July Spark Session: The DNA of Story

This month’s Spark Session centered on the DNA of storytelling. Spark Freedom’s Nicole Williams and Kevan Kjar of Arrowhead3 Consulting discussed what it takes to create winning stories that further your policy or organizational message.

Great stories, stories that people are moved by and become invested in, consists of three parts:

  1. Mission: What problem are you trying to solve? What issue is your policy addressing?
  2. Hero: Who are you solving it for? This should be someone with a real story to whom people can relate.
  3. Conflict: What stands in your Hero’s way? What obstacle(s) need to be overcome?

Once you’ve established these three components and crafted your story, how do you get people to listen to it? To capture your audience’s attention, you’ll need a great log line. A log line is a one-sentence summary of what your story is about using the three key elements in your story, i.e. the central conflict, the hero, and the mission. A log line should have an emotional “hook” that stimulates the audience’s interest. Be sure to watch the recording for examples.

Of course, you can’t create compelling stories and log lines that appeal to everybody, so you’ll want to focus on your strongest audience. And, while not all people in your audience are going through what your hero is going through, your log line should elicit a strong sense of empathy from them for your hero. This will get them invested in your message.

Finally, don’t stop with one good story. If one person is facing a certain issue that your policy is trying address, there is a good chance that other people are, too. The more stories you can tell of people dealing with the problem you’re trying to solve, the more compelling your narrative becomes.

Watch the entire Spark Session to learn more, such as:

  • How to appeal to different audiences
  • How to humanize your story
  • How to get people to care about your policy
  • How to write a successful log line (and what a log line is)
  • Examples are also provided for reference!

You can also download the slide deck from the session: The DNA of Story.



[Webinar] April Spark Session: Ask the Experts!


For our April Expert Q & A Spark Session, we asked you to send us your questions about anything marketing and communications. Our experts who responded included Kevan Kjar from Arrowhead 3 Consulting, Sarah Johnson from Spotlight Liberty, and Corey Burns from eResources. (Learn more about them and other members of our experts council here.) Here are some highlights from the session.

Kevan Kjar responded to a question about how to engage someone who does not already agree with your policy. The best way to convince such a person is to tell a strong and meaningful story, one that is emotional to the buyer, differentiated from the competition, and stars a credible real-life hero.

Sarah Johnson shared advice with us on how to make your trade show booths more engaging and interactive. You need to do extensive research on your audience and really zero in on what message you want the attendees to go home with.

Corey Burns discussed the pros and cons of developing a phone application for your organization. Before jumping into the vast app market, consider: How much will it cost to create the app? Is your app new? Innovative? Why would people download your app if you already have a website?

Spark Freedom’s own Nicole Williams provided insight on how to develop a marketing plan for a market that seems to be constantly changing. Your plan should consist of goals that are grounded in change yet can be measured in terms of success. For example: “We want to change the way people are talking about liberty.” Such a goal is implicitly dynamic because it presumes the way people talk about liberty will keep evolving. But you can influence that change in the right direction, and you can create measures to determine that influence.

Listen to the entire April Spark Session to find out:

  • How should a company approach developing an app on a budget? Are apps worth the costs?
  • How do you avoid having a bad looking website on mobile phones?
  • 5 tips from Kevan Kjar on writing a successful story
  • 7 strategies from Sarah Johnson on having an attractive trade show booth



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Join Us for Twitter Analytics: October’s Spark Session

Have you heard about tomorrow’s webinar?

If  you use Twitter, you should definitely plan on joining us.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

1) Twitter Analytics Dashboard Walkthrough
2) Demographics Overview
3) Twitter Card Creation and What It Means
4) Twitter Ads – Ad Creation and Measurement

Determining your impact can be confusing. Let us help you learn how to use Twitter Analytics, how to interpret the data, and how you can make content decisions based on your analysis.

When: Wednesday, October 15
Time: 1 PM EST
Where: On our Spark Session page


Register to attend here.

SparkSession: Own Your Brand

A brand is much more than a logo, catchphrase or a design, it is your identity.  A strong brand is what helps get your work noticed, it’s what makes you distinctive and it’s how your clients identify you.

The Institute for Justice’s VP of Communications, John Kramer, joins us for a round table discussion on how to create a strong brand for your organization. The Institute for Justice is well known for  their brand identity that permeates all of their communication efforts.  Join us for this live chat as we explore best practices in creating and controlling your brand.

If you have questions for our session please tweet with to @SparkFreedom with the hashtag: #SparkSession. Or just click here: Tweet #SparkSession

Read John’s Bio


3 Things We Learned From Dave Kerpen

Last Thursday, I was joined online by Dave Kerpen, founder of Likeable Media, to discuss how non-profits can harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing and be effective on social media platforms. Dave gave our attendees some fantastic advice and shared some incredible examples of how he has found success online.

I wanted to share with you three lessons that I took away from the conversation, although, if you take the time to watch the video, I guarantee you’ll come away with far more than three.


Take time to listen

All too often on social media, people are more interested in getting their message out than listening to what others have to say. That goes double for brands. However if you take the time to learn how to listen and do it correctly, you can often get some surprising and unexpected results, and even some new fans. Dave shared an awesome story about this and then gave our attendees an exercise to try:

Imagine you are a non-profit and you did a search for “What non-profit should I give to?” And you find a few dozen people. Those are literally people who are thinking about giving you money. Don’t ask for their money, just ask for their friendship and make a connection. Answer their questions and have a conversation with them.

Dave immediately found a person that asked, “On this giving Tuesday, what non-profit org should I give to and why should I give to them?”

That is just someone interested in a possible donor opportunity. There are hundreds of possibilities to engage people in conversation on any of the topics your non-profit talks about. Those conversations are already happening, all you have to do is look and listen.


Surprise and Delight

In his book, Likeable Social Media, Dave talks about how to surprise and delight your audience by doing something unexpected that brightens their day. During our Spark Session, he shared a story about a non-profit that he loves that found a way to do the same thing to him.

This non-profit,, supports teachers and helps them fund their classroom projects. Dave asked a friend who worked for the company what he could do to help support them and instead of asking for a donation, his friend handed him a stack of $50 gift cards. Dave’s mission was to hand out the gift cards to his influential friends, introduce them to, and then ask them to go online and use the card to support their favorite teacher. Dave was given the “gift of giving” and in turn was able to surprise and delight even more people and then ask them to partner with his favorite charity.


Growing Your Audience

Everyone want to reach a bigger audience online and so I asked Dave, “What is the best way to grow your audience and can your audience ever get too big?” He immediately whipped out one of his favorite lines, “You know what’s cooler than reaching a billion people on Facebook? Reaching the right thousand.” If you are targeting the right people who are going to resonate with, and then share, your message, you don’t need the ability to reach everyone. They’ll do it for you.


I hope you’ll take the time to learn even more insights from Dave by watching the rest of the video, found below. And be sure to stay connected to us on Facebook, Twitter, and via email so you’ll be able to catch the next Spark Session!



Spark Sessions are our regular live stream training videos designed to give you creative new methods and tools to jump start your communications.  Each session highlights a different topic and expert in the fields of social media, video, marketing and web.

Click here to see what’s coming up on the next Spark Session