Thursday, 10 March 2011

A walk in the clouds

It is always interesting to see whether people say what they really mean or really mean what they say and some times in order to do this we have to read between the lines. And that is no different when it comes to the letters received from supporters. Both those praising your organisation and those being critical.

That's why I like word clouds. Obviously they are not an exact science but what they do do is visually show emphasis or rather frequency of any string of words you choose to enter. As a result they can be useful tools.
  • If you use them to scan your supporter comments each month. They could highlight some interesting trends: what supporters are liking, what they're not, themes, word's they are associating and using to describe your organisation and thus you will be able to see whether the prevalent words match what you think you are communicating.
  • As a filter to see how supporter focused your own communications are. Is the biggest word that appears in the copy word cloud your organisation's name rather than those words relating to your supporters or the beneficiaries of your work? If so, your copy could probably do with a little bit of work.
  • See whether your social media conversations are highlighting your organisation's priorities? or are multiple tweets and facebook posts concentrated on too many themes or one less than supporter engaging topic?
As I say, there is nothing scientific about them, but the clouds can show up some surprising things - things you and your organisation may want to act on or at least delve a little further into. Obviously, they are no replacement for a genuine supporter focused strategy or indeed a clear communications plan but they can help show how much you might need to develop those things or revisit what you have - which can be no bad thing.

Thanks for stopping by!