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Hit a Creative Wall? Let your Customers Inspire you with New Content Ideas

05 Apr Hit a Creative Wall? Let your Customers Inspire you with New Content Ideas

Sooner or later, every business and non-profit content marketer hits a creative wall. It’s challenging, after all, to develop innovative, new content for customers and donors on a regular basis! So, cut yourself some slack. This too will pass…especially if you borrow my favorite trick of all time: Let your customers and donors be your guide.

We all know in this industry that our customers are one of our most important assets. Loyal customers build brand loyalty, help spread the good word and are linked to increased sales and positive growth. Awesome! It only makes sense that they should also be a source of inspiration for your business and content.

How to draw inspiration from your customers

When I hit a creative wall, the first thing I do is think about recent conversations I’ve had with my clients. What questions are they asking most? My nonprofit clients, for example, regularly ask how to boost fundraising while keeping costs down. I know that if I wrote a blog post titled, “How to maximize fundraising on a budget,” that many of my clients and readers would feel a physical urge to click that title. Boom! Instant inspiration.

To show you exactly what I’m talking about, I’ve listed and answered several questions I frequently hear from nonprofit clients below. Take a moment to see how I’ve turned their questions into a source of inspiration and used it to develop new and exciting content. Want more information on any of these topics? Comment below and I’ll think about writing a post about it!

Q: How can we raise additional funding without spending a fortune on marketing and fundraising?

A: You don’t have to launch a massive fundraising campaign and cross your fingers that it will go viral to secure a steady revenue stream. Honestly, the opportunities to increase funding are endless. For starters, your board of directors should have some skin the game when it comes to funding. Most nonprofit board members should expect to give back to their organization or be prepared to advocate the organization among their friends, clients and associates. Put it in action by asking your board members to send out requests for donations to their contacts.

Another option (one of many!) is to use target marketing. You can maximize your ROI by identifying your target audience and marketing to them directly. This way, if you’re going to invest in a marketing or fundraising campaign, at least you know you’re going to get the best results possible. Other options include applying for grants, directly yet thoughtfully asking major donors for large gifts and encouraging existing donors to give again by showing your appreciation. This includes email updates, thank you notes and storytelling. If you really want to impress them, try thanking them without soliciting them for a gift. If they just gave made a donation, it seems ungrateful to thank them while immediately asking for more money. Keep your solicitations and thank you’s separate. Interested in more tips and tricks? Comment below!

How can we keep web development costs down?

A: The nonprofit sector is evolving and the role of board members is becoming increasingly important. More and more organizations are seeking board members that have experience and skills that will help them achieve their mission. If you want to improve your website or work on mobile optimization, try finding board members and staff that have the necessary skills. This is a great way for them to give back to the organization they serve.

Or, try looking in the tech industry for firms and individuals that want to volunteer their time and skills. Last year, Google.org pledged $30 million to nonprofits in need of IT services and software. There are dozens of platforms and programs aiming to help nonprofits secure the web development services they need for little or no cost. Check out Catchafire – a skills volunteer-matching platform – to find a techie to help your organization.

How can we use social media to raise funds more effectively?

Social media is an excellent resource for funding, and new initiatives are popping up all the time. Goodworld Founder and CEO Dale Nirvani Pfeifer recently launched a new social media payments platform that allows Facebook and Twitter users to instantly donate to charity using #donate. It’s a secure, safe way for users to instantly give to their favorite groups. So far, about 2,500 nonprofits have signed up for Goodworld. Have you?

Likewise, have you heard of Trigger? It’s a new Twitter-based donation platform that allows users to respond to aggravating tweets by doing something positive for a nonprofit just by mentioning a nonprofit’s handle and using the hashtag #TriggerGive. These are just a couple of examples, but you get the idea – social media is a fabulous way to increase giving. Try using #TriggerGive by posting about something that is happening in the media that your followers are probably upset by, turning it into an opportunity for them to retaliate with support for your nonprofit. Don’t forget to follow through, though! If you promise to use the funds to help relocate refugees or on another project, post updates down the road letting your followers know how their funds are being put to work.

You can encourage giving and build a strong follower base on social media with regular storytelling. Donors (and millennials, in particular) want to take an active role in philanthropy. They don’t want to just give money to an organization and hope they use it for their mission. Today, people want to donate their time AND money. They also want to see how their gift is being used. By posting regularly on social media, you can increase transparency and encourage potential donors to support your organization.

As you can see, each of the three questions I answered above are great opportunities for new content. I could talk about these topics all day! Need some help brainstorming? Contact me today to get started.

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