Can late night talk shows help non-profits? Johnny CarsonLate-Night TV has come a long way since the days of Johnny Carson. With the introduction of social media, late night TV shows and their producers have re-invented themselves by innovating their approach. The result has been huge, often times even culture shaping.

On February 17, 2014, a new era of late night TV began with the premier of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Having revamped the shows format, The Tonight Show can teach us all a lot about how we can use social media to reach more people. It seemed like every time I would turn around, I saw another bit from the show being either shared or commented on throughout my various social media feeds. As I think about it, it really is pretty brilliant in how the show used social media to reach more people.

What they did was something that quite frankly, I think non-profits can learn from, still today. So, what exactly did the Tonight Show do that we all can learn from?

What Are Late Night TV Shows Doing?

So, what exactly are late-night TV shows doing? They’re atomizing what they have already created into smaller bite sized pieces perfect for social media use. Take a 3-minute skit with their show guests and post just that segment to Facebook and you’re off to the races.

Other late-night shows have followed suit by atomizing portions of their opening monologues and posting them direct to social media.

What Is Atomizing?

According to the free dictionary, to atomize something is to split into many sections, groups, factions, etc.; fragmentize. And this is the perfect antidote for all those who struggle to come up with more and more content.

For example, from one 5-minute interview video, how could you atomize that video into creating a week’s worth of social media posts? Here are two right off the bat:

1. Atomize a short soundbite clip(s)
2. Atomize a quote(s) for a meme

With one 5-minute video, you would be amazed how much content you can atomize from it. So, instead of wracking your brain to come up with more content, be sure to first mine the content you already have.

Atomizing Video Content

Serving on a board of a mid-sized nonprofit a few years ago, the executive director came at us about two months before our annual fundraising gala with an opportunity to hire someone to film some video for the event. The proposal was to shoot 3 short videos to show at the event that would convey the work our nonprofit was doing on the streets of Portland, Oregon.

The cost was out of this world, but, if you want good quality content, you pay for good quality content. But in this day and age, to make a decision to invest in a video package such as this, we pushed back. In this, we wanted to put legs on our investment by asking how we would be using these short videos outside of our annual gala. How could we use these videos on social media to further educate our community about the work we do?

In short, what was the overall game plan for justifying this expense beyond simply showing it at the gala?

Often times, due to a silo mindset in regard to event content, we fail to see how we can be an even better steward of the content we are creating by atomizing it into a messaging strategy both before and after the event. Coincidentally, this will also help with retention of message.

That said, imagine how many short clips and memes you could create out of 3 short videos about your organization? Sure, it takes time and resources to atomize, but in taking a look at how we are already spending our time, reallocation of focus might deserve a look. A good idea here is to be thinking about atomizing your video as you are storyboarding it.

Atomizing Blog Content Expands Reach

A well written and effective blog post should always include a handful of solid quotes, data, and how-to that can then be atomized into several different social media posts. In a world where people are scanning their smartphones 72 feet per day, we get fatigued easily as we make split second decisions on whether to engage a post or not. If they have seen it, they scroll past it.

With atomizing your blog content, it will expand your reach by providing a handful of unique ways to share the post via social media. With this, a good idea is to both write with atomizing in mind as well as to comb through post of completion with a highlighter.

Atomizing Your Website Content Breathes Life Into The Static

There’s no doubt that you’ve spent a lot of time working on your website. From design, to logo, to all of the written content, it takes a lot of work. But now that we are discussing the value of atomizing, in what ways could you be atomizing your website content to bring to life that which is static?

Woven into every website, if atomized, is a messaging campaign in it of itself designed to educate the audience in a fresh way to who you are, what you do, what you’ve done, and where you’re going.

In need of new content, look no further than your very own website.

In the end, let’s face it, creating new content takes time and resources. But with keeping the art of atomizing in mind, one can turn one piece of content into an entire week of content. Think of it this way, one 15-minute video essentially, when atomized effectively, can become an entire campaign in a box. And who knew? Thank you, late-night TV, for showing us how to best maximize our time, create more content, and make bigger impact.