5 Steps to Creating Content Your Donors Love
You’ve finally decided to improve your online presence. You want to create content that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to donate to your cause.
But after reading every article and book on “content marketing” you learn the only way to get an audience is to create amazing content.
Unfortunately, you also learn that the only way to create amazing content is to research your audience.
So where do you start? The audience or the content?
The Bucket Quandary
The problem is like that old children’s song “There’s a hole in my bucket,” a classic ditty in which Henry and Liza spar over Henry’s lack of bucket-repair savvy, the gist being that if you need a bucket to fix your bucket, you’re up the creek without a paddle.
But is that true?
Can you create amazing content for your online audience if you don’t have much of an online audience?
1. Get Out Of The Whirlpool
Let’s switch analogies and look your online messages, content and audience not as a bucket but as a network of rivers.
At first, you’re not even on the waterway. You’re in the “content first/audience first” whirlpool that spits you out whenever you dive in.
So step one: leave the whirlpool. (It’s just making you dizzy anyway.)
Now, look at the horizon to the scores of rivers in front of you: some have dead ends, are boring to canoe down, and lead to empty wilderness.
Other rivers are wild and fun, twist through magnificent landscapes, and take you to the land where donors congregate over a picnic of money to throw at you.
The question is, are you in the right boat (donor-centred messages)? And are you on the right river (content) to get your donors interested in you?
2. Steal Someone Else’s Boat
Do other organizations know how to connect with people online? Do their videos attract donors like mad while yours get little attention?
When starting to craft your content, look at the messages of other orgs with similar missions to find out what resonates with their audience.
Scope out the Twitter and Facebook comments of NPOs that rock online. Check out the messages that donors leave on YouTube videos.
You can mine these comments for content you think will resonate.
This information will be your “best guess” about what your donors want to know and what they connect with.
3. Pick a River, Any River
You can plan and research until you’re blue in the face. At one point, you have to get in the damn water.
Fear can strike at this point. Am I in the right river? Does it have rapids? Will I end up at the bottom of a waterfall where grizzly bears gnaw on my broken bones?
This fear is that your content isn’t perfect or that you won’t have “control” over it.
Unfortunately, you’ll just have to get over this fear, because if you don’t get in the boat and start paddling, you’ll never make progress.
4: Chart the Waterway
You’re now creating content on topics you think will resonate with your audience. You’re exploring the landscape and getting a feel for the oars in the water.
For example, let’s say you guessed your donors are interested in how you raised money for your latest walk, so you post a series of blog posts and social media updates on this topic.
You get a small bump in comments, but you notice that people don’t mention the walk as much as the fantastic vegan brownies at the bake sale table.
Would this be a good topic for more content? Are your donors interested in healthy snacks? Start some content on this topic if it’s interesting to your audience — and if it relates to your mission.
You may realize that the brownies get you lots of attention but no donations. So you may have to look for better topics, but at least you’re headed in the right direction of creating content that interests your donors.
5: Plan Your Route
If you only get a small response to your blogs, tweets and Facebook content, that’s okay. Keep paddling. Once in the water, you can at least track, benchmark, and measure.
To keep on down the river, you can:
- Change the topics you write about
- Change the frequency you post
- Get people to guest post for you
- Produce a humongous “content pillar” you can mine for individual posts
- Change emails into blog posts or blog posts into emails
- Create infographics or other design elements
This list could go on and on. But you need to make this list to see what works.
Overall, you won’t know which types of content will grab your audience until you do research. There’s no way around that.
But your research doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to get you going.
The ride may be bumpy at first, but you’ll get good at navigating the waters — and creating content your donors love.