Brands today need to be interesting and do something remarkable if they are to cut through the clutter and get people to firstly care about them, and secondly, take some sort of action, whether that be to part with money, sign up or merely share content via their personal networks.
And by brands, I mean individuals, companies large and small, as well as nonprofit organisations.
To that end, I asked food writer and content creator extraordinaire Lou Pardi (pictured above) to write the post because, well currently she's living and breathing the campaign and creating plenty of visibility online (and off!) for the One Girl brand.
Create & share content
And that's the goal, isn't it? To get members of the public to take notice of you and get involved in your cause, plus giving them something they can create content around, content that their friends and acquaintances can them pass along to their friends, who can share with their friends... and so on.
And that's exactly what Lou has done with her Do It In a Dress campaign!
In the post below, Lou explains the campaign and her role in it, as well she shares some excellent social media and content marketing tips associated with her activity. Thanks Lou!
(And yes, if you look closely at the photo at the bottom of this post, you might - just might - see a PR Warrior in a school dress! Photo taken at Melbourne Media Makers)
GUEST POST: Do It In a Dress (by Lou Pardi)
Do it in a dress is One Girl’s major fundraiser. One Girl is an organisation which gives girls in Sierra Leone the opportunity to access education and sanitation. It was started by two Melburnians, Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon.
This year they asked me to get on board as a champion, and although donning a school dress isn’t something I thought I’d be doing ever again, after learning more about their organisation, I was more than happy to participate.
One Girl implements education and sanitation programs on the ground in Sierra Leone. It’s one of the worst places in the world to be born a girl. Young women are more likely to be sexually assaulted than receive an education.
The idea behind One Girl is that changing one girl’s life helps the whole community – an educated girl gets married later, makes different family decisions, has less children and alleviates poverty for everyone.
Anyone can participate – simply by signing up at www.doitinadress.com, and either wearing an old school dress, or buying one from the site. You can do it in a dress for an event, a day, a week or a month – and you’re sponsored to do so by friends and family (and if you’re lucky - strangers too). It’s kind of like a fun run, but there’s no running, which makes it perfect for me.
That said, there were a few hurdles to getting me in a dress. I’m a thirty-something friendly feminist who’s just co-founded a new content agency - so running around in a school dress isn’t top of my personal branding agenda...
It’s a cause I believe in. The services are implemented by the people who raise the money. Their funds distribution model is transparent. And the campaign, is awesome.
As a secondary perk, exploring the dress as an activation and content marketing tool is pretty fun.
On the back of dresses purchased from One Girl is the message: ‘I’m doing it in a dress so I can send a girl in Africa to school www.doitinadress.com’.
When you hear people whispering, you can simply turn your back on them and all is explained. It’s surprisingly effective.
There are also many, many opportunities to create images, videos, blog posts and social media updates about the campaign – authentically and in a way that captures attention – inspiring others to either join Do It In A Dress themselves, or sponsor a participant.
4 reasons a school dress is a great content marketing tool:
- It causes Kodak moments. Fancy dress is always a great reason for a photo, or a video. (Aside: isn’t it interesting when a slogan outlives a brand?)
- The dress is just as striking on a Facebook, Instagram, or Google+ (or any other image channel) feed as it is in real life. Many of my friends have seen me marching through their newsfeed in a dress. Lots of valuable impressions. They ask me what it’s about when I see them – I don’t have to start the conversation.
- It triggers emotional memories. Almost everyone had a school uniform. It’s planted in their life experience – so the message, that girls overseas don’t have access to education, hits effectively.
- It’s awesome. I’ve long been of the view that if you want to create a buzz, the key is to do something awesome. Colloquially – ‘awesome’ is associated with something impressive. Because wearing a school dress takes most people out of their comfort zone – people are impressed. Although I’ve put out calls for sponsorship for some tasks – many of my sponsorships have come from people who’ve seen what I’m doing through social media – and logged onto the site and contributed of their own accord. Some of them are friends of friends, or people I’ve never met.
5 ways to get the most out of school-dress style content marketing
- Include a URL and image in all posts – even if I’m posting to Instagram, where links aren’t live – I include www.doitinadress.com/loupardi
- Establish and include a hashtag in all posts. I include #doitinadress on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube posts and tag Do It In A Dress on Facebook posts.
- Where possible – provide context. If I have room in Twitter posts and on Instagram, I include #sponsor, #girlseducation or #girlsedu and #sierraleone.
- Have the same conversation, again. When people ask me what’s with the dress on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – I don’t just direct them to www.doitinadress.com - I explain it, publically in whichever channel it’s started, so it can reach a broader audience.
- Be authentic. Just because you’re doing something unusual doesn’t mean you should completely reinvent yourself. The things I do in a school dress aren’t so different from what my community would expect from me – a lot of eating and drinking, some regional adventures. No cute schoolgirly poses.
GUEST POST: Lou Pardi is a journalist and co-founder of content, copy and video agency Milk Bottle Productions.