This post is part of our two-part New Year’s Planning Series. Read the first post here.
Deciding on your big picture goals and creating at least some loose project plans can give you structure for the year. But how can you plan for storytelling? That’s what I want to talk about in today’s blog. These tips will help you with editorial and content planning and more.
Think About Your Themes
While you can’t predict everything that’s going to happen during the year, you do want to strategically pencil in some things. A great thing to start with is your editorial or content themes for the year. Editorial or content themes are basically the high-level idea that will tie together a series of appeals, stories, newsletters, social media posts, etc. Some organizations will choose their themes based on what they are fundraising for. This could include specific programs or services your organizations has or campaigns that you plan to run.
Tie in a Message to Your Themes
The magic of great storytelling is that there is a strong underlying message. Non-profits who are doing storytelling well think about this from the outset and in The Storytelling Non-Profit Master Class, we spend a lot of time talking about how to pick the right message for your audience. Now (at the beginning of the year) is a great time for your organization to do the same!
A message is a key idea that you want your audience to remember. In fundraising, this is often related to your call to action. The call to action is the thing you want your audience to do, and since this is often the most important piece of a fundraising communication, ensuring that your key idea supports your call to action is a must.
How many messages should you have? Typically, one to two per theme. Once you have your messages drafted, you can move on to some of the finer details such as creating your editorial calendar.
Find Your Lead Stories Now
It might only be January, but I want to encourage you to start looking for your stories now! This is the advantage of planning early. You know the message that you want to convey and now you need to find the right story to help you convey it. Start asking around and let your colleagues know what you are looking for.
I hope these tips help you strategize the narratives that you’ll tell this year. Be sure to leave a comment below and tell me how you are planning for 2017.