NetSquared Brisbane: COPYWRITING for a Cause — Writing for Impact

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Recorded by NetSquared Brisbane on August 26, 2020.

Our special guests Bec Fitzpatrick and Jen York from Storyflight present on writing for impact. We covered the following:

  • Understanding your target audience, and uncovering your UVP and key messaging
  • Understanding how content strategy and conversion principles can be integrated into nonprofit communications
  • Integrating your print and digital communications to maximise impact
  • The importance of demonstrating impact through storytelling
  • Engaging your audience with the right brand voice and tone, including writing for accessibility and inclusivity
  • Using communications to nurture the customer journey.

Chat Log


00:17:16    Bruce Nean:    http://digitalforgood.com.au/
00:17:29    Jen York:    That belongs to my office buddy!
00:19:56    Bruce Nean:    Welcome every! If you have any questions please put them in the chat here and we’ll do our best to get to them before we finish
00:36:55    Sarah Moore:    hey Bruce! great to see you :) are you going to be speaking today??
00:42:42    Bruce Nean:    Just a reminder if you have any questions please pop them in the chat here. If you’d like the slides sent to you from today please join our mailing list here http://digitalforgood.com.au/
00:43:09    Rebekah & Chris:    I do work for Ladybird Care Foundation. Would it be ok for me to share the slides with them?
00:44:42    Bruce Nean:    For sure Rebekah
01:02:59    Jim Green:    Hi Bec and Jen, do you think it's worth avoiding "our" and "we" where possible and maximising the use of "you" and "your" to make comms as donor centric as possible?
01:03:06    Bobbi-Lea Dionysius:    Excellent presentation Jen and Bec! Thankyou for your time and expertise. :)
01:03:07    Mersija Mujic:    thank you! that was one of the best presentations I have seen about comms marketing 
01:03:21    Rebekah & Chris:    That was awesome!
01:03:27    James Farrell:    Bec mentioned that every organisation should have a 'Tone of Voice Guide'. Is that a standalone document, and what does it look like?

01:03:46    Paxton Roth:    We often find we have multiple CTAs for a campaign - because we communicate with many different audiences across a number of disease areas. Do you have any advice on prioritising and simplifying for greater impact? Often we'll include multiple CTAs in one small piece of comms - eg a social post.
01:04:17    Paxton Roth:    Paxton, Lung Foundation Australia :)
01:04:31    Jim Green:    Great, thanks
01:05:03    Mersija Mujic:    hi Paxton ☺️
01:05:10    Chris Henderson:    So much learnt here, so much to apply. Many thanks.
01:09:15    Mersija Mujic:    if tone of voice is applied properly and as the presenter mentioned, using synonyms on digital platforms helps with SEO
01:10:10    Mersija Mujic:    that was more of a statement ☺️
01:10:55    Paxton Roth:    That's great - thank you! A really valuable presentation :)
01:14:07    Kirrily Graham:    missed the name of that book sorry?
01:15:07    Jen York:    Because Internet
01:15:20    Renae Randle:    Thanks so much ladies
01:15:22    Jen York:    Written by Gretchen McCulloch
01:15:22    SarahHayward:    Thank you so much :)
01:15:22    Karly.Foster:    Thank you! Really great session.
01:15:24    James Farrell:    Thanks Bec & Jen - that was fantastic!!
01:15:26    Michael Gosman:    Thanks!
01:15:31    Sarah Moore:    thank you Bec + Jen! 
01:15:40    Kirrily Graham:    thanks really practical webinar
01:15:43    Rachel Daines:    Thank you - that was fantastic
01:16:26    Leanne Hinden:    Many thanks!
01:16:35    Eli van der Giessen:    Rock on!

Transcript

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Bruce Nean: Great to have you. And also just while I think of it if you would like

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Bruce Nean: Slides from today's presentation. If you

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Bruce Nean: Jump on

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Bruce Nean: Our website digital for good.com AU. There's a mailing list spots. There are probably the easiest way.

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Bruce Nean: For me to get those slides you afterwards, um, look, I think we've got enough people to make this start and make it happen. So officially I'd like to welcome back fits practice Patrick and Jane York from story flight. So they are an amazing is that a dynamic duo, or is there more of you.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: There's more of us. But yes, whether the kind of the beginning it's

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Bruce Nean: Lovely. So back in gym that started out as park rangers and I'm

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Bruce Nean: parading pythons and possums around and helping. Am I getting this right.

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Bruce Nean: So they've known each other for quite a while and they've worked with a number of nonprofits in copywriting. I'm not going to staff up any more of their

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Bruce Nean: Their by and I'm want to throw to them. I'm so welcome back. And Jen.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Thank you. Thank you. Bruce. I'm just going to

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Bec Fitzpatrick: share my screen. Let me know if there's any issues there.

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Looks great.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Thanks everybody for joining us really early this morning. But if you've got a coffee in hand.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: On Deck Fitzpatrick, and as versus covered. I'm joined by General with the managing directors here at story flight, which is the communication studio in Brisbane.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And I thought, even though Bruce has covered a little bit of a story I'd share a little bit about who we are. So both Jen and I come from the corporate communications background.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: We've spent over 10 years working on marketing and communication for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Hence, if you heard our brief little interlude with hyphens and possums

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Bec Fitzpatrick: But one of the things that we learned during that time was how communication can be used not only to provide information, but to create a real impact.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Like to affect someone in a way that changes what they think and will do next. And so over the last four and a half years.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It's been a story flood. We've been bringing this approach to our work with a purpose, businesses and nonprofits.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: We've worked

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Bec Fitzpatrick: More recently with brands that have focused on conservation cultural heritage protection disability care aged can renewable energy.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And mental health. And so we're really excited to be talking to you about the topic of writing for impact this morning and we hope that you can pick up something new.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You can implement in your own communication. I'm going to be Co presenting and driving the slideshow today. So please excuse if there any long pauses.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Before we dig in.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: I want to briefly touch on the role that communication can play in the not for profit sector. I think it's really important that

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Right now to recognize that the current crisis is created and even more challenging fundraising landscape and not for profits are having to think really differently about how they

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Raise money for their donor base and keep their brand top of mind and relevant. It's a really competitive market and a time when building trust is so important. So one of the ways that your organization can lead the way through this change is through your communication.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Communication has the power to build awareness for your cause, and strengthen your brand. It can build trust authority and credibility.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It can inspire support an action, it can nurture your community and guide the children stakeholder journey and it can support your service delivery. It can do some really heavy lifting for your organization's brand awareness and fundraising efforts, especially if you are writing impact.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So what are we talking about when we say writings impact. We're really talking about writing with purpose and intent. It's about planning because truthfully, you can't write well without doing that strategic work beforehand.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So what we'd like to share with you today is an overview of our approach to this story flight. We've only got one. However,

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Bec Fitzpatrick: I think this is a really big topic. So we're going to try and cover as much as we can. But if we speed through some areas and just please jot down some questions and we'll try and answer them at the end.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So we're going to focus on four main steps. The first step is discovering how we can align our communication with our goals.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Will then look at how we can demonstrate our impact and value.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Next, we'll look at how we can decide the most effective way to reach out. What audience.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And finally, we'll look at how we deliver content to achieve maximum impact.

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Jen York: Alright, I'm going to just talk through the first step that Vic just mentioned, which is discovery and. In this step we're thinking in detail about the context of our communication because that helps us right in a way that's relevant and compelling so

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Jen York: Whenever we're writing. We always start with an understanding of three things, the target audience the communication goals and the value that the organization delivers which is pretty closely linked to the purpose or the impact that an organization creates

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Jen York: So we often talk about these things out a quite a high level, which could be across an entire brand or organization, but you can actually talk about them in more detail thinking specifically about a work team or campaign or a single communication product.

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Jen York: Now, because today we're going to be talking mostly about writing the impact. We're going to explore how audience goals and value affects campaigns or even a single piece of communication.

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Jen York: So when we think about goals, we're thinking about what the communication really needs to achieve. So we asked ourselves, What is the desired outcome.

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Jen York: The goal might be to raise a certain amount of money to fund research, it might be to increase the number of regular givers, or just to raise awareness of a brand or a course.

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Jen York: Once we thought about this, we go a bit deeper because we want to be sure that the outcomes we're looking at support and organizations broader visions and goals. So if

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Jen York: If we were given a goal of producing a newsletter every quarter, then it's really important that we understand how that regular communication ties in with the broader organizational goals.

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Jen York: We also ask what the specific action is that they would like the reader to take after looking at that communication so should they go somewhere else and learn more on a petition by something during night all the communication might have a different purpose.

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Jen York: We asked what the targets are for that action and how are we going to know if the communication was successful.

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Jen York: Because when we think about how you could evaluate those results. It helps us get a little bit clearer and more specific with our goals.

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Jen York: And by understanding all of these things, it's easier to focus on the most important things for success. That's important because the more you start thinking about the context of communication, the more complicated it can feel

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Jen York: So I'm sure that most people listening are pretty comfortable with thinking about their target audience, but I'm going to talk about a little bit today because it's just so important when my writing.

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Jen York: Understanding your target audience in the best way that you can is really the key to writing content that's relevant personalized and more engaging and there's all things. There's all things that you need to achieve if you're going to have impact.

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Jen York: Often

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Jen York: The target audience is a very long list of different kinds of people.

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Jen York: But your target audience really can't be everyone darkness volunteers advocates partnering agency's clients they all different audiences with different motivations different needs and interests. So we need to go beyond demographics and think deeply about who we're talking to

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Jen York: So we think about like the concerns and the challenges that an audience is facing what's motivating them why they here. Are they looking for information for support training or a sense of community and purpose.

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Jen York: We also think about the experiences or expectations. They've already have that are related to the cause.

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Jen York: We think about what's going to help them connect emotionally to communication and what sort of information what they need to reassure them or what could inspire them.

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Jen York: What do they already know and are there any misconceptions or objections that you need to help them overcome. And of course, why should I care. We asked, What's in it for them.

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Jen York: So as you're thinking about your audience, you can bring together the things that you already know within an organization, things that are known by the comms team or the fundraising team.

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Jen York: Then you can also talk to other parts of the organization and get insights from places like a customer service team.

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Jen York: You might decide to send out surveys to clients and donors to interview specific stakeholders to ask for feedback through social media or at events.

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Jen York: You might conduct focus groups access insights that are published by market research companies or you can look at the comments and the content has been created by users on internet forums and social media.

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Jen York: It's that's obviously a pretty pretty big list and you're not going to do all of these things all the time. But if you don't do them evolve, then you're going to be working off assumptions.

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Jen York: Now it's really common to have multiple audiences for a single piece of communication. And in that case, we often need to prioritize who it's most important to speak to it is sometimes possible to write content in a way that's relevant to all the different audiences.

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Jen York: And other times, there's an option to modify the content. So that's something slightly different issue with each audience. But if those things aren't possible

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Jen York: Then it needs to be some choices made about who the writing is for first and foremost because if you don't do that, it becomes really difficult to make the writing clear and relevant

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Jen York: Now the last thing that we think about it. This phase is the value that we're offering and how this connects with our audience.

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Jen York: So you'll often hear this spoken about, and called a value proposition and it ideally is going to capture what makes what you do different and it's framed in a way that's relevant and responds to the pain points or concerns of your audience.

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Jen York: Getting really clear on these also helps it make it easier to create impact with writing

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Jen York: Someone who's new to your brand definitely wants to understand the value that you offer, but even people who are already familiar with who you are and what you do.

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Jen York: They need to be reminded about how you're making a difference because it helps reengage their interest and recommit them.

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Jen York: You can't take it for granted that the reader shares your passion for your purpose, of course.

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Jen York: They might have a different understanding of the issues or they might not be convinced that your solution or response is the most effective

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Jen York: And this leads us to thinking a bit more about the audience's pain points. And what I'm talking about. There are the doubts or beliefs or concerns that the audience has about what you're offering

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Jen York: So as an example, people might think I believe in the cause, but I don't know where my money will end up or I want to help people but he's, he's the best answer to the problem, you could probably brainstorm 100 of these kinds of questions.

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Jen York: And once you understand the pain points, there's an opportunity to address them in your value proposition and messaging so that you're responding. It also helps you brought in a way that's really focused and compelling.

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Jen York: So at story flight. When we think about a value proposition. We actually just stopped by listing the key elements that need to be included.

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Jen York: And these are the things that we've covered by asking ourselves those questions about what the offering is how that compares to competitors and what the audience is looking for

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Jen York: So I thought that it would help if we shared an example that we've worked on to help make this a little bit clearer.

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Jen York: So this is a list of the elements of the value proposition for a program called solar schools.

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Jen York: So these are the things that we identified about solid school. So it's an educational program underpinned by unique technology.

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Jen York: It provides interesting, exciting resources to help children learn about sustainability, it's easy for teachers, everything is ready to use off the shelf and the program can create an impact in the school as well as empowering students to create impact in the future.

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Jen York: So some of the products we work on also need that value proposition to be written in a pretty format for marketing. That's something we do later in the process. But to give you an idea of how that kind of least can be transformed into a piece of marketing copy

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Jen York: This is the value proposition on the solar school's website inspired energy, education with impact so schools makes it easy and exciting to teach students about energy efficiency, you just Google's own energy data to bring this

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Jen York: Gosh, it's really tiny on my screen innovative educational program to live.

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Jen York: having too many windows open

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Jen York: So this version captures the benefits and the features that are likely to resonate with the teacher.

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Jen York: Is inspirational easy and exciting and it also mentioned using the information from your earning school and that specifically mentioned, because that that's one of the things that make solo skills different and unique to competitive offerings.

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Jen York: Now, obviously we don't always need to write a Polish version of value proposition. So often the coins are enough for us to keep moving forward with our writing process.

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Jen York: I think it might sometimes be a bit tending to skip over the value proposition. I think that you can just move on without it.

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Jen York: And that would leave you thinking, mostly about your communication goals and your target audience but missing that step.

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Jen York: What you're risking is an organization, the organization itself. It looks less relevant and less credible. It also makes it more likely that the writing later is going to be a little bit woefully vague and unclear.

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Jen York: We're also going to use the value proposition of it later to help shape our key messages. So that's important.

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Jen York: So I guess what I'm saying is that all three things your value proposition your goals and your audience should be considered early in a project and it's just as risky to overlook your goals or your audience.

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Jen York: If you forget about your goals and you focus on your audience and your value proposition. You actually might write something pretty amazing. But you don't know whether it's actually supporting your organization's goals and you might not be able to demonstrate a return for those efforts.

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Jen York: And of course, if you don't think about your audience and your focus very much on your own goals and value proposition, then it's pretty likely that the communication will say to be inwardly focused

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Jen York: And it will be harder to support engagement action or conversion, because it's not clearly relevant to the reader.

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Jen York: So regardless of how noble because if we're not talking about talking in a way that really resonates with the audience. Everything that gets it is falling on deaf ears.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Okay, so now that we really understand the context of our communication. The next step that we consider is how we can demonstrate impact and value.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Demonstrating impact is critical, especially for not for profits. It can help rally support for cause, and support around your organization's mission and work.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It can help reassure donors and volunteers that their time and money is being well spent. It can shed light on the human connections that are giving your cause, meaning and urgency and it can captivate motivate and inspire people to action.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Impact can be demonstrated using statistics and metrics. But what I want to talk about today is how you use communication to demonstrate in fact how emotional human stories are going to help support your statistics and give some context to and meaning to what you're actually achieving

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Bec Fitzpatrick: We've all heard a lot about storytelling. It's a bit of a buzzword, but the truth is stories work. Our brains are chemically wired to respond to stories which makes it a really powerful tool.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You can infuse stories with anger empathy sadness joy any emotion that is going to create a connection between the audience and your organization. And it's through this connection that you'll hopefully be able to drive a specific behavioral change for action.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So what makes a good story, firstly stories need to have emotion you want your story to take people arrived.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Where they can experience the stories conflict escalation and climax for themselves. It's actually been proven that stories with that dramatic arc, create a heightened empathetic response in the reader.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Which means they become more invested in what's going to happen next and whether there's a role that they can play in that resolution.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: The second thing is good for a good story. Sorry, is for there to be authenticity. So

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Nowadays people are very aware of when they're being sold something so if your story is too perfect for. It's a little far reach your readers simply won't believe you. Or they'll feel like they can't relate to you.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So you want your stories to be honest about your successful outcomes but also your challenges because this shows that you're a credible and relatable brand and it's going to keep people listening when you have things to say.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Lastly, your stories need to show how your organization and your donors are making a difference.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Donors can feel nervous about their investment. So you want your stories to show how their contribution is helping to accomplish things and you want them to feel really proud of their involvement. So they'll go and share this story with other people.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Now stories don't have to be long. It can be any size really to have an impact you can have small snippets of content that you might share in peel it is thank you letters or social posts.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Or you can have short stories that will include in a monthly newsletter or a blog post or if you have the time, you can invest in writing, case studies or articles for your quarterly magazine. But the more you can tell, and share stories, the more your impact will be known.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Good stories come from a lot of our clients feel that finding stories, month after month is really overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Ultimately, it takes a group effort. It's a responsibility that needs to be shared across all the teams in your organization.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: If everyone has an awareness of why your organization needs stories from appealing to your donors through to nurturing partnerships and you'll find that an internal culture storytelling slowly developed and then it won't be as much effort.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Some of the ways that might work for you to try and get in the habit of recognizing stories in your daily work. So think about what's happened in your day and what you go home and tell your friends and family.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You can also use your team social catch ups as an opportunity to share stories from the week, or you could host a monthly meeting and bring together people from different teams.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And get them to share recent accomplishments and challenges you can visit a community event where you know your supporters come together and interview them like a journalist words.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Or you could get a professional facilitator to run a storytelling workshop for your staff and board members.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: One really valuable way to collect stories is to find your brand storytellers. So these are the supporters joiners staff, volunteers beneficiaries who are deeply connected to your mission and feel really comfortable sharing their experiences.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Now that we've looked at how you can demonstrate impact, another important step to consider is how we can demonstrate value.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So like any other business, you need to join us to continue investing in your organization. But if you want your donors to value what you offer

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You need to focus on what you can give them in return, don't just want to be reassured of the valuable role that they play

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And they want to be able to avoid it going to focus stories and content is a really great way to do this. It helps shift the focus away from you and echo on to them.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: The ways of asking to giving, which is really important because so many donor interactions involved, asking them for something, whether it's money, time, energy, so if you have the opportunity. Consider how your communication can offer more value to the donor.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Some of the ways that you can do this solving a problem. So rather than telling them more about your organization and what you do is they're helpful content that you could share the answers, their questions or resolve their challenges. This might be a top tips list or how to video

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Another way is to treat your donor as a true participant. So this is about giving them opportunity to share their experiences and provide input. Are there ways that you could make your donors feel a little bit more part of the story.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Another way to offer value is to make it easy for people to take further action. We see this a lot, but it's important to help donors who are interested in stepping out

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Their involvement by making it clear what they need to do next and making sure that they feel welcome and really supported in that process.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And lastly, help your donors connect better with your organization. So use your communication as a way to highlight all of the shared values between you, so that you create a sense of community.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Communication is where you can build relationships and that's why it's really important that it's not only about

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Money or about a single transaction. When you could be using it over and over to develop really passionate supporters will eventually transition into major gift is for requesters

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Jen York: Now 34 we've thought about the context about communication and we've also talked a little bit about how we look at demonstrating or proving an impact and offer extra value to the reader.

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Jen York: So one of the things that I would like to talk about now is just how we make a decision about the best way to reach our audience.

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Jen York: And often, in reality, that star two people choosing between our print product or a digital product.

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Jen York: And I mean, let's be honest, at this point, a lot of the time the decisions already been made, possibly, way back when the project was first proposed and approved.

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Jen York: But after all this deep thought has been put into the context of the project. It's a really good idea to just check that you're moving forward with the right product.

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Jen York: So what you choose obviously is influenced by the your communication goals and the audience and also things that are practicalities like your budget, the timeframes. You've got to get it all together and any technical that any of the technical capabilities that you have

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Jen York: I know that in the past, people often said things like my audience prefers prints, or can only be reached online.

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Jen York: But it's important to remember that the way we consume information old for all of us. It's changed dramatically over the last 15 years so ideas like that can really easily be outdated.

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Jen York: So if you're weighing up digital against print. Here are just a few things that you might keep in mind because it's true that digital communication does have a lot of advantages.

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Jen York: One is a breach that you can achieve because there's potential for what you're working on, to be seen by anyone, anywhere.

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Jen York: But at the same time, you're also need to have a really clear plan about how that content is going to be distributed. If you actually want it to be seen at all. So will it get shared by email or by social media or online ads is a budget available for that.

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Jen York: Another one of the big advantages of digital is the potential that you have to really tailor the readers journey and the content that I see, so that you can create different experiences for different audiences.

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Jen York: Digital also gives your audience and community a chance to help you spread the word if your content is easy to share. So, people might like to for an email, why can share a social post or just send a link to someone

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Jen York: Something else to remember is that digital communication makes it possible to collect really helpful data.

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Jen York: In a cost effective and streamlined way so you can track the next step that the reader takes after they see your content which can help you assess how it helps activities and in some cases, not all digital content can also be faster to publish and easier to update

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Jen York: The comment or micro that is the all of the advantages are limited by the technical capabilities of your website and your email marketing software and of course we've increased capabilities can increase costs.

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Jen York: Will in all I'd say that the advantages of digital really depend on your ability to create and publish content that's well written well designed and supports the user journey.

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Jen York: That's not necessarily easy and it's why you'll often see organizations compromise and they create the same product for print and digital and that's usually something that's designed in a file format so that it's suitable to print or to publish online as a PDF

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Jen York: But the last thing I would say about these. He's also that sometimes the value of a print product is underestimated because print products can now feel really quite unexpected and unusual miles a bit more exciting.

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Jen York: Packages, we get a little packages. So a print product can be something tangible to hold and keep and it feels different from the overwhelming see of online information.

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Jen York: A print product grabs your attention when you first see it and then it can prompt you to look again later to read further think more and take action.

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Jen York: There is one other thing to keep in mind though when you're making decisions about the type of product that you're creating.

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Jen York: And this is the fact that a lot of projects and campaigns do involve more than one product or piece of communication.

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Jen York: So if you're working on multiple things at the same time, it's really important to consider how they're all connected.

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Jen York: So we'll each piece of communication standalone so that each gives the audience, all the information that they need in one place.

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Jen York: And when you choose this approach. What happens is each product share similar information and they there's a bit of repetition and reinforcement that helps make the message more memorable.

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Jen York: The other way that those products can work together is fitting together, creating something like a digital marketing funnel, so that one piece of communication leads to the next. So that might look like.

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Jen York: Emails and social media ads that lead to a landing page and encourage the person to sign up and then after that, they might be a series of other emails or ways to share what retargeting

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Jen York: When you're working in this way. You've you're able to introduce information more slowly so that you're providing the right information at the right point of the audience journey.

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Jen York: So through this approach, you take the audience on a journey of increasing awareness deepening their understanding and interest with each step.

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Jen York: So,

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Jen York: If you came here today, hoping for really click out recommendation about which tactic is actually about all i know that i probably disappointed you because I don't really have a single answer to that question.

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Jen York: Certainly. Now we're getting really close to writing our communication as we move on to our delivery step.

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Jen York: And it probably feels like there was a lot of work needed to get to this point. And that's actually true. But all that work pays off. Now, because now we're not facing a blank document just waiting and hoping for inspiration.

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Jen York: There's a lot of different ways to write. So we're not going to talk about that creative process step by step, but instead of the time, we've got left we'll focus on key messaging content structure tone of voice.

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Jen York: And improving readability because these are all things that help us write the impact

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Jen York: I'm going to talk a little bit more about our key messages.

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Jen York: So key messages describe the most important information that you want your audience to understand, we can write them now or they could also be written a little bit early. At the end of the discovery phase.

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Jen York: Some payments which is designed to provide information or meaning and others are designed to change attitudes or behaviors and key messages can relate to things like

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Jen York: Who you work with the problem you solve your offering and how you deliver the results you achieve and what makes you different from competitors.

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Jen York: Just like with a value proposition defining came as it just helps us right in a way that's clear and consistent and relevant. The key messages also promote your purpose and value and they framed in a way that resonates with the challenges values and emotions of your target audience.

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Jen York: So I guess what I'm saying is that the key messages do build on the value proposition, they capture more detail. And they also uncover how all the ideas fit together to build understanding

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Jen York: So we thought that we'd share the format that we often use to document key messages. And then depending on what we're working on. There might be one key message or there might be more sometimes, you know, seven or eight

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Jen York: Generally, a key message and a supporting message I've written to be as simple and as short as possible. But the most important thing is that the way they're written has to communicate a meaning that we want our audience to understand. So it's not a statement of facts or data.

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Jen York: Sometimes we do need to show how facts data or details a LinkedIn messages so will list them on those supporting messages, but we're careful to only include the details that do prove and support that message.

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Jen York: While others have written, we sometimes find and we hope to find that there's similarities between the key messages and the value proposition.

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Jen York: Which is really good because we want those things to support each other and not create contradictions. If they do seem to be some things that are contradictions, or a misalignment then there's probably something not quite right there and I need to be checked again.

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Jen York: So if you're not sure what your key messages are or should be the easiest way to stop thinking about it is to try finishing a sentence that starts with the point I'm trying to make is or after you've read or heard this. I hope you understand that.

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Jen York: That's often what we do when we speaking, we sort of tell a bit of a story. And then at the end of it we we reframe it and we actually capture what we're really trying to say.

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Jen York: So your key messages help you focus and they structure your writing, but they don't. That doesn't mean they're going to be written word for word every single time.

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Jen York: They've written a lot of different ways you reframe them and reinforce ideas across different products and channels so that you're adapting the key messages for different contexts and audiences.

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Jen York: And next step in writing is to visualize how we're going to structure all layout the content on a page or a screen. So sometimes a layout could be entirely in narrative style, such as writing a fundraising letter.

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Jen York: Often we use a more structured approach that has things like sub headings lists flow charts videos infographics and so on. And this is the approach you often see in digital products like a campaign landing page, but sometimes also in a printed products like a case with support.

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Jen York: And with a layout or approach in mind, we start to prepare an outline of the content. And this is where our key messages help because we're going to think again about the information and how it all fits together.

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Jen York: We look at that hierarchy of what's most important and what order should we be presenting information into make it as effortless as possible for the audience to absorb what's being said

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Jen York: And how can the structure of information help a reader who likes to scheme so that they're not overlooking key points.

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Jen York: And like I said, keeping our key messages in mind also helps us focus on what's most important.

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Jen York: We're all busy and we just have to remember that the reader probably is too. So it's often a good idea to summarize the most important messages quite succinctly towards the beginning of the writing or

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Jen York: You can write in a way that gives the reader, an idea about what's coming, so they know why they should read on.

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Jen York: Sometimes it can be a little bit tempting to be to be quiet in our writing to try and create some intrigue or curiosity to keep people reading

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Jen York: And it is true that often we need a little bit of a creative approach to draw people in. But if you're too cryptic. You're also a risk losing your audience attention if they can't really quickly see why this is actually relevant to them.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Okay, so with an outline is thrown at us. You are now ready to think about how likely writing to sound the way that you talk to your supporters will definitely influenced the way they feel about your organization and the cause that you represent

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Your tone of voice helps everyone in your organization speak with the same voice, which creates a consistent customer experience.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It helps build rapport with your audience so that they're more receptive to your messaging and it strengthens your brand by differentiating you from other organizations and helping to build brand recognition.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Now your tone of voice should definitely capture the personality of your brand. But it also needs to consider the audience that you're talking to and what they need from you. So, for example,

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You might have a core brand voice of professional humble and informative that you're playing universally to all of your communication.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: But, figure out what is your tone of voice may also be passionate and motivating to help build extra interest in your course or if you're talking to your clients or the people that you serve your tone of voice may be gentle and empathetic because you want to demonstrate extreme sensitivity.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Every organization should have a tone of voice guard.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Because it helps everybody speak and write in the same way and being consistent is what's going to help make your organization look distinctive and credible and trustworthy. So let's take a look at an example of how tone of voice can influence your writing.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Most of you are probably familiar with charity.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Charity, what a describes their personality as helpful optimistic honest adventurous generous rightful creative and respectful.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So to capture this personality and to connect with their key audience that created a tone of voice that is inspirational exciting and direct

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Bec Fitzpatrick: The direct part of their tone of voice helps them sound transparent, which is something that they believe in and demonstrate a lot in their actions and communication.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It also helps them right in a way that's clear and simple so that everyone can understand whether it's their biggest campaigners or a 10 year old wanting to, you know, raise money.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And so if we take a look at some of their communication, we can see how this time has been used to create a real feeling of positivity and promise.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: They make it really clear to the reader that they're wanting to build a community of world changes their branding is Invitational and it makes fundraising some fun and easy exciting.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Their word choice also aligns with their tone of voice so they use words like unstoppable and celebrate possibility.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And all of that helps to capture their optimism. So that's one example of why it's really important to get your timeline, because it will affect every choice you make about words grammar.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Structure personality. Yeah.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So now that we've established a

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Bec Fitzpatrick: That we know will connect with that audience. We also need to look at ways to make our writing more readable and accessible.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Jen touched on this before, but it's important to remember that your audience is maybe time poor or they aren't patient. They simply unwilling to read what you have so lovingly put together.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And in fact, skim reading has become the new normal. And a lot of people now just word sport and browse content. So even if your communication has

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Strong key messaging and it's demonstrating impact and value. If the size and the layout is overwhelming. It's likely it's not going to get read

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It's also important to recognize that some of your audience may have difficulties reading or understanding content.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So it's important to keep this in mind when you write to make sure that everyone who you're trying to reach can access your information. So I thought I'd share some of the ways that we make our content more readable and accessible.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And one of the ways is to keep your content, simple and snappy. This means using shorter paragraphs and sentences my brakes and bullet point list to break up your copy into smaller bite sized chunks.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: One good tip is look for where you have multiple comments in a sentence. If you've got more than one you can consider breaking that sentence with a full stop, and making it into two shorter ones. So here's an example of

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Bec Fitzpatrick: A sentence that was particularly long. It is absolutely essential that we support our clients during this incredibly difficult time and reflect on what would matter the most to them so that we can provide the assistance they need

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And when we've made some changes to it to make it a little tighter. You can see it reads it's essential we support our clients during this difficult time together, we can provide help that's needed by shortening the copy. You can see which version is easier to read.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Another way that you can make your content more readable is to use plain language. So it's really tempting to sometimes right with the most impressive word choices, but honestly, most people

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Read at a much lower grade level than we think. So this means you need to use everyday words more common words that your audience is going to understand the first time that I read them.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And it's important to try not to use jargon or industry speak because it's likely that the audience will have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. So if you go to do that, you need to

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Look at ways that you can provide a definition in an easy way. But most of the time it's best to leave it out.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Ideally, you want your content to be readable between seventh tonight greater lower. So here's an example.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Of a sentence that we made some changes to research has demonstrated that eating additional whole grains may contribute to the reduction of cancer and diabetes. It doesn't sound too bad. As a sentence.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: But by removing some of the more difficult words demonstrated becomes shows and more instead of additional and we also have reduced some of the funkiness with contribute to the reduction which is may reduce the risk. You can see it's much easier to read.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You can also use personal pronouns like you and wait the cell would sound a little more human than saying the customer will join us.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So in this sentence, it read Jonah should complete the form and send it back to the fundraising team by April 15 and you can see how much warmer it is if you say send your completed form back to our team by April 15 but it's also Clara.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Here's some other tips to improve your readability. Don't be scared to use conjunctions at the start of sentences. So these are words like and and but just see the slides wrong sorry everyone

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Bec Fitzpatrick: I'll fix that for you before we send it out. Many people feel a little bit uncomfortable about using and and but at the beginning of sentences, but it is hundred percent okay and it makes it more conversational and creates a nicer flow between your sentences as well.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: use contractions. Like it's instead of it is or where instead of we are because this helps the copy feel more warm and conversational as well.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Use meaningful headings and sub headings to make it easy for your reader to find what they're looking for.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And you can also put important concepts involved or a breakout box because this will help people who are scanning that high level information at least get the gist of what you're trying to say.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: One of the tools that we use regularly as the Hemingway app. This is an online tool where you can paste in your text and it will tell you where you can make improvements for readability that are very similar to the tips that we've provided today.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So those are the four stages that we use to create content that will have an impact the writing process can feel sometimes really daunting and overwhelming.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: But the truth is the impact that you create with the communication isn't about creative writing. It's actually all of that strategic work that you do before you start writing

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Understanding the context deciding on a strategy and planning out your approach. And when you do all of these things. First, your writings going to feel a lot more simple easy and faster. But most importantly, it's actually going to achieve the outcome that matters.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Thank you so much for joining us today. And thanks, Bruce for inviting us to share some tips with your community. I'm going to pop the

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Bec Fitzpatrick: presentation back over to you.

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Bruce Nean: Excellent. Thank you so very much. Beth engine that was just incredible. We haven't had any questions come through yet because I think your content was just so rich and there's so many takeaways there.

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Bruce Nean: So we have recorded today and we'll get these slides out to everyone so that everyone can mull over them, but we can tell how much effort you put into that it was just fantastic. We've got a question from Jim

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Bruce Nean: Let's have a look here. Do you think it's worth avoiding. Our way where possible and maximizing the use of you and your to make comes as a bonus comes as donor centric as possible.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Absolutely, absolutely. I think that's a common mistake that it's really easy to make, is when you're trying to explain what you do, who you are and create that sense of bit of relevance to who you're talking to. You spend a lot of time using the words we an hour and

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It's so important to make any reader, whether they're a donor, not any reader feel like you're actually speaking directly to them and answering their

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Questions solving their problems. So even something like an about page Jen and I will always advocate for making the about page, not about the organization. It's about 10% about you and 90% about what you're doing to solve that person's problems.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: So yeah, I definitely think if you can even test yourself at the end of writing something and goes through and count how many ways and ours is used versus you and see if you can switch that around some way. It's really good, good check

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Bruce Nean: Great. Excellent. I'm Bobby Lisa saying excellent presentation gentlemen back. Thank you for your time and expertise.

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Bruce Nean: Mercia says, Thank you. That was one of the best presentations I've seen on cons marketing and have to agree there.

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Bruce Nean: That says that was awesome. James fell just says Becky mentioned that every organization should have a tone of voice guide is that a standalone document and what does it look like

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Well that's a good question. It can vary. I think I haven't seen a standard format for for that.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Sometimes they call brand books. Sometimes they're called brand voice guides. Sometimes the tone of voice guides and as we've skipped over the air. The nuances around voice vs tone of voice because that's a nightmare in itself out there in the marketing world.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: But generally, what we would put into a guide is

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Bec Fitzpatrick: The most simplistic usable parts. So I see a lot of guys that have them. They do a lot of persona work and that can be really, really helpful.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: But we tend to look at client motivation. So we'll start with actually doing a bit of a target audience breakdown, but more about

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Bec Fitzpatrick: What is motivating them to come to save that organization that website for your solution service.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And then we look at what our personality. So what the organization's personalities.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And we look at then marrying how you're going to create that time. So how are you going to take that personality and how you're going to take those audience concerns or

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Bec Fitzpatrick: motivating factors and creative time that then can be applied to meet those and will often

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Use about for my right Jen will try and keep it quite simple. You can list a million times worse, but I find that the more you have, the less helpful. It's going to be so we'll come down something like a set of for that. We then break into smaller more actionable.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Tips kiss. So Jen I might throw over to us for an example. I know you've done a little bit of work recently on one were

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Jen York: Generally

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Jen York: What we find is really helpful in a tone of voice God

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Jen York: It's festival. If it's going to be a word describing time it's really helpful to have seen a name is for that word because the same word, doesn't mean the same thing to all of us.

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Jen York: So a number of synonyms. So like if you're going to say something like, confident, we might put some other words around like that, so like we might be like competently might be

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Jen York: There might be bold, but not arrogant, things like that. So it's about putting some words to make that a little bit clearer.

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Jen York: We include a couple of points about why that's so important to the brand and what that actually means for

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Jen York: Both the brand and the audience and then we usually put some examples and about what that actually sounds like as well. So it's an that often looks like.

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Jen York: We write like this. Not like this so that you can eight if it doesn't have that level of detail. I think sometimes it's quite unhelpful for a writer because

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Jen York: It just doesn't go right down to that sort of tangible, all I can see it in action level. Yeah. But yeah, and as that simplest format to help a write up a tone of voice guide might only be

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Jen York: Two to four pages long, so it could sit in a bigger 30 page branding document or it could be something much, much smaller depending on what you're looking for. Yes.

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Bruce Nean: Excellent. That's excellent. Um, I just got a question here from Paxton from the Lund foundation Australia, we often find that we have multiple CTA is for a campaign because we communicate with many different audiences across a number of disease areas.

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Bruce Nean: Do you have any advice on prioritizing and simplifying for greater impact often will include multiple CCS in one small piece of comms eg social posts.

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Jen York: Yeah, so it is pretty common to see to CTA, that's it. That's a really common approach and but even went to see the ice used

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Jen York: You usually have a CTA that as an organization, you really you preferred option.

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Jen York: So, and often it allows the audience to take to par. So you have one that's more of a direct and bold action and one that allows them more to simply learn more discover more so it's for the person who's a little bit more hesitant.

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Jen York: Beyond that, I definitely agree that it's it's pretty problematic because you read a definitely will be confused about what they should do.

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Jen York: And you risk of them doing nothing by having more one more than one CTA if campaigns are really quite complex in that regard. I think it does come back to

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Jen York: The actual planning step and figuring out really specifically what each piece of communication is doing, who was talking to. And then what you think the most appropriate action is for that audience in that location and context, you do have to make some decisions, I think.

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Bruce Nean: I'm Marcia just is asking if tone of voice is applied properly and as the presenter mentioned using synonyms synonyms on digital platform also helps with SEO. SEO.

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Bruce Nean: Early in the morning.

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Bruce Nean: And have you got any comments around that maybe with with SEO.

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Bruce Nean: More

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Bruce Nean: Sure.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Sure. I mean, definitely the exercise potentially of doing the China voice is going to

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Help you with. But when the synonyms will help you with word choice and things like that, but more probably in the

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Bec Fitzpatrick: In the world of SEO, your. There are other considerations you definitely need to be paying attention to which is you know how competitive your keywords are and what your customers are actually searching for so

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It might be a useful way to kind of start looking at what's going to go on a page. But yeah, you'd have to then wait up against some of the other parameters.

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Jen York: I think it's interesting because I think it's that thing about communication being so personal. And in whether you're searching for something on Google or trying to explain a tone of voice in a lot of our communication synonyms are really helpful.

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Jen York: And we certainly use them even just in the copy that we write to

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Jen York: To to state something in one way and then later on to reframe it a little bit to either build understanding or to help a reader who the first time kind of witness. Did I get that, particularly with a really complex technical topic. Yeah.

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Bruce Nean: Excellent.

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Bruce Nean: When it comes to do arriving into different ad

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Bruce Nean: Groups brackets and we got sort of any approach with that like generation someone to be older compared to like a millennial

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Yes, definitely.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: That I mean we didn't go into our actual process, I suppose. Once we actually pick up the tools and start actually writing, but there's quite a lot of research that

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Bec Fitzpatrick: We do where we dig into

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Bec Fitzpatrick: It. I suppose it depends if it's, you know, we're looking at talking to a millennial will actually do a lot of digging into Pinterest forums.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Will look at trending brands for those for that. So generation will look at even look at visuals and design that is resonating because that'll inform our content structure. So I think it is really important to kind of deep dive into your audience and

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Bec Fitzpatrick: We've had ones where we were targeting talking to children.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: And we have a lot at the moment where we're working with people who are living with dementia. And so the tone of voice that we use really has to be respectful to the generational differences with language.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You can get away with a whole bunch of different stuff with them. I think it's Jen said now versus if you're talking to somebody in the 80s. So yeah, it's really important to do that work can

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Jen York: I mentioned this book actually this is before the internet. Have you seen this Bruce

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Bruce Nean: No, it's great.

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So,

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Jen York: We had a good read of these when we were writing for Jen said and what was really interesting in this was just

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Jen York: How our customs with the way we communicate. So as an example, just a really simple. One is that

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Jen York: Generation, said in the informal communication. They use punctuation really inside text messages to each other.

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Jen York: So for generations said punctuation represents some sort of seriousness like can you know someone's annoyed at me is this. This is actually meanings behind the punctuation. But if you're talking to someone who is older, a lack of punctuation will look disrespectful.

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Jen York: So when when we're looking at conversational copy, even those kind of insights insights really understanding

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Jen York: The nuances of what's normal for those age groups. Yeah. Very, very interesting. And we applaud that you know project for

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Jen York: Mental health for a general audience where our copy format does use a lot of irregular lines. A lot of sort of what would look like in complete sentences less punctuation, things like that. Yeah.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: The capitals.

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Jen York: Yeah, limited pedals. Yep. Yeah.

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Bruce Nean: And just the name of that again was

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Jen York: Because he sees

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Jen York: Because Internet and the author is Gretchen and McCulloch and it's your understanding how language is changing, so you

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Jen York: It sort of sounds like it might be mostly about like how languages. Now, but she does a lot of comparisons to what that you know how that compares to say

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Jen York: Yeah, an older audience and she links. It also to those customers have a handwritten letter versus online forums and things like that. Yeah.

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Bruce Nean: Yeah. Excellent. Well, that's great. We've got two minutes left on the clock. So I'll have to wrap things up. But thank you again so much back and Jen.

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Bruce Nean: Just a fantastic morning so many takeaways for us today. And if you would like to reach out to

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Bruce Nean: These wonderful ladies, you can do that at story flight.com au and they they'll be sure to help you out in any way that you need some assistance.

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Bruce Nean: And as mentioned, if you just go to digital for good.com that I you to add your email address to our mailing list will send out a recording from today and also the slides and just a little plug for our next meetup ON OCTOBER THE 14th. We've got Nigel Paris.

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Bruce Nean: Who's a fundraising lifetime on who's got 40 years worth of fundraising experience. He's going to be sharing on fundraising leadership, so look out for that one.

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Bruce Nean: Thank you again guys from story flight. That was just an incredible warning lots to chew on and go, go to work and work on those things today.

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Bruce Nean: Thank you everyone for coming along. Hope you enjoyed the morning if there's anything we can do to help you as a community, please reach out and have a great day, everybody.

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Bec Fitzpatrick: Thanks, Bruce. Thank

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Bec Fitzpatrick: You thank you everyone.

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Bruce Nean: Bye everybody.

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Jen York: Thank you so much, guys, really appreciate the opportunity.

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How are

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Bruce Nean: ya. Bye.