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27 Content Ideas to Build Your Audience and Extend Your Reach

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

Updated 5.16.24

Readers don’t want to hear from you only when you want to sell them.

Content-rich communications in your newsletters, email, letters, blog, brochures, posts, and website appeal to followers – four out of five, in fact. A recent Penn State study showed that 80% of readers conduct online searches in order to get information. Just 10% of searches are navigational – that is, the user is looking for a specific website. And just 10% of those same readers get online to make a transaction. 

Which means quality content does more than boost good will. Look at your own experience. When you discover a useful piece of content, it’s as if a helpful friend comes alongside you – one who knows a bit more about the topic – and gives you answers that you need. That content provider pours knowledge and expertise into you! In turn, you see the creator’s passion for your niche.

Do that for your own users and you earn credibility. And they become more well-informed. You’ll find that quality content …

  • turns prospects into followers
  • turns followers into advocates

You can call this process “content marketing” if you like. I call it simply being a good steward of your expertise.

The end result, of course, builds your platform. Digital marketing expert Neil Patel agrees. "Content builds relationships,” says Neil. “Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue."

What kinds of content cultivate all this goodness and help you extend your reach?

3 kinds of content ideas with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ContentWriting #ContentMarketing #WritingTips

3 content buckets to draw upon

Three kinds of content pull in all different kinds of readers.

  1. Written content: Information presented in text form, such as articles, blog posts, ebooks, and social media posts, designed to convey messages, educate, entertain, or persuade.
  2. Visual content: Media that relies on images, videos, infographics, and other visual elements to communicate ideas, tell stories, and engage audiences in a compelling and memorable way.
  3. Interactive content: Content that requires active engagement from the audience, often involving quizzes, polls, calculators, games, or interactive videos, designed to enhance user experience, gather data, and encourage participation.

Different types of content appeal to different readers. For instance, the Visual Teaching Alliance tells us that about 65% of the population are visual learners, meaning they prefer visual aids like diagrams, charts, and videos to understand information better. Video, on the other hand, stimulates auditory learners. And of course, kinesthetic readers are drawn to interactive content, which involves hands-on participation like sharing, commenting, or clicking.

As you create content, consider including pieces from the 3 main buckets: written content, visual content, and interactive content. Use these content ideas to generate an endless supply of fresh content. You’ll build your list and extend your reach to all kinds of readers.

7 content ideas for content writing to build your audience and your list with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

Written content ideas to build your audience and extend your reach

Written content – blog posts, articles, whitepapers, and case studies, is the ideal vehicle for conveying detailed information and in-depth analysis Readers can consume written content at their own pace. And when you write in a conversational style, you can break down a complex topic into understandable language.

Let’s look at an example. Maybe your content targets beginning cooks who want to learn to bake professional pastry. So you decide to include detailed tutorials for making the five distinct French pastry styles, offering tips that explain the differences between choux pastry and puff pastry. Your written content appeals to readers who want explicit, step-by-step instructions.

Try these written content ideas:

  • How-tos. If your organization works with youth, give readers tips about how to talk to teenagers. If you’re involved in community health services for the elderly, explain how to help someone learn to use a walker or a cane. How-to information meets a practical need in your readers, and they’ll be indebted to you.
  • Lists. “What to look for when choosing a day care center.” “Five warning signs of a heart attack.” “What to say when a friend is pregnant.” Share practical information about topics related to your cause. Readers appreciate expertise – plus, you’ll generate a more educated audience. (Tips for writing listicles.)
  • Profiles. Tell the story of a person impacted by your services. Use pictures. Explain the “before” and “after” and how this person’s life has change for the better. Readers want to be inspired with success stories.
  • Quizzes. “Are you missionary material?’ “How do your listening skills measure up?” Use an interactive multiple-choice format with self- evaluation tools to get your readers involved.
  • Product reviews. Feature books, videos, program manuals and music that speak to your cause. Show readers where to purchase these products ... hopefully, through your web site as an affiliate marketer.
  • Interviews. Share insights from a leader in your field, using a Q & A format. (Interview questions to ask.)
  • Surveys and petitions. Direct your readers to your web site or an added link to get their feedback on topics relating to your mission. Or encourage them to fill out and send an online or print petition about an issue that will help your cause.
Visual content ideas with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ContentWriting #ContentMarketing #WritingTips

Visual content ideas to build your audience and extend your reach

Visual content attracts attention because it is processed faster by the brain than text. That means readers are more likely to remember your visuals than text-alone content. Plus, visually appealing graphics, images, and videos, are shareable, which can help extend your reach and multiply your visibility to a wider audience.

Today’s tools allow you to create images, videos, infographics, GIFs, and memes, to suit different platforms, audience preferences, and marketing goals. Back to our example: you provide tools and helps for beginning cooks who are learning the art of French pastry making. Your visual content may offer simple videos that demonstrate how to incorporate eggs into pastry dough while the batter is warm.

Pro tip: optimize your visual content with relevant alt text, descriptions, and keywords to give a hand-up for search engines.

Try these visual content ideas:

  • Infographics. Create visually appealing infographics that present complex information, data, or statistics in an easy-to-understand and shareable format. Infographics are highly shareable on social media platforms and can attract a wide audience.
  • Social media graphics. Use platforms like Canva or PicMonkey to produce professional-looking quotes, tips, product promotions, and announcements – even if you have zero design experience.
  • Explainer videos. Record short videos that introduce your products, services, or events. Demonstrate what users can expect … explain how the products work … … answer common questions … provide tips and tutorials.
  • Product photos. Showcase your products or services through high-quality photos and videos. Use editing tools to highlight key features and benefits.
  • Behind-the-scenes content. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your business, such as team activities, production, office tours, or preparation for events. Authentic and relatable content humanizes your work.
  • User-generated content. Encourage customers or clients to create and share content related to your niche, including testimonials, reviews, unboxing videos, or user-generated photos. When your followers create content, they offer social proof and credibility.
  • Interactive visuals. Quizzes, polls, and surveys encourage readers to engage with you and each other. Plus, you can use the results to discover valuable insights into your audience's preferences and interests.
  • Infotainment content. Blend information with entertainment by creating visually appealing and entertaining content like memes, GIFs, comics, or humorous videos.
  • Live stream. Are you conducting an event, interview, or on-site tour? Let your followers engage in real-time through live streaming sessions on platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or YouTube Live. You can host Q&A sessions, product demonstrations, interviews, or virtual events to interact with your audience directly and build relationships.
  • Visual stories. Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat to create engaging visual stories that provide a behind-the-scenes look, share tips and insights, announce updates or promotions, and drive engagement through interactive features like polls, questions, and stickers.
10 interactive content ideas with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #ContentWriting #ContentMarketing #WritingTips

Interactive content ideas to build your audience and extend your reach

Interactive content encourages readers to actively engage with you and each other. The result? A personalized experience for each user.

Go back to our example. You create helpful content for would-be French pastry makers. So you create a quiz in one of your pieces of content to help readers evaluate how well they understand the ingredients for each of the 5 different kinds of pastry. Or you could offer a calculator tool that readers can use to ensure the proper proportion of ingredients in a particular type of pastry.

Use interactive content when you want to engage more with your readers and gather their feedback. Try these interactive content ideas.

  • Quizzes. Offer both fun and information with assessments related to your products, services, or industry.
  • Polls. Engage readers by asking for their opinions or feedback. Polls and surveys encourage participation and get valuable insights from your readers.
  • Calculator tools. Develop interactive calculators or tools that help users solve problems, make decisions, or understand complex concepts. You could provide a mortgage calculator for a real estate website or a calorie calculator for a fitness brand.
  • Interactive infographics. Transform static infographics into interactive ones by adding clickable elements, animations, or data filters.
  • Interactive maps. If relevant to your topic, create interactive maps so users can explore locations, find stores or services, and discover useful information.
  • Interactive videos. Incorporate clickable hotspots, branching narratives, or interactive quizzes within videos to keep viewers engaged and encourage them to take action.
  • Virtual tours. Are you in travel, real estate, or hospitality? Provide virtual tours or 360-degree experiences that allow users to explore locations or properties interactively.
  • Interactive eBooks. Embed traditional eBooks with videos, clickable links, interactive images, and quizzes to make learning more engaging.
  • Interactive games. Develop simple games or puzzles associated with your niche.
  • Webinars. Host live or on-demand interactive events where participants can ask questions, participate in polls, and engage with the content in real-time.

Use these content ideas to extend your reach

How much of your content should help the reader and how much of your content should present an offer or a call to action? Use the 80/20 Rule. Also known as The Pareto Principle (in a nod to its 19th century originator, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto), the rule suggests that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of efforts.

Which is also what the Penn State data tells us. Eighty percent of online searches are for information. Provide it – whether it’s written, visual, interactive content – or hopefully, a combination of the three. You’ll build your audience and extend your reach.

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