What Is A Content Strategy, And Do You Need One?
What is a content strategy, and do you need one?
Online content is the most cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people. But the sheer volume of free or low-cost opportunities can be overwhelming. A “content strategy” streamlines your publishing and makes sure it’s getting results for your charity.
What types of content are there?
Content is any written, audio or video content that you or someone else publishes about your organisation online. Some examples include: website news articles, blogs, Twitter/ Facebook posts, videos on YouTube, images on Pinterest or Flickr, audio clips of spokespeople and so on. A lot of content can be published free of charge, but paid or sponsored content can increase your reach.
Do you need a content strategy?
Compelling content on your website and elsewhere online drives people to your site and pushes it to the top of Google searches – vital for most organisations today.
If you have a small website and limited social media activity, you may think a strategy is unnecessary. But having a clear vision can make your efforts go further and stop you wasting time.
What are the main things a content strategy should address?
• Who you want to reach and what you want to achieve
As with all marketing activity, you need to start with the audiences you want to reach and the impact you want to have on them. For example, do you want to drive participation in fundraising or provide information and support? Define your audiences and their needs – they could be existing supporters/ beneficiaries or new groups you want to target.
• The content and channels that will deliver results
Identify the topic areas where you have knowledge and insight to offer: whether it’s UK education policy or how to help someone with dementia.
Consider how you will entertain, inspire or inform your audiences. A heart-warming story or a new light on a topical issue will be more engaging than repeated requests to donate. Think about images and video as well as written content.
Plan to continuously track what content is engaging your audiences and resulting in visits to your website - Google Analytics and social media tools make this easy.
• Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be complex but it basically means making your content more likely to be found on internet searches. You’ll need to think about the search terms your audience might use from “office bake off fundraising” to “how can I help my child cope with anxiety” or “government mental health policy”. This will help you craft content that is useful and relevant and will appear at the top of internet searches.
• A practical plan for producing and publishing regular content
Regular publishing will increase your chances of being seen and improve your position on Google/ search engines.
It can be logistically challenging for organisations to produce enough content, resulting in an ad-hoc and inconsistent approach. A content plan is an ideal opportunity to identify your publishers and ensure they are all onboard with the same vision and messaging. A calendar plan with future content planned (and even pre-produced or set to publish automatically) will help you get ahead of the game.
Fiona Lewis is an Action Planning Associate with nearly twenty years’ marketing, communications and PR experience specialising in the charity and not-for-profit sectors. She has held senior communications roles in charities and now works as a consultant, trainer and coach. Fiona helps organisations to develop a strategic approach to communications that maximises the impact of their resources. She can help charities to kick-start their marketing activities or provide specific support on areas including brand development, research, web content, media campaigns and more.
Fiona can be contacted through Action Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org