Do not send communications without permission. Only send to those who have opted to receive information, news, and stories from you!

Instead of advertising through interruption, this guide is inspired by the permission marketing concept introduced in a book of the same name in 1999 by marketing expert Seth Godin. Seth outlined the history of marketing: from hand-selling (from person directly to another person), to mass marketing (billboards, newspaper ads, radio ads, TV ads, banner ads), to direct marketing (direct mail, coupons, spam), to finally permission marketing with email and social media and relevant information.

By just offering (not interrupting!) an exciting and authentic story, which people have the choice of listening to, you can build relations based on mutual interest. Strangers might like your story and find it rewarding to learn more. They start to follow you and may become friends, eventually turning into enthusiastic supporters and ambassadors of your project work.

You need to patiently build your following over time, with real stories, communicated in a consistent and exciting way. However, the benefits of permission-based marketing and storytelling are convincing:

  • There is no advertising in the conventional way you have to pay for and no competition for advertising space.
  • You are communicating with people who have asked you to send information. You have their permission!
  • It’s not about short-term conversion rates, it is about long-term rewarding relations.
  • You know your peers, and know what they are interested in.
  • You communicate high-quality content and real stories which is authentic and exciting at the same time.
  • If done well, your stories will be further distributed through sharing and word of mouth.

Take away:

  • Do not interrupt people for getting their attention.
  • Only send news and stories via email and social media to those valuable contacts who have expressly opted in to receive them from you.
  • Get to know your audience, and create content for the audience you want to reach.
  • Direct email is the most cost-effective (and valuable) marketing channel. Once someone has subscribed to your email list there is no additional cost to reach out and nurture the relationship.

If you want to improve your own storytelling skills then please download our free “Storytelling Guide for Landscape Projects”


Founder and CEO, OpenForests. Passioned about finding answers to the burning questions of our time. With our tools, we want to connect people and forests.