The Textizen Blog

Category: tips

JAN 28 2015

4 Tips for Creative Outreach Techniques

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This post is Part 2 in our series about improving your outreach techniques to drive more responses to your campaigns and make the greatest impact possible. In Part 1, we examined outreach material design, and how visual layout can increase the effectiveness of your posters. In this post, we’re going to give four tips for getting the public talking—and texting—about your campaign.

Tip #1: Understand Placement Fundamentals

Before you start to dream up creative and out-of-the-box approaches to outreach, it’s important to consider the two fundamentals: visibility and attention.


Needless to say, your materials need to be where people will see them! For posters, consider high-traffic areas like coffee shops, transit stops, or onboard trains or buses. For smaller flyers, consider car windshields, elevators, or bike racks—just be sure to get the appropriate permission, of course.


Visibility alone will not ensure success—every bit as important is whether people who see it will take the time to engage. For advertisers, 1000 people taking a passing glance at an ad may be a success, but if you want people to take specific action, 100 close examinations is worth more than 1000 glances. A coffee shop window may be a great place for your posters, but not if it’s inside a busy train station where many people are rushing to their next destination.

Now that you’ve got the fundamentals, read on for 3 more tips on creative outreach techniques.

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JAN 15 2015

3 Tips for Writing a Great Survey Hook

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Welcome to the first post in a new series about improving your survey design for more effective outreach! Today, we’re going to give three tips on how to make the first question of your survey – the “hook” – as strong as possible to draw more responses.

Tip #1: Be direct

With a typical text-in survey prompt (on a poster, flyer, etc.), you have just a few seconds to grab people’s attention and compel them to text a reply. Your visual design is crucial for this, but it’s equally important that your prompt be clear and concise.

  • Weak hook: “The City is considering a new business development initiative for this area. Text YES to participate in a survey about this effort.”
  • Strong hook: “What business would you like to see here?”

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NOV 13 2014

5 Tips for Creating an Effective Outreach Poster

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For many would-be participants, your poster, flyer, or pamphlet will be their first point of contact with your project. As a result, great visual design can make the difference between a trickle of responses and a flood of press and public participation.

Hiring a pro is the most reliable way to get results, but here are 5 tips for creating compelling outreach materials on your own:

  1. Start with the basics: Good color and font choice is the foundation of an effective design. This tutorial offers an excellent overview with some key takeaways: select a fitting color scheme with 2-4 hues, with the brightest or most contrasting color set aside for special emphasis. Choose one primary font for the text, making sure it is clear and legible.
  2. Give your main prompt center stage: Your primary message should be big and bold, so that the viewer’s eye is immediately drawn to the text. As you design the poster, be sure to consider the maximum viewing distance to ensure legibility.
  3. Avoid unnecessary text: Your may feel inclined to explain the full context, but the more you write, the less likely it is that people will get the main idea (e.g., texting in a response, attending a meeting, joining your research study). Stick to the essentials.
  4. Establish trust: Use agency branding to indicate who you are, and briefly explain why you want their participation. Official branding will also make it clear that involvement will lead to real action.
  5. Consider a human face to draw attention: Cognitive psychologists have demonstrated that pictures of human faces are very effective at capturing people’s attention.1 2 Viewers will also follow the gaze of people in the image, so you can use this to draw attention to your message (arrows have a similar effect).3

While posters are a popular way to get messages to the public, these tips are applicable to any materials: mailers, postcards, flyers, live presentations, and anything else with a strong visual component.

Below, we’ll break down outreach materials from two recent Textizen campaigns and discuss what makes them so effective.

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Filed under outreach, tips