content creation

Guest blogger Holly Ross has spent seven+ years at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), working with community members to identify technology trends that are reshaping the nonprofit sector. Brett Meyer, NTEN Communications Director, co-authored this post.

As nonprofits have flocked to the e-newsletter as an inexpensive and timely way to communicate with stakeholders, the number of newsletter tips has also proliferated. While subject lines, “from” addresses, and your template design are all important, they aren’t the biggest challenge to putting out a quality newsletter.  The most difficult part is creating good content, content your subscribers want to read.


Guest Blogger in Content Marketing, Email and E-Newsletters | 1 comment
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Mila Rosenthal, Executive Director of HealthRight International, is a Letter to the Editor (LOE) expert with a significant record of success. Read on to review her most recent success — a strong, concise, pointed Letter to the Editor of The New Yorker — and Rosenthal’s tips for your own efforts.

Re: A Deadly Misdiagnosis
December 6, 2010

Michael Specter describes the way that sketchy private clinics in India are preying on people at risk of tuberculosis, and simultaneously undermining an under-resourced public-health system (“A Deadly Misdiagnosis,” November 15th). When public and private health-care systems compete, poor people are often the victims, caught between lousy care and unaffordable care. We see this in Vietnam and in Russia—anywhere that a government is unable to devote sufficient resources to the public-health system, or unwilling to regulate a private one. Unfortunately, in countries such as these, diseases like TB will continue to spread until they reach populations rich enough to afford good treatment. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to health and well-being, which includes medical care. As Specter’s article illustrates, letting only the principles of the market shape health care in poorer countries means that most people will be denied that right.

Mila Rosenthal, Executive Director
HealthRight International

Here are Rosenthal’s tips for your Letters to the Editor:

  • Identify which type of Letter to the Editor you are writing. Rosenthal distinguishes between the letter to correct the public record and the advocacy letter, crafted to get your message out on an issue. Her New Yorker letter is the latter, designed to magnify the issue covered in the article she’s responding to, and to position HealthRight International as a major player in the health rights field. She does a great job in both respects.
  • Ensure that your letter is reviewed by your organization’s media expert. Rosenthal stresses the importance of the right program (in a large organization) submitting its Letter to the Editor, on the right issue at the right time. “Remember that an organization is likely to have a letter placed only once or twice a year,” she cautions.
  • Encourage local offices or activists to submit Letters to the Editor in local papers. National or international organizations have a lot to gain from local and regional coverage, says Rosenthal.
  • Self-publish your nonprofit’s Letter to the Editor whether they’re published or not in the target channel. HealthRight headlined the letter on its home page and covered it in depth on its website.

More on Writing Letters to the Editor that Gets Published and Read

How to Write a Letter to the Editor that Gets Published and Read (Case Study)

How to Write a Letter to the Editor that Gets Published and Read – Part Two – Letter to the Editor Tips from an Expert (Case Study)

P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s messaging with the all-new Nonprofit Tagline Database and 2011 Tagline Report.

Nancy Schwartz in Media Relations and Press | 1 comment
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You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged for over a week. Mea culpa — especially as I’ve advised you that maintaining your publication schedule is vital to your credibility and to sustaining an engaged community of readers.

As you may have guessed, I got absolutely snowed under with other commitments and, for the first time in the five years I’ve been blogging, just didn’t get to it. But now I’m back and want to ensure it never happens again. 

The same content gap happens to so many nonprofit marketers I know, especially with website updates and blogs which somehow seem more ephemeral, thus easier to let slide.

So let me share my secret recipe for the care and feeding of your nonprofit newsletter, website and blog–the content inventory. Here’s how it works, using your newsletter as an example:

  • List the regular features, as well as the range of topics covered in the lead article in each issue.
  • Outline three topics for each feature and three for the lead article. Topics should have some longevity.
  • Schedule an ongoing hour each week (at a set time on a set day) to write one of these features or some of an article, gradually building up your content inventory. 
  • Once you have three of each feature and three lead articles, take a break from your content creation hour.
  • Scan your inventory monthly, on an ongoing basis,  to ensure it’s up to date.
  • Next time a work crisis or unexpected commitment arises, pull a story or two from the content inventory. It’ll be fresh (because you’ve kept it that way, right?).
  • As soon as you deplete your inventory, re-schedule your weekly content creation hour and refill it.

What are your strategies for keeping your nonprofit content flowing?  Have you built up a content inventory and, if so, is it working for you? Please share your keep-the-content-flowing experiences here.

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing  success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Content Creation | 3 comments
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