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Serving Up Satisfying Website Content

Lori Halley 18 March 2013 2 comments

What do your favorite restaurant and your website have in common?

Website ContentAren’t they both the “go-to” destination that…

  • offers a friendly, welcoming environment
  • serves up great food (for thought) that is easily digestible and offers value
  • has great customer service
  • is trusted for being dependable and consistent
  • comes highly recommended (by fans, friends, peers - Social Proof)  
  • keeps customers/visitors coming back for more!

What’s the secret ingredient to keep folks coming back?

Your website is the face of your organization online. It’s the “mothership” - the first destination for members, supporters, the media and the general public, looking for insight and information about your organization and its mission. And to employ the restaurant analogy one more time, while first impressions and customer service are all important, the calibre of the food (or your website content) will be the key deciding factor in determining whether customers stay a while or come back for a return visit.

As we noted in a recent post, one way to increase member or supporter engagement is to transform your website into a “hub” of two-way information sharing, one that both sparks conversations and offers content that your constituents value.

Content Tips:

Here are some tips for serving up content that will satisfy your members or supporters:  

Ensure value drives content decisions:

Whether you’re offering a little taste (a bite of information) or a full-course meal (an article, a report, etc.) it’s all about offering value. Take the time to review your survey data, your website analytics, etc. to ensure your website content planning is guided by insight into what your members or supporters will find useful or valuable.

Keep it fresh:

As we noted in a post a while back, keeping website content current or fresh is truly mission critical for all nonprofits and membership organizations. But it’s not all about creating new or proprietary content specifically for your website. Here are a few ideas  for generating fresh content, repurposing existing material and new sources to consider:

  • Repurpose content: We’re not recommending that you try to serve up stale content, but you can find ways to re-package “evergreen” material. For example:
    • take a white paper or article and break it down into a blog series
    • summarize a recent report and create a PowerPoint presentation (post it on Slideshare)
    • if you have a video from an event: write a blog post with key points and post the video on your site (and YouTube); ask a question raised in the presentation on your forum
  • Co-creation: As Joe Pulizzi (Content Marketing Institute) suggests, you might consider developing content partnerships by tapping into other organizations or communities that have information that would interest your members/supporters. Find reciprocal ways to share information.
  • Curation: This was a hot-button issue in the blogosphere a while back – to curate or not to curate, that was the question. (Check out Elizabeth Weaver Engel and Jeff De Cagna’s White Paper.) Each organization needs to determine if content curation (the aggregation and distillation of information) might offer member value and help meet your mission. If you are attempting to be the key source of information for members, it might be a good fit. But be forewarned, it is a time-consuming job!
  • Developing new content: In a post a while back, we suggested you take a meal planning approach to identifying fresh content. Think about the information (supplies) you have on hand and see what you can serve up. For example, think about:
    • Your organization’s calendar: what’s up in the next month or two?
    • Events you’ve got scheduled: you can create content with teasers about the event; then showcase the event details and finally report on and show images of the event afterwards.
    • Issues you’re addressing or lobbying efforts: can you post an online petition? are there weekly or monthly updates that you can post?
    • Fundraising campaigns: what are your goals? are there photos and/or stories of those impacted by these funds?

Encourage two-way communications:

To get conversations started and keep them going, consider:

  • Posting a poll or survey on you website (then share the comments, feedback, etc. via your newsletter, blog and forum posts)
  • Creating or revitalizing your blog, member forum or bulletin board:
    • Create an editorial advisory board of volunteers to create a blog calendar and write posts
    • Assign a new forum administrator and ask your Board to take turns offering questions, comments etc. to start conversations on your forum

Enable and encourage sharing:

  • Encourage web visitors to share information on social networks by ensuring the buttons for sharing (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are visible and easily accessible. (Note:  if you don’t have these embedded on your website, make this a priority!)
  • Be sure to post regularly (e.g., blog posts, videos, photos, etc.) on social networks and ask your supporters to share these (e.g., ask for RTs or Likes)

Embrace content marketing:

If your organization hasn’t developed a strategy for content creation on your website and across all of your media, maybe it’s time to start. Nonprofit communications expert, Kivi Leroux Miller,  Kivi suggests:

“Nonprofits have always embraced content marketing. We just didn‘t call it that. All that stuff you‘ve been creating for years – newsletter articles, direct mail letters, press releases – is content.” 

Kivi also employs a food analogy to frame the subject of content marketing in her e-book:  The Nonprofit Content Marketing Cookbook. This is a free “Guide to Creating and Curating Content that Educates, Motivates and Inspires” which offers an explanation of content marketing along with advice and tips on “Planning the Menu: Building your Editorial Calendar”, “Reheating and Remixing: Repurposing Your Content” and much more.

We hope these tips and the additional resources below will help you serve up truly satisfying content that keeps your members and supporters coming back for more.

Additional resources:

Image source:  Old chalkboard, courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 18 March 2013 at 8:30 AM


  • anthony said:

    Wednesday, 27 March 2013 at 4:32 PM
    "Content will be the key deciding factor in determining whether customers stay a while or come back for a return visit."

    I absolutely agree with this statement. There's nothing that could make your website more successful than high quality content. I work in the online marketing industry and I come across various success stories in this particular area and there's one that caught my attention – it was about a guy called <a href="http://foliovision.com/2013/02/lorne-marr">Lorne Marr</a> who set up his business here in Canada and then decided to penetrate the online insurance market. He found a little company called Foliovision and entrusted its team with that task and after a few years the guy runs a multimillion-dollar business. And as he explains in the article the key to his success right now is the constant search for high quality content regularly presented on his website. So this only proves that content one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.
  • Lori said:

    Wednesday, 27 March 2013 at 6:19 PM
    Thanks for that example Anthony, whether non-profit or business, fresh content is key.
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