How to Create Compelling Content for Your Nonprofit

When was the last time you couldn’t put a book down? Maybe you’re not a reader – so the last time you were glued to the screen and had to know how the story ended?

I have a stack of books that I haven’t finished reading – I start with good intentions, but then another book catches my eye – or something else takes priority. My guess is, you probably have been there too.

So back to the last time you couldn’t put down a book? What was it about the book that made it so irresistible? Those are the things you want to create in anything you write for your organization.

But how do you make it compelling? Here are some ideas to help you start:

  • Listen – Before jumping in, it’s really important to see what other people are talking about. Put some feelers out – what are other organizations similar to yours talking about? What types of headlines grab your attention? What are the components of stories that you read that make it impossible to turn away?
  • Decide what to talk about – Map out the next few months – try to tie in national holidays and special weeks/months that pertain to your organization. And when in doubt, ask the people you are already in communication with what they would be interested in reading about. Send out a survey or ask them (in-person or on the phone).
  • Keep your ideas organized – Earlier this year, I realized that I had three different file folders (each at least two inches thick) with copies of reports and information I found interesting over the last couple of years. It was great information, but doesn’t do anyone any good when it’s kept that way. Develop a system that will allow you to easily retrieve information and data when you need it.
  • Develop materials – Decide what format you’ll use (base this on who and where your audience is). There are many options for sharing information. These include blogs, videos, articles, presentations, and the latest craze – infographics. Take into account what you learned in step one and two described above. And, think about the characteristics of your typical audience member – picture a specific person you know who shares all (or most) of those characteristics. Perhaps it’s your friend Bob, or your mom, or cousin Larry. Write for that person. There are two reasons for this. First, it makes it easier to write. You’re simply writing a letter to someone. The second is that you think about providing information that person would find interesting to read (rather than simply sharing what you want to write) – there’s a big difference!

These are some thoughts to help you get started. What are yours?

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