Writing for the Education and Nonprofit Industries

From a marketing communications perspective, writing for “education” encompasses many types of organizations and businesses. These include K–12 schools, institutions of higher education and other learning organizations; academic, research and development organizations; curriculum developers and publishers; developers of e-learning tools and solutions; as well as nonprofits. Businesses that support charities or engage in community-involvement work may also want to educate consumers about their corporate philanthropy.

We’ve learned a few lessons in our years of writing marketing communications materials for educational organizations. Your organization’s mission and goals should be part of your brand story. You need to clearly convey the features and benefits of whatever your programs or products do. But the most powerful stories are about the people who benefit from your work. They may be the same audience members your marketing communications materials are targeting:

School administrators
District leaders
IT managers

Likewise, in the nonprofit world, stories about the people your programs benefit can inspire your audience members to support your work. Your audience may include

Members of the public

A smart marketing communications plan for any educational or nonprofit organization needs to include people stories. These may take the form of student or teacher testimonials; case studies featuring quotes from delighted end users of your edu-tech products; or profiles of individuals, families, or communities touched by your work.

A strategic content marketing plan involves creating engaging stories using a variety of media—both narrative and video—posted on your website and distributed across the social media channels your audience members frequent. It’s one thing to say your course or software is used by thousands of students, or your nonprofit program has made a difference in X-number of lives. It’s another to see and hear those success stories in the words and voices of the actual people who’ve benefited from your work. The key is to deliver the content your education or nonprofit audience is looking for in ways that will engage them and with stories that are relatable.

As with marketing for many other verticals (and Wordsmithie writes for many verticals), the key in education and nonprofits is to help prospects see themselves achieving the same kind of success as the people in your stories. If real people aren’t part of your brand story, you’re missing an opportunity for authentic connection with your audience members.

This is the fifth post in our six-part series on writing for specific industries by writer and journalist Heidi LaFleche. You’ve more than likely seen her many other works on the Wordsmithie blog. We’ll be posting every week for the next six weeks, so check back often. Have an industry we don’t write about in this series? Let us know on Twitter @sparkingbrands and we’ll write one just for you.

ABOUT Heidi LaFleche

Heidi launched her writing career as a newspaper and magazine journalist—most notably as a Boston correspondent for People magazine. She transitioned into marketing communications for business, helping clients find the right words to engage their audiences. Heidi is a Senior Editor for Wordsmithie, and also runs her own freelance writing business on the side. She writes within a range of industries including technology, healthcare, financial services, legal services, education and nonprofits. Her slogan: “Every business has a story. Let’s tell yours together.”