By Malleana Ruffin, Social Media Manager, PIR
This article is part 5 of an 8-part series called “Bootcamp for Mission-Driven Organizations”.
Making good use of blogging can have a significant impact on your fundraising and awareness initiatives. Blogging is not only an effective storytelling tool, but it also boosts SEO (search engine optimization), encourages repeat visits to your website, and starts important conversations. Plus, it’s easy. Maybe there’s even a blog already integrated with your website builder. You can just type up what you know, put it out there, and watch your readership grow, right?
While anyone can blog, not everyone can do it well—at least not without a little help. The following tutorial gives you step-by-step instructions for drafting impactful posts. Read on, and you’ll be hitting “publish” in no time!
Step 1: Identify Your Author
You’ll want to choose the right writer or writers for the job. Many blogs have multiple authors who bring different voices and perspectives to your audience(s). Whether you choose one staff member, several, or an outside team, whoever blogs for your organization should:
- Know your mission and message;
- Understand the work you do;
- Be creative and organized; and
- Have a solid command of language and grammar in your primary language and script (for example, many non-profits use the Associated Press Style Book for blog articles written in US English).
Step 2: Brainstorm Your Ideas
Set aside some creative time, gather your team, and turn off phone, text, and email notifications. Ask everyone to think outside the in-box. Choose concepts that are new or employ unique twists on presenting information and ideas. Some categories to consider while generating and developing potential article ideas:
- Profiles of members or volunteers;
- Recent organizational successes;
- News related to your mission; and
- Research or insights about your core issue(s).
Step 3: Develop Your Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is essential to making your blog a meaningful communications asset. About half of bloggers post between two and four times per month, so you need a plan. Schedule posts in advance, taking into account upcoming events, milestones, and programs. Remember to leave room for opportunity, should something arise that you want to address. An effective editorial calendar will include:
- Dates and frequency;
- Assigned authors;
- Topics; and
- Plans to promote the posts.
Step 4: Start Blogging
Now comes the fun part. Grab a cup of coffee and block off time to focus on blogging. You will probably need more than you think.It takes nearly four hours to write the average post. Once you get writing, these are some key elements to include:
- A catchy headline;
- An engaging opening paragraph;
- Related images and/or video; and
- An appropriate call to action at the end.
Step 5: Promote Your Blog
Now that you’ve created great content, don’t waste it. Once you’ve published your blog, share each post immediately and repeatedly on social media, with a catchy summary and a link to the article. Here are some other effective ways to boost readership:
- Launch your blog with an introductory email;
- Encourage readers to subscribe to receive it in their in-boxes;
- Invite guest bloggers with their own followings to author a post; and
- Encourage readers to comment and share your posts.
Feel confident about starting and maintaining a successful blog for your organization or good-for-the-world business. Don’t forget to plan carefully, write regularly, and share widely. Happy blogging!
Blogging is a powerful way to promote your organization. If you need help getting started, www.classy.org offers this free non-profit editorial calendar template and www.globalgiving.org shares this guide to non-profit brainstorming sessions. Here is a lesson from www.nonprofitwp.org on embedding video and other links in your posts, and here and here are some excellent examples of effective non-profit blogs from www.freelancersunion.org and www.techsoup.org.