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Content marketing for public sector and charities

Are you hoping for more traffic to your website, more opens of your enewsletters, and better engagement on your social media this year? It can really help to apply a bit of fresh thinking about what you’re publishing and sharing for your charity or public sector organisation, and how people can experience it. This is sometimes known as ‘content marketing. And it needn’t be time-consuming if you try some of these ideas.  

Try starting with quick wins: this will encourage you to continue and to be even more creative. For example, you probably already have materials that you’ve shared as a blog, or page on your website. Could you ‘repurpose’ these in a different format (see ideas below)? As well as making your content more engaging and easier to digest, it’ll also make it more inclusive, because you’ll appeal to a variety of learning styles and needs.

Perhaps you have some resources that you use internally in your organisation. Would any of these be helpful to your followers?

It helps to think about:

• what your target audiences will find most valuable, and perhaps can’t get elsewhere.

What would be so useful to them they may well already be looking for it (eg Googling it)? What questions do they already ask you or your team in conversations?

• how will they find it? How will you drive people to your materials?

Think about using other people’s communications channels (emails, social media, websites; events, training, print) as well as your own, to make sure you’re constantly reaching out to new people.

• how they will know it’s for them, and want to engage with it?

This is where titles are important. Think about how you can create a heading for your blog/ webpage, or a name of your resource/ content that (a) prompts an instant ‘I get it’ and ‘this is for me’ reaction, and (b) helps people to find it if they’re Googling that topic (ie is good for search engine optimisation).

Here are 10 ideas to help your creative thinking:

1. Blog

Could you refresh and recreate any blogs to make them easier to digest: clear, succinct and easy-to-read? For example, if you’re describing a project, could you include clear sections on ‘what this is about’, ‘why we did it’, ‘what we learned’, ‘what’s the evidence that this works’, ‘what you can do’? Could you create an executive summary for any reports you’ve published and/ or edit sections to create bite-sized summaries that you can share as a series of blogs/ posts over the next few months?

2. Digital (download) or printed handout/ guidebook/ resource

All sorts of things can be created or repurposed into digital downloads on your website, eg a guidance resource, a case study with links for further information/ guidance, a top tips or how to. People always engage better when things are properly typeset and designed but this doesn’t have to be costly. I recommend Canva – a website/ app with templates which you can edit. Unless you have graphic design training, the results are much better than you’d get with a graphics package such as Adobe Illustrator. I use the paid-for version, but there is a free version. Including images is important too: for free ones try Pixabay (or Canva).

3. Video slideshow

These are easy to create using an app like Adobe Spark or Magisto; or by recording your screen and your voice while you present a slideshow. There are designed slideshow templates in Canva too. You can see a selection of these on my Writing Services YouTube channel.

4. Video films

Video is becoming more and more important for catching and keeping people’s attention online, and there are endless ways to use video for your organisation. You could make short videos on your phone. Do you have a skill or tip you could pass on? Film yourself explaining this or showing how to do it. Try capturing snippets from any training you do, perhaps posting as a series; do vox-pops of the people you benefit (filming people answering questions or giving their views); behind-the-scenes film clips that bring people closer to your team and your organisation; make use of the ‘stories’ function on social media platforms to stitch together short clips of what you’re doing in real-time. Or you could employ a filmmaker to work with you on a video resource, for example, see Awards for Young Musicians Practical Progression series.

5. Diagram or infographic

We all focus so much on words, when often a diagram can achieve quicker and more memorable results. It can distil complex information into what people really need to know; help convey more than words, eg the relationship between, or order of things; and help to make information more memorable and embed the learning. Again, Canva is great for this.

6. Webinar

Run a meeting, discussion or training session as a webinar, which means more people can access it and they can comment and ask questions in real-time. You can record the webinar too and embed it in a page or blog on your website to drive more people there. There are specific websites like GoToMeeting, but I just use Zoom which is like a bit like Skype and has functionality for viewing different people, sharing your screen, recording, and live commenting or questions. I even use Zoom to record my podcast, Music for Education and Wellbeing.

7. Podcast

Podcasts can cut through the sometimes overwhelming amount of written information that’s available, and reach people who just wouldn’t want to read a blog or attend a webinar. You can also reach new audiences and draw them to your website/ enews/ social media, by being a guest on other people’s podcasts. Search for podcasts on topics in your areas of specialism and do some research about what they cover and who their guests are first – then approach them. You could turn a blog into something you could be interviewed about, or even start your own podcast. It’s easier than you might think, and there’s lots of advice online (Colin Gray’s The Podcast Host website is great, as is Podomatic which is where I host mine, and Janet Murray has a new podcasting online course). You could also attend a one-day course in your local area (many different organisations run them, from media trainers to businesses to community organisations).

8. Video animation

This is a powerful way to convey information. Contact a graphic designer/ animator to ask for costs for creating an ‘explainer animation’ from an existing piece of content. Here are two examples:
Common Craft
Plwg

9. Visual minutes

Contract a visual minute taker to record your meetings, eg:

10. App

If you want to get really sophisticated, you could create an app based around your expertise or content, that solves a problem or helps someone to do something. Eg:
TouchBass, a search tool for music education hubs, currently in use in Gloucestershire and Surrey
Plwg, a matchmaking tool for artists/ creatives and teachers/ schools, currently just in Wales
Sound Connections Youth Voice & Participation equaliser

I’d love to hear from you if you use any of these ideas, and what results you get: good luck refreshing your content, and if you need any help and support in creating or repurposing content, do contact us.

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