Have you considered using content marketing for your nonprofit cause? This is a great way to connect with the people who care about your mission and want to help, and it is all the more important today. Why?
Whether you are marketing ideas or products, the availability of vast amounts of information online has transformed the role of the supporter/consumer. They are now able to research organizations and causes before engaging with them. Plus, they are inundated with requests for help. How are they to choose?
Let’s back up a bit. What is content marketing? Content marketing is a way of using content to promote your cause and build relationships with people who care about it. It can be used in many ways, but they are divided into two main categories: finding new supporters and engaging current supporters.
Finding new supporters. Nonprofits don’t use the standard marketing funnel – it is more of a mountain. Rather than a consumer who thinks they need something, they look around for something to meet that need, and then they fall into your marketing funnel to eventually become a customer. Nonprofits, on the other hand, have a marketing mountain. Potential supporters don’t generally know they need the nonprofit and their cause. The nonprofit has to get its message out there to find people who are interested in what the nonprofit does. They need to share about their mission, why it is important, and draw the potential supporter in with some sort of valuable information they need in order to get their contact information. As you continue to cultivate them, they turn into volunteers, donors, advocates, and evangelists.
Cultivating current supporters and donors. Once supporters have started up your mountain, you need to be the sherpa to pull them along. Content is your equipment. Content shows your supporters your impact, your expertise, and why your mission is important. It shows them why their involvement makes a difference in the lives of others.
What are 10 ways you can get started using content marketing for your cause?
1) Create a blog to share your story and the stories of others who have been helped by you. Share how they’ve changed their lives for the better because someone cared about them enough that it made all difference in theirs, too!
2) Use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter as an extension on this idea: post updates with links back into the original post.
3) Repurpose existing content into an e-book and offer it for a free download if they share their name and email address.
4) Create a video to share your story and the stories of others who have been helped by you. Share how they’ve changed their lives for the better because someone cared about them enough that it made all the difference in theirs, too!
5) Create an infographic with statistics on why people should care or what your impact is or something that is helpful and related to your mission.
6) Host a webinar that people have to register for to attend – you now have their contact information.
7) Post the recording of webinars and require people to share their information to watch the video.
8) Update and reshare old posts that are still current. Don’t worry about people thinking, didn’t they already share that? You have many new people in your audience and others won’t remember. Do you remember all of the posts you wrote?
9) Offer up templates for custom postcards, posters, etc. Share a unique link when they provide their name and email so they can then add their own photos and text.
10) Once you have someone’s contact information, put them into a welcome series of emails that are automated to send every couple of days. Use it to introduce them to all that you do.
These aren’t the only options of course – it is just to get you started. To get your wheels turning.
What are some tools you can use? Here is a bootstrapper’s guide to some to help get you started.
1) Canva helps non-designers produce materials that don’t look like you used Comic sans and Word’s clipart
2) Elements by Envato is a subscription service that has tons of templates and stock video and photos
3) Design Pickle is a flat-rate, unlimited graphic design service
5) Unbounce lets you build landing pages for gated content
6) Google Optimize lets you test and optimize digital experiences
7) HubSpot has a surprising number of features in their free tier for email marketing, form building, etc. I personally use HubSpot to market my causes.
8) Adobe Spark can help you make videos
9) Tech Soup gives nonprofits a discount for Adobe Creative Suite
10) MailChimp has automation tools now to help you with your welcome series
Again, these are just a sampling to get you started.
Once you start getting people aware of and engaged with your cause, remember this…. wait to ask them to donate. Don’t ask for money until you’ve built a relationship with them. If they’re engaged, then it’s much more likely that when the time comes to donate or volunteer, your cause will be top of mind and their first choice because there is already an emotional connection in place from all those conversations about what matters most!
I hope this primer helps convince you that you need to use content marketing for your cause and gives you some ideas and tools to get started.