I'm a New England Patriots fan. Robert Rose is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Nonetheless, we agree on one important thing: nonprofits are crazy not to focus more on content marketing.
Frankly, I've been saying this for years. Or for as long as I've been consuming every bit of advice from Robert's Content Marketing Institute (which is led by another superstar - and long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan - Joe Pulizzi), the podcast This Old Marketing, and his book Experiences. And while I always thought Robert would advocate content marketing for nonprofits, my hunch was finally confirmed after listening to him on Nonprofit Hub Radio.
"To me in the nonprofit space there probably isn't a better or higher need for looking, behaving and acting like a media company than in nonprofits. And it's weirdly ironic to me that nonprofits have a struggle making a business case for content. Because mission is the story, right?"
Robert goes on to say that content marketing could be used for everything from building awareness to every step of the donor's journey. The key is for nonprofits is to ask:
What are we trying to drive? Where do we hurt the most?
"Start there first," said Robert. Even small nonprofits can do this. "Focus on one area and optimize that one experience. Consistency is more important than quantity."
According to Robert, too often Nonprofits approach content with a campaign mindset. We create a fabulous piece of content in support a campaign, only to shelf it when it's over. Nonprofits have it backwards. They should lead with content strategy and repurpose signature content for multiple campaigns.
The interview is great. Robert goes on to talk about choosing social media channels, finding the right tone for your content, establishing a content plan and managing controversy.
Ultimately, Nonprofits are in the business of storytelling, and a strategic approach like content marketing is an ideal way to tell that story.
Nonprofits, listen to Robert!
Interested in learning more? You needn't look any further than the Content Marketing Institute. While much of CMI's content is geared toward businesses, it has some helpful research and resources for nonprofits.
Content Inc. [Joe Pulizzi's latest book]
While I wish CMI would publish more content for nonprofits, the absence isn't due to a lack of experience with the industry. Founder Joe Pulizzi runs his own nonprofit, The Orange Effect Foundation, which helps children with speech disorders.
Finally, you should listen to our CauseTalk Radio interview with Russell Sparkman. He's a regular at CMI's annual - and massive - Content World in Cleveland, Ohio. Among others things, Russell shares a great definition of content marketing, which is consistent with Robert's and Joe's.