Today’s guest post is written by Adria Saracino

I am a marketer. I like to think I’m also a do-gooder. Combining the two always seemed natural. I mean, if you have a business and can affect change, why wouldn’t you do all you can to support a charitable cause?

That is why, as a marketing consultant, I always recommend fitting in a good cause when creating a content strategy.

I’m not talking about greenwashing, faking, or engaging in spammy or unethical behavior. I’m talking about using your business for good where it makes sense; taking ownership of your organization’s “corporate responsibility.”

It wasn’t until I put this into practice that I started realizing doing good is more than just helping your organization feel good. There are countless other business benefits – most of which are measurable and offer valuable ROI.

Drawing from my experience on content creation and promotion, following are four reasons your business should start weaving a good cause into your content strategy and how you can do it.

Brand Loyalty

Aligning your company or brand with a cause that resonates with the public can improve their perception of your business – this is known as the “halo effect.”

A 2010 survey found consumers tend to give more trust to companies who support a charity.If a customer knows your business to be involved with benevolent causes he is more likely to be proud to be associated with a product or service, and this leads to brand loyalty. It also works wonders for recruitment and retention of staff.

All marketers know word-of-mouth is still a valid way of growing your business. The more loyal to your brand a customer is, the more likely he is to refer it to a friend. So improved brand loyalty is essential to success – and showing your followers you are about more than just the bottom line will help gain life-long customers.

Public Relations

If your business is sponsoring or holding a fundraising event it can easily attract attention from the media. Fundraising can be great fun for staff and customers and spreads that aforementioned halo effect more quickly than you can say ‘sponsored silence.’ Get creative with your fundraising ideas and you’ll be surprised at the buzz it can cause.

Social Media and Search Engine Optimization

Hopefully by now you know how important maintaining a presence on social media sites can be for your business (if not, check out this guide to social media success). Your social media profiles are a great place to shout about your business’ causes and initiatives. Why?

Trust me: People love sharing information that spreads awareness. You are hitting people’s sentimental and empathetic nature; triggering that subconscious guilt most people feel when they didn’t at least +1 your charitable efforts.So not only will charitable content keep people interested, it will also attract social shares, links, traffics and possibly even conversions to your site.

Charity Infographics

One way to spread your business’ good deeds around the internet is to create infographics based on your chosen charity. I use this as an example because 1) infographics are everywhere (seriously) and 2) they are relatively easy to execute compared to other forms of charitable content ideas.

As well, charitable content can improve your business’ social and search engine presence.Human beings are highly visual, and an interesting, attractive, easily scanned infographic is much more likely to go viral than text content. While infographics take time and are volatile in terms of success, when done right they can show results tenfold what you put into creating them.

Check out some of these charity infographics to get inspired.

Don’t have a specific charity to create an infographic about? Think bigger picture and look at important cause-related political issues for content ideas, such as this conflict diamond infographic or this one on global food consumption.

A Note on Sincerity

Customers will see through a weak effort to support a cause a company doesn’t really care about in the long run. Be authentic and sincere in your efforts and you should see a return on your investment. Remember, what goes around comes around, so start doing your bit for a cause and reap the business (and emotional) benefits it will provide.

Adria Saracino is a marketer, blogger, and do-gooder. When not developing content strategies around social good, you can find her writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.