8 Ways for Nonprofits to Make a Difference with Content Marketing
As a nonprofit, you do amazing work. You change people’s lives. You inspire others with your service. So why not share compelling stories about the work you do? Storytelling may very well be a nonprofit’s most powerful tool to get widespread recognition for the work you do and inspire potential donors and supporters. The best way to tell these stories is through content marketing. While you may think that great content marketing requires years of marketing expertise, there are many ways to get started right now. Here are eight tips to get your nonprofit content marketing strategy started on the right foot:
1. Define your goals
Every project has a much better chance of success when you define your goals ahead of time, and content marketing is no exception. Do you want to recruit new volunteers? How many, and for what type of work? Are you trying to raise a specific amount of money? Is public engagement something you want to improve? Set your goals, and create content to meet those goals. (Hint: When you meet or exceed those goals, don’t forget to share your successes with your fans. Success always makes a great story and encourages further engagement.)
2. Know your audience
You must fully understand your target audience in order to create content that they will respond well to. Start by surveying donors and volunteers to discover their favorite stories from your organization — or the stories that they would like to see, but haven’t. (Survey Monkey is a great tool for this.) Not only does writing about topics that interest your audience draw more visitors to your website, knowing that you’re interested in the same things they are builds engagement and trust between your audience and your organization.
3. Use the power of social media
Social media is a requirement for any nonprofit these days. Create accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and use them to promote the content on your blog as well as news about upcoming events, initiatives, and campaigns. But avoid posting just your own content; instead, show that you’re an active and engaged citizen of the world by also sharing content from organizations similar to yours and from the news. It’s important to respond to comments and ask questions — one of the main functions of social media is to create an engaged community that will spread the word about your campaigns. A tool like HootSuite can help schedule your social media posts and enable you to stay on top of interactions. Remember — the most important thing is to post lively, meaningful, quality content on a regular basis (we recommend three posts a day).
4. Harness the power of volunteers
As you already know, volunteers are a nonprofit’s best friend. Tap into your volunteer pool to see if anyone can offer writing, photography, or social media management. Invite them to write exciting, informative posts or take photos for your organization’s blog. Find out if they’d be interested in live-tweeting updates of your organization’s annual fundraiser. Solicit story ideas from volunteers and board members. By harnessing the power of volunteers, you can create free content that can also tug on your followers’ heart strings. And that’s not all: Devoted volunteers are also a great way to promote your content: Ask them to Tweet it, publish links on their own profiles, blogs, and more.
5. Follow the 80/20 rule
Nobody likes a social media page that only advertises itself. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it — it just means that if you only share promotional content, your audience will more than likely disappear over time. Instead, use the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of content should add value to your audience, while 20 percent can be promotional. For example, during the summer, the American Red Cross will share swimming and barbecue safety tips and promote CPR classes. By interspersing those posts with calls to buy, donate, or volunteer, the American Red Cross delivers value to the audience while still working toward their own goals.
6. Get to know #hashtags and influencers
In addition to posting your own content, tap into the conversations happening around your cause. Are you focused on animal welfare? See which celebrities with large social media followings are supporters. Follow them and promote their content when it applies to your organization. Use meaningful hashtags to give your posts greater visibility in the global conversation and attract new followers, or create one for your organization or event that can be used by your team and others.
7. Don’t just tell me; show me
Content with images performs much better than text-only content, so adding powerful visuals to your content can be a quick and compelling way to get your audience to share your stories. Have someone from your organization take photos at events, for example, and share these photos on your social media accounts. But never forget that it’s top-notch, compelling stories that matter most. Images can support them, but they’re no replacement.
8. Create an editorial calendar
Plan your content as far in advance as possible. Start with key fundraising events and initiatives, and then add other significant happenings in your area or community. Make sure this document is collaborative and evolving, using a service like CoSchedule or a Google spreadsheet. And, as important as an editorial calendar is, don’t forget that social media is also about what’s happening right now. Be sure to introduce relevant, trending topics to supplement your planned content.
When it comes to issues you care about, you can’t afford weak content. One of the best ways to craft and execute a winning content strategy is by engaging a friendly, dedicated, high-quality content vendor like Prose Media. By bringing you talented writers dedicated to your nonprofit’s content goals and working closely with them to ensure they deliver the very best, Prose can help your nonprofit boost donations and support to never-before-seen levels — with an ROI that can’t be beat. For more information, visit Prose Media and sign up for a free quote.