Example of a nonprofit winning with “content marketing”

in Copywriting - Nonprofit,Integrated Multichannel Fundraising & Marketing,Marketing for Nonprofits

And you thought content marketing was only for the “for profit” sector (i.e., business-to-business and business-to-consumer). Wrong.

Today’s post is about a nonprofit using content marketing in a variety of ways to build its database and awareness of its cause … the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The Director of Editorial & Creative Services – Michael Buller – was interviewed by the Content Marketing Institute about his use of content marketing for Dana-Farber.

Buller says there are still staff members who argue that they’re “publishing” and not doing content marketing. I [Karen Zapp] don’t understand this argument. I guess it goes back to the archaic viewpoint that nonprofits don’t market or sell.

But the fact remains that content marketing by nonprofits gets the job done. For Dana-Farber it raises awareness, meets the needs of patients and physicians, and it’s helping to raise money.

One of the challenges Buller had in bringing this strategy on board is that, “Most people understand the importance of social media, but few people, even within the communications department, fully understand content marketing.”

Buller goes on to say, “… the two disciplines are integrally connected, and I think there’s a growing awareness that we need to create the content so that we have the conversations on social media and drive people to this content. It’s all related.”

Which channels are they using?

The social media channels include Facebook and Twitter; although Buller says SlideShare has been the most successful. And they have also seen success by sharing their videos on YouTube.

Dana-Farber distributes the content via print, email, social media, a few live events, plus SlideShare and YouTube. They also plan to do podcasts in the near future. They have a strong integration of social media with their blog and website.

Although he didn’t directly mention it, Buller’s interview points out the value and the power of integrated marketing campaigns – and having fundraising copywriters who can write them. Buller says he wants copywriters “…who are at least familiar enough with blog platforms and social media to understand that if you write “9 tips,” you can then take those nine tips and have nine tweets.” That’s also an example of repurposing your content.

One of their biggest challenges? It’s creating content that resonates. In other words, content that is relevant to the readers. Content readers want and value. Sharing information that’s important to them and in a form and on a channel they want. But that’s a challenge for nearly every organization.

Content marketing is an effective way for your nonprofit (charity or professional association), to drive more traffic to your website; to show up higher in search results; to raise awareness; to engage your supporters; and to also raise funds. Don’t get hung up on the terminology. Just do it.

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Photo credit: via PhotoPin.com – “henneberry” of Flickr

Buller’s interview on the Content Marketing Institute blog