I think CP should begin befriending/increase visibility with the dominant theme markets/developers and then, after warming up the market where needed, begin a strategic persuasion Public Relations campaign to cause them to not only move to aggressively serving the CP community but also agreeing to sign on to one level of a tiered sponsorship in return for extremely meaningful-to-them benefits program (gold level gets xx package, silver level gets x, etc). This drives home the need for CP users and an ecosystem of publicity channels. Media relationships and placements in the appropriate targeted tech pubs would be good to have developed at the onset. This is an excellent opportunity for CP, users and theme developers/businesses.
Thanks for your thoughts here! All of us are looking for ways to generate revenue for ClassicPress in ways that allow us to remain true to our vision. I think there may be some hesitation to pursue sponsorships because we want to avoid falling into a situation where we are forced to do what the sponsors want, even when it runs contrary to what the Community wants. However, if there is a way to facilitate sponsorships and remain true to our values and our Community – then I’d love to hear more about that.
I would be interested to hear more about your vision here and what you think that campaign would look like. I know there are people here that have spoken to some of the larger theme developers (I’m one of them) and we’ve had varied responses. I do agree that the time is now to reach out/reach out again. This can be one of the marketing team’s priorities for 2020.
Given what I mentioned above, what do you feel are appropriate benefits to offer to these sponsors? What should they expect from us?
We have reached out in the past and not had much success; I expect that may change over time as the landscape changes. Do you have any contacts in these areas or further suggestions?
I’m confused as to what you think is a sponsorship package. The one’s I’ve created have been one’s where we mapped out what we could give and then associated what would be our market value for that give, keeping in mind that the recipient is looking for awareness, memorability and ROI. Cause-marketing PR programs do this very well, eg., we did a three-way with a national real estate company, a novel pet product safety company and a national companion animal association. The latter two provided a product for homeowners and an amazingly clever unusually-sized brochure that promoted the safety company and the animal association – and the real estate company had their logo/tag line that melded with the latter two …and promo’d it in their paid advertising, media publicity, direct mail.
Win-win-win. That is the goal of such programs, whether cause marketing or sponsorships. First, you think of what you have… being resourceful.
But, I’ve never encountered a situation where one is controlled. That’s anathema to the concept of a win-win. ??
The first step in the building of a written PR campaign is research: primary and secondary/environmental/qualitative is fine/quantitative is more onerous. It’s on top of that foundation that messaging/audiences are built and defined. Warming up an audience is a customary first step, eg, it’s easier to ask a friend for a cup of sugar than a stranger.
Relationship building/awareness first. Then the tactical aspects are detailed, with metrics, again upon the research foundation, which provides the roadmap. Publicity is, in the PR world, media relations, while promotion is everything other than publicity and paid space. The tactics that accomplish the goal are the one’s used, pulsing is important.
It takes time to create a written strategy, from which assignments can be tasked. If a publicity campaign was already in place, with messaging decided and based upon what the humans want to know/hear/believe is persuasive to them (which is difficult for orgs to wrap their heads around as they tend to want to drive even if it’s down a road that’s not persuasive to the end-receiver. ) , that would be a huge help and might be the easiest first step.
If you need somebody aboard that can write using AP style, journalism pyramid, you might want to tap university programs. I taught capstone courses that were always in need of projects. There’s also work-study and internship programs. WS takes money but it’s not much.
I abhor the PR-y, adjective-filled, me-me copy that clutters a lot of the publicity distribution channels these days. The agency I ran was able to get big company clients because we had a 100 percent pick-up rate for our publicity, which is often unheard of, but we wrote as a journalist would write. The news value was clear and editing was rarely needed.
We used to actually get long feature stories down the AP wire, which had its door closed to PR shops. The result was high pay for the work we did. So, I’m saying get some student journalists to write copy that is not sensationalized and hangs on a bona fide news peg. The results will be far better.
But beginning a publicity program would be a first step, as I said. Then you can be developing the PR campaign as time passes.
The important thing is that once a publicity program is begun, it must be maintained consistently and messaging must be consistent. Stop and starts are publicity program killers. And messaging that is all over the place only creates cacophony. Repeats of the same message packaged in different ways in publicity copy is the most effective at creating understanding that is harmonious between the org and the receivers.
Hope this makes sense?
I sense that some folks on the board might be more receptive to tactics than strategic programming - or may object to any communication programs? Most people want to get to the doing and balk at the planning aspect. That’s a huge waste of time and energy but it does feel better. It’s also very human. Additionally, most nonprofessional don’t have a clue as to what PR really is. They think of it based on TV / movie programming as one-way communication, rather than on what the field actually is: a management-level function involving two-way communication aimed at creating mutual understanding.
I think this would be a great thing for the new committee to look into. With fresh eyes and a new perspective we can work out a PR strategy. I do think this should be done at the team level (or even sub-team level) and then be brought back to the committee for final approval.
I think this is a side effect of being developer heavy at the moment (not that it is a bad thing). I can only speak for myself, but as a developer I often hate the sitting around and planning part. I would rather jump in and start working on things, and for personal projects this works, but for bigger organizations this clearly doesn’t translate. Which is often why, in my personal case, I bring in people who are better at the planning part and in a sense hold me back from jumping in. Which is why above I mentioned that I think this would be better done at the team level, and once mostly finalized brought back to the committee for final approval.
Phew! A lot here to unpack. I am happy to have your help on this, @easternwawoman, so thank you for taking the time to outline all of this.
I’ve seen packages set up this way, but I’ve also seen where sponsors feel that because they paid X, they get to have greater influence in the decision-making and direction of the organization. We want to avoid that, even if it means we go without. We do not want to ever be in a place where we are accused of betraying our community for the sake of money.
This has been informally explored several times in several different ways, but never formally, partly because of a lack of available resources. We’ll be looking for volunteers after the holidays to add to the marketing team.
I agree with this; no plan = plan to fail.
I’ve not considered university programs previously. Good idea.
Wade touched on this from a developers perspective and I agree with his statements. Another thing that seems to have happened in the past is people would offer advice but when it came time to do the work (planning or implementing a plan) they didn’t have time to contribute. We are actively seeking more people ready to help – both with the initial planning tasks, and the implementation of the plan.
What you’ve laid out here is an excellent start and you’ve explained things very clearly. I am hopeful that others will read this and add their comments/suggestions, and that we’ll be able to start strong in 2020.