I took today as a reading day, and committed to reading the copy of Content Rules [amazon affiliate link].
What a great book!
Share or Solve; Don't Shill
My favorite chapter is called "Share or Solve; Don't Shill." Ann Handley & CC Chapman talk about the importance of engaging with prospects and your community rather than always doing the hard sell. We nonprofit folks need to practice this. Rather than always going for the ask, we need to relearn how to be helpful to donors as well as our "regular" clients.
I especially liked the section "What do I talk about when there's nothing to say?" They give twenty-five different things you can write about that will engage your prospects and increase your reach. Things like "Go behind the scenes" and "Dig into the archives."
My favorite suggestion was "reach into your community." I always try to help my clients highlight the stories of donors. But I hadn't thought of looking at who is most actively engaged with your content and highlighting them.
If people are regularly commenting on your blog or retweeting your information, Handley and Chapman recommend writing a post about those people. Not only are you celebrating your fans, you're also helping inspire more engagement within your community. Brilliant!
That's just one of the twenty-five. And all twenty-five are fleshed out in as much detail, ready for you to use!
Content is a whole
I love how they see content as part of a whole. They give sound advice on finding your voice, how to create content that attracts sales (donations) without being sale-sy, and how to repurpose (er reimagine) content you already have. Much of your existing content can be used in many different formats, helping more people and helping your cause.
And that's just the first section. Then they go through a "how to" section giving pointers on how to do:
- ebooks and white papers (and what's the difference)
- customer success stories
- and even how to make your FAQs work for you
I've been blogging for over 10 years and teach internet marketing at the college level, but I was writing notes in the margins and rewriting pages on my website as I read!
Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business is a great book for nonprofits. The tools and pointers in this book will help you reach more donors and prospects in ways that will cause them to seek you out.
For another perspective on how Content Rules can help nonprofits, check out: