Best Blogging Advice for NonprofitsNovember 14, 2017
Establishing and sustaining a blog that best represents your nonprofit and mission can be a daunting task. It’s often assumed that a blog post is being taken over by a tweet, an image or a video, but there will always be members of your audience who ask, “What’s the story behind that tweet, or image, or video?” They want to know more, and a blog can give them that.
Blog writing is a powerful tool that can be used to raise awareness of your organization. Giving your nonprofit a voice outside of a traditional “about us” page on your website, a blog gives you the freedom to discuss ideas, news, events and more, and invites your supporters and potential donors to connect with you on another level.
But did you know that developing a strategy begins before your first post is even in the works?
It’s important to know your purpose, the story you want to tell, and to have a clear understanding of what you see as the return on your blogging investment. In other words, what do you want your end goal to be? Begin to brainstorm ideas for the theme and title for your page, considering what fits well with your nonprofit mission and appearance. Your blog should portray a professional image providing helpful and useful information to those involved.
Successful blogs know how to create value for readers while supporting a strategy that delivers growth. This is no different for nonprofits, so we’ve gathered some simple tips to get you started.
Develop a strategy
Position your nonprofit by writing information on best practices, answering commonly asked questions, and empowering your followers with useful facts and information about your mission and goals as a nonprofit. Develop a strategy and stay organized by creating categories for which each post will fall into, depending on what type of material you will be exploring in depth. For example, categories could be fundraisers, our team, donation/donator spotlights, etc.
Know your writing team
Whether it’s one person or five contributing writers, you want your team to be knowledgeable and comfortable with your organization’s goals and mission. Writers, as with any position, come with different capabilities and strong suits. You will want individuals contributing to your blog to be great writers and experts in the area being discussed.
Short. Simple. Bullets.
This may be the most important piece of advice to take away. Once you begin writing posts, keep your content looking clean, sharp and easy to read with bullets or numbering. People love lists and most do not have time to sort through paragraphs of information when it can be easily organized into fast sections with a short, to-the-point description.
We all know that powerful images catch our attention. Visuals pull a reader in and spark an immediate interest at first glance. Keep your images engaging, exciting and, depending on your nonprofit culture, add humor or other emotions presented in imagery to catch the eye.
Don’t hide personality
Nonprofit blogging doesn’t have to be all business; personality and charisma make your blog stand out in its own unique way. By diversifying your blog page from the regular wearisome web content, you’re able to showcase the people behind your nonprofit. Great nonprofit blogs are written in a relaxed and informal tone, portrayed to readers more as a conversation and less as a pitch for donations.
Take your mind off marketing. Blogging is not the place to sell to your readers or illicit donations. Provide information on subjects of interest to your supporters and community: by posting about trending topics you are positioning your nonprofit as a current and relevant source to your followers. By publishing content that isn’t pushing a solution to a problem, you are able to drive an audience that trusts in your brand for guidance, which can be more valuable in the long run.
First, know what the best sites for your nonprofit are to assure you are reaching your audience in the most effective way. Share your blog posts on other forms of social media, and make sure readers have the options to share directly from your blog to their social profiles with useful links and icons. Be sure that your blogs are open for comments; you want to have room for open discussions between yourself and your readers.
Stick to a schedule
Consistent posting takes time, effort and planning. Get comfortable with an achievable goal such as two or three times a week to begin and adjust your approach accordingly as your blog content flourishes. Creating a content calendar can also be very helpful to keep you on track with your intended posting schedule. An effective blog pushes fresh content out on a regular and reliable basis.
Monitor and Track
You want to track everything. Find a site for analytics or have one built into your platform that gives you great feedback on everything from the most viewed post to how many click throughs you received. Data and information are key to your blogging future. By tracking real feedback and knowing what people are engaging with the most are great tools to know what you should and shouldn’t continue to do.
Showing authorship goes back to the sole purpose of creating a blog: to show a human side of your nonprofit away from the typical awareness or donation-seeking approach. Allowing your readers to match a face to a name by including author biographies is a great way to show an inside look at some of the people who make up your nonprofit.
Now that you have some idea of how to begin and sustain a blog for your organization, get to it! Set a goal and begin to brainstorm topics and posting ideas. Invite others to be writers, or do your best to create engaging and relevant content on our own. Don’t be afraid to let your company’s personality shine through. Make sure your social media platforms and blog are in sync to make sharing easier for both you and your readers. And finally, once you start seeing results, use them as motivation to keep going; there will always be readers!