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Content, Content, and More Content: What I Learned at the 2018 American Marketing Association Nonprofit Marketing Conference

Katie Ottaggio, Senior Marketing Manager

This year’s AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference included two days jam-packed with valuable insights from nonprofit industry experts. The opportunity to listen to and learn from these professionals was enlightening, and I came away from the conference with an abundance of new knowledge, ideas, and inspiration.

While the conference consisted of many sessions, each with its own value and takeaways, one key thing resonated with me through the conference: CONTENT.

Content is on everyone’s radar. Cultivating it, creating it, sharing it, reporting on it. When it comes to content, there can never be enough. But, from the AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference I took away four key points to keep in mind when embarking on content development for your organization.

1. Content marketing creates a relationship with your audience that builds trust.
Your content shows others you know what you’re talking about. By sharing your knowledge, you’re demonstrating to your audience that you can be trusted to provide information that they will find valuable and useful for their own work. Trust is built over time, but being a reliable source of information and insight will eventually raise you to the top of their “experts” list, making you one of the first they go to for information and support.

2. Think about what people want to learn, not what you want to tell them.
When developing content, consider first how your content will be useful to your audience. Your perspectives are valuable, but only as valuable as they are useful to your audience. Not sure what your audience wants to learn? Ask them! Conduct an informal poll on social media or build a quick online survey. Asking your audience for their input on what they want to hear from you will make them feel respected by you and will ensure that what you’re distributing will be of the most use.

3. Create content that is relevant and solves a need.
Content shouldn’t be distributed just for the sake of getting something out there. It should be relevant to your audience — consider where they’re at in their buying cycle, the time of year, what’s happening in the industry, the political climate, and so on. If you take such factors into consideration, your content will be all the more timely and valuable to your audience. Above all, create content that solves a need. If your program addresses drop-out rates or childhood obesity or increasing access to technology for students, show how it does so.

4. Humanize your content.
Your content needs to be relatable for your audience to feel a connection with it. Whenever possible, include quotes, testimonials, photos, and videos. Seeing others interacting with your product, program, or service and seeing its success and value will help them to envision how it can benefit them too. Educators especially are influenced by their peers and will appreciate content that showcases what others like them are doing or using.

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