5 Guaranteed Ways to Raise Money Through Storytelling
Content is king. What this means is that information is power. A recent webinar by Social Media Today(you may need to register on the site to hear the audio), How Content Marketing is Changing Everything, highlights the challenge for marketers today. We must not only deliver the right information, in the right place, at the right time; we must create the right stuff in order to earn our customers’ attention.
Content rules.This is actually the title of an excellent book on marketing that made the best seller list (I have no connection to the authors). It has ‘ideas you can steal’. Steal them!
Content is where it’s at. Wherever you are – facebook, twitter, you name it – what is going to bring people back? What’s going to make people want to share? What’s going to make it easy for people to ‘get’ what you’re trying to convey? Sometimes it’s an infographic. Sometimes it’s curated content on Scoop.it or Pinterest. Sometimes it’s a white paper.
Content is anythingyou create to tell/share your story. Content can be created internally. Content can be outsourced. Content can be curated (more on that subject in my next blog post). It’s up to you to determine which construction is going to work for you and your audience(s).
Content is everything. ‘Content marketing’ has become the fancy term, but it doesn’t stand on its own. You can’t have a content strategy without a digital or social strategy. It’s not something to do separate from the rest of your marketing communications efforts. It’s the essence of what you do. It’s the way you earn attention. It’s the thing that resonates with your markets, delivered at the right time through the right channel(s).
Content sucks. Or it doesn’t. If the former, no one will care about it, no one will share it. People will see it; then go away. They may never come back. If it’s great, it’s gold.
This create conversation cartoon (from my favorite Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void; also have no connection to him; just love the daily cartoons he’ll send you!) says it all in a nutshell. We will create uncommon content only when we begin to think of our brand as a platform from which all dialogue ensues (for great tips, see 29 Brilliant Minds Share Uncommon Content Strategy Advice). And, yes, we must understand that it’s a dialogue. We must create content that’s worth talking about. Content that’s one-sided is boring. It lacks the meaning that comes from incorporating the viewpoint of our constituents. It’s just not worth engaging over.
What’s your cure for the common content?
Claire, I love your topics!
Here's my psychic prediction: by the time we baby-boomers cycle completely out of our non-profit leadership positions and GenY and/or the Millenials take over, this will have become a no-brainer.
In the present tense, though, here's what I notice: people in non-profits seize up when you introduce "business discourse" into our typical "non-profit discourse". By this I mean the way we talk about the things we talk about — the words we choose, the way we arrange our sentences, etc.
For instance, business-discourse says "execute"; non-profit says "implement". Business says "brand", non-profit says "identify" and/or "reputation". Business says "key performance indicators (KPIs), non-profit says "goals and objectives"; business says "product/service line", non-profit says "program".
Do you see where I'm going with this?
What happens with your non-profit executive and organization clients when you say "content marketing"?
When I was leading a giant organizational change toward a more market-driven business model, I found myself having (by necessity) to become bi-lingual and to teach my staff "business as a second language".
Most of them gagged and spit and choked, so I had to convince them of what this did and did not mean and WHY we were using this language and following these steps.
Some people never stopped gagging and spitting, but a bunch of others got it and, pretty soon, business-discourse was seeping into the way they talked. Which means it was seeping into the way they THOUGHT.
To answer your question, Claire, in my personal opinion, non-profits have a ways to go in order to learn what "content" IS, why it's good to "market" it and what it has to do with "following our mission".
Some of us old-timers may not get there — The first person I had to convince and retrain was myself. But some of us will and as the next generations follow us — those folks who didn't live through "the Great Society" and never were a "VISTA volunteer" will know instinctively that businesses and non-profits are indistinguishable in terms of what they need to propel their organizations forward.
Thanks for the nice and concise article that really gets the purpose of content across. Thinking about whether you are starting or inspiring a conversation with each piece of content you create makes your efforts so much more productive.
Cindy, thanks! I not only see where you're going, but it reminds me of the old George Carlin routine about the difference between football and baseball.
In the former, you "go for the goal"; the latter you "go home". In the former you get a "penalty"; the latter, it's just an "error". Football is played on a 'gridiron'; baseball in a 'park'. Football has 'unnecessary roughness'; baseball has the 'sacrifice'.
Nonprofits see themselves as the 'kinder/gentler' version of business.Your concept of 'business as a second language' is apt. And I hope your psychic prediction comes true. With folks like you leading the charge, no doubt it will!
Thanks Sharyn. You are so right. It's sadly all too easy to fall into the bad habit of what I call 'mindless production'. We focus on getting a newsletter 'filled' and don't think enough about the quality and relevance of what we're using as filler. It's a terrible waste of time and resources, and does too little to build our brand or develop lasting relationships with our constituents.