2 Ways Biomedical Nonprofits Can Create Content That Encourages Social Sharing

March 24, 2015


Effective leadership marketing tools for disseminating valuable information

Your biomedical nonprofit is probably already sharing research, studies and educational information via your website, eNewsletters or online sites like LinkedIn. These are all great ways to reach your audience. But, how can you create content that encourages more social sharing?

Here are 2 highly effective Leadership Marketing tools that will get people clicking:

White Papers
It doesn’t matter whether you are targeting other scientists and researchers or the general public. People have a natural desire to learn, and a White Paper is a great way to share educational content. The best White Papers help people make decisions or provide insight into a topic that is regularly debated. White Papers are a powerful Leadership Marketing tool because they position your brand as an expert that can sift through information and provide a focused, insightful takeaway. Depending on the topics you choose, your biomedical nonprofit can use White Papers to generate leads, build industry alliances or even to drive donorship. It is easy to share White Papers both online or off. Consider offering a White Paper as an incentive to join your mailing list or as a bonus for joining one of your online communities.

Tip: White Papers don’t have to be boring! Focus on how the topic might impact your reader, and be sure you are solving a problem for them (i.e. Providing a new perspective on old research or sharing healthcare challenges and offering solutions.) Dress up a dry-looking layout with inspirational quotes or graphics to keep it interesting. If you’re presenting your White Paper online, add interesting links or find clever ways to make it more interactive.

People respond to platforms that simplify complex topics, and Infographics are one of the most effective tools for doing this. Infographics are exactly what they sound like: graphic depictions of data or multi-faceted topics. Infographics are a great Leadership Marketing tool because they allow you to share facts in a quick, organized, easily digestible way. Plus, they allow you to serve up information in a certain order that leads your audience to draw specific conclusions.

This Infographic created by the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research is a great example of how an institution can simplify the real-world impact of its work: http://www.novartis.com/stories/medicines/2014-02-rare-disease-infographic.shtml

Biomedical nonprofits that need to convince donors of the importance of their research might think about sending a similar Infographic in an eNewsletter or posting one to Pinterest to encourage social sharing. Whatever form it takes, be sure your Infographic leads the viewer back to your website.

Note: Infographics don’t have to be static. You can easily create and post animated Infographics on a community platform called Visual.ly (http://visual.ly/).


Create a Powerful Case Statement for Your Biomedical Nonprofit

March 10, 2015

Case_picMDI Biological Laboratory demonstrates 3 design techniques that keep readers engaged.

Seth Johnson, Designer at IBM, once said, “Design focuses on improving experience, not simply on making things look pretty.” When it comes to designing an impactful Case Statement, this couldn’t be truer.

Case Statements are usually structured around big asks, so it’s extremely important that they tell a compelling story. MDI Biological Laboratory’s most recent Case Statement, Catalyst for Cures, was created to support a $15 million campaign for expanding infrastructure and securing top talent for its growing regenerative medicine research focus. Catalyst for Cures was designed to be a Leave Behind that would summarize and reinforce MDI Biological Laboratory’s messaging after an in-person meeting. Much of the campaign’s success hinged on telling a powerful story with the design of this piece. Here are 3 things we can learn from MDI Biological Laboratory’s success:

Use Images that Inspire Action
MDI Biological Laboratory’s Case Statement is intended to capture the imagination of its audience before they even open the cover. From the very first word to the last, every element of the design and message is deliberately chosen to keep readers turning the page. The background images of tissues and cells are arresting because they are presented in sharp contrast and brilliant color. Initially, viewers may not be sure what they are looking at, but that’s not the point. They recognize it as something magical, something elemental—and they know that it matters. These are the visual touches that grab attention and keep people reading.

Photos of everyday people are interspersed with this awe-inspiring imagery. This juxtaposition is important, because it creates a visual connection between the science and the people whose lives that science touches. Young or old, aging is something we all have in common. Demonstrating this through intimate, friendly photography reminds the reader that the Institution’s research ultimately impacts them and their loved ones, too. Words are important for bringing a message home, but sometimes imagery can do it in much more subtle ways that resonate on a deeper level.

Use Typography to Unleash the Power of the Written Word
Maggie Cohn, the writer behind Catalyst for Cures, knows that collaborative concepting and expert typography had a lot to do with the success of this piece. She says, “Design is absolutely key in persuading readers to invest their time and effort in reading a print piece. Images and headlines that stand out, typography that’s easy on the eyes, appealing color and plenty of white space all invite readers to dive in. As a writer, I hate to admit it, but most busy readers just look at images, headlines and captions. Great design brings a story alive just as great writing does—and more people pay attention to it!”

MDI Biological Laboratory’s Case Statement is a powerful example of information design done well. Typographical treatments emphasize important text beyond headlines. White space allows readers to rest and absorb what they are reading. And dense paragraphs are easy to scan, which is key for a piece that may or may not be read cover to cover the first time.

Reinforce Your Message with Paper and Printing Techniques
It is difficult to see in the PDF, but a high-gloss spot-varnish is used throughout MDI Biological Laboratory’s Case Statement to give it a feeling of quality and to emphasize important takeaways. For instance, the cover features an image of heart tissue. The turquoise areas represent the new, regenerated tissue—the result of the Institution’s research. These areas are spot-varnished for added emphasis. Elsewhere in the Case Statement, you will notice that other important information is highlighted by bands of color or bounding boxes. These areas are also spot varnished so that they stand out more. This treatment works especially well in areas where information is set against a dull black or clean white background.

This piece was also printed with UV inks, a newer printing technique that offers a radiance to color and spot varnishes unachievable with traditional inks. Adding drama and emphasis with creative printing techniques such as these is a wonderful way to show your brand’s attention to quality and detail while supporting your message to the fullest. Without a doubt these treatments are pretty but like Seth Johnson says, they also improve the experience.

Connecting Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Work and Its Impact

March 9, 2015

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L.A. Biomed reveals 3 ways to show scientific leadership with a “Mission Moment.”

Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) is a non-profit scientific research organization that prides itself on innovation and scientific leadership. The institution asserts that over the past six decades LA BioMed’s physician-researchers have been responsible for some of the most important breakthroughs in medicine today. The key to bringing that claim to life lies in communications like their Mission Moment, a roughly 6-minute long video on the institution’s website that gets to the heart of what they do and makes it difficult not to support their work.

Here are 3 things we can learn from their approach:

Focus on Those You Help
LA BioMed’s Mission Moment tells the story of Mark and Jeanne Dant, whose son Ryan suffers from a rare genetic disease, mucopolysaccharidosis or MPS-I. The video begins by focusing on the impact this disease first had on the Dant family and how it threatened their personal hopes and dreams. This perspective communicates that LA BioMed is a compassionate institution that puts people first and that it values the human impact of its work even more than the work itself.

Show the Passion of Your Researchers
At the time of Ryan’s diagnosis, there were no researchers working on a cure. Yet one of LA BioMed’s researchers, Dr. Emil Kakkis, stepped in to give the family hope by using his expertise to innovate new treatments that vastly improved Ryan’s quality of life. As a representative of LA Biomed, the geneticist’s passion and dedication reflected back on the institution’s values. His work proved that the LA BioMed and its researchers value the impact they can have on one patient’s life more than potential profits from large-scale drug discovery.

Show Where Donations Go
La BioMed’s Mission Moment is a dramatic depiction of the institution’s values: scientific leadership and tireless dedication to bettering the lives of children through research. Sharing this story on their website is a powerful way to share that unique culture and to show how it drives scientific breakthroughs. It is this type of marketing communication that sways potential donors to give and builds a positive reputation that reaches beyond formal appeals.

How do you feel about LA BioMed’s Mission Moment? Is your Institution using similar storytelling tactics to show leadership and drive support?

Related Posts:
Creating Enthusiasm for Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Work
Connect the Dots Between Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Work and Its Impact
• 10 Ways to Ensure Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Website is a Leadership Marketing Machine

Creating Enthusiasm for Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Work

February 25, 2015

3 ways the Boyce Thompson Institute invites engagement with their brand.

At times, scientific research can be so all-consuming that we forget to share what we are doing—and why—with the community around us. The Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), a Bioscience Institute that conducts plant research, demonstrates the positive impact an Institution can have by opening its doors to the outside world and sharing the ongoing adventure of discovery.

Here are 3 ways they do it:

Communicating Outcomes
A winning section of the Boyce Thompson Institute website is “Your Gift at Work,” which highlights recent discoveries made possible by donors. The team at BTI uses this section to share engaging content that demonstrates how the science of what they do impacts the world around us. It also allows donors to share in the excitement of making a difference in the world one discovery at a time.

Takeaway: By showing your supporters how you apply your findings in the real world, you involve them in the magic of science—making your brand the hero!

Sharing Videos
Boyce Thompson Institute posts educational and informative videos about how plant science impacts the world on both their website and on Youtube.com. These videos, which include many formal lectures, celebrate the adventure of research and discovery, and invite the public to take part in that process, lending a friendly, open attitude to the BTI brand.

In addition to posting their own videos, BTI shares videos from allies like the World Wildlife Federation (WWF). By aligning their brand with another environmentally conscious cause, they demonstrate an investment in nature, not just plant science, which shows their values and elevates their brand.

Takeaway: Sharing quality videos that inspire and inform can legitimize your institution’s work and help spread infectious enthusiasm for the “big picture” behind your cause.

Hosting Community Events
When I visit the websites of Biomedical Nonprofits, I sometimes find empty pages where events and news should be. Following BTI’s example can help your Institution avoid going silent for too long. They keep their events page fresh by holding regular seminars and consistently sharing their ideas with the public. The events page also includes icons that differentiate the happenings and add interest. These efforts keep their web content fresh, and show the public that the exchange of ideas is alive and well at BTI. Is that your Institution’s event page is communicating?

Takeaway: People want to interact with your Institution, so it pays to hold regular events. This can mean hosting monthly lectures, inviting the public to engage in “Citizen Science” events or hosting a Q&A session on a regular basis. Keeping your events page fresh gives “outsiders” a chance to feel like insiders, which can build excitement—and more support.

It’s easy to let time lapse between community events and other outreach efforts, but BTI proves that putting effort into your external programs is worth it. Do you know of a Bioresearch Institution that is doing a great job generating enthusiasm around their work?

Related Posts

• Using Leadership Marketing Strategies to Build Public Trust

• 20 Marketing Tips to Help Your Biotech Brand Grow
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Can Podcasts Help Your Biomedical Nonprofit Gain More Donor Support?

February 18, 2015

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3 Leadership Marketing lessons we can learn from The Wistar Institute

The Wistar Institute is an independent institution located in Philadelphia, PA that is devoted to medical research and training. This Podcast on their website demonstrates that the communications team at The Wistar Institute understands Leadership Marketing and knows how to execute it effectively. Here are three things we can learn from their work:

Lesson 1. Lead with a Leader
The first section of The Wistar Institute’s March Podcast is dedicated to highlighting their work and expertise. The main feature is an informative interview with a key Wistar scientist, Dr. Luis Montaner, D.V.M.. In the podcast, Montaner discusses the latest methods for preventing and curing HIV and AIDS. While the information provided is technical, it is presented in a way that is also accessible, making it appropriate for all audiences, not just other scientists.

The Wistar marketing team made a smart choice by featuring one of their leading scientists and providing useful, insightful information at the same time. They went a step further by spotlighting Dr. Montaner on their website’s homepage under the heading “Meet a Scientist”. This offers two ways for visitors to their site to learn more about the experts on their staff, and it demonstrates Wistar’s commitment to hiring the best and brightest scientists.

Takeaway: Podcasts are a great platform for highlighting your institution’s thought-leaders in a way that is both insightful and accessible for most audiences.

Lesson 2. Leverage Loyal Donors
The next feature in the March Podcast is an interview with Lynsie Solomon, a current donor who talks about why she is a dedicated supporter of The Wistar Institute, and why she encourages others to get involved. In her discussion, Lynsie promotes an upcoming fundraising event, and because she is a donor, and not an official Wistar representative, it lends an air of authenticity and excitement to the event. The interviewer wisely guides the conversation, ensuring that Lynsie communicates key messages about the work being done at the Institute. Overall, it is a well-crafted section that shows the value of The Wistar Institute without sounding like a marketing message.

Takeaway: One of your best fundraising assets is your current donors. Allowing them to do the bragging for you also helps them feel more connected to your brand.

Lesson 3: Get Your Audience Involved
The April Podcast winds down with the most recent news and a schedule of upcoming events sponsored by The Wistar Institute. It is clear that these news snippets were chosen to demonstrate that the Institute is both well-respected and leading-edge. However, at no time does the tone of the podcast shift into “marketing mode”. Sharing upcoming events shows the breadth of activities happening at the Institute and invites participation.

Takeaway: You can help your audience feel like an insider by updating them on news and inviting them to participate in your institution’s events. Regularly sharing what is happening inside of your Biomedical Nonprofit with the outside world is a great way to build trust and gain loyal followers.

Leadership Marketing content like this is worth creating because it can be shared across the web and can effectively drive interested, motivated audiences back to your website. The Wistar Institute took a chance in 2014 by creating podcasts and executing them flawlessly. I can’t wait to see what they do in 2015.

Related Posts:

How Biomedical Nonprofits Can Benefit From Connecting Online and Offline Channels

• 10 Ways to Ensure Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Website is a Leadership Marketing Machine

How well is your Biotech Brand embracing the digital media landscape?

Generate broad interest in your Biomedical Nonprofit’s specialized cause.

February 11, 2015

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The Island Institute’s 3-pronged approach demonstrates how.

While the Island Institute is not specifically a Biomedical Nonprofit, it is a science-based nonprofit dedicated to helping sustain Maine’s year-round islands and working waterfront communities. I chose to highlight the Island Institute because it faces a challenge shared by many Biomedical Nonprofits: They have a very specialized cause that doesn’t impact most people directly. The Island Institute uses smart Leadership Marketing tactics to overcome this challenge with a 3-step communications approach:

Building Broad Interest
The Island Institute’s initial challenge was to make a wider audience aware of how climate change is impacting lobster fisheries along the coast of Maine. To do this, they created an in-depth communications piece entitled A Climate of Change that combined donor development, community development, and stakeholder development into one tool. This piece was designed for ease of use in the field, making it simple for representatives to share their story.

The Island Institute’s work is so regionally specific that it might have been difficult for them to get a larger audience involved. So, the content of the piece focuses on a passionate community of people who are already working to address the issues of climate change and establish next steps. By sharing the work currently being done, the Island Institute gives readers something to connect to and makes them feel that they have a stake in the outcome, too.

Take-away: Highlighting a community of people who are already working on solutions to a cause can facilitate connection, build legitimacy, and help your mission gain momentum.

Invite Further Engagement
A Climate of Change was created to provide talking points in the field, but it also lives on the Island Institute’s website so that anyone can download the full PDF. To ensure that people did just that, the Island Institute created a direct mail piece with a QR code that routed those who were interested to that specific section of the Island Institute’s website. The addition of the QR code let potential supporters know there were more resources available to them, and made it simple for them to quickly locate those resources.

Take-away: Creating bridges between communication touch points can help sustain interest. Rather than relying on “donate” as a call to action, consider using such bridges to foster an ongoing engagement.

Bring The Challenge to Life
In addition to offering the full version of A Climate of Change on their website, the Island Institute posted an engaging video to further support the cause. The video gives voice to community leaders and lobstermen who are personally concerned about climate change and feeling its impact firsthand. Allowing them to speak candidly, rather than having the Institute speak for them, keeps the mission at the forefront and acts as a platform for others to learn more.

Take-away: Staying focused on the urgency of your cause is more likely to engage and inspire large groups of people. Allowing those who are most deeply impacted to speak for themselves can help your institution connect with people on a deeper level.

Many Biomedical Nonprofits struggle with trying to communicate the importance of their work to those it may not impact directly. What the Island Institute shows us is that helping “others” feel like insiders can fuel interest and garner more support for a cause.

Is Your Bioresearch Institution Showing Its Human Side?

February 6, 2015

Consider borrowing some Leadership Marketing tips from Howard Hughes.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a recognized leader in the scientific community, and its website gives us some clues as to how it maintains that reputation. The institute’s communications group uses several Leadership Marketing techniques to bring HHMI’s mission and goals to life. Here are 3 things we can learn from their approach:

Highlight Your Experts, Not Your Expertise
A highly regarded entity like Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has every right to be proud of its contributions to science. But when it comes to their website, the institution chooses to promote the work of the scientists it supports rather than its own reputation. Their current homepage features an HHMI scientist and invites visitors to learn more about the research that he does at Howard Hughes. Alongside his image is copy that explains the institution’s commitment to supporting “individuals” and “discoveries that benefit humanity.” Rather than leading with a marketing message, the homepage offers visitors an invitation to learn more about the institution’s mission and the scientists who strive to accomplish it. This approach makes it easier for visitors to connect with the institution on a deeper level right from the start.

Takeaway: People relate to people, not to institutions. The more that you can humanize your work, the more people will want to learn about it.

Share Your Motivations
It’s easy for an institution to say it is passionate about its work. It is much more difficult to demonstrate it. But that’s exactly what Howard Hughes Medical Institute does in the “How We Advance Science” section of its website. The section invites visitors to learn more about what motivates their scientists. For instance, the section highlights the work of investigator, Douglas A. Melton. Melton studies stem cells in an effort to cure diabetes because his son has type I (juvenile) diabetes. By showing his personal interest in curing this disease, Howard Hughes Medical Institute connects the dots between the research being done and the human impact of that research.

Takeaway: Your scientists are passionate about what they do. Sharing that passion makes others feel good about supporting your institution’s goals.

Contribute to the Greater Good
One of the primary tenets of Leadership Marketing is to use your expertise to inspire and inform others. Howard Hughes Medical Institute accomplishes this wonderfully in its Educational Materials section. This area of their website offers free educational materials and teaching tools such as virtual labs, videos, and scientific animations. By freely sharing these valuable, scientific resources with teachers, students, other scientists, HHMI sends a clear message that it values scientific understanding above all else. It also reaffirms their scientific expertise to the general public and the scientific community.

Takeaway: Sharing educational resources with no other goal than to improve understanding of your area of research can help build trust for your institution and solidify your reputation as a scientific expert.




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