Nonprofit executive directors often need to wear a lot of hats, especially when you're first starting a new nonprofit or trying to grow to the next level. Becoming proficient at all the aspects of running and leading an organization requires flexibility and a learner's mindset. Add to that the need to switch to marketing mode and attract new donors with engaging and current website content.
If you are the writer of that content or if you have a designated content writer, you as the executive director need to know that using the best strategies for online marketing can make all the difference in driving more traffic to your website, your blog posts, social media pages and feeds.
What is Keyword Density?
"When writing blog posts and content for your website and social media, you must understand the needs and interests of your target audience and gear your writing towards them. Think like a party planner," suggests Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com. "Think about it as if you were making a birthday party with a theme. You use that theme in the invitations, the cake, the napkins, the plates, the tablecloth, the thank you notes – etc – that is keyword density. Keyword stuffing would be repeating that word in nonsensical ways – while density is using the keyword, word phrases and synonyms in a manner that is informative, engaging and useful to the piece.
"The keyword is like the theme which will be repeated at least five times in your article, in the title, in the subtitle, in the search engine for SEO and SEM. The content of the article needs to be informative and smooth for the reader and for Google and other search engines. People searching need to understand clearly the topic of the post when it comes up on their feed, or when they open the newsletter. They get that from the keyword density."
You need to know who your target audience is and gear your writing to them. "Include the main keywords in the article's title, the article tag, the short description, and any alt tags or image tags as well, and in the article's first paragraph. Use words relevant to the article topic, that give you SEO juice. If you choose words that are searched for very often on Google and other search engines you will have high competition and if you choose words not searched as often you will show up in more specific searches possibly attracting only the audience you seek. I like to use both kinds of words when choosing keywords. It can take a bit more time to figure them out, but it's worth it for the results you'll get," recommends Hikind.
Keyword density is the number of words in the copy/number of times the keyword is mentioned. While there's no exact number of times a keyword should appear, it's best practice is to keep it to no higher than 2%. Anything higher is considered "keyword stuffing" and can harm your SEO.
The right keyword density will place your website or your blog post high in search engines. According to Hikind, it's important to, "Have three words or phrases that you will have used five times or more in the article. Before you start to write – think about the main idea of the article, page or post – stay focused and find the three keywords or keyword phrases that describe the main idea and are searched for quite often and use them often – but only as informative and relevant to the topic."
Jennifer Yesbeck, Marketing Manager for Amazon's Alexa, writes about the 18 Types of Keywords Every Marketer Should Know. Yesbeck provides detailed helpful advice on how to maximize traffic to your website.
The more specific the keyword or phrase, the less often it will come up in web searches, but the higher conversion rates it will generally have. So, you can choose your main keywords depending on the purpose of your article, your audience and what you want to achieve through your post.
Primary and Secondary Keywords
Use primary and secondary keywords to drive traffic to your posts. Make sure you choose a clear, often searched word or phrase as the keyword to target on each webpage. Each page of SEO content should have one primary keyword assigned to it. It should follow keyword optimization best practices so that the reader will know that that keyword is the focus of that page. Your primary keyword should make the purpose of the web page very clear to your visitors and readers.
What is the Purpose of Your Post?
What phase of the purchase funnel is the post geared towards? If your post is about raising awareness or branding, you'll want to use informational keywords ("know"). This is the type of keyword to use if the purpose of your post is to teach people something, or let them know about your organization or company. Posts in the "consideration phase of the funnel" should use navigational keywords ("go"), and posts geared toward the "conversion phase of the funnel," getting people to buy, act or make some type of decision, should use "transactional keywords ("do").
Define Your Website's Purpose
Have your mission and vision clearly stated for your readers. Show your achievements and provide access to different activities such as events, training or email lists to join. If you're selling anything or looking for donations or volunteers, have buttons which will link them straight there with precise directions of what and how to do it.
Write for Your Target Audience
The more people know about your nonprofit the better. Who do you think you'll appeal to? Who do you want to appeal to? Direct your message to them. How old are they? What professions are they in, or are they still in school? Where do they live? Are they in business? Do they work for the government or the community? Are they members of the clergy or congregants? Managers or workers? Trainees or trainers? Choose your tone of voice depending on your target audience, and use the kind of language they use. A helpful article on identifying and prioritizing your target audiences is available on www.health.org.uk.
Develop a Content Strategy
Every organization that needs to communicate with the public needs a highly developed content strategy to make sure they're not ignored or misunderstood.
Content strategy is the "high-level vision that guides future content development to achieve a specific objective. If you do not have a clear picture of what you want to tell, whom and how, you will deliver content that does not resonate with the audience and leads to confusion," according to www.knowhownonprofit.org.
Use content strategy to establish your organization's authority, engage the audience and drive traffic to your website. “Content” doesn’t just mean written copy. It includes everything – photos, videos, infographics, and more.
Come Up With Your Priority Topics
Write a list of topics for posts for several months ahead depending on the purpose and audience you've chosen and organize them into several groups based on topics or "theme groups" to make sure you've included all types of content in the right proportion.
Your articles or blog posts should give "added value" to the reader/subscriber/customer/contributor. Not everything you write should be geared to the "sale or ask for donations." Write articles that give helpful and newsworthy information to your current readers and build your audience by making it sizzle.
Though you have a schedule, be flexible so that you can publish breaking news and trending stories when the opportunity arises. Don't get bogged down in keeping to the schedule.
Websites like Sprout Social list the best times of day and days of the week to post on Facebook and other social media platforms for each social media platform for your industry. Use that information to maximize your social media marketing strategy.
Choosing Your Title
"How to" articles get a lot of traction as do blog posts with a number of steps or "listicles." Words and phrases such as "key" or "keys," – "The Keys to Successful Content Writing, " or "The Key to Finding the Clients You're Looking For…" and "Essential Ways To," or "Best Practices For," get lots of hits.
When using numbers or steps such as "Eight Steps to Financial Freedom" (or is it Ten?), make sure it's not too few or too many.
In summation: Understand keyword density; primary and secondary keywords and how to use them; know your purpose; write for your target audience; write your content strategy plan; come up with your priority topics; and choose great titles.
Executive Directors – If you want to share what is novel and can be replicated about your nonprofit organization or small business and get some free publicity, sign up as a writer on GrantNews.com.
About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantNews.com.