Content Planning Beyond Just Website Design and SEO
Compared to the corporate sector, it’s safe to say that funding resources are more limited for non-profit organizations. Because of this, there can be more of a struggle to produce engaging content on a regular basis. This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it hasn’t quite become the paradigm yet. Nonprofits and fundraisers need to spend money to make money, just like businesses. Marketing is the necessary evil for success. Content marketing is the peas to your website design carrots.
92 percent of nonprofits utilize content marketing. Unfortunately, out of this majority, only 26 percent believe their strategy is effective. Issues such as lack of time, allocating funds, and marketing knowledge, and the hurdle of making content “engaging” contribute to the low success rates of these campaigns.
Less than 1/4 of nonprofits with a content marketing plan had it actually documented. Not surprisingly, those who did have a documented plan had more success with their execution and results than those who did not. Create a plan, write it out, and share it within the organization to keep everyone on the team focused on the same goals. In each department of your organization, staff should be aware of your strategy. This includes management, marketing, program staff, and even volunteers. You may want your volunteers and program staff to take photos of themselves at work, then send them along with thank you posts to donors in public on social media. These ideas are all part of your content marketing plan, hence are not exempt from documentation.
- Determine Your Target Market
When planning, first determine your target market. Are you looking for donors, volunteers, new staff, and/ or fans? Who are the prime candidates for these roles? How can you speak to them? What kind of language should you use, and what are the behaviors of these individuals? This is the foundation of your content marketing strategy, as this is the group you will always be speaking to. Solving their needs, wants, and desires are the bread and butter of your plan.
- Describe Your Organization’s Goals
Decide what your content marketing goals are. Without a goal, the plan is null and void, since there will be no way to measure the success of a campaign. You will be promoting your organization’s message, increasing awareness of your brand, and campaigning for followers to support you in your cause. Keep in mind that your objective needs to be detailed and targeted specifically to your organization and it’s unique needs. What is going on in your organization now? How do you want that to change? Set your goals high, and strive to reach beyond them.
- Utilize Social Media in Your Strategy
It’s no secret that social media is an fantastic way to spread stories. Social media posts share a story and it has the potential to be reshared time and time again. Retelling of any story is a classic marketing concept that has worked in nearly every industry. Take advantage of the modern opportunity your nonprofit has to share with billions of people across the globe via various social media platforms. You’re going to want to populate profiles on all of the major social media sites as well as any that are popular in your niche. Each profile should be a professional representation of your brand image. When creating a content marketing strategy, include social media activities in a way that works for your organization to carry on a conversation with your market.
- Include Carefully Selected Images and Brand Specific Infographics
Images and infographics offer volumes of value in your content marketing engineering. Avoiding cliches, let’s just say that pictures do speak. A quality image is enough, alone, to tell a story. It can compliment all other types of content to aid storytelling efforts. By using keywords in the alt tags in website images, you can hope that search engines will pick up your original images and generate some traffic. In short, take your images seriously, and include visual content in your plan.
Infographics take on an extremely targeted role in content marketing. The point of an infographic is to visually represent information or to teach. If you would like to leverage their power in your strategy, and you should, make sure the information you share is targeted and specific. Always ask, when creating and sharing, “Does this information provide value to my target audience?” Infographics that are unique and branded in your professional image will help you stand out above the majority.
As a rule, all images should be aesthetically appealing. Pleasing design, specifically in photos and infographics can be the key that initially draws viewers to the rest of your content, and should be utilized for this purpose.
- Attentively Structure Your Email Campaign
Email acquisition is an awesome online lead generation tool. Include a section, in your plan, on how you will acquire emails from website visitors. Anyone who lands on your site could be a potential staff member, donor, or volunteer. As you start collecting email addresses, you should also collect other information about these people so that you can segment the emails you send out to communicate with specific groups. Your volunteers likely won’t want to receive the same information as your donors, etc. This will help you nurture the relationships you have with each group. Be as detailed as you wish in your mailing list segmentation.
Once you’ve begun sending emails to subscribers, ask yourself which actions you want people to take, then use your newsletter to ask them through specific calls to action. All of this should be included in your plan.
- Be Ready to Make Changes to Your Plan
One of your keys to success is going to be flexibility. Once you start implementing a plan, you need to periodically evaluate your tactics. Make adjustments based on what’s working and what’s not. If something is working, don’t change it. If it’s not, explore your options. Do you need to cut this idea out of your strategy, or can you change a few things to make it better. Through trial and error, you will learn how to execute amazing content marketing maneuvers to help your nonprofit find success. Remember to brief everyone in your team when changes are made to ensure that some members of your organization don’t continue trying to do things that aren’t working.
When some people think of content marketing, they usually think of website design, SEO, and blogging. There is so much more to creating a stellar plan than just these pieces, though they should also be included. Use the above information about planning website content, email marketing, social media to overcome the hurdles within your nonprofit organization’s strategy and implementation.