5 Steps to Content Marketing Success for Arts and Cultural Nonprofits | npENGAGE

5 Steps to Content Marketing Success for Arts and Cultural Nonprofits

By on Dec 10, 2013


According to the new Nonprofit Content Marketing report from Blackbaud and Content Marketing Institute, 38% of nonprofits plan to increase their content marketing budget in the next twelve months.

How can arts and cultural organizations start leveraging content marketing? Surely this doesn’t apply to zoos, museums, and theaters does it?

Absolutely! There are 5 steps to start a content marketing program at your arts and cultural organization.

1. Know your Constituents

The most successful content is the content that is personalized for an audience. Your zoo visitors who come to see the penguins are going to be much less interested in content you create about “The Struggles of Life on the Savannah” than they are about content about “How Global Warming is Impacting our Polar Ecosystems.” Obviously you have people with different interests coming to your organization so the key is to identify those core personalities, or personas, and make sure you’re shaping your content strategy to include those individuals.

The most common question following this is “How do I know what the key personalities are for my organization?” It takes some research. This is one of the places where arts and cultural organizations have an advantage because they have ticket sales data. Look at your purchase history and see if there are any trends. Do more people come for musicals than tragedies? Are there any trends in the age or demographics of your visitors? All of these things shape the persona you are creating content for.

2. Create Content

Arts and cultural organizations have an unfair advantage when it comes to content creation. According to the report, 49% of nonprofits are outsourcing content creation. Arts and cultural organizations have a wealth of content at their organization already. Every exhibit, display, or show is a treasure trove of content that other nonprofits would love to have.

For example, if you have a Monet exhibit coming to your museum, you can create content about Monet’s biography, France in the time of Monet, or how Monet’s work is still applicable today. Because you know your constituents, you will know what parts of these topics they will care about most so you can shape your content to be appealing to them.

3. Promote your Content

One of the classic baseball movies is “Field of Dreams” with it’s famous line “If you build it, they will come.” Content doesn’t work that way. You have to promote your content to get people to come view it. You can schedule an event or start a blog and expect people to just show up. Promote your content on social media, your homepage, and at your organization.

Perhaps your most popular exhibit is the dinosaur exhibit. What if you created a dinosaur section of your blog, with the target audience being moms with little boys who love dinosaurs, and displayed that link or a QR code for that link, at the dinosaur exhibit so mom can keep up with Dino-facts to share with her son even when they aren’t at the museum.

4. Engage

To take your content to the next level, engage with your audience. It’s good to provide something that people consume. It’s GREAT to have something people interact with. It can be as simple as replying to a Tweet from a constituent, but you need to have a level of interaction because those interactions are what creates a positive experience and encourages them to not only come back for more but to share with their friends.

Tip: Keep in mind, content is a great way to engage people with your organization for the first time. These interactions are the basis for a future visits and donations.

5. Track your Content

Content marketing’s biggest challenge and biggest pitfall is tracking. When you talk to someone about content marketing they often feel like it’s idealistic or that it won’t make an impact. The good news is that content marketing efforts are very measurable if you take your time setting it up. Make sure you have analytics on your webpages that let you know how many people are coming and how much time they are spending on the page. If you create a really cool, valuable resource (i.e. more than a blog post, more like “A Mom’s Guide to Dinosaurs”) then ask people to give you their email address or other information so you can use content as a donor acquisition tool. Just don’t get so wrapped up in the content that you forget to track the results.

Are you using content marketing at your arts and cultural organization? If so, is your goal donations or ticket sales? Let’s chat below.



Ryan King is the Senior Channel Marketing Manager for Arts and Cultural Organizations. Ryan has over 5 years experience working with nonprofits to increase their revenues via fundraising, ticketing, and online marketing. Follow Ryan on Twitter for tips on fundraising and marketing: @wryan_ki


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