Blogging gives you more freedom than other social networks like Facebook and Twitter while also giving you a potentially bigger audience than email. Most blog posts are between 500 and 800 words giving you the chance to fully flesh out your ideas unlike Facebook and Twitter which require brevity.
Blogs are a also great way to establish your organization’s personality and tone. A blog post can include photos, videos and infographics easily making it one of the most versatile communications channels out there.
Plus, Google loves new content so having a blog on your website can help with your overall search rankings and allow you to gain new supporters as well.
7 Ways to Make Your Blog Work
1. Establish the type of blog you’ll write.
You can mix and match blog types, but I think that it’s helpful to have one primary direction in mind. Think about what goals you want your blog to achieve. Some categories include news, advocacy, toolbox, storytelling, and CEO/ED/Staff.
2. Brainstorm ideas.
One of the hardest things about blogging is coming up with ideas for posts. What posts would help you achieve your goals as well as appeal to your ideal reader? Take time to jot down 20 ideas. Ask some of your more ardent supporters what they would like to read about. Sign up for our free Monthly Nonprofit Writing Prompts for content ideas.
3. Have a regular feature.
Come up with a few regular columns that you can create on a weekly basis. How-to posts or question and answer posts, and news round ups relating to your cause are all good examples. It’s one less post you have to get creative with and it creates things for readers to look forward to.
4. Use repurposed content.
Since blogging gives you more freedom than social networking and email, it’s an ideal medium to re-work content from other channels. If you got a good response to a Facebook post or Tweet, expand on it with a blog post highlighting some of the comments. Re-work newsletter articles by adding more graphics that may better explain your point, but would be difficult to read in an email.
5. Be consistent.
The best blogs offer content on a regular basis. Using an editorial calendar will help you keep track of what content you are putting where and when, so channels reinforce each other. It will also help you stay focused on your audience and your goals for the publication. Being consistent not only keeps readers coming back continually, but it will also help with your Google search ratings.
6. Make it easy to share.
Allow people to share your posts with their social networks so readers can invite their friends to your blog. You also want to include ways to connect with your social networks (“Like” box for Facebook, “Follow Me” for Twitter, etc.).
7. Allow comments.
While blogs don’t see as many comments as they used to, they can still be a great place to foster a community. Allow readers to comment on your blog posts, and answer their questions. Encourage readers to share tips, stories or other ideas relating to the post’s topic. Worried about trolls? See How to Handle Negative Online Comments.
For examples of great blogs published by nonprofit organizations, see Peter Panepento’s list.
What is your favorite example of a nonprofit blog? Share in the comments.