Clairity Click-it: Powerful Ways to Increase Fundraising Revenue

Don't go batty! Click-it to find the resources you need to stay grounded.
Don’t go batty! “Click-it!” to find the resources you need to stay grounded.

This week’s Click-it is dedicated to helping you increase your fundraising revenue through a number of different strategies: monthly giving, sponsorships, targeted campaigns (e.g., #GivingTuesday), targeted communications, cause marketing, crowdfunding, cultivating mid-level donors, and more. These strategies will both help elevate awareness for your cause and increase your base of supporters.

And towards the end of the “Click-it,” as usual, you’ll find a bunch of completely free resources!

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Quick Guide to Get Your Nonprofit “Crowd On”

quick_guide_to_get_your_nonprofit_crowd_onI’ve been thinking a lot about crowdfunding lately.

Bzz… bzz… buzz… buzz… Do you hear it?

It’s the sound of the times. It’s the bees flying around crowdfunding campaigns like honey. Sweet, golden honey.

Are you getting yours?

With the mainstream shift into digital communication, and the advance of technology through online donation and peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, crowdfunding is something I believe you should seriously consider if you’re not already getting your “crowd” on.

Especially if you have…

  • A big campaign going on.
  • Or a specific project that lends itself well to the telling of a compelling story.
  • Or you need to raise a lot of funds in a relatively short time period.
  • Or there’s a strong tie to some big event – anniversary; holiday; news story.
  • Or your current constituents are more inclined towards being ambassadors than asking or giving.
  • Or you’re having a hard time breaking out of the “box” of folks you think might be interested in your cause, and are looking to build your audience in new ways.

So I’ve put together a few resources, and some of my own thoughts, to help you think things through.

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Clairity Click-it: Nonprofit Communication, Tools, Branding, Design, Metrics + Free Resources

Catch this Special Nonprofit Communications (includes year-end fundraising messaging) Edition!
Catch this Special Nonprofit Communications Edition (includes year-end fundraising messaging)!

This week’s Click-it is dedicated to the best ways to communicate your message as well as best ways to measure your success.

All of this is super important as we approach the year-end fundraising season.

  • Make sure your message is clear, catchy and relevant.
  • Use tools that make your life easier and assure that you get the biggest bang from your efforts.
  • And measure what works/what doesn’t; you’ll never improve if you don’t know to what to attribute your success or failure. That’s just sad.

If you’re not the person who might benefit most from some of these articles, please pass them along to those who might find them useful. Be good to your team!

Clairity Click-it: Major Gifts Edition

Catch this Special Edition!
Catch this Special Edition!

It’s October! We’re entering prime fundraising season, and there’s no better time to sharpen your major gift skills. So this week’s edition is dedicated to exactly that. From prospect identification to cultivation to asking to follow-up. At the bottom you’ll find some new free resources, a chance to participate in a crowd-sourced major gifts blog and a last chance to actively prepare for your major gifts solicitations with some dynamic webinars and a practice clinic. Ready?

Clairity Click-it: Fundraiser’s Job; Year-End Tips; Social Media; Crowdfunding; Major Gifts

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Click it!

The end of the year continues to approach, and prime fundraising season is upon us! So today we have a couple of articles to remind you what your real job is as you prepare your year-end campaigns and strategies. Plus, some tips to help you amplify your fundraising team. And a bunch of social media tools, exercises and good advice; in 2015 social media should be an integral part of your end-of-year work plan. At the bottom you’ll find some new free resources and a last chance to prepare for your major gifts solicitations. Ready?

Clairity Click-it: Year-End Fundraising Planning Edition

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Click it!

The Click-it is early this week since year-end is fast approaching, and I couldn’t wait to share these awesome tips to help you plan your year-end campaign! I’ve got a bit of everything here –  from finding email addresses to build your online mailing list… to tips on getting appeals read… to making sure you’re not missing any tricks… to social sharing strategies… to best email subject lines… to Giving Tuesday — and more! I’ll no doubt have even more for you before the end of the year, but now is really the time to get started. Don’t delay. [If you really want to assure you don’t miss a trick, scroll down to the bottom and check out the webinar I’m offering with the Foundation Center on the 17th]

Clairity Click-it: Effective Altruism; Team Building; Year-End Giving; Free Resources

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On the anniversary of 9-11, I’ve put together a group of posts that show that more people than not want to do good in this world. There’s a lot of inspiring food for thought here. Plus, since the critical end-of-year fundraising window is fast approaching, I’ve got a few things to help you with your planning – not only to acquire donors, but to sustain their giving over time. Plus one thing I thought was pretty cool, and that just brought a smile to my face! Spend a few minutes today to reflect on how we can come together to heal the world.

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Warning: Your Nonprofit is Sending Too Few Emails

As the end of the year approaches, are you planning enough emails?

Emails should be included as part of your robust, multi-channel annual appeal if you want to increase your chances of reaching your goals.  On top of that, emails can be a great way to set yourself up for success even before you send an appeal.

Sadly, many nonprofits I encounter are unwilling to email their constituents sufficiently. Here’s what I often hear:

We don’t want to tick them off by mailing too many times.

We can’t ask them for money more than once or twice a year.

They get a lot of mail from us and it’s probably annoying.

They’re probably getting mail from a lot of different departments, so we don’t want to send from our department too often.

What all these comments have in common is that they’re based on a lack of data.

Clairity Click-it: Fundraising Pride; Messaging & Branding; Major Gifts; Social Media; Writing; Last Chance!

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Click it!

This week I’ve another potpourri of links on a variety of fundraising, nonprofit management and nonprofit marketing topics. Some practical stuff, some food for thought, some free resources and a last chance opportunity to improve your year-end fundraising (scroll to the bottom). I hope you’re enjoying the last days of the season!

Fundraising Pride

Clairity Click-it: List Building, Calls to Action, Nonprofit Management, Silos, Change

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Click it!

This week I’ve a potpourri of links on a variety of fundraising, nonprofit management and nonprofit marketing topics. It’s still summer, so I figure it’s a good time for a varied reading list. Some practical stuff, and a little food for thought. Why not?

List Building

Click-It: How to Build Your Email List from LinkedIn and Twitter. This post by Amy Hall on the Maximize Social Business blog offers some great practical tips for converting your social media contacts into supporters. After all, isn’t that one of the major reasons you’re trying to generate more connections and followers?

Calls to Action

Click-It: 12 Nonprofit Call-to-Action Twitter Images to Study and Learn From. This is a great collection of examples from Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Clairity Click-it: The Millenial Issue – to Ignore at Your Nonprofit’s Peril

Click it!
Click it!

The 2015 Millennial Impact Report was released last week, and lots of folks are weighing in on what this means for nonprofits. Why is everyone all agog? These folks, born between 1980 and 2000, represent huge buying (aka donating) power and influence. As the lead researcher and president of Achieve, a lead researcher in the study, notes:

“The Millennial generation is influential. From their buying power to their handle on the limitless potential of social media, Millennials can address issues and be a voice for a cause like no other generation before them.”

I was particularly interested in how they gave:

  • 30% online
  • 28% check or cash
  • 22% solicited through their company
  • 11% payroll deduction

In other words, they’re just as multi-channel as the Boomers and Gen X, with a skewing toward more online activity. There’s plenty of food for thought in the articles that follow, with some great suggestions for how you might consider reworking your fundraising and marketing strategies to engage greater numbers of this emerging generation.

BTW: I’ve thrown in a couple of articles that apply to all generations. The plain and simple fact is that marketing is changing for everyone.

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Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? RESPECT

Can't get no...
I can’t get no…

Fundraisers report that money is the number one reason they leave their jobs [See Part I of this two-part series here]. While I do believe too many fundraisers are underpaid relative to their skill sets and performance, I’ve a hunch it’s not the real chief culprit for fundraiser dissatisfaction. What is?

Guess what? The reason is very similar to why donors leave you. If you read through this article, you’ll learn both (1) how to keep more fundraisers, and (2) how to satisfy, inspire and retain more donors.

Ready?

I gave you a hint in the title. Yup. It’s what Aretha Franklin famously sang about:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

It’s not just respect for fundraisers as individuals that’s lacking. It’s respect for their profession. For what it takes to succeed with development in a nonprofit organization. For what it means to be a part of a team — all working together towards the same goal — and why it’s impossible to succeed without a supportive infrastructure and culture.

And by the way, donors won’t thrive absent a supportive culture and infrastructure either. They’re looking to be a part of your community, your family, your way of life. If you won’t give them this warm, fuzzy, connected feeling — they’ll find someone else who will.

So what pre-conditions must be in place for fundraising staff, and donors, to want to stay?

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Why are Good Nonprofit Fundraisers Hard to Keep? MONEY

If you’re a fundraiser, does this sound like you?

Show me my money!!!

According to five years of research by Penelope Burk (culminating in her book, Donor-Centered Leadership) as well as a much-talked-about study by CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, half of chief development officers plan to leave their jobs in two years or less and 40% plan to leave fundraising entirely. 

The number one reason fundraisers give for leaving is to earn more money.

What’s going on, and how can you fix it?

Is it about money, or something else?

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6 Secrets to Rock Multi-Channel Integrated Nonprofit Fundraising Campaigns

This post includes 6 expert tips and best practices for any business, including a non-profit, wanting to run an integrated marketing campaign that generates more potential donors and raises more dollars.

Wait! What is an integrated marketing campaign?

An integrated marketing campaign is a marketing effort that uses a consistent message across traditional and non-traditional marketing channels. Ultimately all the messages should reinforce each other. Integrated marketing campaigns enable brands (yes, your nonprofit is a brand) to reach new audiences and gain mass exposure for their marketing promotions. Plus, in the information overload world in which we live, folks need to see your message multiple times before their brain will process it (Did you know that, on average, only 16% of Facebook fans will see what you share)?

There used to be a marketing ‘Rule of 7’ stating that a prospect needs to hear the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.  Guess what? That rule was invented by the movie industry in the 1930’s! It takes a lot more impressions today (I’ve heard as many as 21).

So a multi-channel campaign is the way to go. Whether you reach folks 7 or 21 times, or somewhere in between, your messages should range over different sorts of media. Consider emails and newsletters, social media posts, website and blog, direct mail, advertising and even in person presentations. But it can’t be a big mish-mash.  You’ve got to integrate everything to ensure all your media channels are working together. That’s how you’ll ultimately get noticed.

To illustrate how this might work for you, here is an example

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Partner to Solve Social Problems; Stop Acting in Silos

Ask someone on the street if there are too many nonprofits addressing the same causes. Most likely, you’ll get a resounding “yes.”

When there’s a crisis, folks are confused as to which relief agency they should give their money. When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, they aren’t sure which organization will make the best use of their donation.

This confusion leads to “drop in the bucket” donations. Folks want to at least doing something, but don’t want to risk throwing their hard-earned money into a black hole.

This behavior stifles the entire nonprofit sector. Folks don’t trust their philanthropy will be effectively stewarded, so don’t give as much as they could. Even worse, folks with track records of investing — philanthropic (aka “social”) entrepreneurs — sit on the sidelines waiting. Waiting for the social benefit sector to do something that, up until now, it has not done well. What?

Clairity Click-it Memorial Day Edition: Let’s Get Social

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Click it!

Since Memorial Day in the U.S. is often a very social holiday (think picnics and barbecues and family get-togethers) I thought I’d offer you a click-it with helpful tips on social media. Heck, love it or hate it, it’s not going away. So we may as well celebrate what it makes possible! I lead off with two of my own posts shared on the Maximize Social Business blog. Then I share other articles —  sometimes practical and sometimes thought provoking — from around the web, all including best practices used by businesses and nonprofits alike. Have a great week-end, social or otherwise, wherever you are; whatever you do.

Clairity Click-it Future of Fundraising Edition: Culture of Philanthropy, Donor Retention, Gratitude, Nonprofit Change + Learning Opps

Catch this Special Edition!
Catch this Special Edition!

This week is all about what we need to do, collectively and within our organizations, to assure a bright future for philanthropy. I’ve gathered articles from some of the leading thinkers and researchers in the civil sector. This is important stuff — and one “Click-it” you won’t want to miss! Plus, as always, some great learning opportunities for you (scroll to the bottom).

Clairity Click-it: Nonprofit Social Media, Fundraising Ideas + Learning Ops for You

This week’s Click-It is nice and fat, offering a big mix of social media tips I’ve found for you across the web. Some are nonprofit specific; some are ideas you can steal from the for profit world. If your social media plan isn’t working, or you’re working too hard, check these out. Plus, of course, you’ll find some stuff to help you raise more money (we lead off with some really big ideas) — including some great learning opportunities (scroll to the bottom) you won’t want to miss!

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Want 17 Surprising Headline Hacks to Boost Click-throughs?

I know you’re working overtime to get more folks to pay attention to what you have to say. You want them to listen to you. You want them to volunteer with you. You want them to attend your events. You want them to support you. Where do you begin?

Get them to notice you! In How to Write an Irresistible Headline on the Convince and Convert blog you’ll learn how. I commend the full article to you. For me, here are the highlights:

Clairity Click-it: Give to Donors with Thank You’s and Stories

It’s the last Friday in January, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. That’s a great day to send your donors some love – and that’s what Monday’s post will be all about. So… keep your eyes peeled!

Meanwhile, today I’ve got stuff to get you in a giving and sharing mood. Today it’s all about telling stories and saying thank you. Both are ways of offering your donors gifts. And I hope by now you know that if you want to get gifts, you must first give them.

Clairity Click-it: Get Outside the Mailbox

Today I’ve got stuff to help you get outside the traditional mail box. It’s a great way to communicate with folks – tried and true – but you have many more options in 2015. If you get stuck in the past you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential donors.

Did you know that when the telephone was invented people thought it would be disruptive and distracting? This is the year to seamlessly integrate strategic social media into all your fundraising and marketing campaigns.

Clairity Click-it: What You Missed/Second Chance Edition – Annual; Events; Donor Retention; Nonprofit Communication

Today I’ve got my personal round-up edition with the TOP 10 POSTS on the Clairification blog as selected by you – my wonderful Clairification readers. I’ll no doubt be writing more about these topics in the coming year, but if there’s something you’d particularly like me to address please send me a direct email at Claire@clairification.com. I always love to hear from you!

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What “Chopped” can Teach Fundraisers about Productivity and Passion

passionOne of my secret pleasures is watching the show “Chopped” show on the Food Network. Today I watched an episode that just had me bawling at the end. It was the most heartwarming show I’ve ever seen. And it reminded me of why all of you do the work that you do in the social benefit sector.

So please allow me to share.

I don’t know if I can adequately convey the pathos I felt, but if you’ve had a chance to see this episode I would strongly recommend it. It will make you feel very good. At the same time, it will make you understand — even more than ever — how much work there is to be done.

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Whither the Nonprofit Sector in 2015? 6 Ways to Assure Yours Doesn’t Wither

I chose the word “w(h)ither” in my title very deliberately. It can mean “Where are you going?” It can also mean “Dying on the vine.” Which does it mean for you and your nonprofit?

If the former, where are you going? You’ll find some “To Do’s” in this article to help you on your way towards a sustainable future. If the latter, how can your prevent this from happening? You’ll find some “don’ts” to help you breathe life into your organization.

Clairity Click-it: Year End Edition w/Tips, Resolutions, Predictions + More Gifts!

Today I’ve got my year-end edition with some final tips for the end of the year, some ideas as you’re making your new year’s resolutions and a list of predictions to get you off on the right foot in 2015.

Don’t miss the practical, last-minute stuff, and tape these resolutions and predictions next to your computer so you can give them some serious thought when you return from you holiday break. Oh, and did I mention there are a few more gifts at the end?

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Still Time to Get 7 Perfect Holiday Email Subject Lines

Still stuck for subject lines for your year-end emails?

The subject line is like the outer envelope for direct mail. It’s the window into your message. Make sure it’s wide open and gives a glimpse of something that grabs folks’ attention. Make it intriguing, urgent, exciting, compelling, emotional, shocking or funny. The more useful and specific it is the better.

And by the way, if you’re not planning a series of year-end emails — get on it NOW! Did you know that a full third (33%) of December gifts occur on the 31st of the month? If you’re not putting forward your most compelling fundraising offer at a timed when folks are primed to give the most, you’re really missing your best opportunity.

In 15 Subject Line Examples for Your Holiday Email Marketing Ryan Pinkham provides inspiration that applies as well to nonprofits as to retail businesses.  Here are examples I particularly like, with thoughts about how you can use them to boost your year-end fundraising:

Clairity Click-it: Civil Society; Boost Blog Traffic; Email; More Gifts

Today I’ve got another eclectic Clairity Click-it mix of tips for you from both fundraising and marketing blogs. Plus I’ve got some real food for thought that goes to the heart of your fundraising and marketing strategy. Take a read, and see if you don’t find a nugget or two that makes you sit up and take notice. Oh, and did I mention there are more gifts at the end?

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What Works; What Doesn't? Nonprofit Year-End Email Appeals

I’m constantly watching my mailbox and inbox to find great examples of marketing communications that really do their job.  Sometimes I find examples that are so horrible I also have to point them out so you’ll avoid making the same mistake.  This week I’ve got a great example of a year-end email appeal. It says “GO!” on multiple levels, and I’m going to tell you why it’s so effective.

Yet it includes one mistake.  You may not think it’s horrible. And I understand why they did it.  But I wish they wouldn’t and wish that all nonprofits would stop doing this.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Clairity Click-it: Social Media Engagement; Blogging Tips; Creativity; Science of Persuasion

One of my favorite things to do is to raid the halls of business blogs to see what they’re doing that should be applied to nonprofit businesses. Sadly, we still seem to be last to the party when it comes to really thinking outside the box, adopting tried-and-true best practices (I don’t mean the shiniest new object; I mean stuff that’s working super well, creating lots of brand awareness and raising lots of money). So this week I’ve got a bunch of simple and powerful business tips for you… plus some stuff to get you thinking. I hope a light bulb goes off for you!

Clairity Click-it: Think; Fundraising Habits; Donor Retention; Landing Pages

Here are a bunch of October goodies for you. Treats to get you thinking about the role of philanthropy in society…  habits of the most effective fundraisers…  what it takes to grow loyal supporters… how to assure your website visitors don’t run from you screaming in horror…  and much more. And these treats won’t even give you cavities!  Don’t miss the special offers at the bottom of the post.

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How to Deal with Disgruntled Donors: Don’t Waste Valuable Complaints

I’m going to tell you to do exactly what I do.

Don’t ignore a single disgruntled supporter. Express compassion and contrition.

If someone takes the time to tell you they’re unhappy, that means they care. They’re connected to you. They want something from you, and you’re disappointing them.

This is your golden opportunity to get inside your donor’s head and find out what your supporter really cares about!

Don’t blow this person off. Instead,

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Losing Too Many Donors? 5 No-Brainer Ways to Keep Them

 

When it comes to improving donor retention, I often try to guide organizations through the process of shifting their thinking – and the culture of their organization – in the direction of gratitude rather than greediness toward their donors.

What’s important about making this philosophical shift is that it forces you to think very specifically about what you’re grateful for.

You aren’t simply asking your donors for money. Similarly, you aren’t thanking your donors for money.

Clairity Click-it: How Philanthropy is Changing; Social Media Measurement; Twitter for Nonprofits; Recurring Gifts; Lapsed Donors; Thank You

Here’s this week’s Clairity Click-it, leading off with a provocative piece about the state of the charitable sector and roaming through a mix of interesting and useful nonprofit marketing and fundraising tips — all designed to help you be the best you can be. Enjoy!

Changes in Philanthropy

Click-It: Philanthropy Reconsidered: The Paradigm Shift is a fascinating, thought-provoking article

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6 Traits of Relationship-Building Nonprofits + 4 Most Effective Ways to Retain Donors

Donor retention has continued to plummet every year for the past seven years.  It’s really, truly an awful problem. For some unknown reason, all that hard work you put into acquiring new donors is, seemingly, being wasted. Why?

I recently asked folks what ONE word they would use to sum up what is needed to transform donor loyalty. I received some interesting answers and thought I’d share them with you, along with my comments, here. First, let me remind you of my own Big Secret — the one principle I’ve found that makes the greatest difference to long-term, sustainable fundraising success:

Clairity Click-it: Best Fundraising Asks; Loyalty Metrics; Cultural Change; Maximize Time on Social Media; LinkedIn

Here”s your ‘Back to School’ Clairity Click-it. It’s a good time to learn a few new tricks — and there are plenty of them here for you to noodle on and sink your teeth into.  Let’s take a lo! Best Fundraising Asks Click-It: Your Favorite Fundraising Asks or Offers in Your Appeals? Kivi LeRoux Miller…

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6 Types of Modern Jargon to Avoid in Your Fundraising Appeal

Who writes your annual appeal letter? If it’s your executive director or your board chair there’s a very good chance it’s filled with jargon. This (pardon my non-jargon language) sucks.

Jargon is the opposite of constituent-centered writing.

It’s not your writer’s fault. Most of us use jargon all the time without being aware we’re doing so. It’s the language we speak when we work together in groups. It’s a sort of short-hand. Acronyms. Labels. Terms of art. It pops up all over the place. But, again, when it comes to using it in your fundraising appeals it’s bad news. Yet it’s exceedingly difficult to avoid. Why?

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3 Secrets to Boost Fundraising Response: Help Donors Stretch Their Dollars + More

Your year-end appeal is less likely to fall on deaf ears than at any other time of year. Why? It’s the time of year when people are naturally inclined towards counting their blessings and feeling both grateful and giving. Some nonprofits raise as much as 40% or more of their annual giving total during the last few months of the year. And 33% of December gifts are made on December 31st. It would be a shame to miss out on this!

In essence, you’ve got people where you want them in November and December. This being the case, don’t you want to put your best foot forward?

Top Secret Stamp

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

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What do Lukewarm Tapioca and Molten Chocolate Cake have to do with Fundraising?

Or… What Your Donors Won’t Tell You about Your Nonprofit Messaging.

At first blush, tepid tapioca and gooey hot chocolate might appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with securing vital resources to further your mission. Blush again.

Blush hard. Think of all the good things you could accomplish were you to more effectively master the art and science of fundraising. Feel the warm pink tinge beginning to creep up your neck as you embrace the errors of your ways over the past year. Or two. Or 10. Or even more.

Are you still doing things like it was 1985? 2000? 2008? If so, you should probably be embarrassed. Because I know very few organizations who are succeeding today using yesterday’s strategies.

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To Blog, or Not to Blog? Only if You Do it Right. Do You?

Do you have a mature social media operation, or are you just a baby? Or a teen? Babies babble. Teens make it all about themselves. Are you simply using Twitter to babble? Facebook to say “look at me?”  Or have you embraced a more full-grown strategy?  The best place to start, and the fastest way to get there, is with a blog.

Next to email, blogs are the most mature form of social media.

 

They’ve been around the longest, and they’re pretty tried-and-true.