Refer to these terms to get find out how content marketing and nonprofits go together!
Note that these terms are put in order with the most important on top.
The use of content as a marketing vehicle to attract supporters and donors to your cause. For nonprofits, content marketing is the art of “communicating without selling.” However, content still has to get people to take some sort of action, from liking your Facebook page to hitting the donation button.
This word is often used interchangeably with content marketing, but for our purposes the two terms mean different things.
A content strategy is a broad umbrella term for how all content (particularly website content) is organized, managed and distributed in an organization in a beneficial way for end users. It involves concepts like content audits, information architecture and website usability.
Although we can borrow from this area to help your content marketing efforts, for the most part we’ll be focusing on how to differentiate your nonprofit brand, mission and value through content, not how you’ll manage or govern that content.
Inbound marketing is another very similar concept to content marketing. Coined by marketing and sales software company Hubspot, inbound marketing is more or less another word for content marketing, with an emphasis on buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, with a focus on digital platforms (such as blogging), SEO and marketing automation. For your nonprofit, you don’t have to worry about whether you should be using “content marketing,” “content strategy” or “inbound marketing.” At the beginning stages, they are more or less the same thing: the focus is on your prospects’ problems, not you.
Digital marketing refers to any kind of marketing done on the web and includes pay-per-click advertising, search engine marketing and optimization (SEM and SEO), email marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing and content marketing.
Content marketing is considered a single component of digital marketing. However, note that your digital marketing will generally be more effective when you start with content marketing first, in other words, when you take a content-first approach.
Why? Two reasons: 1) Search engines love content, and this is a big signal that your site is worth searching for. 2) Your audience loves content too, and are more interested in connecting to you with content than over a bright and shiny widget on your website.
Email is the faster, cheaper direct link between social media, the web, and even your offline content. A main goal with your content marketing will be to develop, maintain and segment your email list so that you can build your own audience.
Social media marketing:
For nonprofits, social media is more than just posting a few Facebook ads. Nonprofits have to look at social media from Beth Kanter and Katie Paine’s definition of a “networked nonprofit”: “an organization that uses social networks and the technology of social media to greatly extend its reach, capabilities and effectiveness.”
Another key idea is that in content marketing, social media platforms aren’t the hub of your content production or content marketing efforts. Social media represents all of the different distribution platforms for the content you produce on your website, blog or in your newsletter. Think of them more as media outlets and publishers.
Blogging has evolved a great deal in the past ten years from intimate online journals to full-on marketing vehicles. For nonprofits, a blog is a type of “content asset” that showcases your organization, provides helpful information, and gets people emotionally on board with your cause. And the great advantage of a blog is that you have to update it regularly, something that search engines love.
The big challenge for nonprofit blogging is getting away from only talking about yourself. You need to do some keyword research and figure out some common questions that people have about your larger cause that they may be searching for online.
Copywriting is a big part of content marketing, although good content marketing copy (and good fundraising copy) will avoid the “But wait, there’s more!” approach of traditional for-profit copy.
Effective copywriting gives people an emotional reason to donate and provides intellectual reasons that helps them justify their decision to give. Good fundraising copy also includes great stories and has a solid storytelling component to it.
In most for-profit contexts, a website should have just one goal: attract new clients, get people to sign up for a newsletter, move people to a shopping cart, etc. But since nonprofits tend to have multiple audiences with multiple needs, your website tends to have to pull double and triple duty.
However, for the most part, your website will be your home base for your content marketing efforts. From a content marketing perspective, your web content isn’t there to tell your audience all about you or what your board does.
A website is a very task-oriented space, so you want to encourage your web visitors to “do” something, and not just passively glance over your information and move on.