Breathe life into your subject matter

In some organizations, the biggest hurdle to effective communications is the desire to convey information.

“But isn’t that what communication is for?” you ask.

Feeding information to your audience is only half the purpose. If you can’t shape your data into an engaging story, there won’t be much “conveying” because your audience won’t (a) read it or (b) feel a connection.

empty picture frames as art
Here’s an example. Our 36th president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, grew up in Texas and attended what is now Texas State University in San Marcos. Unlike the other LBJ-related sites in Texas, this one emphasizes the time before Johnson became president, specifically his university and young adult years.

This seems an appropriate and pretty smart way to differentiate oneself, especially given that the museum is a stone’s throw from the TSU campus.

Somewhere between that founding vision and its marketing strategy, though, the “story” of LBJ’s formative years turned a bit dry and instructive.

The museum’s home page gives an Encyclopedia Britannica-like entry. You can read it and definitely feel like you’re back in Mrs. McGuffey’s history class — or worse yet, that you now know everything the site has to offer.

LBJ has many intriguing stories within his legacy. Why not share one of them to pique the interest of a visitor, to make them feel a kindred spirit in young Lyndon, to give him a relevance today?

I’d have something like this on the home page:

“Today, for the first time in all the history of the human race, a great nation is able to make and is willing to make a commitment to eradicate poverty among its people.”

– Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the United States

How did a young Texan go from education major and campus groundskeeper to the author of legislation that would forever change civil rights in America?

Find out about this loved and at times hated president’s past at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum of San Marcos. We’re near the beautiful Texas State University, LBJ’s alma mater, and just half an hour from the LBJ Presidential Library.

Here’s why:

  1. People like quotes. This one is about eradicating (a bold, emotional word, “eradicate”) poverty, which is still a local and national issue (relevancy).
  2. We paint a picture. We show a living, breathing kid working his way through college with big dreams that came true. Haven’t we all had those (emotional appeal)?
  3. We establish our credibility. LBJ went to college here, so if anyone knows about his early life, it’s us.

Visit the current site and let me know what you’d have on the home page.