Our bi-monthly gathering of charity digital marketers met on Thursday 21st January to discuss marketing issues and share their experience. The theme for the breakfast this month was Digital Confessions, an opportunity for attendees to think about setting some New Year Resolutions for their charity!

Third Sector Digital Confessions

As usual the event was well supported, with a cross-section of charities joining 4Ps’ Head of Third Sector, Nick Shread, and Account Director Rowan Chernin. The confessions that were debated included:

  • “We struggle to engage on social media content that is not patient-related”
  • “We don’t have a content plan”
  • “We don’t track campaign links properly”
  • “We don’t have a co-ordinated content plan across platforms”
  • “Our newsletter open rate is below 20%”

With content issues being common amongst several of the confessions, Mai Vazquez, a Senior Executive from the 4Ps content team, was on hand to share her knowledge and experience.

A familiar message from several organisations was that they weren’t operating with a coherent strategy across departments, with stakeholders working to differing agendas. This is certainly something we have witnessed with our involvement in helping third sector organisations to market themselves digitally. To be fully effective your digital plan needs to be at the core of your strategy, with all stakeholder groups knowing the importance of working towards a common digital goal to benefit all.

With such a large change required across diverse teams to implement a common digital plan, it’s imperative that you don’t try to run before you can walk. Richard Williams, Head of Creative & Digital at Bloodwise, advised the group to start a digital plan with just one shared project across teams. This will allow you to tweak the process and ensure you have buy-in from all interested parties.

To understand your current position, Mai Vazquez advised that a full content audit should be carried out. Use your analytics packages to determine your most and least effective content, spotting which articles engage visitors the most with high time on page and high levels of social sharing. Also scan your site to check for basic SEO factors such as unique titles, engaging meta descriptions etc. You should also undertake a cross-linkage audit to ensure opportunities to keep visitors on-site are taken, linking to relevant content to keep them engaged with your site.

A content audit can help you spot opportunities to engage people that may be visiting your pages with different intent to the message you are trying to relay. Fiona Young, Marketing Officer for Social Enterprise UK, told the group that they were able to put this into practice when discovering the large volumes of traffic coming to their site with the intent of finding a job. Careful messaging on-page has allowed Social Enterprise UK to guide these visitors with employment intent to other areas of the website to gain a greater understanding of their work.

When undertaking a content audit, you should also consider your competitors content landscape as well, advised Nick Shread. An annual review of how they’re meeting the needs of their visitors will help you spot opportunities and gauge where you’re ahead of the pack in other areas. You must ensure that you can be seen by search engines to be an authority in your area of expertise. Most importantly, don’t rest on your laurels – keep producing in-depth articles that help to inform your visitors and cement your position as an authority.

When forming your content plan and considering how to publicise this through social media, it’s important to ensure you follow a routine. Mai Vazquez suggested posting certain types of content on set days to establish a familiar routine with followers. Posting research articles on Mondays with an appropriate hashtag on Twitter will help cement the routine and soon get people talking about your “#MondayResearch” or similar.

Laura Tosney, Digital Communications Manager at SPANA agreed with this practice, having had great reaction to Friday “shout outs” for fundraisers undertaking sporting activities that weekend. Laura also advised to respond to interaction from supporters on social media, finding that it’s greatly appreciated by supporters and has a snowball effect with encouraging others to interact.

The group discussed tools to help interact on social media, with Richard Williams putting forward the listening tool Crimson Hexagon (www.crimsonhexagon.com) as a valuable source of insight from social data. Nick Shread gave a quick demonstration of Hashtagify (hashtagify.me), a tool that allows you to discover alternative hashtags for Twitter.

Mai Vazquez reminded the group of the existence of the free analytics package provided by Twitter. She also stated that it is important to reach the 10% of people that are influencers and who will talk to the remaining 90%. Mai recommended the Moz tool Followerwonk (moz.com/followerwonk), which allows you perform research and increase your social reach. In addition, the site Bloglovin’ (www.bloglovin.com) allows you to follow blogs and locate new ones.

As the breakfast was drawing to a close, we asked attendees for their key takeaways from the event:

Andy Godwin, Marketing Manager at Fight For Sight:
“Develop a routine for social media marketing”

Fiona Young, Marketing Officer at Social Enterprise UK:
“Ensure you have a focussed plan for sharing content socially”

Laura Tosney, Digital Communications Manager, SPANA:
“Use analytics to back up gut instinct”

Chris Barnes, Founder of Chatterback Comms:
“Contact key influencers and give something away”

Linh Lieu, Digital Marketing Manager at JDRF UK:
“Include competitors when performing a content audit”

Richard Williams, Head of Creative & Digital at Bloodwise:
“Ensure you follow a daily routine for content distribution”

Katrina Velasco, Digital Communications Manager for Bloodwise:
“Investigate alternative hashtags and key influencers”

Ana Xavier, Digital Marketing Assistant at The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust:
“Check analytics. Drill down on what’s working”

We caught up with Mai after the event to give us her key messages:

  • Use a weekly theme to content creation in order to develop a routine amongst supporters on social media
  • Undertake a data-led content strategy by using analytical tools like Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics and Facebook Analytics to feed a content plan. It’s is better to have an informed content strategy than blindly executing without following trends.
  • Conduct a target audience analysis in order to ensure content is highly tailored to the tastes of your audience.
  • Perform research into key influencers. Follow key contacts who can influence the rest of your audience on social media in order to acquire new followers and create further brand awareness.
  • Initiate a content audit to analyse if your content is correctly optimised, as well as spotting new opportunities by researching competitors, analysing data and looking at search trends.
  • Aim to gain representation in a third party e-newsletter to acquire new audiences and strengthen your own reputation. For example, producing a research article for another organisation can help cement your position as an authority in this area and widens your target audience via a partner.

We hold our Third Sector Digital Breakfast bi-monthly and new attendees are most welcome. If you work in a marketing role for a charity and have an interest in helping take them forward digitally, please do get in touch with Nick Shread to reserve your place at our next breakfast.

If your organisation is lacking a content strategy then you should consider utilising the content team at 4Ps. They can help by undertaking content audits, creating strategies, performing outreach with influencers and obtaining digital PR coverage.

4Ps isn’t just another London SEO agency. To discuss how SEO, PR, content and paid advertising are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and the needs of organisations, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels.