I’m a huge blog booster for nonprofits. So much so that tomorrow I’m offering a free webinar on the topic with the folks at Good Done Great. I’ll also be posting a series of articles on this topic in the coming week. If you don’t have a blog yet, you should get one. Pronto! Yup, I think they’re that important.
Here is an overview of what I’ll be covering in tomorrow’s webinar, plus I’ll have a special bonus offer for webinar participants. If you can’t make it, you’ll find a few actionable tips in this article. Plus you’ll find more actionable tips all week. I truly want you to do this, and I don’t want it to kill you. So I’m going to give you some easy steps you can take to make your blog (1) doable, and (2) a super investment of your time and resources. I’m betting that pretty soon you’ll wonder what you ever did without it!
FIRST: Why you need a blog.
Having worked in the nonprofit trenches for years, I understand that sometimes the biggest hurdle is getting the powers-that-be to give the green light. That’s why I posted earlier this year on 8 Answers to Why Nonprofits Need a Blog, and How to ‘Make it So’. Actionable tip: here’s what you tell your leaders:
1. MORE PROSPECT LEADS: Businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than those that don’t. Plus blogs provide search engine juice that websites can’t match – largely because they’re a storehouse of freshly updated content.
Your best fundraising appeals are meaningless if you don’t have the right folks to send them to, so getting more prospect leads is hugely important.
2. MORE CREDIBILITY: People trust what you say in blogs more than what you say on your website, Facebook page or Twitter posts.
One of top reasons donors invest in nonprofits is because they find you trustworthy, so this is a biggie.
3. MORE COST-EFFECTIVE: Inbound marketing, of which blogging is an integral part, costs 62% less per lead than outbound marketing. One of the reasons blogs are a smart investment of resources is that they serve as a content hub for all your other marketing communications and strategy. So all the work you do on your blog can be leveraged elsewhere.
Any tool that can accomplish multiple objectives simultaneously is a winner.
4. CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT: The more you can provide rich content, the better off you will be in terms of capturing folks attention (see New Study Reveals: Content is King… Not Social Media).
If ‘creating awareness’ is one of the stated objectives in your strategic plan (and isn’t that objective in everyone’s plan?), then your blog is going to becoming your best friend.
Unique, great content is the key to getting people to find you.
If you need authority to support these statements, check out HubSpot’s Everything You Need to Sell Your Boss on Business Blogging and Social Media Examiner’s 7 Reasons to Rethink Your Blogging Strategy: New Research.
SECOND: Little-understood factors affecting your blog readership
The biggest thing folks fail to understand is the purpose of their blog. If you take away nothing else from this article, take this: Your blog is the hub of your content!
Your blog is your entree; not your dessert. Folks out there are hungry; your blog feeds them. Your blog is primary; not ancillary. You can’t just serve up hors d’ouevres that folks can politely decline. You’ve got to make it essential. Why would folks read it? Think. Your blog is not about you. It’s about your constituents. What are folks looking for when they come to your website? Generally they’re searching for help with some problem. Your blog can give them this help. It can answer their questions. It can feed them. The key? Knowing what they hunger for! The more you know about your constituents, the easier it is to be of service to them. The more you are of service to them, the more they will love you, tell their friends about you and want to help you. Actionable tip: Figure out ways to learn what your constituents want to know; then endeavor to provide value.
1. BRAINSTORM CONSTITUENT NEEDS: Don’t just guess. Do it with folks who interact with your constituents on a regular basis and really know them (more on this in upcoming posts and in the webinar).
2. RESEARCH CONSTITUENT NEEDS: Yes, good old-fashioned market research can help you. But do it the new-fangled way. It’s a lot easier (more on this in upcoming posts and in the webinar).
THIRD: How to build a blog worth sharing
Are you telling or sharing? The former is a monologue; the latter is a dialogue. A blog is a conversation; not a term paper. Your goal should be to get people talking about you and the issues you address. You want your writing to elicit an emotional connection. (Here’s a link to an article from ProBlogger with 52 Types of Blog Posts that are Proven to Work.) To make your content great requires some forethought. So do create a Blog Editorial Calendar (see How to Build an Editorial Calendar for Blog Content Marketing and Why You’ll be Glad You Did). Actionable tip: Visualize who you’re writing to; put something in your blog post to which your reader can easily relate, and make it easy for them to let you know what they feel/think.
FOURTH: Why your promotion strategy sucks, and how to fix it!
Your blog is your content hub. But you’ve got to get the wheel rolling. This means you’ve got to share, and you’ve got to get folks sharing. You don’t have to be every place at once, but you do need some sort of social media support system for your blog. (See 3 Essential Building Blocks to Kick-Start a Successful Nonprofit Social Media Strategy: Website, Email and Something Else on Windmill Networking). Actionable tip: Develop a promotion plan with measurable objectives and a clear timetable; assign tasks to specific people and hold them accountable.
Many more specific action tips are ahead this week. But first, here are links to previous Clairification posts that may be useful (see Bliggidi-BLOGgidi-Bloo – Nonprofit Blogs Top 10 Checklist It’ll do Magic Believe it or Not and From Customer Engagement to Desire to Investment: Blogs Bond, Now What?). And here is a simple Blogging Worksheet to get your juices flowing.
1. Why do we want to start a blog? How does a blog fit in with our communications plan?
2. What will success look like? (Include specific, measurable objectives)
3. What do we want our content to communicate?
b. Product/service information
c. Thought leadership
d. Unique selling points
4. Why will people read our content?
5. What blogging platform will we use? Who will customize our blog to reflect our brand look and feel?
6. Who will create blog content?
7. Who will publish blog content?
8. Where/how will we share our blog content?
9. Who will monitor our blog for comments?
10. How will we evaluate?
Are you a blog booster too? If so, tell us why. If not, why not?
Photo: Scott Beale / laughingsquid.com.
Claire, I’m looking forward to hearing from you on a regular basis, I find this and other articles extremely rich!
Thanks Naomim, and welcome!
Hi Claire! This is really helpful advice – I’m really looking forward to the webinar. Thanks!
So happy to be helpful Jo! I hope the webinar provides you with useful info as well. “See” you tomorrow!
Really enjoyed your slide deck on Nonprofit Webinars’ Slideshare. In terms of brainstorming constituent needs researching book reviews for content ideas is definitely something I hadn’t thought of, very intriguing. I often also suggest looking at blog comments of blogs that are in the industry – what are people reacting to, excited about, etc. On my own blog, I recently decided to ask readers for their content suggestions, and found this to be a worthwhile qualitative response exercise.
Glad I found your site through NP Webinars. Looking forward to reading more from you.
Thanks SO much Debra. I like your suggestion of looking at blog comments — though most nonprofit blogs are so new at this point that they aren’t getting a slew of them. Makes it hard to find a comparable blog, depending on your industry. Sometimes I just google questions that I personally would like answered, and take note of whether there seem to be lots of other folks asking the same question. If so, then I know it’s a good topic.
It’s great that you’re getting responses to your query on your blog. Let’s keep in touch!