Content Marketing for Nonprofits, Part 1: Strategies for Developing High-Quality Content

December 10, 2015 |
Victoria Flood Headshot

By Victoria Flood, Director, Business Development

Marketing and public relations are critical efforts for every nonprofit, but they can require a significant investment of time, money and human capital that many nonprofits may not have at their disposal.

Fortunately, digital content marketing – i.e. promoting a nonprofit’s mission and message online by offering valuable resources through social media, email marketing and other forms of online distribution – has given nonprofits the ability to do more with less. According to fundraising software supplier, Blackbaud, 92 percent of nonprofit professionals use content marketing to some degree, and 65 percent of nonprofit professionals are producing more content than they were last year.

As digitwoman-hand-smartphone-desk-smallal content marketing becomes a standard practice, there is an increased risk for online audiences to feel “content fatigue.”  It is important for organizations to develop strategies that help their content stand out from the noise and continue to engage stakeholders.

How can you ensure that your organization consistently creates high-quality content? Follow these best practices:

1. Use Guest Contributors

Consider relying on external content sources such as featured bloggers, luminaries, guest speakers, notable members, etc. Outside experts not only bring credibility to your organization, but also an established online audience. Guest contributors can extend the reach of your messages and deliver new viewers/readers to your online content. A number of successful nonprofits use this strategy. The AARP, for example, frequently invites guests like Stan Hinden, author of How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire to contribute to its blog.

2. Let the Team’s Passion Drive the Content

Using your team’s commitment to the mission and asking them for editorial ideas is a great way to generate content. By soliciting staff to contribute to blog posts, white papers, e-books, newsletters, etc., nonprofits are more likely to create authentic content that will inspire action among readers. Letting stakeholders get to know your team will also help to engage them more closely with your mission and message.

3. Consider Part-Time Writers

To avoid the expense of hiring a full-time employee who has deep subject matter knowledge, many nonprofits reach out to experts who can write on a part-time basis. By doing so, nonprofits get in-depth knowledge of topics that align with their objectives and a cost effective method of obtaining varied content. Many writers will tailor their work to specific client needs while injecting a valuable external perspective.

4. Focus on Highly Sharable Content

Social sharing exponentially increases the reach of your message. Engaging content has the potential to generate a lot of shares, but visual content – videos and infographics, in particular – tends to be shared with increased frequency. There are a number of low-cost online tools for creating and distributing visual content. For example, infogr.am allows users to make infographics at a fraction of the price of hiring a designer. Video more your thing? Magisto lets you edit simple videos and turn photos into movies without downloading any software.

Once your organization has created engaging content, it is critical to develop a strategy for sharing the right content with the right audience. In our next post, “Strategies for Optimal Content Distribution,” we will discuss three methods to maximize the reach of your content.

As Director of Business Development for McKinley Marketing Partners, Victoria Flood relies on more 17 years of diverse marketing experiences to understand and meet clients’ needs. Central to Victoria’s approach is a high level of business integrity, which she believes turns great consultants into great clients. She enjoys enhancing people’s lives with career development and new opportunities.

Victoria holds an MBA from the George Washington University, and still lives in the DC metro area. In her free time, she enjoys sailing, scuba diving, and spending time with her husband and children.

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