Involving your audience — upstream!

first_imgGood marketers understand the values of your audience, not your own, should shape how you communicate.  So I want to call your attention to someone who is letting their audience shape their creative work, turning their web redesign into a conversation with constituents. American Rivers is truly moving audience feedback upstream as the organization rethinks americanrivers.org, nationalrivercleanup.org, and healthyrivers.org.First, check out their blog, which shows just how transparent and collaborative their redesign is.  Also take a look at their Flickr contest, where they are asking river-lovers to upload their own photos.My Network for Good colleague Stacie Mann  knows the clever guy behind this work and the blog, Chas Offutt, and asked him how goes the marketing conversation that he’s started.  Here are his responses:1) Was there any pushback within organization about being so transparent? Nothing to date, but I’m not exactly sure how many people are aware of the blog. I’ve been rolling it out on an individual basis to generate feedback, greater review before I make a larger outward push. These small steps have worked out well as I’ve made a quite a few changes over the first 5 weeks that have greatly impacted the direction of my efforts. I’ve gotten some excellent feedback from co-workers, friends, and counterparts within the online advocacy community.2) What results are you seeing with blogging?Well, I’m seeing growth in traffic, comments, and general participation (Crazy Egg’s heat map is pretty cool, which, by the way, that idea came from a visitor). And, internally, I’m getting a lot of support from folks who appreciate being involved in the process. Last month, I held a Web 2.0 Introduction that went over really well. It would be great to have del.icio.us, Flickr, and RSS on our site, but what good would it be if the staff had no idea what it means and more importantly, how it can benefit their work. I feel the blog, as well as my work within the organization, should contain an education (i.e. testing) component – hence some of the “blog bling”. The success of our efforts online will not be because of me or my team, but the organization as a whole.3) What kinds of things surprised you? Good or bad… Aside from folks actually reading it, I’ve been a little surprised with the number of paths that I’ve been able to pursue as a result of this online dialogue – I seem to be referred to some cool new thing everyday (e.g. Vizu from Katya). I know I’m not the first to experience these online changes and one reason I wanted to do start this blog was to learn more about what’s happening in my field and reach out to those who have gone, going, or thinking about going through a website redesign.  Down the road, I’d love to see everyone in the organization blogging (but not like PhilTube) about their work – that would be awesome.last_img