10 Steps to Creating a Great Nonprofit BlogFebruary 23, 2017
Blogging can help your nonprofit share information and stories in a more conversational tone, giving your audience a glimpse at your organization and its people. Telling your story in this way not only gives you another platform for awareness, but also updates your readers on what you’re doing.
Starting a blog is easy; it’s deciding what to write that makes the journey difficult. Simply searching for blogging platforms will yield many viable options for where to begin your blog if you are not able to make edits to your website and incorporate it there.
Once you have your platform, you’ll want to start writing right away. But there are some important questions to ask first. What goal(s) are you trying to accomplish by having a blog? Is it to build general awareness of your nonprofit, or maybe share personal stories and industry news? Deciding on a master plan, or marketing strategy, behind the blog will ultimately make it more effective.
The journey to a successful blog can be long, but these 10 “Rules of the Road” for blogging will keep you on the right track to reach your final destination: raising awareness for your cause.
1. Create a content calendar
Any successful blogger has a list of topics and ideas they want to eventually write about. Creating a content calendar is one way to get ahead of the game. By preparing a calendar of your blogs in advance, you’ll always have a topic lined up and you can better strategize other content to correspond with your blog entries. Think about upcoming fundraisers and other events. Perhaps your board members would like to alternate authorship. The ideas are endless and if you have them lined up on your calendar, you’ll never be without content.
2. Write for your audience
To whom are you speaking? Make sure your blog is targeted to your audience. Thinking about your audience throughout the writing process is a good way to keep focused on the task and what they want to see presented on your blog.
3. Keep voice and tone consistent
Pay attention to the voice and tone you want to take in your blog writing. It can be conversational, educational, or something else. For example, if your audience is used to one voice or tone on social media and you do something different, they may get confused and run the other way. Make sure you remain consistent.
4. Spend time on the title
Your title, or headline, is the first impression you make on readers. It needs to be enticing enough to catch your readers’ eyes and introduce your topic without giving away all the details. You’ll know when you’ve got something good, but it might take a few hours and you’ll undoubtedly go through many, many options before you find it.
5. Tell a good story
Once you’ve got your title, you need to think about how you want to write your story. It’s easy just to sit down and start writing, but you should really outline your blog. Your introduction should intrigue the reader and tell them what you’ll be talking about. Use bullets to dive into some points you want to go over. No matter what method you choose, get organized before you start writing and the process will be smoother.
6. Include appealing and relevant visuals
As long as your images are relevant and appealing (some stock photos just aren’t…), you’ll want to include them when appropriate. Photos, infographics, and even videos will break up your text, which can help maintain a reader’s interest, as well as show them who you are as a nonprofit. Posts with visuals, particularly videos, are shared more often as well.
7. Don’t plagiarize
Plagiarism can happen without even realizing it. As a nonprofit, you may want to include stats to get your point across, but don’t forget to credit the source of that information. Plagiarism is more than just copying and pasting another person’s content without giving credit.
8. Make sure you proofread
Editing may seem like an obvious step, but it’s also one that doesn’t receive enough attention. After you’ve done the first round of edits, have someone else review your work. Fresh eyes may see something you missed.
9. Consider keywords and links
Search engine optimization, or SEO, helps you show up in search results. WordPress, for example, has a built-in plugin to assist you with SEO. The things that you want to be mindful of are proper tagging, overriding meta-title and description tags for optimal lengths, and linking to other relevant resources for general references. Keyword density (using words related to your content/story throughout your blog post) is important, but should happen organically (you shouldn’t have to add keywords after the fact). Focusing your efforts in these other areas is a good place to start.
10. Share your work
Always remember to share your work on social media, as well as in a newsletter or other marketing materials your organization may have.
These 10 steps should help you start your blog, or at least get you thinking about how to start it and what needs to be done before you launch. Remember, blogging as a nonprofit is just one other way to share your story.