3 Tips for Creating Successful and Engaging Content

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In a recent post, I introduced data storytelling as an effective way to engage your members. Numbers are only persuasive when there is meaning behind them – And that’s what storytelling offers.

But data storytelling is just one of many forms of engagement. In a world where we’re all overloaded with content, newsfeeds and updates, how do we cut through the noise to create something that’s meaningful and catches people’s attention?

1. Make it positive and real.

Content = Stories. The work you do makes a positive difference in people’s lives. It’s time to get out of the office and find the real stories and people your organization affects for the better. Talk to front line staff – They’ll know who the natural cheerleaders are in your community of participants and members: 

  • Who has an inspirational weight loss story? 
  • Who is genuinely grateful and excited for all the work you do? These are the people to reach out to and who can give a voice to your mission.

When you find your ambassadors, have an honest, natural conversation – record it – and don’t take any measures to polish their responses. Authenticity is key. Let them tell their story in their own words. A set of well-prepared interview questions will encourage a fruitful conversation.

According to fundraising123.org, studies show that donors tend to give twice as much when presented with an inspirational story about someone affected by your organization.1

2. Choose the right medium.

Video is a powerful tool to tell a story simply because it allows others to tell it for you and people love it. And in a world of smartphones and social media, video creation has become commonplace and accessible for all organizations. While you want a polished, professional product, free and easy editing software like Window’s Movie Maker or Video Spin can help even the entry-level user create in-house videos that are of professional grade.

potato-sack-raceVideo’s great, but images that visually represent your message and story work well, too. Research suggests content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.2 Invest in a digital camera for the office and take pictures – lots of them. Pictures make a story come alive and can be included in multiple medias.

Why Original Images are More Effective Than Stock Photos.

Finally, infographics are a quick way to share relevant organizational information in a persuasive way. AND– Infographics are shared and liked three times more than any other visual materials available.3

nomophobia-activenetworkThe key to an effective infographic is a skilled designer who can conceptualize the content into an attractive and easy-to-follow design. Depending on your in-house design resources, this can be a more labor-intensive approach, but may prove to pay off.

If custom work isn’t an option, Canva, an easy-to-use free or paid online graphics tool, has infographic templates an artistic staff member can use. Hubspot can show you how to Create an Infographic in Under an Hour in PowerPoint. And Venngage has a very cool infographic maker.

3. Share it.

The wonderful thing about social media is that – if done well – dissemination of information is done for you as followers like and share your content across their networks. For maximum viewing, promote your content more than once. For example, if you tweet your video at 6:30 am to a solid viewing, try again at 8 p.m the following week. You’ll reach a whole different audience. You can also use your content on a landing page to collect lead information or offer it as a promotion for a new session via email.

Photos, quotes and infographics should speak for themselves, but if you post a video, be sure to include closed captioning so viewers can follow your story without volume.

For more strategies and tips for how to share your content on social media, check out our recent post, What are Social Media Impressions and Should I Care About Them?.

One of the most important marketing objectives you have is to build content that tells your organization’s story. Authentic stories paired with strong visuals prove time and again to be a winning combination. So, get out there and find your stories! You might just find some personal inspiration along the way, too.

 

Sources:

1 Fundraising123: NFG Storytelling Guide

2 Hubspot: Visual Content Marketing Strategy

3 Mass Planner: 10 Types of Visual Content to Use in Your Content Marketing 

Gina Calvert

Gina is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, YMCAs, Parks & Recs, camps, schools and endurance events, for almost 7 years.

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