February 27, 2014

6 Ways to Create Content Your Donors & Members Will Value

A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute showed that 92% nonprofits are using content marketing. While nonprofits are using a wide variety of sites and services to distribute their content, the effectiveness of these efforts is often uncertain.

In fact, nearly 75% of those polled rated their efforts middling to ineffective, while only 25% of respondents reported having a documented content strategy.

Without a plan for content creation, it’s pretty hard to gauge success.

Your plan for creating content should start with your website. If it’s difficult to add or edit pages, upload documents or embed videos, you’ll always be struggling to produce great content. A blog is a great way to add new content to your website since there are so many free or low-cost options available. Search engines also value new blog posts because it shows that you’re keeping your content fresh and updated. This makes your website more relevant in searches related to your community, your cause or your industry.

Here are 6 ways you can develop a content strategy and create content your audience will value.

  1. Answer donor questions. Every day, you get questions from donors via phone, email or in person. And, if one donor has a question, many more are likely to have the same question, but haven’t asked yet.  One way to answer the questions of your donors is to create blog posts or pages on your website dedicated to answering their questions. By taking this extra step, other donors – and potential new donors – can get their questions answered without needing to call. You’ll provide them with relevant information while also building a great library of content on your website.
  2. Post information about your industry or cause. As an organization that is passionate about your cause, community and industry, you likely receive news about issues that affect your donors from time to time.  Here is your chance to demonstrate your organization’s expertise and share that information with your audience on your website. Posting industry or community trends, reports that affect your cause and related news demonstrates to your donors that you’re actively involved and passionate about your nonprofit’s area of focus.
  3. Create numbered lists. Providing content in list format is a simple way to engage your audience. Are you unsure how to create a numbered list? Think about how your organization helps your audience solve certain problems or provides assistance to others. Then, break that into 3-10 main points that readers can quickly skim through. Headlines such as “5 ways your contribution impacts children” or “7 easy ways you can improve education” lets your donors know that the article is a quick read on how your nonprofit drives results – and how they can help.
  4. Conduct surveys. Ask your donors if there are any other products, services or information you can provide them that would help them. You can do this during your phone calls with them, at events, during personal visits or via email. Many times, your donors are only seeking information, which you can provide via content on your website and via social media.  By listening to your donors and providing additional value, you’ll be building a stronger relationship with them as well.
  5. Profile your donors and members. Everyone loves a great story, especially when it’s about a topic that they care about.  Ask your best donors if you can create short profiles on them for your website. Go beyond the basics of how and when they contributed to your organization’s success and include background information about their company, how they use your products and services, and how their contribution benefited your organization. Tell their story, and in turn you’ll tell your story. These personal stories will help potential new donors relate to your organization and the individuals who support your cause.
  6. Share other people’s content. Creating original content is only part of your strategy— you’ll also want to share information from other resources. If you only post your own content on your social media sites, you can appear overly self-promotional. By sharing information from others, you reinforce your commitment to your cause. Share posts from donors, members or other industry experts, and retweet posts on Twitter that are relevant to your organization and your donors. Over time, your donors and followers will see you as a valuable resource for information and will be more likely to share your content.

Like with your other projects and initiatives, seeing results from your social media and content marketing efforts is dependent on outlining goals to measure success. Create a communications plan that includes who will create the content, when it is due and when you’ll share that information on various social media pages. Taking a deadline-based, disciplined approach will help you accomplish your goals and keep you on task.

Don’t worry, your life doesn’t have to be consumed with blogging or creating new content from scratch.  It’s okay to start slowly at first. Try creating one piece of new content per week and sharing one post from others daily.

Measure your results against your goals and adjust your plan as needed. Are you getting an increase in traffic to your website? Have online donations gone up over the previous month? Did you get more attendees at this month’s event than last month’s?

As you begin to create and share more content with your followers, you’ll find that they will help you share your content with their networks as well. This increased exposure to potential new donors or members is your ultimate goal. By providing valuable content to your donors or members, you will strengthen their connection to your organization, which can drive growth for your nonprofit.

For more tips on how your nonprofit can generate great content to build relationships and grow your audience, check out our guide “6 Ways to Produce Content Your Members Will Value.” (http://info.weblinkinternational.com/nten-content)

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DJ Muller
DJ Muller is president and founder of WebLink International, the creators of WebLink Connect™ the innovative, insightful and intuitive association management software with superior customer support. WebLink empowers hundreds of trade and professional associations and more than 500,000 small and medium businesses to help them acquire and retain more customers. Learn more at weblinkinternational.com.
Interest Categories: Websites
Tags: blogging, Content, website strategy