How NGOs can enhance public
communications with online media

By Ken Harvey, PhD

While positive relations with the traditional news media will continue to be an important goal for non-government organizations (NGOs), Internet tools such as blogging, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube now make it possible for NGOs to reach out to the public without the help of professional journalists. Some of the success stories are truly startling. The purpose of this report is to help NGOs understand the potential of online communications and strategies that individuals and organizations are successfully utilizing.

There are many case studies of how individuals and organizations have used such Internet tools as YouTube to go from rags to riches. Companies have increased  their sales by 500%, 700%, 1000% even 23,000%. Similar results could be achieved by NGOs. The 47-year-old unemployed spinster Susan Boyle has now been seen on YouTube more than 200 million times, turning her almost overnight into a multimillionaire and one of the world's top music stars. DynoMighty's venture onto YouTube was just a 1 minute video demonstrating their magnetic  jewelry, which drew so many orders it took months to catch up with demand. Blendtec invested $50 to see what would happen if they posted a series of videos on YouTube called, “Will It Blend?”, which involves using their blender to destroy such items as iPads, iPods, golf clubs and baseball bats. Their sales have soared by 700%. Monty Python was a famous movie and TV producer in the 1970s but virtually unknown to the younger generation. When his company started posting excerpts on YouTube from their movies and TV shows, sales skyrocketed by 23,000%.

An employee of one Kazakhstan NGO was in trouble when he first posted something online about his organization without permission. Before he could be disciplined, however, the NGO began receiving so many positive responses that the employee, instead, became a organization star. Imagine how a Kazakhstan NGO working with orphans and helping them make money by producing jewelry might benefit from a touching YouTube video describing the orphans' daily challenges and demonstrating their beautiful jewelry. Like DynoMighty, it might be flooded by more orders than it could handle.

But let's take a step back on review how the Internet is changing the world and how it can be used by NGOs.


In the U.S. more than half of all residents use the Internet – over 75% of all adults.

While the U.S. and the developed nations of the West lead the world in Internet usage, developing countries such as Kazakhstan are catching up very quickly. The number of Kazakhstani users tripled between 2005 and 2007 from about 2.5% to about 8%. By 2008 usage hit 15.1%, by 2009 18.2% and then jumped dramatically to 31.6% in 2010. In Almaty Internet usage is at 49% – almost the same as in America []. While the rest of the statistics in this report represent primarily the Internet use by Westerners, they also appear to represent the future of Kazakhstan.

Percentage of KZ
using Internet

2005            2.5%

       2007            8.0%

       2008            15.1%

       2009            18.2%

       2010            31.6%

Almaty 2010      49.0%




 As illustrated above, Internet users are doing more and more online: 94% use email, 87% use search engines, 75% read news, 66% make purchases, and 61% participate in social networking, according to a 2010 study by Pew Research Center. On the other hand, commercial enterprises are finding that people are using traditional media less and less.


 Nowadays, 86% of all TV viewers us TIVO and other methods to skip paid advertising, and 44% of all direct mail is never opened.


American newspaper advertising, as illustrated above, has dropped by 50% since 2005, and, as illustrated below, paid readership has dropped by nearly 30%.




 And a 2011 study by eMarketer showed that the average American now spends five times as much of their media time on the Internet as reading newspapers, about eight times as much time as reading magazines, and nearly double the time as listening to radio.


 Consequently, only 14% of U.S. businesses planned to increase advertising in traditional media in 2011, while 58% planned to increase paid online advertising and 61% planned to invest more time and money into unpaid “earned” online promotional efforts, such as blogging and social media – online tools that entice readers to come to your website rather than invade their media time.


 Of greatest interest to business-to-business (B2B) marketers are “inbound marketing” strategies, with 69% committed to greater search engine optimization (SEO), 60% to enhance social media usage, and 60% to virtual events such as webinars. The key to success for unpaid and inbound online promotions is that marketers must give in order to receive. Blogs, Facebook entries, YouTube videos and webinars need to be interesting, valuable, motivational and/or entertaining. Then without buying advertising time or space, a marketer can achieve potentially millions of dollars worth of promotion.


 While organizations don't have to spend money on time and space with “earned” promotions, they do have to invest in time and talent. They need to hire people who have the time and talent to produce blogs, webinars, videos, and social media messages that attract attention and can spin off promotional benefits. Thus, Western organizations have doubled their budgets for blogs and social media.


And, ultimately, they calculate that inbound marketing “leads” cost 62% less than leads generated by paid traditional outbound marketing.


 There are a number of ways to enhance an organization's search engine hits – and it's critical to do so. Worldwide, people conduct 88 billion Google searches each month – almost 3 billion per day.


 Now 57% of all Internet users search the web essentially every day, as illustrated above, but 75% of them do not look beyond the first page of results, as illustrated below. Therefore, learning how to go beyond simple meta tag techniques to achieve top Google ranking, is essential.


 Google handles two-thirds of the 113 billion searches conducted on the Worldwide Web every month. Which web pages come up first in a Google search is based on an algorithm analysis of how often a site is linked to other sites. This algorithm shapes the competitive reality of every competitive organization in the world. Because of the Google algorithm, those who have more links to their websites will without effort come to the front of any related Google searches. In this way the famous become more and more famous, often-quoted become more and more quoted, the honored become more honored, and, ultimately, the rich get richer and richer. it is absolutely essential to understand that no matter how great your website content is, no matter how “search engine optimized” your pages are, if you don’t have inbound links from other websites, you will be next to nowhere according to Google. Google’s algorithm in essence counts each inbound link as a vote for how important that page is to Web users overall. It also analyzes the source page. The “vote” by a more important web page is weighed more heavily than the vote by less-important pages. Outbound links also count, but not as much. Organizations need to secure links from other individuals and organizations. It's critical. But to do it in the wrong way, such as to buy cheap, unrelated back links, is dangerous. Google will penalize those that try to “cheat.”


On the other hand, experts say blogs, social media and other earned inbound techniques are “linking machines” and also generate more keywords that together help an organization achieve a higher Google ranking. Organizations that blog average 97% more inbound links, as shown above, and 434% more indexed pages, as shown below.


 As shown below, organizations with more indexed pages get far more leads in a competitive marketplace. Blogging organizations have 55% more website visitors, and those that market directly to consumers get 88% more leads on average. And organizations that blog at least once per week get 77% more leads than those that blog less frequently.




 As shown below, organizations with more indexed pages get far more leads in a competitive marketplace. Blogging organizations have 55% more website visitors, and those that market directly to consumers get 88% more leads on average. And organizations that blog at least once per week get 77% more leads than those that blog less frequently.


 Organizations that blog and participate in social media also get recognized and covered more by the traditional media. Traditional news reporters are increasingly searching the Internet for news ideas, information and sources. Blogs and bloggers are now primary news sources. Bloggers are also being asked to participate in online conferences and webinars, which may become news events.

At the first two Insights conferences held at KIMEP, professional journalists told Kazakhstan NGO representatives that to achieve greater media coverage they need to:

·      Create newsworthy events.

·      Give journalists access to interesting, newsworthy people, including clients.

·      Become recognized as experts in their field.

Internet tools can help achieve all of these goals. Social media such as Facebook can be used as informal blogs but better used to promote blogs on an organization's primary website, since the goal is to establish links and bring readers to the organization website itself. Sharing blog excerpts via social media can achieve that goal.


More and more Internet users now participate in social media. Among young adults, usage hits 90%, but over 30% of users over 65 also participate in social media.


 As illustrated above, one out of eight minutes Americans spend online is now specifically on Facebook. Consequently, 44% of all U.S. marketers now say that participating on Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their organizations.


YouTube is also an increasingly important social medium that enhances the other social media. For example, blogs can easily become multimedia blogs by embedding YouTube videos. These can be videos created by other people, or they can be videos creating by the blogger and associates. These videos can also be embedded easily into Facebook. The YouTube video and caption under the video can directly reference the organization blog and website.

YouTube itself can be very powerful. It is an extraordinary phenomenon that can be used in so many ways. Certainly it brings great pleasure to millions of people watching at any one time. The YouTube search engine has become the second most-used search engine on the Internet – and its search engine is restricted to its own content. Every 2-3 months now, YouTube contributors create and upload more video than the American TV networks of NBC, CBS and ABC have jointly created in their 60 years of existence.

And YouTube content is not just silliness as some imagine. Major universities and educational institutions have uploaded literally tens of thousands of videos onto YouTube, for example. For just a sampling, see They include:

4166 videos by the University of California
2255 videos by Khan Academy
1920 videos by UCLA
1720 videos by MIT
1234 videos by Stanford University
·        1128 by Emory University
·        656 by the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
·        627 by Dartmouth
·        540 by Michigan State University
·        532 by Penn State University
·        517 by Moscow State Institute of International Relations
·        414 by Purdue University
·        293 by Marquette
·        264 by Carnegie Mellon University
·        257 by Harvard
·        254 videos by the Australian National University
·        And many more educational videos….

Some YouTube videos are just pure entertainment, some are inspiring, some are educational, some are influencing changes in world politics, and some are making people very, very famous and wealthy.
    The TV show, “Britain’s Got Talent,” might have made Susan Boyle a little famous in England, but when her video got on YouTube, she became an overnight sensation worldwide. Over 200 million people have seen her on YouTube, and she went from being an unemployed spinster to a multimillionaire performer with the top-selling album in the entire world.(See .)
    But Susan Boyle is not the only entertainer who has become rich and famous on YouTube. LipSyncer Keenan Cahill has been seen by over 100 million people on YouTube. Very strange.


These videos achieved the “viral” status, spreading through the public consciousness like a cold virus spreads from person to person throughout society. Going viral is the holy grail of online marketing. DynoMighty went from rags to riches with a simple one-minute video. Many thousands of people ordered their magnetic jewelry because of YouTube videos like this.

 With a $50 budget, Blendtec launched its series of videos called “Will It Blend?” which has been seen by over 100 million people and increased the company’s sales by 700%! Obviously by this edition of “Will It Blend?” it has increased its budget somewhat.

 Monty Python was very famous movie producer in the 1970s but is unknown by most young people. However, by putting movie and TV show excerpts on YouTube like these. They increased their DVD sales not by 100%, not 1,000% nor even 10,000% but by 23,000%.

  A review of these few videos suggests that just about anyone could create a video that has a chance of going viral. But even if they don't go viral, videos can be used to increase blog and Facebook readership – and even if they are not your own videos. However, those who want to enhance their online success should begin developing online skills, such as these skills taught via YouTube videos.

         How to change Powerpoint slides into JPG or TIF slides and then into a YouTube video:

         How to change a Powerpoint presentation directly into a video:


         How to create and edit audio for a YouTube video:

         How to use MovieMaker to create YouTube videos:

 I, too, put videos on YouTube and then embed them into different websites operated by my NGO.

One of the fastest-growing online marketing strategies is to offer free online seminars in order to achieve other promotional/marketing purposes. The HotConference recordable web-conferencing system would allow an organization to offer such services at any time, day or night, for less than $50 a month. Check it out at and then

This web-conferencing system offers a built-in video recorder that records everything you do while live online – your own live web-cam video, interactive text chat, Powerpoint presentations, recorded video, such as the same videos you saw embedded into my other sites, a panel discussion of up to four people live on webcam simultaneously, and even an impromptu discussion with white board. And you can have five conference rooms all going on simultaneously with thousands of participants for $45 a month. And you can hit the record button and post the entire show on YouTube or on your own website for people to watch at any time. Embedded YouTube videos make video blogs and multimedia blogs a snap. But with this web-conferencing system you could literally start your own TV station online for under $50 a month!

In reviewing all of these trends and information, here is a step-by-step process for online success that I have devised for someone who really wants to employ the power of the Internet.

 1)      At least once a week (but preferably daily) find something cool: a video, a video, another person's blog, a Facebook entry, a quote or idea from a "real" book or article (there are lots of free quote sites on the Web) – something inspiring and/or informational that will be of interest and assistance to others.

 2)      Create a YouTube video based on that point of focus. If it already has a video you can include with full credit, download and include it, surrounding the video with your own intro and conclusion. When possible, use the formula of 10-15 seconds of personal video, followed by audio over Powerpoint slides (exported to JPG), followed by borrowed video, followed by more PPT slides with audio, and concluding with your personal video. Once you get into the routine, creating such a video (not counting the creative authoring process) could be done in 30-45 minutes per day.

 3)      Now post the video on YouTube with a link to your organizational website and blog, and suggesting readers link to your YouTube channel and visit your website, where you should also have your blog. Publicize your new video via Twitter.

 4)      Take the script you wrote for your own audio and video, and now rewrite it quickly as a blog entry. Upload it to your blog(s) and embed your new video in the blog. Publicize your new blog entry using Twitter.

 5)      Having already created a FAN Facebook page, now create a new entry with a short excerpt from and link to your blog and linking separately to your YouTube video. Note that you create a similar presentation every day on the blog site on your website, to which you refer fans. Do the same on your personal Facebook site. Publicize your Facebook entries on Twitter.

 6)      Set up a weekly webinar that you publicize using the prior steps, using the inexpensive but powerful multimedia conferencing system at Publicize all webinars in advance on the website and via social media. Invite special guests to participate in each webinar to present or just to be on a panel, but also present at least one of your own  YouTube videos you created during the week and discuss it during the webinar. You can discuss it briefly as part of this 8-step process for new media success for journalists and PR practitioners, referring the audience to a full presentation that can be found on your website (as well as in 10-minute pieces on YouTube, in your blog, on your Facebook FAN page, etc.). Publicize your website, Fan page, blog, YouTube channel and Twitter link as part of the webinar -- at least as the last part of each video and the closing of each webinar.

 7)      Record every webinar, which this program allows, and post and create a new link from your website, your FAN page, your blog and your Twitter to the recorded webinar, also publicizing all future webinars.

 8)      Remember that using online PR/marketing is like being a movie producer or venture capitalist. You take some risks on multiple projects, knowing that making it big on one out of 20 investments will pay for the rest and then some. Remember that the Holy Grail of online PR/marketing is "going viral." If you can produce one video or blog entry or Facebook entry that goes viral to millions of people, it can achieve unimaginable impact -- especially if when someone goes to your website or your YouTube channel or your blog or your Facebook site, they find material that keeps them coming back for more. Thus, investing 2 hours a day into this process could be the key to great, great success. It may take 20 entries, 40 entries, 100 entries, or 300 entries before you go viral -- but even 300 entries is just 6 entries per week for one year. It’s an investment that could change your destiny, the destiny of your affiliated organization, and the destiny of everyone you touch in real life and the virtual world.

 Consider how these tools and strategies can help an NGO reach out to the general public, volunteers, donors, government officials, and to people in need in Kazakhstan and around the world. We will be posting additional video-based training online here at .