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What did you think? Every Word Counts

Emma Hallam, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Derby Museums shares her thoughts from our very first one-day conference on copywriting.

Image of Emma Hallam

The AMA guys have asked me to share what I have learnt and will put into action from the Online Copywriting Day: Every Word Counts one-day conference.

First a little bit about me –

What do you do? Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Derby Museums

Fun job? Yeah, I love my job. My role was brand spangly new when Derby Museums became an independent trust in October 2012 and since then I’ve had great fun playing, learning LOADS and of course, working hard 😉

Who do you work with? I’m the only full time person in ‘the marketing team’ but have help from a super fab intern, Claire, who works with me a day a week. Soon, an apprentice will support me for 4 days a week – oh and my colleagues at Derby Museums are terrific to work with.

OK, so what did I learn at Online Copywriting Day: Every Word Counts?

My key takeaways from the event

  • SHORT SNAPPY VIDEO is a winner on Facebook. I’m looking forward to experimenting with video more at work.
  • 100 CHARACTERS or less on Twitter is most effective – who knew…
  • FORMAT IS TONAL – It’s not just the words that dictate the tone of your copy, the way it is laid out is also super important.
  • Some of the Facebook posts and tweets I share work really well and others don’t. The day taught me to TEST with different content and to also take time to understand why a post/tweet gained good engagement and why it didn’t.
  • Kids/young people, tend not to use Google as a search engine, they opt for YouTube.
  • Us social media managers can’t spend all day answering Tweets, especially at weekends – it’s totally cool to sign off on a Friday with “off to the pub, see you all on Monday!” Maybe miss out the pub bit…

What am I going to put into action straight away?

  • Posting LESS on Facebook. It was advised that organisations should only post on their page 2-3 times a week and that includes sharing posts from other pages. Only post stuff that is worth posting.
  • PLAIN LANGUAGE – have I made no more than one point in each sentence?
  • Playing with GIFS on Twitter… How can I get away with sharing so many cat GIFS on Derby Museums Twitter..?

My highlight(s) of the day

  • Write copy as if it is the first time someone is reading it.
  • Consider having your call to action at the top of the page and create scannable text below.
  • Getting a consistent and unique tone of voice nailed down in your copy is a winner. On my to do list at work is to sort out our ‘tone of voice’ document to share with staff when they write content for the organisation.
  • “People on Twitter want to follow PEOPLE – keep it human” – David Levin from That Lot
  • Use no more than 3 ‘blue things’ per tweet… these are things like mentions, links and hashtags

The impact the event will have on my work at Derby Museums

  • We are currently updating our website at Derby Museums so this event could not have come at a better time. I have a lovely big stack of copy to review and edit from my colleagues ready to upload to the website.
  • Like any organisation, we’re looking to stand out on social media. Speaker Tim Fidgeon suggested it’s good to plan ahead in order to use ‘special occasion’ content. As museums we’ve got loads of opportunities to share historic birthdays, occasions and #onthisday facts.
    My plan is to make more time for and to FAKE TIMELINESS.

From the day, I’ll think about what Catherine Toole from Sticky Content shared. She made some basic points about writing copy that will stick with me (get it?!) from now on:
– Think about WHY you are writing the copy? Is it even needed?
– Consider WHO the copy is for
– Always take time to think WHAT the key message is

All 3 speakers had some ace ideas.

A new AMA events season for you, a new look for the AMA

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Finding new ways to help you develop your skills and be the best that you can be is what drives our programme. This season offers lots of ways for you to engage depending on what you want to learn and how much time you have to find the answers you need.

Access expert training at the click of a button with our online workshops. Highlights this season include Google Analytics: spend less time, get better results and Google Adwords: making Google advertising work for you. If you’re looking to identify ways to make your marketing materials more accessible, check out Really Accessible Marketing with Kirsty Hoyle.

Discover more about our three online modules, produced in partnership with leading brand agency Wolff Olins. They will support the development of organisational resilience in museums, libraries and the wider arts, culture and heritage sector.

We’ve got a great workshop in London for those of you venturing into the world of live streaming: Your Story Through Periscope. Alex Pettit, the UK’s number 1 ‘most loved’ on the platform, will be exploring how to create engaging live streamed content.

Senior marketers are welcome to attend a networking dinner party. This season we’re holding one in Edinburgh and one in Birmingham.

Due to its success and impact we are running our Small Scale Development Programme again. This time the residential takes place in Liverpool. The programme is tailored for leaders of arts and cultural organisations with ten staff or less; it looks at defining ambitions and goals, developing a marketing plan, and a cohesive approach to engaging audiences.

Then there’s our annual conference which will see 600+ arts marketers and fundraisers come together for lively debates, panel discussions and hands-on workshops. Ignite new ideas, delve into best-practice, and be inspired by leading thinkers.

As always, if you have ideas you’d like to share with us please get in touch. If you’ve got specific training needs we might be able to help you through our new Bespoke training programme.

Discover more in our latest brochure.

Top tips for audience engagement from This Girl Can

Quote from Kate Dale

Kate Dale made quite an impression at Digital 360 speaking about Sport England’s This Girl Can initiative. While the event required a digital focus, the key learning she shared has far wider application. Here are just a few of her top tips:

Test your instinct

‘Don’t just talk to the people who are your core audience; talk to the people you want to be your audience.’

As marketers we know a lot about our audiences. We seek high and low for more people like them but what about those who aren’t like them… or like us? How much do we really know about those who haven’t attended, why they haven’t engaged and what they value?

Sport England learned a lot about why women don’t engage with sport. Based on that insight they began campaigning in a way that really resonated with their target audience

Do we know why people aren’t engaging or do we just have a hunch? If it’s the latter then maybe it’s time to ask.

Explore for national statistics around arts engagement.

Cast with care

‘Jessica Ennis is a fantastic role model for life and achieving your dreams but in terms of physical activity she’s… not particularly going to inspire us to get active because she’s a different species to people like us.’

Key to the success of the This Girl Can campaign was the way Sport England represented its target audience. Every image they used showed women we could associate with.

Thinking back to 2013, I loved the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s ‘Not all audiences are the same’ campaign for that very reason.

Do our brochures and online channels represent the diverse audience we want to reach in a way that resonates with them? If not, perhaps it’s time to cast with care.

Prepare the way

‘Explaining and engaging your stakeholders and audience before you launch means that they will be there ready to take your message further.’

We craft campaigns all the time for events, seasons, tours or exhibitions. Traditionally, we may have kept them secret until the grand reveal. Is there more that we could be doing to prepare the way?

Sport England invested a lot of time in letting people know about This Girl Can before it launched. They wanted press and stakeholders to know what was coming, to understand why it was important and to get behind it from the outset. As a result, their audience were ready and waiting to spread the word and help make This Girl Can a resounding success.

Read about This Girl Can and gain more top tips from Kate Dale in the Digital 360 Keynote Collection

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