In the writing world, there are two types of people: plotters and pantsers.
Plotters are outline people. Using the lessons learned in high school English, plotters know their writing path from start to finish, and all the checkpoints in between.
Pantsers write with only their creative gut as a guide. They sit down to a blinking cursor on a blank page with just their idea and charge ahead.
There are pluses and minuses to both, and every writer will tell you their way is the best way.
What does being a pantser have to do with green businesses or environmental organizations?
The type of writing you do for your green business, while admittedly a step away from the great American novel, is still divided by plotting and pantsing.
You see, in green communications, there are elements that are both scientific (for the plotters) and creative (for the pantsing crowd).
A good communications strategy will plot out your major steps through the year and will probably utilize elements of both plotting and pantsing to get you there.
This means you have to be both purposeful and reactionary, both analytical and artistic. Although, pantser copywrtiters take warning: if you don’t do any sort of plotting you’ll miss a slew of opportunities.
Where do you begin to plot out your year in communications?
Like with a lot of endeavors, there are a thousand and one ways to do this.
But, if you commit to being a plotter, with a sprinkling of panster-type aha moments thrown in throughout the year, the calendar is a great place to start.
Take March, for instance. There were eight calendar days just in March devoted to the environment.
If you’re a general green business or save-the-planet-type nonprofit, you can start with World Wildlife Day on March 3rd and end with World Water Day on March 22nd, focusing on how your organization or business supports these international cause-awareness days.
Or, you can pick one of the environmental calendar days that speaks to your specific organization and plan an entire communications campaign around it. Emails, Facebook posts, new acquisition funnels, guest blogs, interviews with experts that you then post on your website and all your social media sites, direct mail fundraising letters, photo contests that bring in new visitors… the list goes on.
Wikipedia lists 46 “environmental calendar days,” and those are just the easy pickings. Our year is made up of creative and analytical inspiration at every turn.
Choose one of these days, or a handful of them, and run with it. Call a staff meeting, or put a jar by the communal coffee pot asking for ideas on how to engage your prospects and donors surrounding these days.
Do as I say, not as I do…
I’ll be honest, this blog is a bit of a panster-only strategy.
An idea strikes, I see something interesting, I learn something relevant, my personal deadline approaches and I simply point and choose… somehow I get an idea out. But I’m a freelancer with freedom, a one-person business. Yet even so, my communications methods and messages are consistent. And you better believe this is not how I outline a marketing strategy for my clients.
A green business, environmental nonprofit or organization needs to be a bit more deliberate.
Coordinating communication strategy across all your mediums will bring you the most returns. Your prospects and donors will eventually learn to hear the fine little tune that makes you unique, that makes you rise above the rest. And they’ll reward you for it by being loyal.
There are benefits to being both a plotter and a panster.
But save your spontaneous moments for your personal life, and your business will thank you for it.