You will find the internet awash with a wide variety of content marketing guides, articles, tools and resources, all claiming that they have the ultimate tricks to help you produce compelling and captivating content with minimum effort.

If you haven’t already found the gold at the end of the content marketing rainbow within the pages of these articles then you might want to try creating content with influence. By definition, the word influence means to effect or alter a person’s character and or behaviour. If you can create content that achieves this then you just might increase your businesses presence and led one of those readers to visit your businesses website.

The great thing about the internet is that you do not have to be the best word-smith to create content that can be shared, liked and commented the world over. All you need is a relevant topic and some editorial punch in the form of a quote or an interview from influencers then by George you’re on the way to giving your audience content they can sink their teeth into.

Charities are one of the most influential and underused resources in content marketing. They are a source of free statistical data, they are usually experts within their field, they care about their cause and they want to gain free exposure.

Having a charity contribute to your content isn’t as easy as you might think; following these steps to building-up relationships will help you get them on board:

1. Content
If you plan on approaching a charity for a potential quote or interview, it is essential that you have a concrete idea down before you contact them. There is no point at all in outreaching to the charity if the content you are creating is not relevant – finding out the topics close to the industry you write within will help you think of ideas for the content you will create alongside the charity.

A perfect example of this is the Paint industry; they outreach to local DIY projects, regeneration charities and homeless charities as they are relevant to their products and what they offer in terms of support, advice and products, make a real difference to those charities and the people those charities support on a daily basis.

2. Cause
Once you have decided on the topic it vital that you search for charitable organisations that would be interested in contributing their time. You will find that many charities have limited time as they are either busy or have volunteers running them – the key to getting charities on board is all in the outreach which I will go into in more detail later.
If you would like to find a suitable charity on Google consider using these Search Operators: “Keyword/industry/cause” + “Charity” or “.org”

3. Influence
When you have located an appropriate charity the next step is to do you research on its employees, history and services. Knowing the previous will help you understand what the charity is involved in and how it can help contribute towards your content.

You need to find a contact at the charity that will be interested in contributing to the content and one that is in the public domain; ether locally or nationally depending on your preference. Locating someone that is ‘known’ by the media will give your content extra weight when they contribute as readers will recognise their name and be more likely to socially share and link to the content you have created.

4. Outreach
Reaching-out to the organisation for their participation will be the toughest part of the process for content marketers as they are usually insanely busy. Knowing that they get a million and one requests a day for help in several forms should motivate you into putting together an excellent, personalised email.

Ensure that you personalise your email, ask questions, talk about your idea and get to the point as quickly as you can. Usually it is best to get on the phone and speak to the charity before sending an email as this will help you build up a relationship of trust with the organisation.

5. Questions & Answers
Once you have traded several emails with your influencer it is essential that you give them time to prepare the answers to your questions. As stated several times they are busy people and rushing them will only bring back rushed answers.

You will also find that many charities will have data readily available, so it is wise to not ask them questions they could answer by copying and pasting content from their website.
6. Production & Promotion

Once you have the information back from your influencer it’s imperative that you do not alter the text passed onto you. Ensuring that you publish the original content will keep you out of hot water as some charities do not like to be seen as promoting any business directly so it’s worth keeping this in mind when writing your supporting material.

It is good practise to include a hyperlink back to the charity and whenever possible the influencer’s LinkedIn page. By referencing the quote you are promoting the charity and their cause; free publicity is something many charities need so shouting load and proud about their presence within the article is recommended.

If you decide to link to the charity within the article then it is worth mentioning to your influencer that you have done so, as they are more than likely willing to link back to the article themselves and/or share your article via their social media channel; which usually holds a vast number of loyal and engaged followers. One example of published content that has used this very strategy is an article on Blind Cord and Curtain Pole Safety with influence from Health Canada.

The final piece of advice I would like to leave you with is to continue the relationships you build with these charities once you worked with them for your content. You might find other opportunities down the line in terms of sponsorships, partnerships or guest posting should you maintain and build the relationship and keep the lines of communications open.

Never be afraid to ask a charity for help with content as at the end of the day you will be promoting their organisation, employees, work and providing them with a hyperlink – giving them something for free in return for their time and expertise.