5 Tips for Getting Your Audience to “Spread the Word”

Originally appeared on PR Soup

I have to start this post off by coming clean: I sit on the Board of Directors for Lights.  Camera. Help. So, naturally I am a little biased towards the great work this organization does! That being said, Christine and I were so impressed by the advice that Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention! shared with her readers in her blog post today that we felt we just had to share with you. Keep in mind that the tips she shares can apply to more than just email asks; think also in terms of media pitches, fundraising asks, etc. Enjoy the post and thank you again to Nancy for this vital information!

Your supporters and partners are one of the most productive marketing channels you have, and one of the least expensive. But I see so few orgs that ask supporters to spread the word on vital asks, and even fewer who make it easy (and far more likely) for them to do so.

This “spreading the word” strategy has been top of mind lately for, as it’s core to the program launch we’re marketing for a huge and complex New England human services org. I was surprised to learn that these folks had NEVER asked supporters to serve as marketing messengers. A huge opportunity missed but one to be harnessed a.s.a.p., and we’re doing just that.

So the pump was primed when I received an email from Aaron Bramley, CEO and Co-Founder of Lights.Camera.Help.

Aaron’s warm, brief email (full email here, with my annotations) covers all the bases, as he asks me to get the word out on the submission deadline for the Lights.Camera.Help Film Festival. He:

A. Rekindles our connection in a flash, by referencing a digital storytelling contest we’re both judging. If you don’t have an established connection, make one!
B. Reminds me about the subject at hand—the submission deadline for the Lights. Camera. Help. Film Festival which I’ve previously spread the word on—and current goal (to boost submissions by COB today).
C. Asks—clearly and directly—for my help in spreading the word to generate more submissions.
D. Makes it easy for me to spread the word by providing cut-and-paste content for tweets, facebook and LinkedIn posts and a full press release.
E. Thanks me!

So go ahead and ask your donors, volunteers, friends, colleague organizations, even staff and freelancers/firms. People like to help, especially when it’s easy. And when you ask right, you’ll exponentially expand your reach AND your supporters and partners will feel great about helping you do so. Win-win!

Take a close look at Aaron’s email to me, and use it as a model for your ask to spread the word. Please let me know how it goes.

What works best for you in asking your network to spread the word, and what doesn’t? Please share your experiences and guidance here. Thanks!