Tools for Communicating Local Impacts
In order for Extension to remain relevant and successful for years to come, it’s important that our stakeholders recognize the value of our programming across the state. The coronavirus pandemic has only magnified this need, both locally and at the state level, as partners like county governments and granting agencies among others are faced with difficult decisions regarding the allocation of resources moving forward.
We may be more distant, but we still must be social. But where to begin? Every county center and department addresses unique needs with unique expertise, programming and relationships. How should you plan and prioritize your marketing during these uncertain times? What tools are available to assist you?
Extension Marketing and Communications offers a variety of resources to help you connect with your audiences and demonstrate impact. See below for a list of highlights, from strategic planning to digital tools and plug-and-chug resources. Visit our Extension Brand Site to finds these and other materials.
These resources provide valuable insight and guidance to help you identify local goals, target your audiences and tell stories that demonstrate meaningful impacts.
- This is a critical first step for all of your communications efforts. Marketing provides the opportunity to build awareness of Extension’s programs and services; it also helps you to understand your customers’ needs, how best to prioritize your time and resources, and how to communicate in a more impactful way. Our marketing planning process and workbook will help your county / program get started.
- Extension Storytelling
How can you ensure that your outreach connects with the intended audience, while growing our collective brand? Discover a blueprint (including guidelines, tools and examples) for any scenario – campus and county, proactive and reactive – to create a consistent and impactful Extension narrative.
Digital Tools on Demand
Given the situation in communities across the state and country, it’s imperative to adopt virtual learning resources and take a digital-first approach to programming when possible. Review a sampling of tools below that can help you leverage digital platforms and maintain a strong connection with your stakeholders.
- Zoom Virtual Backgrounds (Google Drive)
- Find more Zoom info and resources on the brand site.
- Video Production – check out tips for creating engaging videos and getting them on YouTube, tools for ensuring properly branded videos, guidance on captioning clips, and existing Extension videos that can help bolster your marketing.
- Social Media Assets – discover a wealth of info to guide your social media efforts, from strategic messaging and analytics tools to account images / photo sizing resources and overviews of specific social channels.
Extension Information Technology – note that EIT provides tips and training on a wide range of topics, from website optimization and video development to university applications and general tech support. Simone Keith, EIT video education specialist, also offers a video training program for county centers – contact Simone to learn more.
Ideally your team will have drafted a marketing plan to guide your efforts (we can’t overstate how important this is to optimizing your resources and maximizing your marketing impact), at which point this sampling of resources can reinforce your local communications.
- Extension Stats and Strengths – this section is home base for resources that will help you convey Extension’s impact, including the following materials among others:
- Marketing Templates (N.C. Cooperative Extension) – find customizable Word files in a variety of layouts – including county / program reports, fliers, brochures, cards and more – which can be localized with minimal fuss to highlight your programming and efforts.
- PowerPoint Templates – download slide templates that can be customized, as well as slides with general Extension information, including overview details, Extension history, and impacts and organizational metrics. Insert the slides into presentations, display on digital screens, print as info handouts / posters, etc.
- Email Newsletter Templates – utilize branded Constant Contact templates that can be customized as event announcements, program updates, general newsletters and more to reach your target audience.
- County Profiles Database – Extension Evaluation and Accountability developed this resource, which provides a wealth of data for every county, including economic indicators, population demographics, employment info, agriculture and local food highlights, and much more.
We’re Here to Help!
We’re working on additional resources that will be shared with everyone as soon as they’re available. And of course you can contact our team with questions or ideas.