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Tips on Nonprofit Content Strategy from David Hartstein

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If your organization has a website, but you don’t know what content strategy is, this post is probably good for you to read.

Content strategy is the way you go about telling your story as well as creating and publishing information (e.g. blog posts, etc.) on your website or through other related digital media.

As David Hartstein of Wired Impact recently explained to us, many organizations make the common mistake of, “[C]reating a website just for the sake of creating a website, without connecting it to the goals of the organization.” Instead, David recommends that when you are doing organizational planning, you brainstorm ways that your website and social media pages can tie into your main goals.

A well managed website can help you serve your community in a variety of ways, including increased fundraising and volunteerism.  “Think of it not simply as an expense, but as an investment,” says David.  And like all investments, whether or not a website is meeting your goals is something you should measure using hard metrics depending on which factors are most important to your organization.

“The key is to balance saying what you want to say with finding out what will interest your supporters.”  As many nonprofit professionals will tell you, communication with your community needs to be a two-way street.  Listen to your supporters and include them in the conversation.  That way, they have opportunities to become more involved and invested in your mission.

One way to accomplish this is to let people tell their own stories.  If you are seeking to help people that are disadvantaged, post their stories of hardship, told in their own voices, on your site.  When your organization has an impact on their lives, post their stories of success, in their own voices, on your site.  Authentic content is a great way to create emotional connections with your website visitors and the community at large.

Don’t get caught up in trying to be all things to all people, however.  Simply tell page visitors what they came to hear, in a focused manner, and stick to it.  Prioritize the info you want to share and don’t overwhelm people with all the information you can think of.  Instead, keep the reader’s attention on a single item, ideally a story.  “Well-told, detailed stories let people share in meaningful experiences and become a part of your cause.”

This ties back into how content strategy needs to serve the goals of your organization.  Essentially, your content will all revolve around central themes that are important to your organization.  Don’t just post another article just because it’s “posting day.” Brainstorm what content will engage your supporters, bring them in by sharing relevant information and stories, and create emotional connections that, at the end of the day, help out your cause by inspiring volunteers.

To learn more about content strategy, website design, and David’s work for nonprofits, check out www.wiredimpact.com.

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