Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 2 seconds

happy_writingIn the recent Q1 2012 Sage North America Insights Survey of U.S. Organizations, reports show that 84% of organizations are using social media. Of these organizations, 46% of nonprofits are 'Somewhat' to 'Very Satisfied' with their social media efforts and response.

What does this say about the use of social media amongst nonprofits? While this figure for satisfaction could undoubtedly be higher, the increase in social media adoption points to promising potential for nonprofit exposure and fundraising options. There is, however, another figure that is perhaps more surprising - and possibly indicative of this dissatisfaction.

Sixty-nine percent of U.S. Nonprofit organizations are not blogging.

While nonprofits appear to be strategically approaching ways to raise funds, awareness and increase virility - opting not to blog is a severely missed opportunity to tap into one of social media's greatest potentials: content marketing.

What is exactly is content marketing?

Content marketing the process by which a company or organization offers high-quality content to their audience. Without overtly branding, preaching organizational ideology, or (in the case of nonprofits) sounding overly altruistic - content marketing is the transfer of usable information from organization to crowd. It is a way to communicate a desired media message, but the key lies in providing something within the content that intrigues, inspires, educates and entertains readers.

How does nonprofit content marketing differ from that of a private business or corporation?

The choice of content will surely be of a different tone, but its underlying function should remain the same. If a corporation sells say, horse products, the content marketing is not only going to talk about the quality of saddles and brushes. The shared material will include a news clip for the 50 Best Riding Trails in the U.S., a survival story about how a horse helped rehabilitate a young, injured boy, and offer suggestions for where to find deals on great horse groomers.

In the same way, nonprofit content marketing should provide engaging material that holds real, potential value. A nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of education could follow the trail of $50 and how it affected the entire course of a young girl's educational path, write a story about the corporate benefits of philanthropic crowd funding, and news about the financial productivity of districts and villages that receive educational aid.

In each case, the benefit of content marketing remains the same, even if the end goal for the company and nonprofit may be entirely different (consumer purchase versus individual or corporate donation). Writing, sharing, and educating with meaningful content enhances a connection to the organization, and willingness to share this information, much more than any logo or branded slogan. This then creates a dialogue and/or reciprocity between organization and audience that supports a positive return for all parties involved.

The first and most basic way to create this foundation of content is through a blog (try Wordpress or Tumblr), where information is entirely at the discretion of the organization. There are also, specialized sites that are dedicated to the creation and distribution of self-published content. exploreB2B, for example, provides a professional networking site that is built around the creation of users' articles. The platform also holds a monthly forum that focuses on specific topics (this month's is on All Things NGO), which also promotes the organic potential involved in content marketing.

As nonprofits continue to engage with the vast audience existing throughout social media, it is important to pump campaigns and images through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Just be sure to also account for the powerful influence that can be achieved though content that tells a story and becomes a trusted source for information.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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