iKnowHow: building a wiki for the voluntary sector (part eleven) Taking another look at persuasive communications
Thanks to everyone who commented on our last iKnowHow blog about persuasive communications via the site and our LinkedIn group. It’s clearly an important topic for us all. Madeleine has promised to start a how-to guide based on what we have learnt so far so there can be a permanent place where you can share your ideas.
In the meantime we wanted to share with you what we have learnt since last week.
- Direct communications with established contacts are more like to result in a contribution than a general call-out (tweet / newsletter / blog post). This is not really surprising but is worth saying. When we directly invite a contact or an offline working group to share their knowledge through iKnowHow this gets results. Clearly this takes time but in the early stages of iKnowHow is valuable. It may be that if iKnowHow were to continue into 2013, the momentum would be self-sustaining but at this stage it needs to be managed.
- General communications to big groups are worth doing for awareness raising but do not generate much activity. We tend to think that because the people who receive our communications (ie those who receive newsletters or are our followers on Twitter) have self-selected to find out more about what we do, they are likely to want to contribute. But this assumes many things including that they even open or read our message, that they are inspired by the invitation and then that they have the time and skills to get involved. Because we can’t segment messages for example on Twitter – everyone gets the same message which means it’s not personal. The splatter-effect hasn’t really worked so far. Even with our large networks at KnowHow and NCVO the best results come from more a more dedicated approach.
- The personal touch is key. iKnowHow needs a person to drive it, to celebrate contributions and invite new ones.
So, in conclusion the communications starting point isn’t really how you write (ie the words you use to be persuasive) but building and nurturing relationships and networks and then writing to them in a persuasive way which inspires them to contribute. Easy!
Next week I will talk about the purpose behind the persuasion. If people really knew how meaningful it would be for themselves and for the sector to take part in iKnowHow would they more likely to respond to our call outs?