Increasing SEO Through Storytelling
Using storytelling to aid fundraising & increase SEO
There may be no better instrument for your fundraising toolbox than the delivery of a good story. Tell a story about a client that shows why your nonprofit exists and how people can help. And then, afterward, show the results: the “product” of one’s investment into the organization. (Just like any other product you pay for/invest in, you expect to get a tangible thing/result in return. If not in-hand, then by the outcome.)
Storytelling is not just smart fundraising, it’s also good for your SEO.
Client stories & profiles that reflect your mission and showcases the results
Too often, however, fundraisers (as well as other nonprofit professionals) are too focused on the immediate task at hand: to help those who are in need the most, be it a person (or persons) experiencing homelessness, a victim of domestic violence, an illness which needs to be alleviated. And unfortunately, these nonprofit professionals don’t concentrate enough on the background story behind the need/situation, or reporting back the results after the need has been met. Yes, fund generation is often paramount, but we need to showcase the human factor and the results of our work. And do so timely, and with humanity. Otherwise, we end up undermining our long-range fundraising mission.
For those of us who donate to charities, we are not that different than people who are shopping around for a widget. We want the best product for the money. And we personally want to feel good about that investment, which is what philanthropy is all about. To quote Dr. Sara Konrath in an article in Psychology Today:
Most people give to causes that affirm important values, including compassion for those in need. Donors are also more likely to give when they think that their donation will make a difference. But donors don’t give only from the heart…They also consider the costs and benefits of giving and the benefits to themselves, such as feeling good or looking good to others.
So, it is not just about doing a good job of identifying the problem and addressing it effectively. We need to announce the results so that those involved will know that their time and money have not gone to waste. Moreover, the report itself should be a comfort to the reader. This brings us to the topic of style and framing your content.
One of the best publications I’ve seen in years regarding the art of storytelling for nonprofits is from Network for Good e-book “Storytelling for Nonprofits”. It’s a free download that reminds us that “crafting a compelling story isn’t always easy, and that not all stories are created equal.” It includes how to:
- build elements of a great story
- choose the best, most effective stories to tell
- incorporate powerful visuals
- use emotion and a sense of urgency to motivate audiences
- and, tell your story through different vehicles such as social media.
But wait, there’s more!… (as the commercial says)
Your storytelling can influence not just philanthropy, but also search listing results.
Good storytelling content can improve your website’s SEO score, making it more favorable to search engines like Google and giving you an edge over competitors.
Jacob Aull, author of “WordPress SEO Success” phrased it well when he wrote “Search engines value ‘the little guy.’ The real, sincere SMEs (subject-matter-experts), continually blogging and generating fresh, honest, original web and social content—these are the ones that search engines will reward…”
Moreover, he adds:
“Content is king. It’s a digital marketing cliché, but it’s true. Search engines love good, unique, but relevant content. The more such content, the better…”
Like any good article, the content needs to reflect the brand. If your story/profile is about helping a homeless family in the (mythical) city of New Town, the keywords for your article may be: helping homeless families New Town. You would then mark up the article as you would any other important page or post within your website, such as:
- Know your keywords. Before doing anything, you’ll need to identify your major keywords/key phrases and sync your site with Google.
- Strong ‘Meta Titles’. Make sure that your keywords are prioritized in the (SEO) title of your page/post. (It’s your primary branding opportunity for that page or post.)
- Strong ‘Meta Descriptions’. Here too you will want to maximize your keywords when you describe your page/post.
- Use the H1 header. Don’t forget to select the “h1” size for the (visible) header of your page/post.
- Use your keywords throughout each page. Judiciously re-used and populated your major keywords throughout the page/post.
[This post was originally published on May 22, 2018]