Best of the Blog: Toastmasters Online PR, Marketing and Recruiting

While you can read a lot on this blog about the technical details of working with WordPress and my extensions for Toastmasters clubs, perhaps the most valuable things I’ve shared over the years are about online club marketing strategy. Here’s a collection of the ones that still ring true.

My example of: Show your club’s personality!

The image above is from one of the first blogs I posted here and still one of my favorites: Your Toastmasters Club Website: Show Some Personality!” At the time, my home club had recently moved (several times) winding up at the conference room upstairs at an ice skating rink. So we celebrated our unusual location by setting up this picture of then President Marilyn Brown behind a lectern we’d moved out onto the ice — and for good measure, persuaded the Zamboni drive to cruise by in the background.

Point being: you should celebrate whatever it is that makes your club unique (or even weird).

Your website should make a strong case for why someone ought to pick your club to join rather than another one in town. I certainly don’t mean that you should badmouth any other group, but you should articulate a strong positive message. We are talking friendly rivalry rather than cut-throat competition. The truth is that some of the things you play up as advantages will be disadvantages in the eyes of some potential members — and that’s okay. Continue reading “Your Toastmasters Club Website: Show Some Personality!”→

For how-to details on posting content to WordPress, see the knowledge base documentation.

How Your Toastmasters Club Website Can Help with Recruiting

When guests visit my home club, Club Awesome, one thing we often hear from them is, “I looked up a few local clubs, but I really liked what I saw on your website” … which is my cue to beam with pride.

There are certainly limits to what a website can do for you as a recruiting tool — what guests experience in person has to measure up to what they saw online — but a good website can attract guests and, ultimately, members. A bad website can also scare them away. And while I promote WordPress for Toastmasters and have considerable ego wrapped up in the idea that it is the best online platform for clubs, the software is less important than what you do with it. I’ve seen some very uninspired WordPress-based club websites, as well as some good Free Toast Host examples. Continue reading “How Your Toastmasters Club Website Can Help with Recruiting”→

10 Ways To Improve Your Home Page (or Any Page or Post)

WordPress gives you all the tools you need to market your club on the web and an anchor for your outreach by other means, including email and social media.

What the software will not do is tell your story for you. The words, the image, and the creative message have to come from you.

Club website with a strong home page image

New sites on the Toastmost.org service (the easiest way to get up and running with WordPress for Toastmasters) come with a sort of prefab home page that includes boilerplate content from Toastmasters International. That is intended as a starting point, but you should replace most of it with — or at least the introduction — with your own story.

What follows are tips about what content to include, along with how-to instructions for WordPress.

To be clear, I am not saying you need to use all these techniques on every page of your website. In fact, be careful about overloading your web pages with too many types of content or making them too long. It’s better to break the content for more pages and posts, keeping each one short, simple, and focused. Continue reading “10 Ways To Improve Your Home Page (or Any Page or Post)”→

How a Blog Makes a Toastmasters Club Website Stronger

This morning a guest at Club Awesome Toastmasters, who came in the door ready and willing to join, answered this way when we asked how she found us: “Well, I saw this was the club closest to me, and then I looked at your website — and I was sold!”

Blog post promoting a conference presentation.
Blog post promoting a conference presentation.

That was music to my ears, of course. One of the things she saw coming to our website was a lot of recent activity, conveyed through the blog. For example, recent posts celebrate wins by our members at an area contest, as well as a series of videos previewing a presentation one of our club leaders will be giving at the district conference. Continue reading “How a Blog Makes a Toastmasters Club Website Stronger”→

Grow Your Toastmasters Club: Web and Social Media Tactics

Toastmasters know, or ought to know, that first impressions are important: how confident you look walking to the front of the room, what words you choose to open your speech with, and how well you deliver them makes a huge difference in how your speech is perceived and how forgiving people will be of a small stumble later on. You need to think about recruiting the same way.

The first impression guests and prospective new members have of your club is probably what they see when they visit your website. This will be particularly true of new people who comes to your club on their own, rather than being invited in by an existing member. If someone is proactive enough to find the toastmasters.org website, search through area clubs and their schedules, and click through to your website — that is a good prospect, one you don’t want to let slip away. You want what they see online to convince them that yours is definitely the club to come to, not the one down the street. Continue reading “Grow Your Toastmasters Club: Web and Social Media Tactics”→