5 Elements of GREAT nonprofit content
Creating compelling content can help you make the case for donations, and hold the attention of your supporters. But how exactly do you come up with the best possible material to suit your objectives?
Many nonprofits have jumped on the content marketing bandwagon, which is great – providing it is done properly. Creating content for content’s sake will not result in instant success for your nonprofit, and may even have a negative impact on your online presence. Publishing blog posts, photos, videos and other rich media is fantastic, but one small misunderstanding about the nature of effective content marketing has the potential to sink those efforts before they have even begun.
One of the worst, and unfortunately most common, things any online marketer can do is simply transition their existing content to other digital media in the hope that it will attract new donors. This is the lazy person’s solution, and it is certainly not the key to effective content marketing. In fact, quite the opposite; this approach shows little regard for the varied online audiences that your nonprofit currently reaches or has the potential to attract in the future. You have to consider what the most appropriate approach, writing style and content is for a particular platform, just as you would when updating your personal social accounts.
A lot of work goes in to creating and effectively distributing quality content, and ideally your nonprofit’s efforts should be GREAT:
Every piece of content you produce should be uniquely and unmistakably ‘you’. Whether it’s text-based stories, blog entries or even rich visuals, your followers should be able to recognize your organization’s ‘voice’ immediately.
To ensure your content is genuine, clearly define your nonprofit’s personality within its branding; create brand guidelines that not only covers key visual elements, but the core values of your nonprofit, as well as an agreed writing style that sets itself apart from the rest.
It may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many organizations get it wrong; only publish content that your target audience is interested in reading about. Make sure that you are specific, and fully understand the identities you can tap into to ensure your content captures your readers’ attention. All content should be relevant to your cause, your community and current affairs.
Aim for your content to be educational; when it comes to attracting new supporters in particular, it’s important to understand that those individuals aren’t necessarily searching for nonprofits to support. If your content can provide the answers to their questions, you have a much greater chance of attracting potential supporters to your organization.
Content is important, but the way it is presented, its correctness and coherence, can significantly affect the way people judge it (and the way they judge you). Well-edited writing stands out and is an easy and effective way to rise above the competition.
Not only must you check for grammatical errors, misspellings and typos, but your pieces must be checked for authenticity and clarity. If you aren’t able to get a professional proofreader to carry out this role, an in-house system can be equally effective. A fresh set of eyes can work wonders.
As you plan your content calendar, you should be asking yourself, ‘Is this piece appropriate for our targeted community?’ and, ‘Will our community find this piece useful?’ If the answer is yes to both questions, then you’re on to a winner. Although educational content almost always fits the bill, it is also important to remember that content can be useful in other ways too. Information that allows people to feel empowered, up to date and inspired can be incredibly useful. Remember, your followers want to get inspired by the work you do for the cause, and these are the stories you want to be telling to motivate people to want to take action.
Finally, ensure that each piece of content you create ties back to your overall marketing strategy. Each piece must be able to be mapped back to a clearly defined goal, and you must bear in mind the real role your content is meant to play in relation to this.
As you continue to populate your social platforms, ensure that you monitor the performance and keep track of which types of content work best on particular platforms and/or different audience segments.
Keep an eye of your email reports and social media metrics (Facebook Insights is a very simple yet reputable tool to use) to further inform your content planning, and utilize Google Analytics or similar to find out what content is the most popular and how your sources are accessed and navigated.
So next time you’re drawing up your content calendar, ensure each piece ticks all the boxes required to make it GREAT. Remember, it’s all about your supporters; getting content online is the easy bit, it’s engaging (and keeping) their attention that requires the most work. Interact with your followers as much as possible; listen to them as they share their own stories and experiences, and reach out to them through all social channels available. Good luck on your way to GREATness!