Content marketing is all the rage these days and whether or not you knew the trend had a name, chances are you’ve been an active participant in some way. Whether an organization you love has a blog that you follow religiously or you really look forward to those non-promotional e-mails you get from your favorite retailer on the regular, we’ve got news for you: you’re enjoying content marketing. For starters, “content marketing” is really just advanced copywriting that is developed and disseminated strategically to attract people to your company, keep them engaged, then convert them into customers (or donors) and finally into promoters.
For non-profits, the buzz word is storytelling. Organizations are charged with telling their stories all the time, and they take shape in annual reports, brochures and newsletters, web copy, social posts, appeal letters and in videos and blogs. It’s materials like the aforementioned that keep that organization you love to hear from top of mind. And when it comes time to make a purchase or charitable donation, whose name is it that you remember? That’s the key.
Sounds lovely, right? Well you can do it too and start reaping short-term benefits like increased name recognition and website traffic relatively quickly. Though you should know, this method is not for the trendy marketer. Lots of time and effort go into developing a strong content driven campaign, so be prepared to stick it out and wait for those bigger results over time.
For those of you interested in beginning to develop a content or storytelling strategy, we’ve put together five tips to make getting started a little easier:
1. Develop a strategy.
Be strategic about your content, and if we said it once we’ll say it hundreds more times: start with why. Get to working on that deeper connection with your audience. Also be mindful of logistics. Ask yourself: What information do we want to deliver? Think about the order in which information should be released and the timing that will maximize the message. What’s our end-game and what can we develop to get there?
2. Make it relevant.
Not every segment of your audience wants to hear about the same offer or the same stale solicitation. Adjust your content, timing, and channel to different segments of your constituency. Where do they hang out online? Do they prefer print? Tailor your messages to each channel you’re utilizing. Audit your activity to see what types of posts or content get the best response, continue to modify your strategy, and repeat the things that work. Content is king, but so is the customer so make sure they know you hear them. Tug on their heartstrings if you have to.
3. Don’t be dull.
In an effort to present every relevant piece of information, marketing content can get really dull really fast. Make sure you’re using captivating graphics and keep things fun with GIFs (see what we did there? ^^). Eye-catching content is the easiest and first to go viral, so don’t underestimate the power of design. Keep in mind that during the 3 o’clock slump, literally no one feels like reading a long article. Think your information is so useful? Try an infographic! But don’t take our advice just yet and give up. Keep reading, because this relates to our next point.
4. Make it worth their time.
You know what you’re trying to do with any marketing initiative, but as you know there’s always a quid pro quo. Your audience is going to keep coming back if there’s something for them to gain, so make sure you’re doing all you can to serve your readers. Post educational content or how-to listicles if it’s appropriate to your brand. Technical videos are also super helpful (who hasn’t learned a thing or two from our old faithful YouTube?) and easy to share. If you’re lucky enough to have an in-house designer, try putting together some attractive templates that are available for download (so long as you get the downloader’s contact info!). You can even try your hand at developing whitepapers once a quarter that help to inform and empower your audience. The possibilities are virtually endless, and there are plenty of areas to play around.
5. Make it sharable.
This one is short and sweet. Make sure the content you develop is scaled and easy to share on social and by e-mail and is mobile friendly. The easiest way to convert your audience into promoters is to make it practically effortless to do the work for you. Plus, when others see your content is being shared by lots of people it helps to legitimize your brand and works to establish credibility.
Go forth and create content! Have fun, stay excited, and be prepared to think long and hard about the topics relative to your company or organization. Be purposeful and have an objective. If you’re trying to build your audience, make it easy for them to get to know you. If you’re trying to expand your donor base, educate them more about the work you’re doing in their backyard. Content marketing should never be haphazard, and neither should business!
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