Content marketing (Part 3): Hidden in plain sight – making the most of your assets for NFP content marketing

Welcome to the third of our series on content marketing.

In our first post, we discussed the potential of content marketing to boost your social impact, and introduced our 4 A’s:

  • Audience – find out what they care about, what is helpful to them.
  • Asset – what do you already have that your audience values?
  • Amplification – what are the most cost effective and helpful ways to deliver content to them?
  • Action – how will you link the content to a next step so that the people you can help, find it easy to take action?

Last month, we looked at the importance of thinking people-first by building a true understanding of your audience – what they want to know, and what they value.

Once you understand what is important to your audience the next step is to find content they will value. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create something new and flashy. You probably already have a rich selection of assets that can offer value to your audience, they might just need a bit of polish.

Catalogue your assets

For most of us thinking about ‘marketing assets’ the first things that come to mind are probably your communication assets – things like your website, your brochures, and your logo. That’s a pretty limited selection of things to work with! The good news is that everything communicates – so look as well to less tangible things you already ‘own’.

Challenge your team to identify assets in each of these categories. You might be surprised at what you have that you can use in your content marketing!

  • Communications: collateral, website, digital media, social media/online communities, advertising, videos, newsletters, photographs, reports
  • Brand/product: reputation, awareness, product/service experiences, events, logo, mascots, symbols
  • Physical: building space, street presence, merchandise, transit, tools of the trade, uniforms, vehicles
  • Intellectual: professional know how, intellectual property, customer knowledge, history, research/evidence
  • Human: staff, customers, champions/spokespeople, patrons, board members, alumni, volunteers
  • Partners: collaborators, competitors, funders, media

Find your best assets for content marketing

Now you have a picture of everything you can use to communicate, look for assets you can create content around that can…

Inspire – stories that are relatable, inspiring and demonstrate your organisation’s mission in action can help the right people to identify you as a brand that fits with their life. Celebrity endorsements can be useful to aid your brand’s profile, but showing the success of ‘people like me’ can be just as effective. Done with respect to the needs of the people whose stories you use, promoting real life case studies is a powerful way to show your mission with authenticity and power.

Western Sydney University’s Unlimited campaign showcased a range of alumni, all demonstrating the organisation’s purpose, which is summed up beautifully on the campaign’s website.

Personal stories are just that – personal. So if you do use real life stories, look for mutual benefit. If someone gifts you their story look for ways to use this that offer them a benefit too – it’s not just about selling your brand. Deng Thiak Adut’s incredible story came to prominence through this campaign – which lent profile to Deng’s work as a refugee advocate, and later being announced as the 2016 NSW Australian of the Year.

Inform – informing doesn’t need to be a dry and passive activity. Information can spark interest, aid decision making (for example, online calculators and comparisons), or prompt a specific action. It can literally save a life.

In Britain, Red Cross promoted the value of learning first aid to 13-18 years olds via key YouTube stars sharing simple lifesaving skills. Globally the FAST acronym (face, arm, speech, time) has been used by stroke charities and others to prompt early emergency services’ intervention for people experiencing stroke, with a quick response critical for improved outcomes for survival and functionality.

Educate – if your service is more complex, you might need to take things up a notch from just facts or simple interventions. So how can you help the people you serve use your product, or understand your category? By sharing know-how and how to advice, and giving a platform for your resident experts to demonstrate their knowledge and experience. The expert opinions from academic and financial institutions that feature in current affairs programming sit at the macro end of this scale, but not for profits can easily and cost effectively demonstrate their know-how and educate their audience through websites, social media and webinars, as well as face to face events.

Experience – help customers ‘try before they buy’ or otherwise experience aspects of your service that set it apart from other options.

You might introduce an aspect of a new product or service that can be offered online, or at an event: for example, a number of disability service providers are providing education and online help guides to clients in advance of their NDIS plans. The aim is to build relationships and loyalty, so when the client has their NDIS plan approved and their budget in place, they will come back and purchase services.

Charity Water recognised that two of their best assets were their volunteer fundraisers, and their staff; Charity Water were inspired to create a personal, shareable experience when thanking their donors – by letting their staff create thank you videos!

This was obviously a LOT of fun – but it also served to highlight their point of difference – they put all donations from fundraising towards water projects, and found other ways to fund staffing of their operations.

What do you have hidden in plain sight?

So, think about the assets do you already have that can inspire, inform, educate or offer experience.

  • What value can they offer your audience, while helping them engage with your brand?
  • What stories do you have to offer that will inspire and engage?
  • What resources do you have that can be repurposed?
  • What experiences can you bring online?
  • What information can you share?

Not all organisations are asset rich from a cash perspective. But dig deep enough, and every organisation – especially those with a strong sense of purpose – is asset rich in people, knowledge and experience.

Enjoy discovering your unique assets, and join us next time as we will look at how to amplify your message in a noisy world, by using content.

Meg Drechsler
Senior Marketing Consultant
Phone: 1300 284 364


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