Content marketing – which is about creating engaging content for your followers – has been a much talked about principle in the social media world. It’s been a powerful way of attracting new clients and customers. But, as things tend to do in the social media world, this is changing and it’s a good idea to ask yourself if content marketing is really the best strategy for you or your organisation. Is it even a sustainable strategy? Is there a better option? Content is king, but why settle for the king when there’s an ace in the deck?
The ace I’m talking about is contribution marketing (feel free to replace marketing with ministry), which means putting your beliefs into practise so that you are actively benefiting your community, and making this visible through your marketing. It’s about so much more than content marketing, which is a way of simply presenting what you have to offer.
Show how you’re making a difference
Christian ministry itself is about so much more than getting people to attend worship and activities, and using content marketing to draw them in. Most of our Christian life – your ministry’s life and the everyday lives of the people you are reaching – is lived outside the church building. Showing how you are making a difference to those everyday lives is contribution marketing. People are far more likely to be interested in your ministry if they can see it is contributing to the community, and will hopefully one day wish to become a part of it.
Don’t get me wrong: content marketing isn’t wrong, but contribution marketing takes your content one step further, putting it into context and applying it to everyday life. It focuses on relationships, which is what ministry (and, in fact, social media) is all about.
One of the ways you can start your contribution marketing is through a blog. Have a core group of contributors but also encourage many members of your ministry to participate. Link to news in both local and worldwide media and show how your ministry is contributing to the community. Be an active voice in the local debate. Use Google Plus to boost your SEO. And use Google Authorship to link your blog content to your Google Account.
Strengthen your relationships
You can invest all you like in designers, photographers, writers and others to create high quality content…but, at the end of the day, what matters is the strength of your relationship with your members/customers. Everything else is secondary. Creating and fostering good, lasting relationships requires an investment of time and resource. Here are some basic principles to think about when you interact with your audiences on social media:
- Don’t have standard replies that you copy and paste
- Don’t automate responses
- Address people by name
- Sign comments by the company/ministry pages and accounts by name
So, to summarise: If you want to get your contribution marketing going, look at what your ministry is doing locally and globally, how you contribute to society, and tell your audiences about that.
How brands can move beyond content marketing (Article in The Guardian)
Content Shock Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy (Post by @markwschaefer)
Does your website present or represent you (A previous post by me)
How to market a blog from scratch and get massive growth (Really good post about blogging by Adam Connell @adamjayc)