Writing content for your Not for Profit or social enterprise website can be daunting. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing for a new or existing website, creating the content that will form the backbone of your site and keep visitors interested needs to engage, inform and entice.
How often have you done a search that returned multiple pages of results that match or have a connection? This is the challenge of gaining exposure from topic specific articles to generic courses.
So, if you’re trying to create content for your Not for Profit, social enterprise or charity that is guaranteed to attract the right audience and have them punching the ‘donate’ or ‘get involved’ button then I might not have a silver bullet. But, here are some tips for how to create the best content you can and by distributing it correctly, you’ll have a greater chance of growing your audience.
1. It’s about them
Have you ever read an article about an issue and been left wondering why you should care? This is probably because the author was more intent on getting the message across about the topic without giving due consideration to you as an audience member and what you might want to know.
When starting to plan your content start by asking the question ‘What’s in it for them?’ The answer to this question is critical to making sure that your audience feel like you are talking to them. This will help create greater engagement
2. Make it Actionable
Actionable website content won’t just tell your reader ‘why’ it will show them ‘how.’ You need to guide them to take the required action. Being clear about what is required and thinking about other ways you can support them to act such as using a video, showing an infographic or even including a step by step guide with detailed instructions that will help them to take action.
By showing them a simple process you’ll set yourself apart and increase the chances of your audience taking the desired action.
3. It’s Credible
Not for Profits, social enterprises and charities don’t tend to struggle with creating credible content because we work across such a wide range of social issues.
Whilst many of your visitors might know about your cause and some might have a lot of information don’t fall into the trap of thinking that what you have to say is common knowledge. There are many Not for Profits and social enterprises working in areas that many people may know nothing about.
Use data and case studies to build credibility. Importantly, to build credibility make sure that you use real information. Remember, not everything is common knowledge particularly not in the social purpose sector, nor is your expertise enough for people to immediately trust you. Use the data, stats and research-backed evidence that you have at your disposal, even if the data is your own, to build your credibility.
4. Use a consistent voice
Consistency of voice means that people will get used to your organisation. Ideally, you need to use your organisations voice. Imagine for a minute that you have a communications person on staff who writes all of your marketing content. Your process for signing off content requires more than 1 person in the organisation to review it. As each person makes edits you suddenly have multiple voices influencing your content. Having an organisational voice helps your communication in so many ways.
By identifying an organisation personality you also create a voice for content creation. So, when writing your content, you can ask the question ‘how would this person say this?’ This becomes a guide for expressing ideas and messaging and helps achieve the goal of consistent tone of voice.
For example, let’s say that you’re writing a service brochure to attract individuals who are funded by the NDIS. To engage that person your brochure has to do more than tell them what your service does it has to inform them about your attitude to the delivery of the program and your approach to providing services to people funded through the NDIS. By having a personality you can engage the audience from an emotional level and then introduce any data to support your proposition.
To stand out, and increase your chances of engagement, your Not for Profit needs to define your personality and be consistent in how you use it.
5. It’s Thought-Provoking
While your website content absolutely needs to be credible, actionable, written for your audience and use a consistent voice, it needs to make people think.
If you’re able to keep people thinking about your post or page content, readers interest will be peaked and they will pay attention to what you have to say next.
People have perceptions of how things are or should be. If your content can use your experiences, data, case studies etc to be thought-provoking and interesting then it will also be memorable. People pay more attention to content that they can engage with and are likely to share it with their audience.
Remember, the sharing of your content is a form of brand promotion for your Not for Profit, charity or social enterprise.
6. Make it easy to read
Your website content should be easy and enjoyable to read so that readers don’t move away quickly. Some tips to achieve this are:
- Well-written. Make it grammatically correct and double check your spelling;
- Easy to read quickly. Try to use relatively short sentences and avoid jargon. Keep the language simple. Remember, you’re writing for a person to read not a bot. But you can use an SEO plugin which assesses your contents readability level and this will assist you for ease of reading and also for SEO.
- Scannable. Use heading hierarchy, bullet points and short paragraphs that make scanning easier. If you want to create in-depth detailed content, then you might need to create an ebook that people can download and read your ideas in more detail.
- Chunk your text. Break your text into bite sized paragraphs and keep the concept of scannable in mind. Use images to break up text but also to highlight your message.
Think about the content that you read. Use this as a guide for creating your own and you’ll be on the right path
7. Deliver value
We all want our readers to keep coming back to our site and to share our message. In this social media driven world likes and shares are a measure of success. To get these results your content has to be valued. Whether you’re informing, educating, problem solving or just trying to entertain you need to give the reader something they want or need. Remember point 1 – It’s about them!!
For example, ‘7 tips for creating great not for profit website content’ tells you what you’ll get from the article and suggests that the content is easy to read and actionable.
8. It Has a Purpose
Be focused. Unless you’re writing an in-depth article explaining a complex issue stick to the point. Make sure that your content has a purpose and the purpose is clear to you. The reason for making the purpose about you is because you’re writing to achieve an outcome. Your reasons could be to raise your online profile, create brand awareness, get donations for a campaign, influence policy change. Your purpose will decide your call to action.
Content creation is the key to engagement in a saturated online world. Not for Profits have stories and insights that can tap straight into your audience’s emotions. This is where decisions are made. By creating great content that gives your audience insights they didn’t have, shows them that you’re thinking of them and offers some value you’ll be able to extend your reach via social channels.
As a result, this website content will lead to increased engagement with new and prospective audience members and position you as an expert in your field.