Smart content strategy for your nonprofit must center on two goals: Writing content that is easy to find via search, and writing content that gives your readers something valuable. This starts with prioritizing your readers’ needs, paying attention to how often you write new posts, and making necessary updates old ones. You also need to consider the length of each piece of content, how original it is, and if it’s easy to read. Other meaningful factors include how you link to other pages within your site, and the built-in formatting of your website. Let’s dive deeper into each one of these topics to help you develop a sound content strategy for your organization.
Every piece of content you create should be centered around the needs of the person searching for that information. Your content should always connect to your mission, but when you’re generating new ideas remember that you are not your site’s audience. Focus on what the reader is hoping to accomplish by reading your article, blog post, or resource.
- Use your Google Analytics data, particularly the site search report and Google Search Console, to understand both what searches are getting people to your site, and what they are searching for once there. Use the topics they are looking for to guide the content you create.
- Make updates to existing content that you want people to read but that has a low average time on page or a high exit rate.
- Change where and how you promote specific posts if they have low pageviews. Google Analytics will tell you your top referral sources. If you’re not making it easy for readers to find the answers they need, they’re going to go somewhere else.
Frequency and Freshness
Google notices new content on your website by crawling it. The more you post, the more often Google will know it needs to crawl your site. This means your new posts will get indexed, which is how they show up in search results. We’re not suggesting you post every day, but the less you post the less time Google is going to devote to looking for your new stuff.
- One way to find the right frequency for posting new content is to track conversions. If your goal is list growth, measure the number of signups you get against the frequency at which you are posting content. Find your sweet spot based on how close you get to your conversion goal.
- Don’t panic if you don’t have the capacity to post as frequently as you would like to. In addition to creating new content regularly, it’s also important to keep it what experts call fresh. The easiest way to do this is to make meaningful updates to your existing content and pages.
- Make sure that when you make updates, whether it’s to your homepage or to an individual resource, that you’re doing so because the new information is important to your readers (there’s that user intent again). You can update as much of the body text as is relevant, not just a title or a single link.
Length and Links
The assumption might be that because we know people spend very little time reading a single webpage, that you should make all your posts short and sweet. While it’s not always possible, you should aim for a minimum of 1,000 words. That doesn’t mean you should write a bunch of unhelpful filler just to hit that goal, but it should be on your mind when writing. You can write a 2,000-word article, but if your visitors can’t understand it, it’s not going to help you at all.
- One method we like is to begin an article or blog post with the question you’re asking and a basic answer to it. (See the first paragraph of this article as an example). Then provide more in-depth information in the rest of the article or resource.
- Google also likes it when you link to other resources on your site within the body of a post. If one page has good search ranking, you can pass that quality to another page by linking to it. Use your Analytics data to find out the top pages being viewed on your site, and link from those pages to other content you want people to see.
- The text that links to the other pages should not just be generic language like ‘click here,’ or ‘read more.’ Write text that explains what you’re linking to.
We’ve covered a bit about quality as it relates to the length of your posts, but there are a few other factors to consider as well. You’re already focusing on user intent by basing your topics on actual searches and results, and you’re already making sure that you don’t sacrifice the learning opportunities of your readers for the sake of brevity. Now make sure that you’re doing what you do better than anyone else—there’s nothing wrong with a little competitor research.
- Check out what information other similar organizations are providing on the same topics you want to cover and then make sure your version is easier to read and responds to your readers’ needs more effectively.
- Basically, keep it simple. We know your mission may require very technical language, but if someone can cover the same topic and write it in a simpler way, they’re going to rank higher in search results. You can always link to additional and more complex content and let people choose if they want to go that route or not.
- If you need guidance in determining if your content is readable, check out this tool. It uses multiple indicators to tell you if your content matches the reading level of the average American adult.
Every page of your WordPress website has a page title and a slug, which is the back half of the URL that is unique to every post. As you put together your titles and slugs, make sure that they read as a sentence and that if you change the page title you change the slug to match it. Use the formatting that’s in your template and keep things consistent from one post to the next.
- Your site should have headline formats built into your page templates. It definitely will if we’ve built the site for you. Only the page title should use the H1 format. Other heading tags—H2, H3, etc.—should be used to layout the content hierarchy as a way to differentiate sections of a single post. They should not be used all over the place based on what you think looks good.
- In addition to helping you organize your content, proper heading format helps accessibility because it is recognizable by screen readers. Section headings also allow your readers to scan your articles and easily find exactly what they need. Bullet points also help with this.
- As you create new posts, add them to your website’s categories and give them proper tags. Also make sure they’re easy to get to from your homepage with pathways that are consistent across all similar posts.
You are an expert in your organization’s mission and your work matters. The more people know about what you do, the more successful you will be. If you’re taking the time to produce meaningful content, make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure that it is reaching the right audiences, and giving them what they need. To be successful you need to be seen. We know that some of this may sound complicated, but with a little guidance you can become an expert. If you’re looking for a partner to help you develop content strategy for your nonprofit, reach out to us today.