Email marketing strategies have matured and are no longer strictly about increasing the number of subscribers.

Today, the priority lies in building a quality list of names. And the 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report is a must-read guide to getting there, highlighting what works best to grow relationships with an engaged base and prospects.

The Report is based on survey findings initially billed as insights on building a stronger email list. But the strategy I’m going to share with you goes much further than that.

Effective marketing is rooted in strong relationships with the right target audiences – those with whom your organization’s shares wants and/or needs.  I write about that time and time again.

Assuming that’s so (it is!), content marketing — creating and distributing relevant content to your target audiences — is the best way to strengthen those ties and raise the engagement level of your base.

Here are 6 steps to effective nonprofit content marketing:

  1. Build your understanding, and your boss’ and colleagues’, that relevant content helps your organization develop trusted relationships which motivate your prospects to share email addresses and contact information.
  2. Review models: The Environmental Working Group is a wonderful example of an organization that shares most of its practical, unique content at no charge and, in doing so, has built a huge cadre of loyal supporters!
  3. Do do the audience research it takes to find the point of content connection, based on where your organization’s wants meets those of your audiences. That’s the he sweet spot.
  4. Inventory your content. Most nonprofit organizations are rich in useful content, but don’t know where or what all of it is so can’t use it to build engagement.
  5. Plan and launch your first content marketing campaign. Make it small and focused so you can get clear and quick results.
  6. Fine-tune and get out there again!

Is content marketing one of your strategies? If so, how are you implementing it? If not, why not? Please share your perspective and experiences here.

P.S. Get more in-depth case studies, templates and tools, and guidance for nonprofit marketing  success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Content Marketing | 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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