Never feel like you have the time to create good content? In this blog, I share some ideas for quick content ideas that will keep your supporters engaged.
It feels to me that there’s never enough hours in the day, and never enough days in the week. But if you work in charity comms, you know you’ve still got to produce content all the time, to keep your charity’s supporters informed and up-to-date with what’s going on. How do you do this, when you’re always up against deadlines and competing demands?
While it’s important to make the time for content creation, great content doesn’t necessarily have to take you ages. In this blog, I share a few ideas of how to make the most of your time. Plus, some quick wins that will keep your supporters engaged.
It’s important to remember that quality is more important than quantity – you shouldn’t put out a rubbish blog post just for the sake of it, for example. But these ideas could help you put together good quality content when you know you’ve got limited time.
Taking one piece of content and making it into something else is known as repurposing. It’s a very efficient way of working. This could take many different forms.
You could take something you’ve written for a limited audience (e.g. a report for a specific donor) and re-jig to be suitable for a wider audience (a broader story for all your supporters).
Another way to repurpose content is to take something you’ve already got and adapt it for another use. A recent example I worked on was a blog for one of my clients. A researcher they’d funded had been interviewed for a fundraising campaign. To supplement this, I transcribed the video, did a quick extra interview with the researcher (20 minutes), and combined all of this to talk more broadly about their work.
Another option might be to summarise a recent event your charity hosted, such as a live Q&A or a webinar.
You could even record a video of you talking about a piece of research, based upon a lay summary, press release, or blog you’ve already written.
Repurposing could be as simple as updating an old blog with the latest information. Or revisiting a previous topic to find a fresh new angle on it.
The point is that you’re not starting from scratch. You’re starting with something you already have, and adapting it in a new way, saving you time.
Repeatable formats / templates
Another way to save time is to use tried-and-tested formulas that you can repeat over and over again. Some quick content ideas you can use:
Q&As with researchers
- Have a standard set of questions as a starting point
- Book in a 30-minute phone/video call with a researcher (automate this with a tool like Calendly or Acuity)
- Get the call transcribed (e.g. with Rev)
- Edit the final version into a blog – and you’re done!
- You could even edit and reuse the raw recording (video or just audio) for social media snippets or podcasts (as long as you have permission).
Behind the headlines
Every time there’s a news story relevant to your charity, and you want to respond to it, have a template ready. This can have a standard set of which aim you need to get across (for some ideas, see this blog on putting together a media comment). Have a standard ‘template’ as a starting point helps to focus the mind on what people want to know, and saves you time.
“5 ways we’re helping…”
Take an area of your charity’s work or a specific group of people you’re looking to help. Gather five things you’re doing in that area (or whatever number you like). Write a paragraph for each, and link off for more details. Done.
You could group research together anyway you like. For example:
- research in Nottingham for a Nottingham based fundraising group;
- research in Wales for St David’s Day
- early-stage research which has led to clinical trials
- research carried out by black or ethnic minority researchers.
Gather a list of the questions your charity is most often asked via email, helplines, social media, and so on. Use the answers you’ve already given to create a perfect answer for each one. Publish this answer as a blog, which you can share next time you get asked the question (or even just publish and share for its own sake). Not only will this save you time having to answer it again when you next get asked the question, but it’s also great for website SEO.
If your charity has a blog, you don’t have to write everything yourself. You could ask others to contribute. While you may need to spend some time editing their writing, it should cut down the time you’re spending on content overall.
People you could ask could include…
- A researcher talking about their work, or why they became a scientist, or their favourite piece of lab equipment, or introducing the members of their team, or sharing a selfie in the lab…
- Someone with lived experience of the condition/illness, talking about what research means to them, or someone influential in their life;
- A donor/fundraiser/supporter talking about what they do for your charity and why;
- One of your colleagues talking about their job or explaining why they work for your charity.
Many of these ideas could be outsourced to your charity colleagues – sometimes known as ‘in-sourcing’. Take the example of a researcher Q&A: you could produce the questions, but you don’t necessarily have to be the one who does the interview. Let’s say Dr Bloggs is working on a project being supported by a charity donor, whose main contact at the charity is your colleague Jane. Could Jane interview Dr Bloggs? It’d be a great way for them to understand more about Dr Bloggs’ work, and in turn, provide the donor with even more information about how they’re making a difference – win-win.
Bringing other people into your content creation process is much easier if you create a content schedule.
An obvious way to save yourself some time is to outsource your content production to someone external. There’s many pros and cons to outsourcing, but it’s important to know that outsourcing your work doesn’t give you back 100% of the time you would have spent on something.
But the bonus of the ideas above is that they are, for the most part, easy to outsource. This is because they’re easy to explain to someone external what you need, or to provide a standard format/template for them to follow. The result is that, if you do outsource this work, you’ll end up getting more time back, compared to outsourcing a brand-new idea or starting from scratch.