Archive for the ‘Marketing and Social Media’ Category

Link Roundup: Editorial calendars, tablets and No Talking Tuesdays

Friday, January 27th, 2012

This week was a very exciting time for us in the Twitterverse — we crossed 1,000 followers! Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with us!


Takeaways: Getting organized is always a good thing. To help you think through what you need to post about and when on your various social networking platforms, an editorial calendar can be your savior.  I started doing scheduling out topic ideas in an editorial calendar a couple of weeks ago and it has worked wonders!


Takeaways: People are increasingly giving and getting tablets as gifts. While this article talks about how tablets may be used in education, it makes me think: how does this increase tablet ownership affect or enhance work specifically in arts education, development or marketing?


Takeaways: And the case that arts & culture are economic drivers keeps on building! Information from the Michigan Cultural Data Project shows that for each dollar the state of Michigan spends on arts and culture, $51 goes back into the state economy! Also, in Detroit, 28 organizations had total direct expenditures of $127+ million and employed 2,657 staff.


Takeaways: Sisarina co-hosted the tweetup referenced in #MondayMarketing’s article, and of course, they have great content marketing in the form of a great blog. This post lists five ways they’ve become more efficient, including No Talking Tuesdays. Intriguing, no?

Be sure to follow us at @creativemoco for our daily articles, and comment below or tweet us with article suggestions!

Link Roundup: Timing Facebook posts, arts education and influencing styles

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Here’s a summary of the articles we tweeted this week:


Didn’t post an article this week due to our office being closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. There’ll be one next week, promise!


Takeaways: Basically, the first paragraph of the article: “The average news feed post by a Facebook Page receives Likes and comments for 3 hours after being published. To maximize the engagement, impressions, and traffic driven by the news feed, Facebook Page owners should wait at least 3 hours between posts.” Makes sense.


Takeaways: This article reiterates what us arts managers, educators and advocates have known: that arts education teaches skills like collaboration, confidence, accountability and effective communication, and that these skills are essential for the 21st century workforce. Also, follow our friend Shoshana at @AudienceDevSpec; she’s always tweeting interesting and useful articles!


Takeaways: This article identifies five influencing styles (how one impacts others’ ideas and actions) and points out that there’s an effective and ineffective way of using each one. How will you adjust your communication to make collaborating more efficient?

Be sure to follow us at @creativemoco, and comment below or tweet us if there are articles you think we should be tweeting!

Link Roundup: Customer service over Twitter, jazz masters and removing clutter

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Each workday, we tweet articles that might be helpful to others in the arts management field. Here’s a summary of the ones we posted this week:


Takeaways: Social media users care if they see unanswered questions or complaints on a company’s social media page — only 11.7% users said they wouldn’t care. The others said they’d be less likely to buy anything from that company, and 49.5% feel that they’d probably be ignored too. The lesson? Reply to questions and concerns!


Takeaways: YouTube is a platform to engage on beyond uploading videos — much like Facebook or Twitter, “follow” your funders and partners by subscribing to their channels and display them proudly on your channel. And, if you haven’t yet, apply for Google for Nonprofits to have access to YouTube for Nonprofits.


Takeaways: What can we say? We’re thrilled that these Jazz Masters were honored. Congratulations to the National Endowment for the Arts on 30 years of the NEA Jazz Masters program!


Takeaways: Basically, remove some of the clutter from your life!

Don’t wait until Friday to see which articles were tweeted — follow us at @creativemoco!

Parent Blogger Brunch Preview: Jessica McFadden

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing interviews with bloggers to be featured at our Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9, co-hosted by Jessica McFadden of A Parent In Silver Spring. Meet members of the new media and sign up for the brunch now!

Jessica McFadden writes the popular parenting blog, A Parent in Silver, which has gained attention locally as a resource for Washington-area parents, and nationally as a parent blog must-read. Over the last four years, A Parent in Silver Spring has become Montgomery County parents’ top stop on the web to find a fun outing, activity or performance to share with their children.

Jessica has also served as an editor at Nickelodeon ParentsConnect , a contributing blogger to TLC’s Parentables, written the Mom of a Million Mistakes column on Montgomery County Patch sites, and has contributed to The Washington Post Weekend and other publications.

Before taking up the laptop as a writer and blogger, Jessica worked in public relations at Hill & Knowlton and as an aide to two United States Senators. She received her B.A. in political science from University of California, Berkeley.

Jessica is a mother of an eight year old son, a five year old daughter and a baby daughter born in April.

What has inspired your new material on your blog, and how do you keep generating new material?
Input from my local community is the number one source of material and innovative posts on A Parent in Silver Spring. As my personal life gets crazier daily due to my and my family members’ busy lives, I am so thankful for the great relationships, post suggestions and feedback I receive from area organizations and individuals.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have met through your blog?
Fellow parents and spouses who are passionate about their careers and causes, while still successfully balancing their families, always awe me. I am thankful to have met many such gifted people in the arts organizations, small businesses and educational institutions in our community.

What is the best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers?
An honest voice and candor, hands down, are your greatest assets. Your readers do not want to read a press release, a news article or a shilly commercial. They are coming to your URL for your words, opinion and unique perspective, and every time they visit your site it is an honor.

Which post of yours is your favorite and why?
About once a year (usually when school is out of session in summer and I did not secure enough childcare) I write a ranty, blubbering post about how I am a horrible failure of a mother and have bitten off more than I can chew professionally and personally. These posts are my favorite not because of my wussy words, but due to the supportive and hilarious comments from other working moms who chime in that they have been there and survived.

What is your favorite blog to follow? Are / were you inspired by someone else’s blog?
The first blog I read from start to finish was The Washingtonienne, so every blog after has been a dramatic step up. But seriously, I am daily inspired by The Bloggess because her humor is unlike anything anyone else in the world is producing, Toddler Planet for bravely chronicling her battle with inflammatory breast cancer, and every innovative first-person site that fills an information and entertainment void. The Washington, DC area is blessed with a wealth of fresh voices, especially in the parenting blog community.

If you could say one thing to a perspective new blogger, what would your advice be?
You can’t do it for the money. You know those little old ladies at craft fairs selling hot pads? That’s how much you will make…if you’re lucky.

Visit Jessica’s blog, A Parent in Silver Spring, and follow her on Twitter at @jessicaAPISS! You can also meet her at the Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9 – sign up now.

Prayer is not a good marketing strategy!

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Marketing in today’s global economy, social media-mania, info-obsessed takes a lot more than prayer. But what exactly does it require? What makes a good marketing strategy?

In the next few blog posts, your AHCMC Marketing Team, Shellie and Megan, will explore that question based on knowledge gained from our three-day experience at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference. We’ll share golden nuggets from the sessions, presentations and discussions we attended. We’ll share creative ideas we heard from the new friends we made and friends representing cultural organizations spanning the continent from Saskatoon to the Big Apple.

First, maybe you’re wondering what is NAMP? The National Arts Marketing Project is a program of Americans for the Arts focusing on bolstering marketing skills for cultural organizations. NAMP produces an annual conference, hosts monthly webinars, organizes regional training programs, and provides on-site workshops on a range of arts marketing topics. Click over to for more information.

This year’s conference was held in Louisville, KY, home to the Muhammad Ali Museum, the Louisville Slugger Museum, bourbon and horse racing. Some 500 marketing specialists from the US and Canada showed up for the conference, texting, tweeting and social networking like there was no tomorrow. In fact, our own Megan (@andmegansaid) was recognized for her tweeting prowess at the end of the conference. Her award? A five-bottle bourbon sampler. Not bad!

This was one of the most exciting conferences I’ve been to in a while. The energy from this crowd could have powered all of downtown Lville—maybe it did. I loved the exchange of ideas whizzing around the conference hotel from dawn to ah…dawn. (These marketing people don’t seem to need sleep.) It was like being immersed in a creative think tank for 72 hours. What a rush.

The conference theme, Winning Audiences, is especially poignant in this our third year of the recession. As cultural institutions around the country face tighter and tighter funding, we must turn to more creative and well-informed marketing strategies to engage with audiences that share our core values. Not just to get butts in seats, but to connect in deep and meaningful ways. (Though, no one would turn away a  butt who wants a seat.)

I was heartened by the depth of research organizations had undertaken and their willingness to share findings with this broader audience. While all these studies were specific to a particular geographic region or a discipline, I found incredible value in all of them and key information that I can use today in understanding the needs and motivations of our MoCo audiences.

So over the next week, keep your browser tuned to Megan and I will post the most relevant lessons we learned as we seek an answer to: What makes a good marketing strategy.

Google Analytics Webinar Wrap-Up

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Yesterday, we held a Google Analytics webinar presented by Analytics expert Tobin Lehman. The webinar was designed for organizations with Google Analytics already set up on their website. We learned a lot, and we hope those that attended the session did as well!

Here are some highlights from the session:

  • Google Analytics tells you what has happened to your site; it’s not a crystal ball to say what may happen in the future.
  • A bounce is when a visitor’s entrance page is the same as their exit page. They could have spent 30 seconds or 20 minutes on the page, but if they only visited that page on your website then left from it, they “bounced.”
  • An exit is when a visitor leaves your website in general. Maybe they clicked a link, or closed their browser — the bottom line is, they left your site on this particular page. (Exit rates DO include bounces; bounces are just a special kind of exit.)
  • 7 common metrics you may want to pay attention to: browsers/devices, traffic sources, referrers, keywords, top content, exit/bounce rates, goals/events.
  • One size doesn’t fit all. The most important metrics depend on your goals for your website. Do you want people to register for your events to buy tickets? Do you want people to play your online game, or view pictures?
  • High bounce & exit rates get a bad rap, but you might want high rates if you want your visitors to click links and leave your site (like we want for our calendar).
  • Setting up goals and custom reports is like riding a bike: you have to learn how to do it, but once you do, set it and forget it! (Okay, maybe that’s not the best analogy, but it works…right?) Setting them up is also a time-saver: you can spent hours browsing through Analytics, but setting up reports that tell you what you need to know is best.
  • Tag your URLs with Google URL Builder. It’s worth it, we promise. All you have to do is generate tagged URLs and use them — the data generated will automatically show up in your Google Analytics, no set-up required.

Tips & Tricks

  • Tagged URLs have to be provided to your ad vendor in order to track them. It is extra work, but it’s worth it: you get an wealth of information back. For example, you can discern that the 125 visitors who clicked your web ad on viewed an average of 4.45 pages and spent an average of 6 minutes on your site, and that 85% of them bought tickets and loaded the “thank you for purchasing tickets” page. Chances are, you’ll want to buy ads there again.
  • If you have your custom reports emailed to you, have them sent as a PDF — your reports will look just like the Analytics website.
  • Viewing Top Content by Title might be the way to go if the titles of your pages are more descriptive and easier to decipher than your URLs (for example, a webpage titled Programs & Services vs.
  • You might not care what operating systems your visitors have, but you might care if they’re accessing it on their mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.). You can see this information in Visitors>Browsers>Operating Systems.

If you missed it, view the slides below or contact Tobin Lehman to see what he can do for you.

Staying tech-happy

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

The Conversaion Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3: the former NBC peacock on steroids.

We’re kind of super tech-happy here at AHCMC. We’re all about being more efficient and leveraging what we can for the most impact. Here are some resources that help us make informed decisions and stay up-to-date on the ever-changing technology landscape:

Nonprofit Technology Network – NTEN is a fantastic resource for any nonprofit looking for best practices in the nonprofit sector. In fact, our staff had the opportunity to attend the NTEN Technology Leadership Webinar series over the past couple of months. (You’ll hear more about this soon.) There is a cost to membership, but their blog and podcasts are free to access and are incredibly valuable. (@NTENorg)

Technology in the Arts – For technology and social media coverage that’s focused on arts and culture organizations, Technology In The Arts is a go-to place. A service of The Center for Arts Management and Technology at Carnegie Mellon, TITA has a blog, podcast series,  webinars and even free mini-nars (mini webinars). Examples and tips for practical application and pirates talking about QR (cue-arrrrrgh) codes. You can’t beat that. (@TechInTheArts)

Mashable – This is a go-to place for all social media and tech news. Today’s headlines alone: “YouTube Adds Creative Commons Content to Video Editor“; “Microsoft Offers First Sneak Peek of  Windows 8“; “Google Launches Its Groupon Competitor.” The amount of news is a bit overwhelming, but staying on top of this stuff is pretty darn important. (@mashable)

You’ve Cott Mail – Thomas Cott sends a daily themed digest of articles related to arts and culture. While some of them might not be technology-related, the articles are always interesting — and you don’t have to hunt through news sources to find them. (Confession: There was an email digest recently about Twitter art that I nerded out on.) (@youvecottmail)

National Arts Marketing Project – A program of Americans for the Arts, NAMP is a great resource for articles specifically on using technology for marketing. NAMP also holds a yearly conference, which I was fortunate to attend in November 2010. (It’s also how I heard about The Conversation Prism, which is at the top of this post.) Highlights from the 2010 conference are available on the website.

What helps you stay afloat technology-wise?

Measuring Up: Social Media Influence

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Everyone seems to be on social media sites these days, so you are too. But what exactly is all that tweeting, commenting and updating doing to help your organization? How do you measure your online influence or the influence of other bloggers and Tweeters? How do you know if you are on the road to becoming an expert in your industry?

Well the good news is, I’m going to share some great (and free!) tips with you.

Branding and Trust – As a representative of your organization (even if that organization is just little old you), you want to build a reputation as someone trustworthy with good information.

Micah Baldwin has a pretty good list of what to monitor:

  • Incoming Traffic – Pageviews, Incoming traffic from search engines, rss subscribers
  • Incoming Links – Primarily manual links such as blogrolls, in-post deep links
  • Reader Engagement – Internal searches, time on site
  • Recommendations – Retweets, share stats
  • Connections – Number of mutual connections, number of mutual connections on multiple sites
  • Track Record – Age of domain, number of blog posts, length of engagement
  • Engagement – How often and long a person has engaged with a service online

Measuring Reputation – It can be hard to get a read on your stance within your industry’s community. Many times, especially when operating under a budgetary constraint, we want to know how our social media efforts are doing with hard numbers.

  • Google Analytics – Google is one of the best known and popular search engines, and they have a whole lot of statistical information because of it. Google Analytics offers several features such as benchmarking to tell you if you underperform or outperform others in your industry, tracking of mobile access and apps, and tallying your visitors. You can track several types of data including average length of time spent on your website clicks on external ads, and pageviews per visit. Google has a good overview video of its features here:
  • Technorati – Technorati really helps you get a handle on your blog’s influence and lets you find out what blogs are saying about your organization. Maybe you just want to see who the top influential bloggers are in your industry. You can search by industry or enter the specific blog you have questions about. Technorati rates each blog with a number, overall rank and industry rank.
  • Quantcast – This is a great service if you want to know the demographics and traffic-flow to your website. Are you reaching your target demographic? Should you change your target demographic after seeing who is actually checking you out? Just take a look at AHCMC’s demographics or search for your own website.

Of course, you may not have a huge number of followers or viewers, and that can be perfectly acceptable. If you have a small but intimate community, make sure you are leaving comments, answering questions and providing great information. Link members of your social media community to each other and promote something great they might have written or produced on your website and blog.

Pitching Your Perfect Press Release

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Last post, I talked about how building relationships with journalists and bloggers is crucial to a successful pitch, but what does that pitch actually look like? How do pick to whom you will send your pitch? Well the great news is, with new media there are several great new ways to send out pitches online and to find new contacts.

The online media pitch is becoming wildly popular. Instead of stuffy, hard copy news releases, online releases allow for links to salient information and highlight important points through mixed media. These online pitches can also be distributed easily through e-mail or housed on websites which specialize in pairing pitches with journalists.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is one such website. Users can sign up as either a source or a reporter. Reporters submit queries to the HARO site which in turn e-mails sources that could potentially provide good information on that subject. Sources can submit pitches to reporters in their field after receiving the e-mailed query. The website certainly isn’t a replacement for good old-fashioned legwork and stick-to-itiveness, but it is a good way to supplement your existing channels. It can take a while to get integrated into the site, but once you do it is a valuable resource. Heather Whaling has some good tips on how to use HARO.


Pitch Engine lets users search releases by topic.

Also take a look at Pitch Engine allows you to upload a multimedia pitch and then share it via social media and e-mail. The site automatically shares your release on major search engines. Users on Pitch engine can filter news releases by topic and industry, so your organization can be found by the people who matter. Readers can even subscribe to your news feed via RSS.

When it comes to the pitch itself, there are a few sites Press Release Grader that will, no surprise here, grade your pitch for you. Press Release Grader takes your pitch and generates a basic list of statistics as well as tips for improvement for content and links.

Online pitching can be exciting, but keep in mind that your news releases should remain professional. Also be mindful of what information should go out on a press release that could potentially reach hundreds of reporters. Sometimes less is more, and bloggers and journalists will appreciate exclusive content. Just take a few moments to decide what will work best for you.

Social Media: Am I Doing This Right?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Chances are, most of you already have some sort of social media presence for your organization. It is important to consider, however, that there is a big difference between personal and professional use of social media. A great first step at bringing your business up to speed is to perform a social media audit.

Social media audits allow companies to take a good look at their efforts and gauge what their online presence is actually accomplishing. It is all well and good to maintain social media profiles, but you have to know what you are getting back from the endeavor. You should strive to make sure your organization is keeping a consistent brand and message throughout your social media sites. Bloggers Boame and Bolsinger offer several good guidelines for social media audits. Some of the most compelling are to:

  • create custom graphics and landing pages
  • monitor site analytics
  • engage with the social community and consider comments
  • scrap tools that do not benefit your goals
  • integrate your social media sites with one another

In addition to these tips, I would suggest some good old-fashioned audience evaluation. Bolsinger suggests that you claim your brand name on every social media site, going so far as to set up a system that will set up accounts as new tools are released. I believe it is important to focus on sites your target audience is likely to visit. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are probably the most heavily frequented by all demographics, and it would be wise to set up profiles on these sites. However, arts and humanities groups and individual artists might find sites like Flickr and deviantArt appeal more to their audiences. When conducting an audit, pick and choose the venue which reflects your audiences’ interests.

The Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County will be hosting a Social Media Boot Camp featuring Carrie Fox of C.Fox Communications on Feb. 25 and March 18.

You can listen to our podcast with Shellie Williams to learn more about AHCMC’s Boot Camp and professional advancement opportunities.

Education is half the battle, so get out there and learn some new social media skills!