‘Tell Us More’ is a content series aimed at highlighting PhotoShelter clients and industry innovators who are challenging the status quo with their creative content strategies and leading-edge practices. Take notes on the expert advice shared below!
When a partner that shares the same passion for visual media reaches out to share lessons they’ve learned launching a campaign, reaching peak social virality, or simply optimizing their asset management process—we listen intently.
The 20/21 Vision Summit virtual event series and webinars are prime examples of how we gather thought-provoking, strategic insights from some of the most impactful brand marketers we know, but the learning and networking don’t end there.
We spoke to the two key members of the International League of Conservation Photographers’ communications and marketing team—development and communications manager, Brooke McDonough and visual assets manager, Colin Wheeler, about their joint strategic approach for launching iLCP’s new website.
- How they funded the project
- How they conducted research and gathered feedback from their board and team members to design a site experience that served many stakeholders and audiences
- How they approached scoping out project objectives and setting goals
- How they developed and executed a strategic and tactical marketing plan to promote the new site
Dive into the Q&A below!
Website Redesign 101
1. What led your team toward redesigning the site?
Brooke: Our previous website was donated as an in-kind donation; after a number of years that in-kind support went away and we were unable to make critical changes to our website. We had issues with hard-coded pages and pixelated images. The website used up far too much staff time and didn’t tell the story of our organization and our conservation impact effectively. We had been discussing opportunities to redesign our current website or build a completely new site. We ultimately received a generous donation that allowed us to build a new website with our partners Visura Pi.
2. What were the objectives and goals of the website redesign? What metrics and KPIs are you tracking to prove the success of the redesign?
Brooke: We had a number of goals with the new site. Receiving the donation allowed our team to put our heads together and outline who our target audiences are, what messages we’d like our new site to get across, and how we’d measure the success of the new site.
Our target audiences are potential members (meaning conservation photographers and filmmakers who might be interested in applying to iLCP), current and potential donors, current and potential partners (both media and conservation), and a “general” audience who are interested in learning about conservation storytelling and how they can help with our impact. The new website has different features that speak to each of our target audiences.
In terms of partners, we certainly were aiming to be more discoverable. The new site, powered by Visura Pi, has an easy-to-use SEO tool and Google Analytics. We also are measuring the number of image licensing requests and media requests as well as outreach for new partners.
In my opinion, the most significant change was the aesthetic. The previous site had pixelated images and did not showcase the work of our Fellows as well as we believed it should. The new site is designed specifically with imagery in mind. It seems simple, but the website is our first introduction to partners and a subpar aesthetic or image quality from a visually-based organization can taint a new partnership.
Marketing Strategy and Media Partnerships
3. How did you (the team) identify the marketing strategies after laying out the main objectives?
Brooke: Once we identified the goals of our new site, we began working on marketing strategies. As a team, we decided to focus on organic social campaigns and email marketing in conjunction with spreading the news through our members’ social media accounts. Many of the iLCP Fellows have hundreds of thousands of followers on various social platforms. We shared our promotion materials with the Fellowship and asked them to help us promote the organization’s new website. This allowed us to reach people within our target audiences that may not have known of iLCP.
4. Are you developing any partnerships with media brands to license the imagery from the new fellows?
Brooke: We are always looking to develop new media partnerships! iLCP’s Visual Collection, managed by Colin Wheeler has just announced the representation of Beverly Joubert’s entire body of work and of Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark. These in addition to other new representations that will be announced in the coming weeks will help us develop new media partnerships and licensing opportunities.
5. Are you developing any content campaigns to tell the stories of the fellows themselves or leverage any popular fellows and their social following to do ongoing educational IG Live series or paid-for workshops with them? An art gallery show perhaps? NFTs?
Brooke: Thus far, we have been leveraging the digital world by hosting online events for our internal and external communities such as webinars, Instagram Lives, virtual exhibitions, and panels. We have many projects in the works to continue amplifying our Fellows’ conservation efforts and impacts.
We have recently partnered with WildAid’s Marine Program to tell the stories of how important enforcement and community engagement is to the success of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). We are sending one Fellow to the Galapagos to produce a series of short videos on the MPA in that area and the shark populations.
We are also sending two Fellows to the Bahamas to use photography and filmmaking to engage and connect with the local communities. We are thrilled to be sending Fellows in the field to work on such important projects with a fantastic partner. We are working to launch this into a long-term project that tells the story of a number of MPAs every year. You can donate to support this initiative here.
We are also working to empower communities by sharing information and elevating visual media literacy in the conservation world. We can’t say too much yet, but be sure to follow our social channels, sign up for our newsletter, and keep an eye on the News section of our website to stay in the know!
Amplify with Social Tactics
6. What are three main amplification tactics you’ve developed and executed to showcase the site redesign and the importance of these new fellowship partners?
- The iLCP Image Collection is currently experiencing major growth, representing Fellows’ entire bodies of work and major, decades-long projects. In order to best serve our Fellows and the Conservation community, we re-evaluated our marketing plan for the Image Collection. We are the go-to place to license ethically-sourced images and video clips, so launching a specific Instagram account was a logical step in marketing these visuals. I worked with Colin Wheeler, iLCP’s Visual Assets Manager to create the account and the mission is to share visuals and stories available for licensing at the iLCP Visual Collection. Success is monitored through impressions, reach, engagement, follower growth, and traffic to the website. This is tracked through Instagram analytics and Google Analytics. Shameless plug to follow both iLCP accounts on Instagram! @iLCP_Photographers and @ConservationVisuals 😀
- The Hootsuite Integration with PhotoShelter has been critical for this new Instagram account. It allows our small team to schedule out posts in advance and share at the prime posting time. It also allows us to pull images directly from PhotoShelter for Brands without downloading, resizing, re-upload, and so on. It has saved our team valuable time. If we didn’t have this feature it would have been much more of a challenge for our team to effectively manage multiple Instagram accounts. We also pull our Instagram Analytics from Hootsuite, another huge time saver!
- Hosting flash print sales is a fantastic way for iLCP to fundraise for the organization and the Fellows whose work we represent and to market the images we have available for licensing. We select a certain number of images per photographer and sell prints for a limited period of time, they are printed by Paper and Ink Studios and they are stunning! Keep an eye out for more print sales coming soon!
To learn more about the iLCP team’s nature and culture conservation work, watch our last Inside Look webinar session with Brooke, below.
Stay tuned to the blog and our social channels (@psforbrands!) in the coming weeks for more partnership announcements.