I use so many metaphors in my writing and presentations that it is always fun to see which ones really resonate with people. At the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Minneapolis two weeks ago, it was definitely “The Broccoli and the Cheese.” People told me that they heard it brought up in sessions after mine, and even in the ladies’ bathroom. You know your metaphor is working when gals are discussing it while hand washing.
I wrote a longer article about this a few months ago, so here’s the full explanation: What They Want to Hear Versus What You Want to Say.
But here’s the gist of it. There are certain topics you want to talk about with your supporters and participants. That’s your healthy, but-it’s-so-good-for-you-so-please-pay-attention content. Then there is what people actually want you to talk to them about — the content they really want and enjoy. That’s the cheese. And that’s the content that really starts conversations.
To have a strong content strategy, you need to put some cheese on your broccoli. Not necessarily in the same article, but definitely in your overall content strategy. The cheese brings them in, so you can offer the broccoli later.
Grist uses humor (cheese) to capture your attention so they can talk to you later about climate change (broccoli).
The Nonprofit Technology Network talks about hot topics like mobile and social media (cheese) so they can talk to you later about IT planning and budgets and security and privacy (broccoli).
The Washington Trails Association talks about good hikes to try (cheese) so they can talk to you later about advocating for public funding for state parks (broccoli).
Here at Nonprofit Marketing Guide, we talk about annual reports (cheese, believe it or not, because it is such a pain point for nonprofits and a big source of search traffic for us) so that we can talk to you about topics we like more, like content marketing (broccoli, for the moment).
What’s your cheese and broccoli?