Why not-for-profits (NFPs) need a content strategy
Research shows that not-for-profit organisations seem to have become stagnated with their content marketing efforts in the last few years, and a lack of content strategy could be what is to blame.
In 2014 we wrote about the results of a study by the Content Marketing Institute that looked at benchmarks, budgets and trends of not-for-profit content marketing. CMI’s research revealed that 25% of organisations surveyed did not have a documented strategy in place. Only 26% of respondents said that they felt their content marketing efforts were successful.
Two years later, CMI conducted the same research and have found that these two figures have not changed. Still, only 25% of NFP’s had a documented strategy and only 26% considered their organisation successful in content marketing.
One other statistic remained the same – of the organisations that rated their content marketing as successful, a substantial percentage (52% in 2014 and 44% in 2016) said they had a documented content strategy.
The correlation is clear; a content strategy is vital to successful content marketing. Not only does it outline your content production process but it is designed to achieve your objectives. It is very difficult to be successful at something without having some sort of a plan to follow!
Why a documented strategy is important
Creating a strategy forces you to answer some important questions about your content marketing efforts.
What kind of content are you creating?
Who are you creating it for?
What channels will you distribute it through?
Where does your audience spend most of their time?
What goals are you trying to achieve?
If you don’t currently have a strategy down on paper (so to speak), you may find that you don’t have immediate answers to these questions, or that other people within your organisation don’t hold the same views. This can ultimately affect the outcome of the content you create.
As an NFP you already have a great deal of competition, so producing the highest quality content is important for getting the attention of your audience. Not only does your content need to look, feel or sound great but it also needs to get through to the right people. If you are producing content without any strategy in place there’s a good chance it is falling by the wayside, and not getting the eyeball time it needs to resonate with readers.
A documented strategy will ensure that your content marketing efforts and goals are clearly defined. Once a strategy is in place you can begin measuring your content against these goals and refining your production to meet them.
Barriers to effective content marketing
CMI’s report also identified why NFP organisations are struggling to achieve results from content marketing.
The two most common challenges faced by NFPs were measuring content effectiveness and producing engaging content, both are which are points that a proper content strategy will help you to overcome.
The third most common challenge, however, is not so easy.
45% of respondents said that a lack of budget was their organisations biggest challenge when it came to content marketing. While this figure is down from the year before (56% in 2015), it is still a substantial barrier to success.
Planning and delivering a content strategy is never going to be cheap as chips, but you still want to ensure you’re getting the best from whatever your budget can offer. On average, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.
At Castleford, we’re ready to help with discounted services to certain charities and not-for-profit organisations, so if you are interested in improving your content marketing get in touch with us via our Content for Good page.