lincoln, ‘Did that really happen? Was Lincoln really that calm?’ I was literally lost in the details.

It’s meaning and story that matters.It’s when you let go of the facts and allow yourself to go on a fantastical ride. It’s the reason the tall tales and classics stick around long after the biographies and memoirs are gone. It’s the reason why the Bible continues to hold our attention.

Life of Pi, both the book and the recently released movie, illustrates this concept well. As did one of my other fav flicks, Big Fish. Maybe check these out and see what you think.

“All the facts and none of the flavor.”

I’ll take the story.

——————–

How’s this fit into communications and social media?

Telling a story, communicating the flavor of your organization is far more important than telling people what you want them to do. Does Coke advertise by simply saying, ‘Buy Coke. It’s at the store’. Nope.

They create a whole image around Coke. They tell you a story that allows you to put yourself in the picture.

How can you do that with your communications?

What’s your story?

Social Media and Theology

Last night I worked with a group of youth and their parents at Nativity Episcopal Church, Bursville on the idea of the intersection between social media and theology.

Despite working with churches for years I had never been asked to specifically develop a theological reflection on social media.

For me, it all comes down to the concept of “koinonia,” a Greek term used frequently in the Greek New Testament to describe intimately connected community.

I believe that, at its best, social media undergirds existing bonds of deep friendship – allowing us to remain in community despite the busyness of life and challenges of increasingly transient lives. Think about the last time you followed a friend who was traveling, looking at their photos on Facebook and maybe commenting on a few status updates. Next time you see that friend, don’t you ask about that trip? Don’t you remark on their photos and maybe something they wrote? It’s almost as if we share the experience with them.

At the deepest levels of our souls, at the essence of our spiritual selves, we all want to be in relationships with each other – we want to know and be known.

Social media helps us do just that.

Twitter fun: Click to Tweet

Nonprofit Twitter advice

One way to increase Twitter traffic is Click to Tweet.

After you visit the site, simply enter your message and click for a link.

Now, post the link and whoever clicks it will have the message automatically added to their Twitter status box.

Try it with my promo Tweet: http://clicktotweet.com/ lzaI7

Investing in Specialization

Heard on MPR this week that by 2020 at least 40% of the workforce will be independent workers – freelancers, consultants, etc.

What does this mean? It means businesses are pulling resources from the labor force when and where needed, creating a new, more fluid dynamic in the overall workforce. Businesses are modeling a pattern of paying for specialization, rather than hiring for generalization.

Nonprofits, take notice.

Gone are the days when one communications director handles every aspect of a small to mid-size nonprofit’s communications efforts – from website creation to writing press releases.

More and more the most creative and talented among us are freelancers, embracing the opportunities of being independently employed and unwilling to work for a single organization.

This shift in employment patterns can be beneficial to small to mid-size nonprofits as it gives them an opportunity to invest in specialization in new and creative ways.

Imagine a part-time or independent communications director focused on strategy while managing a bullpen of freelancers – folks who are called on, as their particular skills are needed, to play a specific role.

Imagine having a team of specialists working on your campaign. This team not only serves the nonprofit but recognizes the fact that skilled individuals no longer want to be organizational employees.

Instead of bemoaning this trend away from individual employment, embrace it for the potential it brings to your organization.

independent workforce
New Independent Workforce

Life Without a SmartPhone

I’ve been 3 weeks without a smartphone now.

Am I struggling? No.

Am I disconnected? No.

Am I bored? No…hardly. Really?

Here’s the thing. I think Smartphones can be great tools (especially if you’re traveling) – but I think they can also be great distractions. Social Media and marketing should be direct, strategic, and intentional. I am not convinced smartphones increase connection but they definitely make social media blunders far more likely.

Think of all those celebs who send really ill-timed, ill-conceived tweets. Guarantee they are from smartphones.

How about using your computer or your iPad? Simply by having to open the computer or search around for the iPad, it will force you to focus and help prevent spontaneous social media combustion.

If you’re wishing you could throw your phone in the river. Don’t.

Sell it on Ebay.

The real story behind great video

I’ve been working on Episcopal Story Project since the beginning of the year. It’s become quite the successful little enterprise.

One of my favorite videos from Episcopal Story Project. Click to watch the video.

Not being fully schooled in videography this has been a learning experience for me. I’ve had to first learn how to use my new Nikon D7000 camera for video and then had to figure out lighting, editing (first using iMovie then moving onto Final Cut thanks to the folks at the Rosedale Apple Store), and then distribution.

Of the many things I’ve learned, perhaps the most important is that in this age of youtube, video does not need to look professional – unless, of course, you are making a video to prove your skills as a videographer. In fact, for many nonprofits it is true that if your video looks too professional folks will assume you spent a lot of money on it and question the administrative decisions of your organization.

Seth Goden, in his blog post today said something along the same lines:

A fancy video isn’t important unless the product you’re selling involves video.
Direct and clear beat clever editing and dissolves every time.

Video is a powerful medium that folks tend to scare themselves away from because they can’t produce anything that is sufficiently “professional looking.”

I say – and Seth Godin does too – that you should be trying your hand at video.

Don’t talk yourself out of one of the most important marketing resources you may have at your fingertips, literally.

Wandering Into WordPress

Though I’m something of a master at building micro-sites in wp.com I have avoided wp.org. It’s always felt too complicated for my monkey brain.

However, if I really want to make it “out here on my own” there is simply no way around WordPress. It is the CMS of choice for non-profits. It is affordable, easy to manage and update, flexible and, most importantly, cloud-based.

So I am going to sit here in this chair and tackle this beast.