How to share better content for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (and in general)

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is every October. Many healthcare organizations, advocates and the media will all share stories surrounding breast cancer.

That’s great because stories raise awareness and can lead to donations, advocacy and top-of-mind awareness of organizations that offer help.

Organizations blog, tweet breast cancer awareness month symplurand share pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

On Twitter, people are talking about breast cancer at a high volume. During October 2014, 219,800 tweets were sent. Put another way, that’s 305 tweets per hour! Good luck keeping up with that.

A number of Twitter chats are also happening that anyone with a Twitter account can participate in by either sharing comments, having a conversation or just listening.

Since last October, there’s been more than 250,000 additional tweets that talked about #breastcancer, according to the Healthcare Hashtag Project.

If year-over-year trends continue, we could see close to half a million #breastcancer tweets this year.

With that much content flying around, it’s hard for organizations to stand out. Organizations certainly won’t stand out by sharing more content or by interrupting me more while pushing it in front of me.

I always enjoy the “more content isn’t the answer discussion” because sometimes people will argue that that means they can create just one piece of content per year and plan on making that the “viral campaign of the year.” That doesn’t work either! Having something go viral is not a real goal. Just be relevant, unique and you! And share the content at the best possible time.

ou can't stand out by saying what everyone else is saying.This isn’t a unique problem for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Bloggers and content producers in general run into this abundance of content. More isn’t better. But more of relevant and unique content is. The trick is to figure out what is actually relevant and catching our unique stories as they happen.

It’s impossible for consumers to actually consume all the content that is being produced. So they go for what’s super-relevant, interesting and sometimes inspiring to them. You can’t stand out by saying what everyone else is saying.

Figure out what you are going to talk about and what slice of the pie shows off your unique knowledge and stories. Then share that. Constantly.

The only way to stand out – during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and any other time of the year – is by finding those unique stories for you. I call that story shopping, and this can often only be done by the people on the front lines. So we need to encourage them to spot and share them.

All this assumes that you have some kind of connection to breast cancer. Maybe your spouse survived it, or you are a breast cancer surgeon, or you and your organization have another relevant connection – maybe you work for a cancer center.

If there’s no actual connection, do not participate just because a lot of other people are participating. There should be a genuine connection and some kind of area of expertise or unique story that can be shared.

That’s what makes our storytelling powerful – even when there’s a lot of noise and activity a topic already.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Hit me with a good story after I almost donated

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it seems everyone is running their own fundraising campaigns.

I got one email from an airline that said I could earn miles if I would donate to help fund breast cancer research. I even clicked over and picked a dollar amount for my donation and checked how many miles that would get me.

And then I got distracted by something else, had second thoughts about donating this second and moved on. For the record, we’ve been donating fair amounts of money to nonprofits over the years – especially since the time I worked as an United Way Vice President of Communications and Innovation.


Some of my United Way projects 

I abandoned my donation so to speak. Interestingly, I haven’t been hit with retargeting ads or other follow-up emails since.

The way many do retargeting ads is actually kind of annoying and not that creative:

  • You visited their website
  • They drop a cookie on your computer
  • They show an ad of what you looked at for the next 4,324 years.

But what if a retargeting campaign through ads and an email marketing campaign would focus on super relevant storytelling instead.

Instead of just reminding me that I visited your website, email me and serve me ads that share a personal story. Something that goes beyond restating what I already saw.

  • Share a story of a woman or a man who survived breast cancer.
  • Share trends – what are the chances that somebody will get it and how common is it in my locale?
  • Share the impact. What can a $100 donation do?
  • How has reasearch helped already?

Storytelling, advertising and email marketing can go hand in hand and make a larger impact together when done right.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond and really for any topic where people’s lives are impacted storytelling can drive impact.

Sharing relevant stories and getting them to people at the right time can have a larger impact for breast cancer research and even the donor, because donating when impact is known and understood is so powerful and meaningful.



To find out how to integrate storytelling into your own fundraising campaigns contact me here.


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