Getting nominated for a Webby for the Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly website was huge all by itself, but I really got into it when we started campaigning for the People’s Voice Award.
We went straight to our Facebook fan base to get the word out that we needed their votes. Our posts average over 100 shares and likes each, so this was a perfect opportunity to rally our viewers behind the show. The first post we made about the awards… 3 likes… and no shares. It almost immediately clicked: even with an existing fan base, content marketing was going to be more effective than direct solicitations.
On top of that, we also attract a very unique demographic on Facebook: the 40 and up crowd. Their generation as a whole is just beginning to really embrace the internet, largely because of Facebook. Voting on the Webby Awards site was difficult all by itself, so asking this particular group to vote was like asking someone that just learned to speak Spanish to compete on a spanish game show.
Keeping our audience and the marketing strategy in mind, I decided to just add a short sentence at the end of our usual content with a link asking people to vote if they like our show. Instead of going directly to the Webby’s voting page, this link pointed people to a page we made on how to vote, with a step-by-step video, and a graphic tutorial in case you couldn’t watch the video. And it worked! Our content was getting its usual number of shares and our link travelled right along with it.
I also decided to get a different set of fans involved: my own friends, family, and some of the young adults I’ve had the opportunity to mentor. I presented my campaign like an Oscar run, because while some of my fellow nerds would know about the Webbys, everyone knows about the Oscars. I recorded my personal appeal for everyone to vote and emailed every name I recognized in my Google contacts (I think everyone I met in the past four years got a text message about this too, lol). That was pretty painful to manage, so I set up a MailChimp account for the rest of the campaign. I know the online voting type would be in my Facebook and Instagram circles too, so I took freeze frames from my video and made some social media campaign posters.
What I didn’t count on with MailChimp was the excitement of actually getting to see what was happening after I sent an email, and then watching the views on my video, and then watching our votes take off! I could actually see who opened messages, who clicked on links… and MailChimp was showing me that I was actually getting higher than average responses to my emails than other users in my category.
I also noticed that the Webbys have a Tumblr site, and that they were showcasing their favorite People’s Voice campaigns on their blog. I’m thinking this is a big opportunity for publicity. Taking a note from a nominee’s campaign that they had promoted, I knew I needed to come up with something that would be consistent with R&E’s brand, and also make a clever nod to our Webby nomination. We started brainstorming about what would make for great integrated marketing for our webby nomination. We threw some ideas around and ultimately decided on creating some memes to post on Twitter. I also posted them on my personal instagram. With two days left for voting, one of the memes actually got retweeted by The Webby Awards twitter account!
In the end, we didn’t get enough votes to overtake the leader, but being able to see that I have such an actively supportive community behind me was worth everything. And bonus…our website was chosen by the judges for the academy’s official award, and I get to go to New York and accept it!
So, stay tuned for part 2! Can’t wait to share this experience with you!