Words Count! Effective Nonprofit Content Marketing

In my last post, I addressed the importance pictures play in an effective content marketing strategy that works to tell a compelling nonprofit story.  We have often heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what's more important is that words and pictures can work in harmony with one another.

There are so many ways to say something. Just the other day, I mentioned to a client that I'd be happy to help explain the strategic plan we'd just developed to the staff.  I was just trying to help, but the response I received was to the effect of, "I really don't think I need anyone to hold my hand." Once again, I learned the hard way that words count. They need to be in the right order, have the right inflection, be succinct and genuine.  Most importantly, in today's Internet-fueled world, they need to cut to the chase. That's because we are bombarded by thousands of messages daily.  In a world where 141 characters is too many, we need to be efficient to be effective.

Here are five Hip Tips to keep the words you choose focused:

  1. Create an emotional connection with your audience. Emotions drive decisions and they create loyalty. In getting to know someone, some of your first questions are: where do you come from, what do you do for a living and how many kids do you have? The same types of questions are relevant when someone wants to get to know your organization.
  2. Speak to directly to your audience and in their language; anticipate and answer their questions. Your goal should be to become the authority in your space. Create content that addresses not just you, but the community you serve.
  3. When possible, tell a story.  What's the mythology of your organization? Why do you do what you do, what connection does it have to your stakeholders, how does it affect the lives of the people you serve? Don't forget to include stories about the success you create in your space.
  4. In research done by Disruptive Communications, over forty percent of people expressed that poor spelling and grammar lowered their impression of a particular brand (that's what people think of when they hear your name). Yes, you're on a budget, in both time and money, but try to invest a little more in ensuring that your content hits the mark. I guarantee it will pay off in the long run.
  5. Think dynamic rather than static.  Work to keep your message lively; switch your story up from time-to-time.  Your value proposition may not change, but how you express it can.  Keep your audience interested and engaged with new stories, pictures, and valuable information.

All too often, in the quest for keeping expenses to a minimum, nonprofits spend little to nothing when communicating with their target audience. How we express ourselves is pretty darned important. In marketing our nonprofit organizations, our words count. In working to encourage donors to invest in our cause, our words count, in getting volunteers to go the extra mile, our words count. Your mission is important and how you express it to your community is just as important.

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