A 30-Minute Hack for Nonprofits to Improve Their Content Marketing [New Research]

A 30-Minute Hack for Nonprofits to Improve Their Content Marketing [New Research]

To detail your content’s strategic purpose, you must identify three things: Priority desired outcome Priority target audience Priority target audience’s need The key difference in Russell’s exercise is to prioritize your reason(s) for creating and distributing the content, which includes identifying your top audience and its most relevant need. Fundraising and donations often fall under the responsibility of the development or advancement team, while marketing is more often responsible for the organization serving more people and increasing event attendance/participation. The same likely could be said for marketing and development teams in the nonprofit world. 1st meeting: Gather data on audience and priorities Give a brief overview of content marketing and share how your nonprofit uses it, including a review of your editorial mission statement or content’s strategic purpose (if you have a documented content marketing strategy, share that too). 2nd meeting: Present a few options for priority donor audience At this gathering, give the development team detailed descriptions of three recommended audiences. Figure out how this audience already connects with the development team and your organization. 4th meeting: Present updated content marketing strategy with editorial calendar After collectively identifying the top donor audience and understanding how the development team operates and communicates, it’s time to agree on how your nonprofit will use content marketing to engage that audience in a way that’s interesting to the audience members and beneficial to your organization. Then present a draft editorial calendar identifying how your organization will use content to connect with the priority donor audience. They attribute that success to a few key things: A new or improved content marketing strategy (74%) Improved content creation (73%) Improved content distribution (63%) Management/HR-related issues, such as organizational changes and staffing (47%) Making content marketing a greater priority (47%) Spending more time on content marketing (47%) Interestingly, only one in four nonprofit marketers whose organizations have become more successful with content marketing attribute that success to a budget increase for content marketing. Improve your nonprofit content marketing skills at Content Marketing World.

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Nearly all nonprofit marketers would benefit greatly by taking one month to power up their content marketing programs.

That’s a logical conclusion based on the responses from 207 nonprofit marketers to the eighth annual Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs content marketing survey.

Thirty percent of nonprofit marketers neither agree nor disagree that they can demonstrate that content marketing has increased the number of people helped or served by their organization. Almost one-fourth (23%) neither agree nor disagree they can demonstrate content marketing has increased event attendance/participation. And 17% don’t agree or disagree that they could demonstrate content marketing has increased audience engagement.

Almost half (49%) neither agree nor disagree they can demonstrate how content marketing has increased fundraising. And more than one-third (35%) neither agree nor disagree they can demonstrate how content marketing has increased donations/sales.

That’s a lot of apathy about demonstrating content marketing’s impact on nonprofit organizations. If you’re going to invest the resources in content marketing, shouldn’t it have a demonstrable effect on your organization? After all, do you know a nonprofit that doesn’t need money, people, or both?

Given the lack of impact, it’s not surprising that they execute content marketing:

  • Without a documented content marketing strategy (74%)
  • Without measuring the return on investment of their content marketing efforts (62%)
  • Without aligning their metrics to the organization’s goals (41%)

If you struggle with any of these issues, it’s time to elevate your critical thinking around content marketing. And, in turn, create – or improve – the effect of content marketing within your nonprofit.

30-minute fix: Distinguish and detail the how and why for your nonprofit

Your organization’s mission and purpose aren’t the same. If you don’t distinguish between the two, your content marketing doesn’t stand a chance at being effective.

A mission is your organization’s reason for existing – your why. A purpose is your organization’s way to implement its mission – your how.

For example, the mission of the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower severely injured service members. The purpose of Wounded Warrior Project is to raise awareness and money from the public and to provide programs and services to meet the needs of these service members.

By separating mission and purpose in your thinking, you can more clearly see the distinction between your organization’s why and its how. You can use that information to create a more effective content marketing strategy.

Develop the why and how for your content marketing

Now, it’s time to translate your organization’s purpose and mission into a content marketing mission statement or an editorial mission statement, as Michele Linn describes in her post, The One Statement That Will Refine Your Content Marketing.

The editorial mission statement includes the organization’s mission and purpose, as well as its audience. But it adds a couple critical elements – how the organization will use content to reach that audience and what it wants to accomplish once that audience is engaged.

“This simple statement can transform your content and give you more power to prioritize,” Michele writes.

Russell Sparkman, who has taught the nonprofit industry lab at Content Marketing World, doesn’t use the phrase “editorial mission statement,” but he offers a similar helpful output that he calls “your content’s strategic purpose.” (Note: The use of mission and purpose in this context is not the same as your organization’s mission and purpose described earlier.)

To detail your content’s strategic purpose, you must identify three things:

  • Priority desired outcome
  • Priority target audience
  • Priority target audience’s need

The key difference in Russell’s exercise is to prioritize your reason(s) for creating and distributing the content, which includes identifying your top audience and its most relevant need. Narrowing your focus requires you to say “no” or “not now” to some audiences, but it’s essential for long-term success.

At a nonprofit, you face a challenge because you almost always must serve at least two audiences – the people who receive your services and the people who support those services through time or money. You can’t have one without the other.

That dual-audience need doesn’t absolve you from Russell’s prioritization mandate. Pick your top priority for each audience category (i.e., donors and clients). Your organization can’t be all things to all people and neither can your…

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