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Why content marketing is a small nonprofit’s secret weapon

Why content marketing is a small nonprofit’s secret weapon

You may not realize it, but I bet your nonprofit is producing some type of content that could be categorized into content marketing. This two-way, conversational, strategic approach to marketing focuses on creating content that is relevant to your audience, that encourages them to participate in some way and, is largely distributed among digital channels such as social media, blogs, video and the like.

Content marketing is an invaluable way for nonprofits to increase awareness and it works because, when done well, it allows you to be a part of the conversation on the channels where your audiences hang out—online.

Why does content marketing work for nonprofits?

Content marketing is a great way to tell your organization’s story while building relationships and having meaningful conversations with your audience. It’s personal and your supporters love to hear and be a part of that personalization.

Content marketing can also produce up to three times as many leads as outbound tactics. Further, from a purely tactical standpoint (we’re talking software, technology and advertising), it can cost a lot less than traditional means of advertising. However, it’s important to note that content marketing does take resources and time—so while many of the distribution channels may be free, the content production is something to consider as you work through your strategy.

Producing content that engaging your audience can also inspire your donors which, in turn, can create repeat and recurring donation scenarios that you may not otherwise see in organizations that do not focus on using content marketing as a way to communicate with audiences.

Implementing two-way conversation through nonprofit marketing

I love this take from Michael Brenner on the differences between “content” and “content marketing”. Through content marketing, you are creating and driving audiences to a consistent experience. It’s not one piece of content. It’s the whole.

The key to focus on is that content marketing makes it easy for everyone to not only see your story but to participate and add to the conversation. Think about some of the marketing tools you’re already using to share your story. How can you encourage more conversation throughout?

Here are 6 ideas to get you started:

  • Email campaigns that focus on a story (and encourage ways to continue the conversation online).
  • Videos that provide information about what your organization is doing or educates people on the effects of X, Y, Z. Keep those comments and share buttons available for engagement as well.
  • Blog posts that highlight the great support you’re providing in the community, those that benefit from your services or the staff behind the cause. Encourage others to share their stories as well.
  • Social media content that uses hashtags and asks questions of your audience, encouraging them to respond by using the hashtag or sharing within their networks.
  • Visual storytelling through infographics, short clips, images and animation that not only tell your story and show impact but encourages others to keep the conversation going through comments, sharing or uploading imagery of their stories to match.
  • Donation landing pages that encourage testimonials, quotes or dedications that online donors can attach or fill in when making their donations which can then appear as quotes on your website or additional content on other digital channels.

There are many ways to implement new content marketing strategies for your nonprofit. As you continue down the road, ensure that you document a plan and don’t be afraid to use tools such as SproutSocial, Asana or content calendars to organize your thoughts, schedule content and keep yourself organized. In addition, remember to separate the why and how of your organization.

The Content Marketing Institute provides great insight into the importance of understanding why your mission and purpose are different—and how that understanding can help better your content marketing program. Likewise, always be sure to develop a plan to track ROI. Churning out content for content’s sake will make your head spin and will not necessarily provide you with the results you desire. Acknowledge what it is that you want your content to do for you and work toward those results.

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