As the conversation on content marketing heats up, many charities are left wondering whether this is a viable strategy for them. There are some myths, few half-truths and many unknowns that prevent us from even starting down this path. Which is a shame really, because in my opinion, charities are well placed to execute a content marketing strategy (and there are some great examples later of those who have).
Here are the top 3 reasons why a charity should have a content marketing strategy:
1. Content marketing gives charities the opportunity to move away from "guilt marketing"
Your audiences are bombarded more than ever to donate to many worthy causes. All of this can leave them feeling overwhelmed. People now look for a story to believe in, as opposed to being bullied into donating to one. People are also really good at switching off when they recognise the type of message they're about to receive. This means that to stand out, you need to tell a really captivating story. The conversation needs to move beyond donating, and the cause needs to be front and center (more on that later).
By embracing a content marketing strategy you will do exactly that.
2. It's not as expensive to do decently.
One of the tenets of content marketing is that everyone in the organisation can input into the content process. Your volunteers are your biggest resource in collecting emotional stories. They should feel accountable and empowered to contribute to your narrative.
I've seen examples where charities have maintained little notebooks, filled with interesting stories from when they started, binders bulging with emotive testimonials from those who have benefited and grateful people who are willing to talk to someone who will listen. All of this content can help your audience understand what you stand for, and why you do what you do. Don't lock it in a box.
Yes, to convert a story into a quality piece of digital content has high production costs. And building awareness via broadcast media is a go-to option for only the top 5-10%. However, at the end of the day it boils on down to whether you have the ability to tell an emotional, powerful and human story.
Which brings us to the third point:
3. You already have a head start on a purposeful "why"
This is the real game changer. Brands are desperate to partner up with charities and non-profits.
Why? Because they know that you have a fundamental purpose which is much better than what they have (which is usually to sell something). Don't get me wrong, you're selling something too. But what you're selling is the satisfaction that I am a good person and I have made a difference to society. There is a bigger why in play here, and every charity should be aware and vocal about theirs. That will end up being a bigger driver than just charitable giving.
To close this post, here are examples of charities that have started to use content marketing in their overall approach:
Purpose: We believe we can end the water crisis in our lifetime.
Example of content: The Journey Episodes - Documentary series that also showcases the countries the charity is in, giving the audience an insight to the people and the culture.
How this can become content marketing: Find ways to monetise the travel experience they are providing. For e.g. Guided tours that are part vacation/part volunteering. People pay, visit a new country and learn about the water crisis at the same time. This will start to generate more revenue for the charity itself.
Cancer Research UK
Purpose: Pioneer research to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
Example of content: Genes in Space video game. By playing it you assist with cancer research due to some "data crunching" in the background.
How this can become content marketing: As it currently stands, it's a great example of content that allows participants to feel like they're making a difference to the cause even if they aren't professionally qualified. The way to extend it further could be by developing the game further or having professional gamers play it in a league style tournament. Imagine a No Man's Sky version of this? Who wouldn't want to be part of that?
Thanks for reading! If you're looking for more insights, head on over to the blog. And if you're ready to go on your own content marketing journey, click here for a free 30 minute consultation with our experts.