July 8, 2020

Creating Content During a Black Swan Event

2355 Productions
2355 Productions
Creating Content During a Black Swan Event

Show Notes

Episode 04

Meet our guest: Laura Buckner

This week’s episode features Laura Buckner. Laura is an Emmy Award-winning Content Developer & Storyteller. She has worn several hats over the years and has served as Marketing Director for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Marketing Liaison for Beyond Monumental, and Senior Communications Officer for Riley Children’s Foundation. She is currently freelancing and helping a number of organizations in their storytelling and development.


Black Swan Event

A Black Swan Event is something that happens that is unexpected and out of your control — for example, 9-11, the recession of 2008, and the pandemic that we are currently experiencing. Many times, there are no plans in place for how we should respond to such an event, which can be scary when we find ourselves in that situation. Laura was at the Indianapolis Children’s Choir during the 2008 recession and she shares her experience and advice when continuing to market during an economic downturn.



For the ICC, they found that they should be communicating primarily with parents and music teachers. The music teachers in particular were very instrumental in getting the word out and recruiting students for summer camp and choirs. To foster that relationship and make it as easy as possible for the teachers, they created several marketing tools including posters, videos, and print info to send home with students. They also developed marketing materials to go directly to parents about the benefits of arts education. The takeaway? Figure out who your audience is, create content just for them, and make it easy for them to share with others.


Economic Sensitivity

ICC charges tuition for their programs, so there was a shift in how they communicated so that families still felt that it was within their budget. They developed messaging around monthly payment and scholarship programs. Their development department put more energy into finding sponsors for the scholarship programs.This enabled them to keep as many families involved as possible. They also began to highlight the value of their programs — yes, there is a financial component, but this is the value to your child and your family.


Storytelling to Solve Problems

Identifying the problem you are trying to solve is the first step. For ICC, they found that the more advanced choirs sounded so good that many parents didn’t think their child was good enough to get into a choir. So, they made a series of videos and each video focused on the story of one child in the choir, and the tagline at the end of each video was “Beginners Welcome”. They also found that parents and donors did just want to hear about how great the choirs could sound, but how the children and families could be impacted by the experience. Focusing on individuals was a great way to share stories of how being in the choir was having a positive effect on their lives.

Click here to check out one of the videos Laura produced.



  • Never stop marketing. Even if you have to cut budgets, do not let your marketing stop. This is how you create connections and generate funds. 
  • Create consistent content. Even if you have to slow down a bit during an uncertain time or make a shift in what you’re sharing, make sure you are communicating regularly. Tip: create a content calendar to help you out!
  • Stay curious. Always ask questions and show interest in people. That is how you find stories to share.



Watch the video Ryan refers to that highlights similar ads during during the COVID pandemic.

The Marketing and Engagement Podcast by 2355 Production

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