Tri-Town Teachers Credit Union

Since this blog is primarily a story about small businesses and organizations using the internet for marketing, or more accurately, learning how to use the internet for more effective marketing, it is important, as in any story, to introduce the main “characters”.

At this time, the most important character in our story is the Tri-Town Teachers Credit Union. I have supported them for about eight years as their “webmaster”. Until late 2011, the web site was their only foray into the world of internet marketing and it was essentially an information reference for its members.

Their membership base of approximately 2400 members is primarily the teachers, active and retired, from three local communities in Connecticut; Westport, Weston and Wilton. Membership is also available to family members of eligible employees.

In September 2011, the management held two listening sessions with members to learn how communications could be improved. The message was loud and clear, especially from the younger teachers; the Credit Union had to do a much better job at using the internet to reach it’s members. One could say those “listening sessions” were an epiphany for the Credit Union. They heard the message! They were committed to respond in a positive way. The problem was “how “. The staff consisted of four; a manager, an assistant manager, and two office administrative persons. None of them had the time to take this on, not to mention the technical background needed. The operating budget did not have the flexibility to hire another staff person for this role.

Because I had been their “internet” person for several years and had been encouraging a move in this direction, they asked me if I could provide the support they needed as an outside contractor. We worked out an arrangement and late in 2011 began with a blog focused on financial matters that would be of interest to young and mid-career teachers.

The blog soon gave way to a weekly e-mail. That project has consumed the time budget we worked out to begin this initiative. But, now that we are about six months “down the road”, the weekly e-mail is taking a little less time, so I am optimistic we will soon be able resume the blog. We also have a Facebook page and a plan to use that in a different way than the e-mails or how the blog will be used.

To summarize, the Tri-Town Teachers Credit Union is a prime example of an organization that is successful in their mission but believes it needs to embrace the internet even more. They do not have the resources to take this step, but they are willing to use an outside resource to, at least partially, provide the resource they need to move into the world of internet marketing.

Does this description of the Tri-Town Teachers Credit Union sound familiar? Are there others who have traveled down this road? Or want to? If so, please comment and let us know. There can be strength in numbers.

For those interested, their web site is www.tritownteachers.org.

OK, OK, I know, I Need an Editorial Calendar!

I know it. I tell the few people I’ve been coaching about the importance of planning their blog posts with an Editorial Calendar. “Try to go out 3 months”, I tell them, “6 weeks minimum”. Their reply, “Yes, I know, but that’s hard to do”.

You know something, they’re right! I’ve been rolling ideas around in my head over this for a while. “Should I begin with a description of the clients I’m working with or should I deal with specific topics?”, I ask myself. So far, I haven’t heard too many clear-cut answers.

What’s a blogger to do? Well, what I’ve decided to do is produce a few posts, like this one, to learn a few things. For instance,”How much can I bite off in one post?” or “How much time is it going to take to produce a post?” Since there are very few readers currently, any damage control required will be minimal.

Already I learned a lesson. My first post last week, and its connected page, contained a list with sub-bullets and sub-bullets under them. No problem I thought, I had that in a M/S Word document. Just use the WordPress “Copy Word” button and everything will be cool. Wrong! at least for me.

The format got all screwed up and I had to create the lists, line by line. Maybe there are some tricks here that I’ve yet to learn, but my takeaway was, “Keep the sub-bullets to one level until further notice.”

I’ve known there are, and I’ve seen many posts about editorial calendars. I will dig into my “save for reading later” lists for suggestions, but if anybody reading this has a helpful idea, please, please send it along.

For those keeping score, this post took about 20-25 minutes, counting the erasures and retyping.

The First Post: Finding Your Voice

Like the title says, this is my first post on OK, We Can Do This. Even though it is not my first post ever, I struggled nevertheless, trying to come up with the “momentous” idea that would make this first effort noteworthy. That, in spite of the fact, I knew almost no one would ever read it!

Find Your Voice
Then I remembered the phrase, “Find Your Voice”. I heard that said by Rob Petersen during a presentation at the Wilton Library. Rob was talking about Content Marketing on the internet, particularly the use of Social Media and his thought, “Find Your Voice” was a point made on how to get started. Incidentally Rob makes an excellent presentation and has an impressive resume. You can find out more about Rob at BarnRaisers and I recommend doing so.

Now I didn’t write down exactly what Rob meant with his point, “Find Your Voice”, but I’m sure it included thoughts about style and audience. A while ago I took his advice and drafted a short “white paper” for my own use. It was my attempt to find my voice, particularly for this blog and wherever else my efforts might lead.On reflection, it seemed like a good place to begin.

Finding My Voice – An Outline
I’m not going take readers through my version of “finding my voice”, but I will lay out the outline I developed. And I will put the full document on this site as a separate page, for anyone that might be interested. One final thought before we begin, any document like this should be dynamic. That is, it should change with time as experience is gained. I anticipate that will be the case with my version of “Find Your Voice”. Hopefully it will get better.

Without further ado…

Find Your Voice: An Outline

“What’s this all about?”

  • Define the audience
  • What are the key needs of the audience?
  • What are your objectives?

 “What are you going to write about?”

  • Define the scope
  • Identify the key focus areas – “What are you going to talk about?”

“How are you going to do that?”

  • What platforms will be used?
  • How much time will be devoted?
  • On what kind of schedule?
  • What tools are required?

“What will be your style?”

  • Learning experience narrative vs. generalized advice?
  • Answers or questions – How much of each?
  • How serious vs. light hearted?
  • How long will the posts be?
  • The good with the bad?

Hopefully This Is Helpful
Of course everyone will have their own needs, and ideas on how to respond to them, but hopefully my outline here will be of some help to those venturing into this world of internet based content marketing for the first time. For anyone interested, how I responded to this outline can be viewed here, Finding My Voice.

Again, a final thanks to Rob Petersen for the idea.

Your comments and thoughts on “Finding Your Voice” or another topic are most welcome!

Helping Small Business with Internet Marketing

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Bill Mathews

Bill Mathews

This blog is a story about helping people with a small business implement a strategy for internet marketing. A strategy built on the concept of content marketing, and focused on the individual needs and resources in each situation. Comments, suggestions, even criticisms are welcome, and solicited.

Bill Mathews

Click on “About” and “Content Marketing” above for additional information. Click on TimberlakeAssociates.com to visit our web site.