Non-profits should look to the people in their network as the best way to share their story. That’s the most cost effective marketing tip for non-profit organizations.  This includes guest posting on blogs, sharing in stories, tagging, brand ambassadors and so many other activities. It requires administration not ad spend.

Most non-profit organizations can look to the people who are engaged with their mission, literal feet-on-the-ground, to inspire their content marketing strategy. These work best when the brands fit together naturally.  Interviews ⁠— especially ones that reinforce your brand’s message ⁠— are an effective co-promotion tool.

Marketing Tip for Non-Profit Organizations

As part of my volunteer work at The Listening, Inc., I interviewed artists for their website. The subjects are all members of the local community and I find most of them through our events like Open Mics and Signature Sessions.

I created these articles with a simple goal: content marketing.

For a small organization, these articles provide a means to continue building their brand story while also giving the community a boost. They drive new visitors from the social media channels (both the organization and the artist’s accounts) over to their website.

How to Write Good Interview Questions

I’ve developed a format for interviewing people that helps people become candid quickly. I start with easy questions to confirm details, which breaks the ice. If the subject is nervous, it puts them at ease.

Next, I draft questions that encourage the artist to tell stories. These are always more interesting than simply answering questions — I’m not trying to get soundbites. For example, I would say, “Tell me about a time that…”

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– Lacroy “Atlas” Nixon on How to Be Original, Taking Notice of Your Journey, and Why He’s Starting a Poetry Club at Liberty University
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The artist’s response tends to encapsulate their personality because they must work through a memory.

Also, I tend to make notes during the questions and follow up on additional details after the interview is over. You don’t want to ask how to spell someone’s name or exactly what year an event took place during a conversation. It breaks up the flow and reminds the subject that they are talking for an interview.

How to Transcribe and Edit an Interview

I record all of my interviews and transcribe them manually. I prefer to use Otranscribe because it allows you to hit the ESC key to pause. Also, it “rewinds” a few seconds for each pause.

I can transcribe a 30 minute interview in about 1 hour. Then, I go through and edit for clarity. I remove “umms” and smooth over incomplete phrases.

In general, I don’t correct grammatical mistakes if the occurrence is consistent with how the person speaks. I am to make the interview sound like the person, not make the person sound like they are being interviewed.

How to Source Media and Create Promotional Materials

Before I begin the interview, I think about how we will promote the story. In the case of The Listening, Inc. their social media team prefers to create their own materials. So, I just need to provide a link to the interview, relevant images, and quotes.

For other projects, I will make infographics, charts, etc.

Most of the time, we already have photos of these artists participating in our events, providing solid feature images for the post and content for social media. (See Larry Taylor‘s work above.)

I always bring my camera to the interview. During the interview, I ask if they already have a headshot. If they do, I let them pick the image that will go with their interview. If they don’t, I will take one.

Typically, I try to get images of moments discussed in the interview. For example, in my recent Life in the Ivy magazine interview with Nan Perdue, I took a photo of her with her award plaque because we talked about her championship wins. Bringing the camera to the interview gives me a chance to capture these moments.

For the interviews with The Listening, Inc., I like to include lines or lyrics that the artist has written. This introduces the audience to their work and gives context to the discussion.

Each of these elements gives you a different angle to promote the story on social media from the quotes to the images.

A Simple Content Marketing Tip for Non-Profit Organizations

My number one content marketing tip for non-profit organizations is to look for ways to tell your story through sharing other people’s stories. This creates a ripple effect because it expands your audience to include the people who are interested in the interviewee.

Look for ways to tell your story through sharing other people’s stories.

It’s social media 101. You’re not shouting through a megaphone, trying to advertise yourself. You’re drawing people into your brand by engaging with them and making connections.

Most recently, I interviewed Sara Edwards, a local musician for Talk that Talk. Our exchange exemplifies how a non-profit organization can use their community to co-promote their brand’s message.

Artist Interview: Sara Edward’s Sound Cuts Through Noise Pollution

Featured Image by Larry Taylor

When Sara and I met for this interview at Speakertree, the winter twilight had already faded into darkness. We both ordered something that the barista promised wouldn’t keep us up all night and settled into one of the deep leather couches. The room buzzed with concert preparation, coffee chatter, and the clatter of shoppers sorting through record sleeves.

In the midst of the din, Sara put off her own quiet energy — a distinct sound that cuts through noise pollution.

Danielle: Tell me about everything you have going on. 

Sara: I have my solo project, and I have a band, Dreamcatcher, with my boyfriend Matthew. They’re two completely different projects ⁠ My solo sound is more acoustic, singer-songwriter stuff. 

Dreamcatcher is ambient and experimental ⁠— a blend of electronic and acoustic sounds. 

Also, lately, I’ve been getting into producing. I’m falling in love with the creative freedom that comes from being able to layer tracks and move things around while composing. 

Continue reading at Talk That Talk by The Listening, Inc.