Storytelling is critical to achieve success on social media, where the goal is to grab attention and pique interest.
Without some sort of visual element to your storytelling, it will likely fall flat and get ignored.
But sharing these great stories does not have to be a once-an-done kind of thing!
Believe it or not, you can re-purpose your stories in many ways, to get the most juice out of them, and the most reach and exposure.
“Content re-purposing” may sound fancy and super-technical, but thanks to several free and low-cost nonprofit visual storytelling tools, it doesn’t have to be.
In today’s post I am going to walk you through 10 of my favorite trusted visual content creation tools, selected with an eye towards reusing, recycling, and re-purposing those amazing stories that you have about your work.
For even more graphic design and video creation tools, the free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Creating Nonprofit Social Media Graphics.
Animated Video (Lumen5)
Not many people have discovered this amazing tool yet, so jump on the bandwagon before they do.
This is my absolute favorite video creation tool for social media. (Animoto is a close second.)
How It Works: Using their pre-designed Smart Templates, you can either:
Upload an original blog post or text document and it will create a customized video (make sure you have headlines or sub-heads so it knows what to pull-out and put into the video);
Create a completely original slideshow video with your own bullet points.
All videos use Lumen5 stock images (for free) and their own stock music (for free).
You can then share the video to social media or download the file and embed into a blog.
Here is a free video that Lumen5 created for me (I only had to change one photo) after I uploaded my blog post, 10 Simple Ways Nonprofits Can Prepare for a Successful #GivingTuesday:
Sound too good to be true? I’m sure it won’t stay free for long!
Price: Completely free. I suggest you sign up now!
Slide Deck (Slideshare)
With 70 million users and the ability to embed your Slideshare presentations directly onto your LinkedIn profile, this dark horse of social media is perfect for content re-sharing.
How It Works: You upload a PowerPoint or PDF file into Slideshare, customize the description (think: search key words) and title, and publish.
You can also embed Slideshare into your LinkedIn articles on their publishing platform, as well as inside your blog posts or on your website.
See my example here:
Pull-quote Graphics (Canva)
Canva is hands-down my favorite graphic design tool for social media (and everything beyond).
With hundreds of thousands of templates, automatic resizing, and a stock photo library chock full of free options, it’s the go-to place for non-graphic designers who don’t like PhotoShop.
How It Works: Choose a pull-quote from the story that you want to share and add it to a template.
See this example from TWLOHA that shared a quote from one of their supporters in an Instagram post:
Price: They offer their premium version free to registered nonprofits! Apply here.
While Canva can be used to create infographics, I also wanted to highlight another nifty tool, one specifically designed to help the non-graphic designers of the world create eye-catching infographics – Venngage.
How It Works: You can import data directly from spreadsheets, but for storytelling purposes, you want to walk people through the story visually.
A good example of this is this educational infographic from Malaria No More, to illustrate the “story” and the value of a $10 donation:
Price: Venngage offers 50% off their subscription plans to nonprofits, which comes to $10/month for unlimited use.
Instagram Stories (Adobe Spark)
Instagram Stories are exploding in popularity, and if your nonprofit has a presence on Instagram, it’s time to start experimenting.
Adobe Spark Post offers a simple, easy way to create beautiful graphics to upload to your Instagram Story, to make it look more professional and well-designed.
If you have never posted an Instagram Story before, I strongly suggest that you spend some time watching the Stories posted by other nonprofit accounts to get an idea of the look and feel of the feature.
How It Works: Go to the Adobe Spark website and create your free account. Chunk your story out into pieces, using pull-quotes, statistics, and “do you know” data, and create graphics to add to your Instagram Story.
DoSomething.org posts well-designed Instagram Stories, example below:
You can also create video slideshows for free.
Price: Free! If you want the premium version, it’s $9.99 a month (and more robust than most nonprofits need).
E-books (PowerPoint, Keynote, OpenOffice)
Creating short e-books in PowerPoint is easier than ever, with professional templates available at every turn on the internet.
Turn your stories into a downloadable e-book, available on your website or sent to VIP supporters and donors!
Add photos and you have a visual storytelling asset that can be updated in years to come.
How It Works: Check out HubSpot’s 13 Customizable Ebook Templates and get inspired!
For more examples, I created both The Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Social Media Graphics and The Ultimate Guide to Instagram for the Small Nonprofit in PowerPoint.
Price: Free with Microsoft Office, and Canva has an e-book creation tool and templates.
Email Series (Constant Contact, Mailchimp)
Using email software like Constant Contact or Mailchimp, you can divide your story up into parts and send out a series of scheduled emails.
How It Works: I wrote in detail about how a nonprofit can create a story series in this blog post.
Price: Mailchimp has a free plan; Constant Contact has discounted rates for nonprofits.
Guest Posting (Various sites)
If you have a great story to share about your work, write a case study and explore other sites that may be interested in sharing it!
Sites that accept well-written guest blog posts:
- Wild Apricot
How It Works: Do some research by reading several blog posts on the site to which you want to contribute, to get a feel of what they like to publish.
Then approach their editor with your idea, or even your fully finished story post!
Price: Free! You may even become a regular contributor.
Live Storytelling (Google Hangout, Facebook Live)
Google Hangout is completely free, available to all, and super easy to set up and use.
Facebook Live is also free – broadcast your storytelling from your Facebook Page!
Here is an example of how I use Facebook Live (and then can embed it into my blog post to get the video even more traction):
How It Works: Set up a live broadcast where you share one of your best stories. Make sure you promote the time and date to your fans, followers, and email list.
Record the live broadcast and re-use it on your blog, in your email newsletter, anywhere you like!
Your Blog (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix)
If you currently have a website with blog capability, you can use that part of the site for Success Stories, Testimonials, Stories of Changed Lives, etc.
See how the Denver Rescue Mission uses their website to showcase their stories so people can back and read them again and again:
How It Works: If your current nonprofit website does not have this feature, set up a free site on WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix and house your stories there.
How do you re-purpose your stories and your visual content? Any free tools to add to this list?
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