17 January 2020

Steps to an Effective Content Strategy for Your Nonprofit

Many non-profit organizations underestimate the power and value of an effective content strategy. This is a document that outlines the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content aimed at creating and sharing awareness about the nonprofit organization.

A well thought out content strategy for nonprofit improves the image of the organization and overall level of engagement with its audience. However, coming up with an effective content strategy takes a lot of time and financial resources, which are usually scarce for most nonprofit organizations.

Here are five simple steps you can take to develop an effective content strategy for Your Non-profit.


1. Content alignment

You should understand and be able to articulate what you are trying to achieve as an organization and then map it to your user-specific questions and problems. The end goal is to convince the consumers you understand them and their journey and that you want to meet their needs in every tailored way. 

Luckily, nonprofit organizations have the unique advantage of strong missions that enable them to create a successful content marketing strategy.

To align your content with the consumer journey, needs, and problems, you need to have a deep understanding of how they navigate your site and social media. You also need to gauge their engagement level with the content marketing strategies previously used, such as email campaigns. 
Information can also be gathered through Google analytics, personal interviews, online consumer surveys or any other content marketing tools that are available online. Use the information to develop the topics, questions, and needs that will be addressed by your content. 

2. Content audit

A thorough assessment of all your content across all platforms is a great way to determine where you are and where you need to go. It is also great for showing you areas of improvement for your content such as where you need to optimize your content and where you need to engage with your audiences more. 

Once you audit your existing content, you should be able to determine whether it can be used as-is or it needs some editing. You will also find out whether you need to build new content from scratch. 


3. Production plan

Every effective content strategy must have a production plan, also known as an editorial calendar. This part of the process includes determining which type of content to produce and who the content owner will be. You will also determine the subject experts that will contribute to the content, how the content will be pushed out and the production dates.

The various small steps at this stage include: defining your content pillars (this is usually to empower and inform for most nonprofits), determining the genre and the format of each content piece, then coming up with the topics and methods to deliver the content.

At this stage, you can ask “write my capstone paper” and professionals can come up with the content material that you will need. It ranges from website content to flyers and guide books to research proposals. The writers working with online services are highly trained, so they will write and edit according to your specifications and deliver in a quick time.

4. Performance measures

Once you have developed your content topics and overall production calendar, it is important to determine what each content piece should accomplish so you can track and measure success. 

For example, a blog's measure of success may be to attract 25% of donations. Defining the aim of each piece of content and how performance will be measured will help you determine whether you have a successful content marketing strategy. 

The performance metrics should be well laid-out and clearly communicated to all the teams involved in the process lifecycle so that they are well aware of their jobs.

5. Distribution plan

The last step of an effective content strategy for nonprofit is finding out which distribution channels to use that will optimize your time, resources, and engagement with your audience. Identify short-term and long-term strategies that incorporate over one channel. 

For example, your strategy can have online channels such as social media and offline channels such as direct mail. The channels used should be able to get your content to donors or members.
Conclusion

A content strategy helps you to figure out which content is doing poorly, which is doing well, how you can create better content, and how to coordinate better with other groups. An effective strategy enables the organization to have multiple ways to promote their content and tools to help them analyze their efforts. 

However, it is good to note that content strategy is a continuous process. Your strategy will require constant updating to make sure that the voice and needs of your audience are reflected. You always need to prepare yourself to plan, create, publish, analyze, and repeat the process.


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4 January 2020

The Tree of Life – Mexico’s Evolving Art Form

Everything must change, so the saying goes.  Art is no exception and folk art has always been particularly in tune with cultural shifts being, by its nature, by the people for the people.  So it is with the Mexican sculptural tradition of the Tree of Life or Árbol de la vida.  It has gone from an instructional tool of religious imposition to, contemporarily, something quite different. Yet it wasn’t itself an art form which sprang spontaneously in to being with the arrival of people from the Old World: its roots are much older.

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A Biblical story is now considered traditional, but Árbol de la vida originates with the Olmec culture, which arrived in central Mexico around 800 AD. This, together with the huge cultural influence of the pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan (which at its height in the first centuries AD was at least the sixth most populated city in the world) brought about an age of intricate, sophisticated ceramics.  The Tree of Life embodied the four cardinal directions (north, east, south and west) for these ancient cultures as well as connecting the realms of the underworld and sky with the dominions of the Earth.

2 January 2020

The Turning Point


Imagine the destruction of the environment from a different perspective where it is not the human race paving the way to species extinction but rather all those usually at the receiving end of what we think is a satisfactory duty of care to planet Earth.  Steve Cutts, an animator not unknown for the bleak messages contained in his work – here presents humanity as the species at risk in The Turning Point.  There are too many memorable moments in this short animation to mention but one that particularly resonated with me was the site of the orangutans destroying the rain forest: very Planet of the Apes gone completely psycho.  Yes, bleak this may be, but the message is incredibly powerful. Mr Cutts does it again.

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TS: Terminators - The Sequel You Always Secretly Really Wanted


Are you fed up with Terminator sequels that don’t quite “cut the mustard”.  Well, fear not as Fabrice Mathieu is here with his own – and it turns out to be quite the tribute to Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger into the bargain.  The plot?  In the future John Connor scrambles Skynet’s mainframe meaning that all the T-800s are given a new target – the other T-800s.  As well as using footage from all of the Terminator maovies, Mathieu also mashes it up with bits of Hellboy, Jurassic Park and Zombieland – to name but a few.  The result is pretty seamless – can you see where a clip from one film ends and another begins?  Good luck – but enjoy too!

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29 November 2019

Requiem 2019 Starring Rutger Hauer


Requiem 2019 from Sil van der Woerd on Vimeo.

I had to watch this short film more than once before I could lift my jaw from the floor.  Directed by Sil van der Woerd and Rutger Hauer (who also stars), Requiem 2019 takes the last remaining blue whale and takes it eye to eye with its nemesis – us.  What can a single individual say to the last surviving member of a species which has been around for millions of years? Requiem 2019 is a melancholy demand that we take individual responsibility for preserving the largest animal to have ever lived.

Despite restrictions in hunting it still continues. In the Antarctic it is estimated that the population of blue whales is at one percent of its pre-hunting levels. What would become of human kind as a species if 99% of us were wiped of the face of the earth is, of course, conjecture: I sometimes wonder if we should even be classified as a species – virus seems a more appropriate term!
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27 November 2019

Being British - A Film by the People of Great Britain


“Wandering Film Director” Simon Mulvaney recently asked a stack of independent filmmakers a question: what does it mean to be British?  I expect he was rather overwhelmed by the response if the resulting film is anything to go by.    The short answer, many, many different things which makes the UK a special kind of place really.  I think perhaps I will mull on the message of hope this video brings when I am next feeling bleak and baffled and about Blighty’s future (and that has been regularly over the last few years since a certain referendum!).  Maybe we’re not so broken, after all.

As an aside, I think this video would slot in nicely to any number of “British Values” classes in UK schools.  It could be used as a discussion starter, a prompt for essays – any number of classroom activities could be created around it.  So, thanks Mr Mulvaney and contributors!

If you’re interested in finding out more, there are multiple versions and a directors commentary here - www.beingbritish.uk
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Tubi’s Titles: Not on Netflix



Are you suffering from subscription fatigue? If so (or even if you are wrinkling your brow wondering what that is) then you might want to take a look at the videos below. Tubi is the world’s largest free streaming service and have a huge amount of titles that are “Not on Netflix”.

Each of the videos stars a famous face, admitting in the middle of a therapy session that they have met ‘someone’ new, someone who will help them cure their streaming issues. Marvellously tongue in cheek, you may find one or two of your favorites here.


If you are a fan of Shakespeare (Hamlet particularly) then you might guess what is coming at the end of this short video starring Chris Noth. The pun comes after an earnest therapy session with Noth feeling guilty and anxious about… well, why not watch the video and find out!


Nicole Scherzinger, on the other hand, is ‘drowning in drama’. She is out to get what she wants without compromising... Free the stream, baby, free the stream!


Carmen Elektra has started something new that’s ‘different’.


Colton Underwood takes a break from jumping over large objects to let his therapist know how his life has changed since he started ‘chilling without Netflix.”

Although these humorous ads gently mock contemporary streaming culture they certainly make a point – that there are more ways to combat subscription fatigue than meet the eye.


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16 November 2019

Top 10 Things to Do In Iceland 2020


Iceland is full of natural wonders, and even just one visit there can feel like you’re ticking your life bucket list off.

Rent a car
So you can get to all of these other places extremely easily, renting a car is highly recommended in Iceland. Public transport is costly, and will prevent you from going far in the evenings. Reykjavik is the starting point of most Iceland trips, with its great city and large airport. Reykjavik Cars can be easily picked up from the airport and will provide you the freedom of

Askja


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Askja is situated in the mid-east highlands of Iceland. The Dyngjufjöll mountains are everywhere you look, of which some stand at over 1,500m tall. There is the Öskjuvatn lake which is left over from the huge 1875 eruption that put Askja on the map, as it wasn’t really known about before this. To this day, there are potential eruptions that could take place, so be aware of these risks before visiting even if there probability is low.

Akureyri
Akureyri isn’t far from Askja, as it sits centrally (but further north) in Iceland. Akureyri is the fifth largest municipality in Iceland, and the town dates back to the 9th century. The climate can be much warmer here than surrounding areas, and can be a great place to visit for an old town experience. This is your chance to see the Laufas turf homes too, which were built in 1865 - these are preserved homes built underground and are fascinating to see how Icelandics used to live.

Landmannalaugar
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Landmannalaugar is a geothermal oasis situated in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Southern Highlands. Colourful mountains make up the backdrop to some incredibly vibrant lava fields. You can dip into the hot natural water and bathe any time of the year - winter to summer. It’s perhaps one of the most remarkable nature settings in the world, and has gained a lot of popularity among nature lovers. At around 112 miles away from Reykjavik, the oasis is only a few hours drive away from the airport.

Geysir
The word Geyser is the Egnlish word for spouting hot spring, but actually derives from the Icelandic word Geysir, which means to gush (geysa). In the southwest of Iceland, you will find the The Great Geysir, which is a geothermal area with a plethora of spouting hot springs. It’s on the Golden Circle track, meaning it’s easy to access, and is incredibly popular among children too, making it a great family day out.

Skaftafell
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Skaftafell Nature Reserve is the ultimate choice for those who love to hike. It has it all: it’s close to glaciers, it has incredible landscapes, you can visit any time of the year, it has a bunch of things to do and organised activities, and it is just off the ring road. It is still somewhat a hidden secret, as it hasn’t gained as much popularity as many other destinations in Iceland, despite it being easily accessible by car.

Skogafoss
Skogafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland, standing at 60 meters high and 25 meters wide. Its beauty is something to behold, and you can get some incredible pictures of yourself with the waterfall as the backdrop. It also has a little village nearby (Skogar) where you can find a lovely restaurant and hotel, as well as a cafe and a museum.

Westfjords
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Westfjords is a beautiful, remote part of Iceland. This is where to go for the truly undisturbed experience of Iceland, free from tourists and commercialisation. The space is large, the mountains are high and the scenery is something you’ve likely never seen before. Ísafjörður is the capital, which is very mountain-dense. This is actually the place to come if you want to ski, whilst Hornstrandir is where you want to head to for some hiking.

Myvatn
Myvatn is a lake in the north of Iceland, situated next to the Krafla volcano. The place has a lot of biological activity, as well as being created by basaltic lava 2300 years ago. It’s Iceland’s 4th largest lake - this isn’t a place to come for glaciers and trees, but instead, volcanic exploration. Nearby there are some fishing opportunities and camping facilities too, as well as some of the largest natural ice sculptures and caves.

Northern Lights
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The Northern Lights are perhaps the most famous natural wonders of Iceland, and need no introduction. It’s best to head to more rural parts of Iceland, away from artificial lights (this shouldn’t be hard to find), and are visible between September and April (but February and March are the best months to see them). With the aid of a travel blog, you can find more information about both the Northern Lights and what Iceland has to offer.

Iceland is one of the few remaining countries that prioritise its natural environment over its synthetic, urbanised one. The country has many great undisturbed places, as well as some family-friendly tourist opportunities.

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26 October 2019

PomPom Mirror: Seeing is Believing


PomPom Mirror by Daniel Rozin is very clever art but despite that it does exactly what it says on the metaphorical tin. It features a synchronized array of 928 spherical faux fur puffs. Organized into a three-dimensional grid of beige and black, the sculpture is controlled by hundreds of motors that build silhouettes of viewers using computer-vision.   Just watch it – huge fun to experience in a gallery I would imagine.  I would venture to guess that it was a massive pain to construct – I wonder how many times Rozin thought why did I think of this? to himself.
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The Last One


Forty years in the future and humanity has succeeded in creating robots that look exactly as we do.  So similar yet so vastly different, conflict was inevitable.  A war began which had to, through sheer necessity, end in the extinction of one or the other.   Created by students at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, this is short, concise storytelling which immediately involves the audience in the plight of the last survivor of his race, the titular last one.
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Kumbhalgarh – The Great Wall of India

Long overshadowed by its lengthier neighbor to the east, this is the second largest continuous wall on the planet. Some call it by the name of the fort it surrounds – Kumbhalgarh. Others simply refer to it as The Great Wall of India. Yet bewilderingly, it is still little known outside its own region.

Flowers Opening Timelapse


This three minute video took fourteen months and about 40,000 photographs to create and it’s worth every second.  Its creator, David de los Santos Gi, must be sick of the sight of any earthly flora by now. Or perhaps not, as this is his second foray in to the world of flower time-lapses.

It’s exquisite and that isn’t hyperbole for its own sake.  Go ahead – be entranced – and take a look at more of David’s work at his wonderful website.
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