Content Marketing for Nonprofits: The Beginner's GuideThursday, February 7, 2013
Content Is King
We’ve all heard the saying, “Content is King,” yet content is still extremely neglected – and usually an afterthought in the creation of a new website. There is this incredible lure for the design aspect of a website, but everyone seems to forget that content is arguably just as important to the success of your nonprofit website.
Web design and content are like the yin and the yang, perfectly balancing one another. Or, if you prefer to think of it in terms of form vs. function, great website design is the Form that creates the vital first impression. Content is the Function, the device that attracts search engines, intrigues your audience, and drives measurable results.
You would assume that, as a website design enthusiast, I would push design before content. But when it’s time to update your website, be sure to make content marketing one of your top priorities!
WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of informational and educational content, for the purpose of attracting, engaging and positively influencing your audience - all without the use of a sales pitch or a direct call-to-action. Examples of content used for marketing include blogs, ebooks, whitepapers, and website copy.
This infographic from Content Plus does a great job of breaking down content marketing (click image to enlarge).
WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING IMPORTANT?
“Content is the voice of your brand and it is therefore important to allocate the respect, investment and focus it requires.”
Digital Marketing guru James Keady got it right when he described the resources required to develop great content. But despite being time-consuming and complex, content marketing is an incredibly effective strategy for building your organization online.
Content marketing helps nonprofit organizations to:
By choosing the right keywords to incorporate into your blogs posts and website copy, your site will begin to attract a more relevant audience.
Acquire new customers (at a low cost!)
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement. And WebServes says content marketing costs less than traditional, outbound marketing – about 62% less per lead. It’s a win-win!
Nurture customer relationships
Content marketing can also help your nonprofit retain members. In fact, 70% of business decision makers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company.
WHAT TYPES OF CONTENT SHOULD I CREATE?
The most popular types of marketable content include website copy, blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers. The following is a brief description of each.
Many marketing managers and CMOs would agree that your website content is the most important channel for engaging customers. After all, your website is the hub of your organization’s online presence.
Write website copy that tells your organization’s story, while at the same time leading visitors to your calls to action. Incorporate keywords that define your organization and what you do.
According to a survey by ContentPlus, 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site.
Storytelling is particularly important for charitable nonprofits, such as the Crisis Assistance Ministry. The Client Stories provide a moving account of how donations to the Ministry benefit those less fortunate.
Blogs are valuable for several reasons.
- Posting frequently provides plenty of fresh, original content to be indexed by search engines.
- Sharing valuable, relevant content allows you to educate and engage your target audience.
- Receiving and replying to comments opens up a new channel of communication between you and your readers.
By posting valuable content to your blog on a regular basis, readers will be encouraged to opt-in as a loyal, returning subscriber. Unlike visiting a website or Liking a Facebook page, subscribing to a blog shows that a reader is willing to have their email inbox filled with your content. That’s quite a commitment!
Check out the Los Angeles Area Chamber’s blog, Intersection L.A., for a an example of a great nonprofit blog.
EBOOKS AND OTHER DOWNLOADS
Downloadable ebooks, whitepapers and fact sheets are powerful tools for earning sales leads. Ebooks include a title page, table of contents, and multiple chapters that share valuable educational information on a particular topic. Whitepapers are documents that identify a particular problem, and offer smart solutions (which often include a product mention). You can also create simple fact sheets, tutorials, checklists and other downloadable resources to help people perform a certain task.
Make these documents available for download on your nonprofit’s website or blog, and build an online form to capture leads’ contact information.
My favorite Accrisoft download is our 27 Questions To Ask While Writing Your Email–check it out!
UP NEXT: WRITING FOR PEOPLE, NOT SEARCH ENGINES
Now that you’ve been introduced to content marketing – its synergistic relationship with design, the reason why it’s so important for driving traffic and earning leads, and the different types of content – you are ready for next week’s post. Join me next Thursday for a discussion on how to write content that appeals just as much to your human readers as it does to search engine robots.
AN EASIER, FASTER WAY TO CREATE WEB CONTENT
Do you rely on an outside website provider to edit and update your content, sometimes waiting days for the changes to be made? A good Content Management System places the power to create content back in your hands. Visit the Accrisoft Freedom™ website to learn how easy it is to create a powerful, content-rich website. Or check out the video below: