Posts Tagged ‘content marketing’

Make your content king by accepting these two challenges (audio)

“You never write one thing for one purpose. If I’m asked to create something from scratch … I never say ‘yes’ unless I can see using it in three different ways,” explains Kivi Leroux Miller, author of Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money.

While the ever-growing variety of communication channels available to us as nonprofit marketers and fundraisers is inspiring, it’s also completely daunting. With choice comes complexity, not to mention a completely different environment due to technological, generational and marketing shifts.

Kivi Leroux Miller has taken us behind the expert communicator’s curtain to show us exactly how she’s done it over the years for hundreds of nonprofit clients she’s advised and observed. In her book, Leroux Miller illustrates how to:

redefine your audience for today’s current climate,

develop your content marketing plan,

implement a dynamic content strategy, and

leverage online channels through an exploration of their potential pitfalls and opportunities.

Live interview sound bite: Repurposing content

In our most recent live interview with Leroux Miller, we asked her about the importance of repurposing content since she dedicates an entire chapter to this topic. She says, “I am always expanding or reworking things I did earlier. It’s a way of life for creative professionals, including marketers!” Leroux Miller also explains, “When you repurpose content…”

Live interview sound bite: “Six Rs” of great content

Our live chat also covered how to be relevant and creative with your audience. Leroux Miller explained that “Finding your voice or your content personality is the place to start with relevancy. The biggest problem nonprofits have is when they are speaking like a 501c3…” Find out how Leroux Miller finishes this answer and shares “Six Rs” for great content.

Rewarding
Realistic
Real-time
Refreshing
Revealing
Responsive

Your odds of being relevant greatly increase if your communications can demonstrate at least on one or more of these content goals. Leroux Miller shares an example in her book of a nonprofit that had all six of these characteristics in an email campaign.

Accept the challenge

Consider accepting Kivi Leroux Miller’s two challenges we’ve excerpted from our author interview the next time you work on a communications piece:

1)      Try to repurpose the content you’ve created in three additional ways

2)      Apply one or more of the “Six Rs” in your content for a fundraising or marketing piece.

In the spirit of repurposing content, I’ll finish with one of my favorite quotations in Leroux Miller’s book:

“Your success as a nonprofit depends on your ability to stay in the conversation, week after week, with the members of your community, on their level. Engaging your community requires that you mix and mingle and be seen as one of the community members, rather than as some authority somehow above and removed from everyone else, who decides to speak only on a limited and predetermined schedule.”

 

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Content marketing: canyons, road trips and surprises

“Only 32% of marketers say they’re producing enough content, while a mere 27% think they’re tracking the right metrics,” reports the Aberdeen Group. Kapost’s director of marketing Jodi Cerretani says, “That’s a big difference between understanding that content marketing works for your organization, and making content marketing work for your organization.”

So we all know content is king but the incredible distance between an awareness of its importance to making content work for your organization feels like standing on one rim of the Grand Canyon and looking at the other. Cerretani’s quote grabbed me because I sometimes wonder who’s in charge of my day—am I or is the content schedule?

Our currently featured author, Kivi Leroux Miller, knows how to make content work for you. In fact, she’s recently published Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money. Three highlights from her book could really help focus and build your content schedule: her exploration of different communication channels, three categories of content and repurposed content.

Content marketing is like a road trip. There are many routes from which you can choose and you always have surprises along the way. Leroux Miller helps you explore and evaluate all the channels where your content can travel. For example, today, Fast Company reported 10 surprising social media statistics, including: “The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket.” “189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only.’” “Every second two new members join Linkedin.” Leroux Miller helps you navigate these channels with current trends.

Leroux Miller also acknowledges you can’t anticipate every surprise so one of the strategies she discusses is how to accommodate these constantly changing demographics and technology in an opportunistic way in your annual plan. I found this passage in the book particularly helpful. Kivi recommends separating your content into three categories: evergreen (long-term content), perennial (content you create every year) and annual (content that adds color). The book’s full text explores this analogy thoroughly and offers a comprehensive strategy.

Finally, I asked Leroux Miller a question related to repurposing content:

CausePlanet: We love your passage on repurposing content–it’s liberating to know you support this strategy. What’s one of the best examples you’ve observed or you personally use that you would recommend to our readers?

Kivi Leroux Miller: I rarely create anything new without knowing how I will use it in at least three ways. Sometimes it’s just an inkling, but everything gets reincarnated at some point. I am always expanding or reworking things I did earlier. It’s a way of life for creative professionals, including marketers!

See also:

Seeing Through A Donor’s Eyes

Social Change Anytime Everywhere

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

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What’s a reasonable amount of content to produce?

This was originally published on Kivi Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Communications Blog on her site, Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

I just took another look at the preliminary results from our 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends survey and “lack of time to produce quality content” is the biggest challenge nonprofit communicators are facing, with almost 52% of the 300+ who have taken the survey picking that answer out of a list of a dozen choices.

This begs the question, “What is a reasonable amount of quality content to expect from a nonprofit communicator?”

What’s reasonable for you will be way too much for some and way too little for others. Figuring out what’s reasonable depends on several factors.

How ambitious your goals are. How many different kinds of target audiences are you trying to reach? Program participants or supporters or both? And with how many different messages and calls to action? How quickly and to what extent are you trying to increase turnout or raise money? Limiting the target audiences and the things you want them to do (your calls to action) is the first thing I recommend to overworked communications staff because these two factors have such a huge ripple effect on everything else.

The role of content marketing in achieving those goals. Just how important is the content you produce to achieving those goals? For example, if you are trying to establish your organization as an expert on a topic, be seen as the go-to source of news in your field, or build a grassroots network of citizen advocates, then you are going to need to create a lot more content than a nonprofit that provides direct social services to clients who show up at the door primarily via a strong referral network and word of mouth.

The level of resources available to implement the plan. If you don’t have the staff capacity, including time and talent, along with adequate financial resources to get the work done, then your goals are unreasonable. Plain and simple. Too many nonprofits create pie in the sky plans that they don’t back up with resources. That often creates negative situations where (1) everyone knows the plan is a farce, and so there is little accountability for anything or (2) people are essentially branded as failures even when they do their very best work. It’s certainly fine for a plan to have”stretch” goals, but only if everyone understands the difference between stretching and breaking.

The difficulty of the topic and the storytelling. Some nonprofits do really complicated, technical work that takes awhile to understand and translate into plain English. Others do highly personal work that requires a very careful, deliberate touch. In certain fields and in certain situations, it simply takes longer to tell the story. This is especially true if your communications staff members are not really fluent on the program side of things.

I know, I still haven’t answered the question: What’s a reasonable amount of content?

Here’s one example of what feels like a reasonable list of work for one generic communications person, not including all the other stuff that comes along with a full-time job, like attending meetings or conference calls that are only tangentially related to work, all the various reporting you have to do, dealing with incoming calls and email, office drama, fire drills(real and imagined), your turn to clean the lunch room, etc.

This assumes a good deal of repurposing of content between channels.

    A monthly e-newsletter

    Print communications, 4–6 times a year (maybe a short newsletter, or event marketing, or an appeal letter)

    Blog or website update, weekly

    Social media updates, at least once a day

    An annual report

    A few special projects over the course of the year (e.g. producing a special report or guidebook).

    See also:

    Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause and Raising More Money

    The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

     

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