bigstockphoto_Social_Circle_Online_Friend_Ne_4472231I was recently asked to talk for five minutes at a conference breakfast about how nonprofits could "amplify their messages." It's not that different a question from "How do we get the word out?" or "How do we go viral?"  Everyone wants to know how to make that happen.

Sure, there are lots of tactical things you can do, but it all starts with the quality of your message. I encouraged the 200 nonprofits at the breakfast to make sure their messages were both "talkable" and "walkable."

Here's what I mean by that . . .

Talkable

Talkable messages are those that are really easy for others -- not just your staff and other experts -- to talk about.  That means it

  • Is simple and straightforward, not requiring a great deal of explanation or technical understanding.
  • Has an emotional hook or something that is easy to grab on to. Is it particularly funny, or surprising, or curious, or shocking, or interesting in some other way?
  • Is memorable, because it includes a story or some sort of unforgettable visual, both of which lodge in our brains much better than facts alone.

Walkable

Now, make sure your message is walkable, which means that it is easy for others to not only understand it and talk about it, but to really spread that message for you.  That means it

  • Works in many different communications channels. Can you include some version of it in email, print, advertising, Facebook, Twitter, etc.?
  • Is shareable. It's easy for people to take what they see or hear, and pass it on to others. For example, are there share buttons, links, and website addresses in the right places?
  • Is consistent, but also somewhat customizable. Repetition of the core message is essential, but you also want people to be able to put their own personal spin on it so that it's more relevant in the situations where they are sharing the message for you.

Remember Talkable and Walkable when planning your next outreach campaign.