Inbound Marketing for Social Enterprises or Nonprofits: Part Two – Creating Content
Hello and welcome to part two of Building a Community for Your Social Enterprise or Nonprofit. In part one of this series I asked you to think about you, your company or organization, and the insights and thought leadership you and your team could share as part of your content marketing efforts. This week we are going to build upon that question as we discuss how to identify topics for your content based on your target audience and your company’s expertise. We’ll also discuss how to plan the creation of that content.
The first thing we do when a client is interested in content marketing is ask a lot of questions. The first question we ask is, “Who are you writing for?” Much like design thinking, great content marketing starts with empathy – looking at your content through the eyes of a potential customer or donor and ensuring that it will provide value to the questions they may have about your company, organization, product, and so forth.
While I can’t give away all the secret sauce we use during the process here at Oliver Russell, I can give you a few key pointers on how to start.
Define your target audience. I know, I know, creating user personas—identifying the personality of your ideal customer—may seem unfashionable these days, but I’ll tell you what isn’t: relevant content and creative constraints. Here’s the deal, creating user personas helps you define your audience and allows you to research the topics that are of interest to them. This in turn limits the focus of your content. These creative constraints help save time, money, and ultimately make your content even more valuable.
What are you passionate about? You’ve got a lot of expertise and thought leadership floating around in your head. Let’s put it to work for you by generating informative, searchable content. Be sure to write about subjects and topics about which you’re passionate. Yes, we always start with our target audience and what their needs are, but we can’t forget about you and your team’s needs, either. Work with your team to identify the topics that fire them up. Trust me, this step is just as important as the one above. Not only will it undoubtedly lead to more interesting content, but it will also give your team an opportunity to show off their expertise on a given topic. I personally find that it helps refine the way I talk about the topics that are important to me, making it easier for me to convey my thoughts to clients and coworkers.
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Gather your team. Content marketing requires a lot of work, and it’s a fool’s errand to try and have one member of your team carry that weight. Before you invest in content marketing, it’s important to ensure your entire team is on board. Identify those who will be responsible for creating content, identify the topics and subjects they will cover and ask your entire team to keep an eye out for trends or topics that might make for great content.
Content Frequency: There is no simple answer for this one. HubSpot recently found that companies posting at least 16+ blogs per month drove 3.5x more traffic than sites that posted 0-4 times a month. That’s a lot of content. Let’s say they stuck with our recommended minimum of 300 – 500 words per blog, that’s 4,000 – 8,000 words a month minimum. Obviously, not every team can produce that much content and we don’t recommend that many even try. Honestly, the answer to content frequency depends on so many factors. Your team size, goals, and how you plan on distributing your content, to name a few. I’m sorry I can’t give you a simple one-size fits all answer here, but we don’t do that with our clients either. We put a lot of time and strategic thinking into this, including weighing capabilities and desired outcome before settling on a number.
Create a Content Calendar . Once you’ve figured out exactly how much content you’ll be creating each month it’s time to put together a content calendar. We recommend developing an editorial schedule that is at least three months into the future; this allows your team time to plan social media posts, PR, newsletters and other outgoing promotional materials to be created in line with your content release calendar. This doesn’t have to be anything too fancy: just a calendar with all upcoming content, who’s responsible for creating it, and any key dates in the process – draft one and feedback due dates and so forth.
Although content calendars are easy to put together, it’s just as easy to let dates slip so I recommend focusing on creating realistic time frames for all stages of the content creation process and then sticking to the schedule with firm deadlines.
In this article, we covered the basics of identifying and creating content for your content marketing efforts. Next, we will look at the different ways you can get your users to convert through landing pages, newsletters, and other tricks of the trade.
One last note: I know this post makes content marketing seem a bit daunting, but don’t let that get to you. Content marketing is actually a lot of fun and it helps you and your team develop and share your expertise in new and unique ways.
Stay tuned for the next blog in the series – Content Marketing: Converting from landing pages to newsletters.
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