Keep telling yourself you need a better website to build greater awareness for your cause?
You can certainly do this. But are you asking the more important question?
Why the heck do you want greater awareness? And why would anyone want to be aware of you? Those are the questions too many nonprofits fail to ask. So ask. Seriously. Take a moment. I’ll wait.
“Because we want more people to know about us.”
“Because we want to educate them about what we do.”
“Because we want more people to support us.”
AHA! Now you’re getting somewhere.
Now ask yourself how getting a better website is going to get you more support. Chances are it won’t. Not really. Because folks are on a journey towards you that builds – from awareness… to interest… to engagement… to investment. And the kicker is that the latter two are where all the action happens. Awareness and interest alone are passive. They won’t get you the active investment you need to sustain your mission.
Engagement precedes investment!
Sadly, most nonprofit websites are lousy engagement vehicles. They’re especially lousy when compared with a blog.
Let’s look at 4 reasons why blogs trump websites for creating engagement:
- Websites tend to be pretty static. You put up new content sporadically, as time allows. Your constituents often don’t see it, as it gets buried several levels deep on your site. Each time they visit your site it looks pretty much the same. Stale. Boring. Not relevant to their lives. Pretty soon they stop coming.
- Websites can be woefully out of date. You don’t find the time to take down events that have already happened. Or to change contact information for a staff member who is no longer in your employ. You look the opposite of “happening” or even “efficient” or “trustworthy.”
- Most websites are built on the premise of educating the consumer. You talk, talk, talk. But who listens? Nobody cares about what you do as much as you think they do. And folks are simply not going to engage with you simply to be “taught.” It’s an unrealistic engagement expectation.
- Worse yet, about the only action most nonprofit websites let a consumer take is to donate! This creates the perception that all you really care about is people’s money.
You need to show folks you care about them before you’ll get them to care about you. And there’s a great way to do this, well within your grasp.
Blogging takes the consumer perspective into account. It drives traffic to your website and all your social media platforms. It doesn’t just sit still. It flies out the door! And then it brings energy right back in the door to rev up your nonprofit engines.
Let’s look at 4 ways blogs can become your content work horse.
When you blog:
- You create remarkable, constituent-centered interesting content that you develop with the intention to engage folks. You include calls to action (CTAs), and you know in advance what your desired action response (DAR) is for any given post. You go for an ROI that’s a Return on Interesting – and that’s the engagement you get.
- You promote your blog so folks who value what you do can find you. You make it clear to folks what’s in it for them if they open and engage with you. You make strategic use of headlines, intros, subheaders, bullets, links, images and CTAs that show people what’s in it for them. You think from the perspective of your readers, and give folks a gift.
- You pay attention to what folks want from you. You develop killer listening strategies. You create a gigantic online focus group, getting folks to comment on and share your posts. You don’t just do this on your blog per se, but holistically. You leverage your content by sharing your blog posts broadly through social media, email and other channels. You then channel the voice of your constituents to boost your future content and social media marketing efforts.
- You become relevant. You keep your finger on the pulse of what’s important for your constituents. You stop guessing. You stop valuing opinion above knowledge. You stay relevant.
All you need is a simple attitude adjustment – or paradigm shift – to move your mojo over to blogging gold.
Let’s look at the traditional website building formula, and then consider a paradigm that will be more effective getting you to your goals.
Traditional Website Building Formula:
Organization-Centered Content + Promotion
Effective Blog Building Formula:
Constituent-Centered Content + Promotion + Engagement Strategy
The traditional outside-facing website-based communication model is too much about you. You decide what you’re going to tell folks; put it up on your site and (1) pray folks find you, or (2) broadcast your URL out to folks on your print communications. It’s an ego-centric, one-sided monologue. Inside/out. Looking in a mirror.
The effective inbound blog-based model focuses on what your constituents tell you they’d like to learn. You have a conversation to probe what questions you can answer for folks; then you answer. It’s value-based, so it gets people talking. It’s an attention-grabbing, multi-sided dialogue. Outside/in. Looking out the window.
TIME FOR A SHIFT.
If you’ve got valuable stuff a strong engagement strategy will help you take it sky high. If you begin with the Content King — your meaningful, relevant, useful content (and this could be a great mission, service, product or volunteer/donor experience) – then bringing in the Engagement Queen — engaging folks so they spread the good “word-of-mouth” digitally — can mean the difference between just limping along at status quo or gaining strength and growing by leaps and bounds.
I’ll be talking about this more in the coming weeks, because I honestly believe that blogging is the ONE BIG THING you must do today to succeed in 2014.
AND TO LEARN MORE about how to build your nonprofit’s blog content and engagement model this year…
Announcing my new E-Course: Charity Blogging Gold at the Early Bird Discount. This course will more than pay for itself because you’ll consolidate your efforts, stop reinventing the wheel and concentrate only on the content that drives more people to support your cause. You owe it to yourself to check this out and simplify your life. It’s convenient, affordable and jam-packed with actionable tips you can use immediately. And you can enroll your whole team – and volunteers too! – all for one low price. If you reserve by February 28th you’ll save $30! Plus all my e-courses come with a 100% guarantee!