- Wed, July 20 2011
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I’m a big believer in great content. If you want people to value your cause, create content that brings value to THEM. That’s how you forge connections.
A reader of this blog recently wrote me about just how effective this strategy has been for her. She generously agreed to share her story. Here’s a guest post from Charlotte Hill of EARN. Charlotte: take it away…
If I could give every nonprofit communicator one piece of advice, it’d be this: create content that appeals to your audience.
At EARN, we help low-wage workers save and invest in assets that build long-term wealth: a first home, a college education, a small business. But just one of these assets stirs our networks into a frenzy. For some reason—probably because of the relatively young age of our online supporters—college education is consistently the topic du jour.
More specifically, our audience is worried about the rising costs of college and the accompanying debt they—or their kids—will need to take out to pay for a bachelor’s degree.
Now, we could have acted like many nonprofits and viewed this as a problem. “Why don’t people seem interested in home ownership and small business?” we could have asked. Instead, we took this as an opportunity to give our audience what it wanted: a way to get make a difference on the issue of college debt.
So we created a website, MyDebtStory.com, for people to share their college debt stories and pledge to raise awareness about this growing problem. It’s been one of our most successful campaigns thus far.
And even though MyDebtStory.com isn’t directly related to our direct service work, it is engaging our existing supporters and expanding our network—not to mention making a dent in a very real problem that prevents low-wage workers from building long-term wealth. We have four broad communications goals as an organization, three of which have been furthered by this project: establish ourselves as thought leaders, change the national discourse on economic mobility, and excite and engage a diverse and growing set of stakeholders.
We’ve reached thousands of new individuals, been featured in US News and World Report and the Huffington Post, and connected with key politicians about the importance of listening to student borrowers’ voices when creating policies related to student debt.
Overall, we’d certainly consider this project a success!
Of course, your organization doesn’t have to go so far as creating a new website. All you need to do is listen and respond. Ask targeted questions on Facebook and Twitter, and use the answers to create targeted blog posts for your followers.
Prove that you’re listening, and your audience will respond.