Fundraising Writing Blog
Part 1 in a Series of 5 Posts on Building a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Nonprofit...
Content is everywhere. There’s website content, video content, advertising content, event content, email content, brochure content, campaign content, and on and on…
Many nonprofit organizations continue to focus solely on creating and delivering content that supports fundraising initiatives. This content is created not because it meets a donor’s needs; it’s created because someone tells the marketing group to do it.
That, my friends, is not content marketing. In this post, I will share with you what content marketing is, how it adds value, and why your nonprofit needs to launch a content marketing program for the longevity of your organization.
What is Content Marketing?
In this new 5-part series, I look forward to helping you put together a content marketing program.
So, let’s start at the beginning! What is content marketing?
A survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and Blackbaud provided this definition:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive action.
Content marketing is a fairly new practice to the nonprofit sector. A true content marketing approach is about delivering valuable content to an audience that changes a behavior that you seek to change.
What sets content marketing apart from anything else is that the content itself is valuable and can stand on its own.
So, here’s the kicker: the content doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with driving a donation or activating a volunteer. It’s simply about adding value to your audience.
Think of it like this: raising funds is certainly essential to nonprofits. That’s a fact. But when your content, void of any calls to action, inspires a change in people’s hearts, their value to your organization and your cause grow exponentially. After all, you want people to be more than just a gala event attendee or an annual campaign supporter.
The content marketing approach does not replace your traditional marketing practices (e.g., email, direct response, advertising, digital, SEO). Rather, content marketing sits like a spoonful of whipped cream on top of all the marketing practices to make them better.
How Does Content Marketing Add Value To My Organization?
Content marketing allows you to create an audience that wants to receive your information because the content enriches their own lives. On a Nonprofit Hub podcast episode, Robert Rose, Chief Strategist at Content Marketing Institute, conveyed three ways your content can add value:
1. Your content tells an emotional story.
2. Your content teaches something.
3. Your content gives insight into some issue.
I loved Robert’s take on the struggle nonprofits have for making a decision to adopt a content marketing approach. He says this:
"It’s weirdly ironic to me that nonprofits have such a struggle making a case for (content marketing) because the mission is the story. It is the value we are trying to deliver as a nonprofit. And so many nonprofits have such a compelling, emotional and wonderful mission. The mission is the heart of the story."
Examples of Content Marketing:
Here are a few examples to help illustrate what content marketing might take the form of:
The content in these examples can stand on its own as a valuable piece of content. That’s content marketing. It’s about delivering value to your audience without any overt sales pitches so they keep coming back to your organization for more.
If you’d like some real-world examples of organizations that embrace a content marketing approach, check out this list. Each organization provides information that adds value to their audiences’ lives… and, in turn, the organization has earned their valuable attention. In this busy, ultra-connected world of ours, maintaining people’s attention is key.
Does My Organization Really Need a Content Marketing Program?
Think about how you’d answer these questions about your organization:
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are in need of developing and implementing a content marketing program. Every organization, whether a business or a nonprofit, can benefit greatly from a content marketing program.
I promise you that developing a content marketing program will not be a painful process. It does take a little time and exploration, but it is completely doable for any size organization.
Creating content-driven experiences via a content marketing program will enrich your experiences with your audience. And they will keep coming back to you… generously offering their time, treasure and talent to your cause. I hope you will join me.
This was Part 1 in a 5-Part Series on Developing a Content Marketing Program.
Part 1 explains what content marketing is and why you should develop a content marketing program.
Part 2 drives home the need for a content marketing program by showing you 5 big mistakes you might be making with your content.
Part 3 gives you the tools you need to write your content marketing mission statement.
Part 4 describes how an argument transforms a pile of facts into an engaging story and how to find YOUR story.
Part 5 helps you develop audience personas to better enable you to resonate and engage with those people who need to hear your message.