Posts Tagged ‘communications’
The challenge: How can we communicate the efforts of multiple educational institutions working together to create pathways for students to college and career in one coherent story?
The lesson: sometimes people tell their own story best. When a project like East Bay Career Pathways is rooted in establishing relationships, building a community, and serving others, its narrative should reflect that by shining a spotlight on the people who made it possible.
In 2014, the East Bay Career Pathways (EBCP) consortium, led by the Peralta Community College District, was awarded a $15 million grant from California Department of Education to develop a network of K-12, community college, and workforce intermediary organizations. The work aimed to connect the groups to build ‘career pathways’ that would link high school and college-aged students with the skills, resources, and training needed to take advantage of opportunities to work in in-demand fields in their community. This work is particularly needed in the Bay Area, where growing prosperity has not been shared by all, and often overlooks local communities. As their grant work drew to a close, EBCP partnered with Full Court Press to find a way to tell this story and share their successes.
Full Court Press’s Dan Cohen recently interviewed Caitlin Fillmore – a former reporter and current nonprofit communications professional about her experiences reporting in Northern Iowa. Below is a fascinating look into her job as a rural reporter. Caitlin now serves as the Executive Director of Association and Brand Advancement for the Central Coast YMCA in California.
What inspired you to become a reporter?
I am the baby of five, so the allure of knowing something first and having people say to me, “I didn’t realize that!” was irresistible. I’ve also always had a natural affinity and passion for writing and a deep belief that everyone has a meaningful story worth telling, especially in underserved and forgotten places.
What was special about covering small-towns in northern Iowa?
In small towns, it’s all about “who your people are”. Every time I would introduce myself to someone or set up an interview, the second question was almost always, “Where are you from?” “Are you related to so-and-so?” That sometimes made it challenging to get the job done because I did not share DNA with anyone I was interviewing, but a welcome challenge because it provided a great foundation for my future career in philanthropy: know who you are, always be authentic and genuinely curious and build relationships built on trust.
Full Court Press sought out the perspectives of some social media experts on how they would answer some of the challenges faced by social enterprises looking to build up a social media presence. We discovered diverse and varied ways to navigate some of the trickiest social media challenges— from building a presence, to facing the trolls, to finding success.
First, What Advice do you have for a social enterprise or business that is starting toes into advocacy on social media?
Ginna Green, ReThink Media, Managing Director, Money in Politics and Fair Courts: Be authentic. Be strategic. Be patient. And understand the explicit reason you are engaging in social media beyond the fact that everyone is doing it. Social media can feel like it is its own world, and that is true to an extent. But it is the world that we make it, an extension of ourselves, our brands, our personalities, distilled, but also expanded. To me this means a requirement that we are always our most true selves, as individuals and organizations, and is probably even more true for brands and firms than for just folks.
Alicia Trost, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Communications Manager: Hone your message and workshop it to death until it is where you want it. Don’t just jump in and start tweeting what you think. Everything should come from your strategy message. Have facts, data, and examples at the ready to use at any given moment. Make sure you know where you can quickly point folks to more information. Anything you would say to the media on the record can be said on social. Humanize or at least visualize your advocacy using videos, pictures and graphics.
Don’t just send out canned messages and retweet, you HAVE TO engage and have a conversation with people. If you do it correctly and at the right time, people will look at your timeline and see how you responded. BART has received earned media about the conversations we have had on Twitter and how they incorporated our strategic messaging.
Dan Cohen, Full Court Press Communications, Founder: Leave nothing to chance. Start slowly. Be humble. Ask your customers or audience where they are, what tools they use, and how they want to engage with you. Some social media tools prioritize one-way communications while others are meant for back and forth. Choose wisely. And if there is one thing we’ve learned, its that you should seek to perfect your approach by trial and error and measurement on one channel before starting another.
Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work at General Mills. Working with leading and trusted brands like Cheerios, Wheaties, and Betty Crocker was an eye-opener and powerful learning experience.
May 1 is the anniversary of the original launch of Cheerios in 1941. In honor of Cheerio’s 76th anniversary, here are three reflections from my time in Minneapolis working at General Mills.
The Inheritance: Sometimes you build a brand, but sometimes you inherit one. Thousands of people worked for 50 years on the Cheerios “brand” long before I got there. And thousands more will continue to do so for years to come.