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Common Creativity

A break from the usual

marketing noise.

Issue 18 | Apr 13, 2019
If you follow me then you know I struggle with the subject of "blogging" and how successful it and social media can really be. I love the idea of sharing knowledge and giving people the feels. I just never know how to do it without going off the rails into some rant about whether coffee makes me more productive than wine. It's a problem.

I have a really cool story to share that proves blogging can and will work under the right circumstances. I'll also explore why it worked for this client and doesn't work as well for me.

Welcome to my first case study ...
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I rebranded the Spartanburg PFLAG chapter in 2018.

The Client: PFLAG Spartanburg

PFLAG (Parents and friends of lesbians and gays) is a national organization that advocates for gay rights as well as providing support to those close to LGBTQ+ people.

The Challenge: Chaos & Dysfunctional Design

This chapters had been in Spartanburg for nearly 20 years. The group primarily facilitates a peer support group and works to help educate the community and changes policy.

New leadership came in and wanted to branch out and make a bigger impact on the local community. Included in this vision was a whole separate foundation that would fund and manage an LGBTQ Outreach Center.

The Spartanburg PFLAG had been sharing an outdated website with another chapter. The user experience was bad and the resources disorganized and hard to find. Print material was piece mealed together and there wasn't any consistency in their messaging or branding.

Social media was established, but not well utilized by the board. Most board members worked full time and were not well educated in social media management.

Email wasn't being utilized effectively or at all. The email list I got from the group consisted mainly of a mixture of legitimate email signups and random business and personal contacts from the previous president's personal email list

The Solutions: Organize, refresh, regroup

First, we had to organize all of PFLAG's resources and design an attractive, usable site. We gathered all of the info from the shared site, updated and represented it.

New print materials continue to be rebranded and built. New t-shirts were created to reflect the updated branding. Board members were educated on best practices in brand messaging and marketing.

Shortly after the website was completed, I made the decision to volunteer as the organization's communications director. I felt like the group needed some direction and a fresh perspective into their fundraising and marketing efforts.

I have been serving the board for nearly a year now and have utilized the website as a platform to serve information to their audience. One of my visions for the website was in incorporate a blog where local people wrote pieces to be featured there. We realized this vision in January 2019 with our first blog post.

How blogging boosted PFLAG Spartanburg's visibility.

After much promotion and a few months of worrying that no one would want to contribute, we had our first viable submission.

Previous to launching the blog we had an average of around 72 visitors each month. In January, when our first post was published, we hit 353 visitors. We published that post on January 27th. That one post received 169 views on that one day.

Since then we've published 3-4 posts a month since then and, as of the date of this email, our average visitor count a month is 284. Which, if my math is not wrong, is an increase of 400%.

As a side note, our social media interaction has increased as well. A combo of pushing new posts to Facebook and creating some meaningful, interactive content there has resulted in a steady increase in page views, engagements, page likes and followers. In the last month alone our post engagement has increased by 53%.

On the email front, we added a blog automation to send our posts out at the end of each month in case anyone missed anything. Our email list was a hot mess when I came on board so, we went through some growing pains there and will continue to watch the list shrink while emails get cleaned and people sort themselves.

What does it all mean?

I've all but left Facebook personally and professionally with my own business. It was a combination of bad practices on Facebook's part as well as an increased sense of dread and hopelessness. I couldn't find that magic formula. I had been pushing social media for a decade and couldn't hold 600 page likes. I wondered if I just didn't know as much as I thought I did.

Turns out, social media isn't for every business. I get between 80% and 90% of my new business from word of mouth. I have never once gotten a lead to pan out from social media. And it's not because I don't try to drive engagement or share useful information. It's because it's not where my clients are.

PFLAG Spartanburg's audience is all over social media! They are activists and allies who use Facebook to stay updated on current political and social news. They follow their interests there and their interests align perfectly with the organization.

I wasn't failing at social media. I was failing at identifying my clients as humans. I kept thinking of them as mindless algorithms that would just do whatever I said because I said it on Facebook. How ridiculous is that?!?

Take Away: Be Mindful and Valuable.

The value I thought I was giving to my audience wasn't valuable because my audience wasn't listening in that space. They were busy working on their own business. They were sick of hearing one more guy pitching his product.

PFLAG Spartanburg has infinite value to offer the people on Facebook. And not just locally. Their readers are all across the country. I know because I manage their email as well.

So, if you're not "selling" on Facebook, don't freak out. Neither am I. If you're confident that your audience is there and that it's your content delivery that needs some tweaking, well, that's good news! We can totally fix that!

Brand Design

Effective logo and brand design focused on research, not templates.

Website Design

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Consultancy

I believe in walking alongside my clients, not just selling to them.

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