By Kayleigh Alexandra
Your nonprofit’s content is a key element to your marketing. It drives traffic and spreads awareness, helping to increase donations and spread your cause to the world.
But visual content takes all that to the next level. It’s more effective than just written content, and it’s surprisingly easy to implement too. Read on for your handy guide to the what, why, and how of visual content marketing for nonprofits.
Further reading: How to Build Your Personal Brand at Conferences
What is visual content marketing?
You likely already know about content marketing. Put simply, it is the practice by brands, charities, and organizations of marketing through the creation and propagation of digital content such as blogs, videos, images, and so on.
Content marketing isn’t strictly advertorial in nature, but instead seeks to engage your audience through interesting, educational, or useful material. Visual content marketing capitalizes on the growing popularity of video, photography, infographics, interactive assets, and so on to better reach audiences.
Why use visual content marketing?
In a mobile-first age, visual content is convenient and digestible. Its aesthetic nature makes it more engaging than reams of copy, and gives marketers the freedom to deliver their message in a variety of creative ways. And the stats back it up: people can recall 65% of visual content up to three days after first viewing it, compared with just 10% for written content. This makes visual content more impactful with audiences, conveying your message with clarity.
In the same vein, visual content is more shareable than copy too. Articles with one image for every 75-100 words are shared almost twice as much as articles with fewer or no images. Consequently, your message can reach a much wider audience if it’s delivered in a visual style. While visual content shouldn’t replace your written posts, it should complement them. A diverse content strategy is more effective, seeing higher engagement and boosting awareness of your nonprofit as a result.
How to incorporate visual content into your marketing
With video, infographics, social media, and more at your fingertips, the options for your visual content strategy are virtually limitless. But to help get you started, here are a few ways you can use visual content for your nonprofit marketing strategy:
1. Use infographics to convey dense data in a digestible format
As a nonprofit, you are frequently presented statistics and data that conveys the enormity/impact/severity of your cause. But conveying this to an uninformed audience can be tricky. Simply spouting facts and stats often fails to hook the reader. Without context, they are simply abstract concepts, too distant to your audience to matter. Visual content takes care of that for you. Infographics, in particular, are highly effective at transforming impregnable data into digestible ideas. For example, let’s say you’re experiencing a funding shortfall that is stopping you from carrying out your vital nonprofit work. Rather than saying you are behind donation targets, create an infographic that visualizes the number of people who are directly impacted by the shortfall. Infographics turn hard data into relatable, human issues through a visual format. Use a free infographics tool to reinterpret nonprofit data into charts and other visual elements, and cascade them across your social channels. The more powerful the data, the more shares they will see on social that help drive traffic to your website.
2. Make blog posts more readable with photos and graphics
Despite what its name suggests, visual content marketing doesn’t exclusively consist of visual content. Combining both copy and visuals by evenly scattering photos and graphics throughout your blog posts breaks up the copy, making them more readable. As a rule, 100% original images are best. It adds authenticity and credibility to your content, helping push your message to your readers. Of course, for some charities and nonprofits, legal issues may come into play. If you’re creating your own graphics with a free DIY tool such as Easil, there won’t be a problem. But using original photos of people, especially for those nonprofits dealing with children, can cause issues around safeguarding or confidentiality. In this case, it’s okay to eschew original content in favor of suitable stock images. Be wary of generic stock photos though, as these will detract from your content’s value. Instead, opt for a crowdsourced free photos site such as Burst that provides unique images for commercial use. Then, use the aforementioned Easil to add a filter or text overlay to these photos to personalize them for your nonprofit.
3. Educate your audience through video
Education is at the heart of nonprofit marketing. It shows your audience exactly why your cause matters, and why they should care about it too. It boosts awareness of your nonprofit and increases donations by demonstrating to people exactly how their money can make a difference. Consequently, explainer videos are valuable content that forms a crucial part of a nonprofit’s marketing strategy. And visual content is perfect for this. Most readers struggle to work through line after line of copy, and might not finish reading your article as a result. But a video uses both narrative and visuals to more effectively explain an issue. For example, the process of how budget cuts to tax credits for parents increases poverty and homelessness among adults might be too complex to explain through words. However, a video that outlines the journey a victim of these cuts makes, is easier to watch and understand and more hard-hitting as a result.
Take your content marketing up a notch with some striking visuals. Follow the tips above and embrace a diverse content marketing strategy that will enhance your nonprofit’s presence, increase traffic and boost donations today.
About the Author
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site that donates all of its web revenue to charities supporting startups, entrepreneurs, and other worthy causes. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.