Monday, January 21, 2008

Authentic blogging

After discussions with some educators this past week, reading about authentic marketing, and reading Beth Kanter's stories about the effect of the the Sharing Foundation on Cambodia children, I realized I have not been telling enough stories.

In presentations and workshops, I often integrate stories. I used other people's successes with technology as examples. Why don't I do that more in blogging? After all, my blog's name is Anne's Spot for Stories, Perceptions, Observations, and Thoughts.

In particular, Mack Collier's post on how Mahindra tractors uses of a company evangelist in a Life of a Farm blog for authentic marketing made me realized that telling our story and using our clientele to tell stories would be an extremely effective.

Stories and authentic blogging help make educational presentations more believable. Using clients' problems as the basis for blog posts makes for easy explanations. An example the way Tony Glover, a regional horticulture agent, answers everyday questions about gardening in his blog. Using his knowledge which is based on research, he answers questions like he would answer them to clients, in person.

Incorporating our clients' successes into our blogs serves two purposes:
1. creating situations our clients identify with.
2. marketing our educational programs.

Because Cooperative Extension educators are part of the local communities, passionate about helping people, and experts in their knowledge areas, blogging is a perfect fit for them. The example of Life of a Farm extends the concept of Rick Short's 4 P's (passion, personality, getting to the point, and perseverance).

As Mack Collier points out, clients telling stories is an excellent way to blog. In doing so, the specifics of situations are described, solutions and decisions are explained, and successes are told.

Company Blog Checkup: Mahindra Tractors explains authentic blogging. Beyond the marketing perspective, using authentic blogging to explain educational and information makes a lot of sense.

So now you know: One of my goals for this year is to incorporate more stories into my own blog.

5 comments:

kanter said...

How do you plan to do that? Devote a post to a story? Incorporate storying telling techniques into your posts? What do you think makes an effective story on a blog?

Anne Adrian said...

Beth,

Those are very good questions. For my blog, incorporating stories into blog posts would work best. The expectations might be the occasional leadership demonstration posts. Typical Extension educators might dedicate a post for a story. The next post is a follow up to how the story relates to a changed practice and one might go about changing their practice or resources to do so (think how to eat healthier as a changed practice, or how to produce crops more environmentally friendly).

In your blog, I could see how a story could be one post and follow up with a post on specifics of giving.

As you say, the cause is the important aspect of fundraising. I think stories are what pulls at the heart, then causes a pull to the purse. Eventually, some overall impact data should be shared. But to get the attention I think stories are a good starting point.

A good story is one that can be identified with the intended audience. Think of me as your intended audience. The stories of students receiving education got my attention. Their success and their appreciation for the opportunities pulled me in.
The stories of your adoption of your children and showing Cambodian orphans pulled me in too. Those stories gripped me in areas I personally find important-- children, education, and opportunities.

I have made only a small donation to the Shared Foundation. But, what your blog in general has made me think about: I want to find a cause I can really believe in, not only donate to, but invest time and effort in. I am looking and observing and I think I will know that cause when I see it. It will be a cause that means something to me personally. Until then, I will periodically spread my tidbits of donations to various charities.
Thanks for the questions and I have learned much from your interaction with others.

Anne

Mack Collier said...

To me you can go one of two ways:

1 - Here's how to do it.

2 - Here's how Company ABC did it.

IMO real-world examples are almost always better.

Anne Adrian said...

Thanks Mack for providing the tips to authentic blogging. I agree that real world examples are best. My problem is sometimes they become too narrow so a discussion with broad context is sometimes needed. For sure though, real examples provide the hook and the identification with the problem/solution.

Thanks
Anne

kanter said...

Anne,

I can't wait to see what you discover ...

And, the insights on storytelling are so much appreciated.

My favorite is Andy Goodman. Do you know his work. Why bad presentations happen to good causes is his book. His web site is chocked full of great tips on storytelling

http://agoomanonline.com