Your nonprofit wants to be known as a go-to organization on a certain list of topics, right? So if someone in your community, or a reporter, or a legislator has a question about that topic, you want them to think about your nonprofit first, or you want your website to come up first in search results.

That means you have to create a content strategy around that core topics list. But it doesn’t make sense to treat these topics equally in your content marketing strategy. For example, let’s take a fictitious org called Tabby Cat Rescuers. Their core topics would include things like adopting tabbies and volunteering to help them, which  involve direct calls to action, while other topics like the history of tabbies and why tabbies are special are more informational.

To better understand what actually needs to go into your editorial calendar and how to build content around your core topics, I recommend that you break down your list of topics into three different kinds of content, using a gardening metaphor:  evergreens, perennials, and annual color.

Evergreens stay fresh from season to season. Much of basic website content will be evergreen content.

Perennials come back year after year, but do require regular maintenance especially when they are growing and in bloom. Much of your newsletter and blog content will be perennials.

Annual color is short lived, but full of that extra oomph! Much of what you do in social media will be annual color.

There will be some overlap where a topic will have both evergreen and perennial content, so don’t worry about drawing the lines too clearly.

Here’s a look at how Tabby Cat Rescuers might break down and categorize a few of their core topics.


Core Topics List for Tabby Cat Rescuers

Core Topic



Annual Color

Where to adopt a tabby Directory – only updated as needed Share Facebook updates from our key adoption partners
How to help tabbies Top Ten Ways to Help Regular features in newsletter and blog Stories about star volunteers, etc.
What tabbies are available for adoption right now Weekly newsletter feature Featuring individual tabbies on Facebook and Twitter
The history of tabbies Single web page – update only as new research becomes available Trivia questions on tabby history


I talk a lot more about content strategy and specifically what to do on the topics you want to be known for in my new book, Content Marketing for Nonprofits, which will come out in August. I’m also talking about this topic this week at a session at #13NTC.

What are your core topics, and can you break them down into evergreen, perennial, and annual color content?