Content Curation – Why Should Your Nonprofit Bother?

This is Part Two of a Multi-Part Series on Content Curation, see other installments linked below

Part One: What is Content Curation (and why should Nonprofits practice it)?

It’s not really a big stretch for most nonprofits to get into content marketing. In many ways, most nonprofits have been doing this for a long time. We have created countless newsletter, written op-ed columns, developed informational brochures, penned direct mail appeals, and issued press releases. Most of us have files of news stories, professional journal articles, curricula and lesson plans we have created or borrowed (or stolen) from others. Becoming an effective content curator isn’t so hard, or so different than what we have been doing all along, and yet it will help us tie everything together, and even better, to proffer our content to those we serve and care about.

Content curation allows you to add value to all of your social media efforts. Integrating your messages across your Twitter feed, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn account and your email campaigns potentiates the effect of each of these efforts and insures that you reach the widest audience possible with your important information and message.

As an effective content curator, you become the “go to” source on the web for those seeking information about topics relating to your nonprofit’s mission. Delivering quality content on a regular basis leads to becoming recognized as an expert, trusted as a resource, and appreciated as someone “who has my best interests in mind”.

An effective content curation strategy has intrinsic value as well. As you build up your list of resources, you develop a rich, useful repository of information that you and all of your staff can refer to constantly to help you do your work effectively, efficiently, and successfully. You will also find that you can engage your staff by encouraging their participation in content creation and discovery, stimulating them to become constant students and researchers, improving their professional skills and contributing to their development.

Content curation is a very subtle marketing strategy. By answering questions and providing information, methods and or strategies that are relevant to readers’ interests or helps them overcome challenges or teaches them something new, you (at the very least) tie these valuable experiences to your organization’s name, brand and mission. In some cases you can tie content you find or create directly to your products and services, effectively marketing without being heavy handed. Your audience will always be most interested in what you can do for them, and delivering good content answers that question in a very important way. With content curation, you stop being an “Outbound Marketer” pushing your sales pitch or message to a giant audience, most of whom are either not interested or so bombarded by similar messages that drown out everyone. Instead you become an “Inbound Marketer”, meaning that your market comes to you, because they know they will find answers that they seek. They identify themselves to you as possible customers, clients, and supporters.

The process of curating good content (which we will describe in detail in a later installment) is deceptively simple, straightforward and relatively inexpensive. So, even a small organization has the potential to compete on this stage with much larger groups which might otherwise prove to be daunting competitors. Particularly if you serve a niche market, or focus your attention on a few specific issues or a well-defined geographic area, you might find it even easier to provide personalized content that your customers actually want.

The delivery of compact containers of content is perfect for short postings on a regular basis on a variety of platforms. Whether you are creating a blog post, penning a new post to your LinkedIn platform, or writing in any of the different ways that you need to in order to optimize your time and space on Twitter, Google+ or any of dozens of other social media stages, curating content allows you to consistently provide your audience with regular, fresh, up-to-date facts, observations, or lessons. This always renewing source in turn gives people a reason to keep connecting with you over and over. The marketing journey has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades, with buyers/users taking individualized and often circuitous paths to a decision point – whether to buy a product, use a service, decide to financially support an organization. Because of this, the old methods of moving a buyer from point A (I know nothing about you) to Point B (I am ready to engage fully with you) is no longer dominated by advertising or marketing methods that used to be the mainstay of any business. Too, the massive changes that have occurred in how people get information means that large corporate behemoths (think TV, newspapers, radio) are no longer in charge of what gets published or broadcast. Now we have dozens of ways to connect with others, most of them are free or very cost effective, and we are in charge of what information is shared, not the media moguls. We are the publishers, we are the editors, we are the broadcasters. Those who learn how to stay on peoples’ radar and wave a sign gently in front of them day after day are the most likely to succeed.

If the above is not enough to encourage you to make your organization into a content curator, I’m not sure what will. I’m sure there are still some skeptics, and if you’ve read this far, stay tuned for our next installment where we will outline the strategies and tactics of effective content curators. You’ll see how embracing a few principles and deploying some relatively simple approaches bring the benefits of content curation into every nonprofit’s reach.