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When Social Media and Traditional Media Work Together, Good Things Happen

Guest Post:  Maryland Grier, Senior Communications Officer, Connecticut Health Foundation

On their own, both “social”  and “traditional” media work well.  But as we recently discovered at the Connecticut Health Foundation, when used in tandem,  opportunities to reach audiences — especially new ones — can expand significantly.

Here’s what happened:

Our VP of Finance and Operations, Carol Pollack, wrote a blog titled, 3 Tips for Identifying a Chief Investment Officer.  It was one of the first posts on our new blog on our website, which launched at the end of May.

In July, reporter Nick Lioudis from NonProfit News a national online news resource that primarily services foundations, contacted us to find out if he could do two different stories about our foundation’s search for our CIO.

Thanks to some online searching, he’d read our blog about the CIO and wanted to learn more about our process so that he could share it with his wider, national audience.  The initial story resulted in an interview with Patricia Baker, our president & CEO, (registration for a free trial is required). That story led to a second, more in-depth article about investment models for foundations.

Basically a single blog post turned into two articles in a national, external publication–and on a topic we’re typically not seen as an expert on.

Some of our takeaways from this experience include:

  • When you have something to say — say it. The story of our search for a CIO was not one that would have fit into a traditional announcement.  It’s doubtful that a news release titled: “CT Health Selects Cambridge Associates” would have garnered any attention. Through our blog, however, we were able to tell the story about what we learned through the process, and this is information we believed would be useful to other foundations. More so, what we said in the blog post was enough to encourage a reporter who covers the nonprofit sector to contact us for help in putting together a larger story.
  • Optimize your web content for search engines.  Your web content isn’t limited just to people who routinely visit your website.  Instead, if your content gets indexed by search engines, you increase the opportunity that people who might not other visit regularly, if at all, will click through items they find find on Google or other sites.  As happened in this case, the reporter doing a search for his article discovered the post, clicked to read it and followed up.  Also the publication of the two articles helps establish the Connecticut Health Foundation’s expertise in other areas besides health, and that make us a useful source for other reporters writing future articles about different aspects of foundation operations.

That’s been our experience from using social and traditional media for maximum effect.  What’s been your experiences? Share them here.


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