Much of urban forestry is focused around education and promotion of concepts and events. However, budgets are leaner than ever and centered—rightly so—around trees themselves. I’m going to show you a few No to low cost tools to create trendy messaging products that equip urban forestry partners with the promotional instruments we need.
As a nation we’ve been using a variety of vehicles to share our message for a long time. Magazine ads, direct mail, and traditional advertising were some of the early vehicles. Then we started wearing the message: first on cars and then on ourselves. With the explosion of social media it is easier – and cheaper - than ever to get the message out.
Social media is just another vehicle. Since Video is your new best friend for messaging, YouTube is the platform for sharing.But who has money for professional videographers? If you want to make a catchy little video that resonates with people and has the potential for going viral consider text-to-video software. Go Animate free version allows you to make such a video with just internet access and a script.
Video creation consists of 3 simplesteps:Select your settingSelect your charactersGive them their scriptYou can call it quits there and let the software do the rest. Or you can add in motions, expressions, and different camera angles.There are even helpful hints on how to make it better as you go along.Here is one of ours:
(excerpt from volcano mulch video)
Still using Go Animate, In this video, Healthy Futures Milford uploaded photographs of their own community to encourage folks to improve their health by getting out and walking their historic tour.Video is great PR as it increases your chances of getting on the first page of search engines and can drastically increase time spent on webpages. Any digital form of communication can link to it.
If you’ve got one salient point. It can really lend itself to Vine. Vine is Twitter’s own video site that allows upload of a 6 second video running in a continuous loop.Here is one of ours: One point, one message, one figurative second.
If you have a little money to spend, visit your nearest community college. For $10 an hour you get enthusiasm, exuberance and at least some level of expertise. Our student animated this drawing which we’ve posted to YouTube and linked from several websites. Here is an excerpt...
If your message is more about a specific project area and wanting to get people to buy into the project, you can use slides to create a presentation in motion that can still be uploaded to YouTube, and linked to through social media. If you haven’t used Prezi. Check it out. It is fun to build and operates with a global theme of connectedness which really lends itself to urban forestry projects and what they mean to the community.
If you were fortunate enough to attend the conference last year then you may have seen my presentation on CanVis visualization software which allows you to use your own photos to simulate how trees can be part of a solution to a community problem. These simulations can be shared as print, email and social media. They can also be uploaded into the Go Animate platform as background images or inserted into another video tool such as Preziin motion
QR codes are a great way to provide a lot of info in a little space and drive traffic to a specific webpage or video. You can use them as stand alone products like this sign on the San Antonio Riverwalk or our tree tag that sends people to our Trees for Energy Savings animation. Generate a QR code with an free online generator and print up some stickers. Place a sticker on the back of your business card and drive folks to the promotional message or video.
This poster is from the 70s – sending a message about perseverance. It evolved in the 90s into one of those corporate inspirational posters about success. These are memes.A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other phenomena. Memes like everything else these days have gone digital.
Here is a modern meme that continues our campaign to change perceptions about mulching trees:And here is another: This FB posting reached thousands of people in just a few days
You don’t need a big budget to promote your ideas and goals. Some of the best marketing ideas are the inexpensive ones. You will hear more about social media options later. Use them all and flood your constituents with the message you wantthem to hear and see. Drive them to your video which catches their attention and potentially changes their perceptions.And, remember:“Mediocre video tells. Good video explains. Superior video demonstrates. Great video inspires.”
No Budget? No Problem! No cost promotional media that gets the word out