November 17, 2014
No matter how you decide to approach it, content strategies are resource intensive and notoriously difficult to measure. So how can you be sure you are getting the best return on your investment? I recently attended a breakfast event around this topic as part of New York City’s first ever Communications Week. Hosted by McMURRY/TMG and sponsored by Kellen Communications and Association Media & Publishing, the session, titled “Disrupting the Status Quo,” set out to address how non-profits can better use content to drive engagement from members and donors.
The panel was moderated by McMURRY/TMG’s VP Content Marketing Sales – Erica Pyatt. Panelists included John Falcioni, Editorial Director and Editor-in-Chief at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Debbie Grunbaum, Director of Communications at WhyHunger and Manoj Aggarwal, VP Digital Strategy at McMURRY/TMG. Each shared what they’ve found works and what doesn’t for their own organizations. Here are five of my takeaways from the event to help you get the most from your investment:
- Get stakeholder buy-in. Content strategies are resource-intensive and require commitment from across the company, so getting stakeholder buy-in is essential for an effective operation. The leadership of your organization needs to understand that a content strategy is much more than a monthly newsletter. Also remember that while you want to appease your Board, they are not your target audience. Educate internally, but balance that with creating content that speaks to your audience.
- Big budgets aren’t everything. If you don’t have a big budget – get creative. One of the biggest advantages non-profits have is the ability to form partnerships. Use them to create advocates in your communities and let them get your message out there. WhyHunger tapped into its roots within the music industry to spread its content to a wider audience. Who could you partner with to help promote your next initiative?
- Create once and use again. Good content can, and should, be repurposed across your channels. While nobody wants to read the exact same post twice, being resourceful and modifying your message with the platform and audience in mind will ensure your original investment goes a lot further.
- Develop a content toolkit. Content toolkits can help ensure your message remains consistent across all your channels. Your toolkit should include information on your key audiences, tone of voice and publishing guides. WhyHunger took theirs a step further by including practical advice on how to a take a great photo, good questions to ask in an interview and more. Consider tailoring yours so that it becomes more useful to your staff. These toolkits are especially helpful when working with committee volunteers!
- Reevaluate your distribution platforms. Understand your audience, their habits and how they want to consume content. Are visitors spending less and less time on your site? Is no one engaging with your Facebook posts anymore? Small teams can maximize their impact by investing in the platforms their audiences are on and respond to. Pinterest and Instagram are great for sharing photos, but not if your audience doesn’t use them. Remember, email marketing is still one of the most effective channels to boost blog readership and traffic to your site.
A content strategy will not only help you reach more people, but will also let you tell your organization’s story in a more compelling way. And while it’s not always easy to track the return on your investment, by earning trust, you should continue to see your community grow.
This event was part of New York’s inaugural Communications Week, a cross-industry celebration of the public relations, communications and media industries.