Nonprofit Blogging Best Practices: Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Blog and How to Create a Great One


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Despite the popularity of social media including “micro-blogging” sites like Tumblr and twitter, traditional blogging is still one of the most important tools in your digital marketing arsenal.

Larger nonprofits have been early adopters of blogging, seeing the benefits in increased website traffic, email sign ups and online donations. A consistent, quality blog has been proven to have a direct benefit on marketing and fundraising efforts – so why do so many nonprofits ignore this powerful tool?

The question remains: How can smaller nonprofits get on board with blogging and create a dynamic outlet that grows their supporters and helps them accomplish their goals?

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Nonprofit Blogging Best Practices: Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Blog and How to Create a Great One

  1. 1. Nonprofit Blogging Best Practices: Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Blog and How to Create a Great One Julia Campbell November 5, 2013 Use Twitter Hashtag #4Glearn Part Of: Sponsored by:
  2. 2. Protecting and Preserving the Institutional Memories of Nonprofits Since 1993 Part Of: (866) 598-0430 Sponsored by:
  3. 3. Coming Soon Part Of: Sponsored by:
  4. 4. Today’s Speakers Julia Campbell Principal J Campbell Social Marketing Jamie Maloney Community Developer, 4Good Part Of: Hosting: Cheri J Weissman, CJW Consulting & Services, Inc. Sponsored by:
  5. 5. Julia Campbell J Campbell Social Marketing 4Good/Nonprofit Webinars November 5, 2013 #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  6. 6. Takeaways From Today  The benefits of blogging – why you need one  The best platforms to use  How to get more readers  How to find and create fresh content  How to promote your blog posts  Top 10 tips to creating fantastic blog posts #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  7. 7. Before We Begin…  Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t get discouraged.  Time, capacity and resources are needed to do it effectively.  Every organization, no matter how small and strapped for resources, has great stories to tell.  They key is passionate supporters – not number of Facebook fans. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  8. 8. Does the world need one more? It depends. The key to effective blogging – quality over quantity! “You can’t beat the Internet on volume, but you can beat it on quality, clarity and perspective.” – Rich Brooks @therichbrooks #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  9. 9. You aren’t writing for “the world”! You are writing for YOUR audience. They are unique. Your audience is not “everyone”. You don’t need to have 500,000 subscribers to have a great blog. You just need to tell your story and authentically connect with your audience. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  10. 10. Why have a blog?  To improve SEO – search engine results.  To build trust and community.  To establish yourself as an authority on the issue.  If you are active on social media, you will always have new content to post!  To drive website traffic, email sign ups, social media followers and even donations. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  11. 11. Why have a blog?  Have a blog will continually force you and your organization to ask the tough questions:  What impact are we having on the world?  What would happen if we disappeared tomorrow? #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  12. 12. Why not have a blog? According to Technorati 40% of people that have a blog spend more than 3 hours per week blogging. It’s a lot of work – researching and writing posts, editing posts, formatting them, promoting them. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  13. 13. Establish Goals As with any marketing strategy, you need a measurable goal to determine success. (Blogging is not a strategy – it’s a tool.) You need to know where you are going/want to go. What is the goal for the blog?  Establish authority  More website traffic  More email signups  More Facebook fans  Advocacy #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  14. 14. Measurement Write down 3-4 goals for your blog (should tie with overall marketing goals). Think measurement and benchmarks. How will you measure? How will you be held accountable? Monthly reporting? Weekly? #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  15. 15. Getting Started  Get buy-in from Executive Staff and Board.  Hold a staff meeting and a Board meeting to announce that you are going to start a blog and that ideas for posts are welcome.  Educate everyone on the importance of the blog – it’s not just “one more thing” to add on the pile. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  16. 16. Getting Started  Tell staff, board, volunteers and Online Social Media Ambassadors about it first. Be excited and enthusiastic!  Let them know that you are going to call on them to help you find content and to promote the blog. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  17. 17. Getting Started  Determine who is going to write the posts and how often. (Once per week to start is great.)  Create an Editorial Calendar – either in Google Calendar or in a document in Dropbox that can be accessed in multiple places.  Do not keep the Editorial Calendar and blog ideas on the server! Get Dropbox or Google Drive.  Get Dropbox: #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  18. 18. Editorial Calendar Some things to include in your calendar:          Call to Action (Is there a specific and measurable action you want to see from this topic?) Post Date Author (if you’re not the sole author)  Notes  Free resources: Working Title (or at least a  descriptive idea to the content) /2012/02/free-printablePublication location (is this a post blogplanner.html for your blog, a guest blog, etc.)  http://www.business2community.c Status om/content-marketing/anCategory editorial-calendar-for-your-blogtips-and-templates-0465693 Tags Keywords Free resource: #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  19. 19. Choose a Platform  Talk to your webmaster – what will integrate with your blog?  My recommendation is WordPress.  Easy to use (you don’t need to know HTML or code)  Can manage it from anywhere  SEO  Control  Plugins  100% customizable  It can grow  Multiple users #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  20. 20. Blogging Process 4 elements of blogging 1) Research 2) Writing 3) Formatting/Editing 4) Promotion #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  21. 21. #1: Research What to blog about? Ideas for content:  FAQ about your organization.  What do you always get emails about?  What do people ask on the phone?  TIP: Add a short video to go with it.  Myths vs. Facts.  Top 5 myths you encounter regularly.  TIP: Add links to other blog posts and articles that support factual evidence – outgoing links create community and help make your blog more interactive. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  22. 22. #1: Research  Video testimonials.  Stories!  What is happening in the world? What is everyone talking about? The government shut down? The Red Sox?  How can you tie this in to a blog post?  How To  A step-by-step list for collecting food for a food drive, organizing a fundraising walk, preventing elder abuse or calling a legislator.  TIP: Use a testimonial or a story of a person who took this action, how they did it and what impact it had. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  23. 23. #1: Research  Top 10 Tips  Any number will work.  Examples: Top 10 Dog Training Tips, Top 10 Tips To Keep Kids Active in the Summer, Top 10 Tips for Helping the Environment.  TIP: Make an infographic of the Top 10 Tips using and post it everywhere. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  24. 24. #1: Research  Sign up for free Google Alerts:      Technorati: Alltop: Keep a list of topics always accessible so you can add to it when you think of a potential topic (put in Dropbox). Are you locally based, regional or national? Focus on local events and news rather than national depending. Ask your community! #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  25. 25. #2: Writing  A blog post can be 300-500 words and a photo (it does not need to be a novel).  Picking a great headline is the most important part.  Make it catchy and tweetable!!  Look at other blog headlines that grab your attention.  Free resource: John Haydon – Time-Saving Hacks to Write More Blog Posts (Video demo): #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  26. 26. #2: Writing  I find it helpful to do a “brain      dump” and put everything on the page. The create an outline – a beginning, middle and end. Opening paragraph should grab people’s attention. One-two sentence paragraphs. Bolded headlines. Bulleted lists. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  27. 27. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  28. 28. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  29. 29. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  30. 30. #3: Formatting  Get photos.     Flickr Creative Commons #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  31. 31. #3: Formatting  Categories  Always think of your reader.  Will describe what the blog is about.  Tags  More specific  Free resource – How to use WordPress categories and tags: /04/howto-wordpress-tags/ #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  32. 32. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  33. 33. #3: Formatting Make sure:  There is a way for people to subscribe to the blog.  There are social share buttons so people can share it.  Experiment with email sign up/pop ups. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  34. 34. #3: Formatting  Enable comments.  Encourage communication.  Can be monitored/approved.  Great WordPress plugins:  Disqus Comment System  Akismet (for spam)  WordPress SEO by Yoast  JetPack  CommentLuv – places a link to the commenter’s blog  WordPress Popular Posts #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  35. 35. #3: Promotion If you write it, they will come! Not necessarily… You need to promote each blog post. Great WordPress plugin:  Publicize #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  36. 36. #3: Promotion  Post the blog to all social media channels:  Facebook  Pinterest  Twitter  Google+  Syndicate to your local Patch and Wicked Local.  Create a checklist. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  37. 37. Julia’s Blog Promotion Checklist Automatically goes to:   FB personal   Twitter   LinkedIn personal   Tumblr   StumbleUpon   Reddit  Digg   Delicious  Social Buzz Club LinkedIn groups Facebook page – add hashtags Google+ Community – add hashtags LinkedIn Company Page  Pinterest #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg   Business 2        Community Patch WickedLocal Triberr NetSquared MosaicHub Quora
  38. 38. #3: Promotion  Include in email blasts.  Guest blogging – look at Technorati for the lists of top bloggers in your industry and contact them to write guests posts.  Ensure that readers can subscribe to your blog to see a new post when it’s published –either via email or RSS feed. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  39. 39. #3: Promotion  Don’t be passive!  Ask Board, staff and volunteers to share the blog posts.  Read them at staff meetings and encourage comments.  Make it a team affair.  Remember – you cannot do it alone!!! #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  40. 40. Questions? #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  41. 41. A Word On Content The Customer Insight Group (CIG) at the New York Times published a study exploring why people share content online. People share to:  Bring valuable and entertaining content to others  Define themselves to others  Grow and nourish relationships  Give self-fulfillment  Market causes or brands  How can you help your community do these things through your blog?  #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  42. 42. A Word On Content Spend some time and dedicate some resources to creating content that is well-written, original, compelling, timely, relevant and interesting. This may seem like a tall order, but that’s what it takes to stand-out in the noise of social media. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  43. 43. Keeping Momentum  Be open-minded and don’t get discouraged.  Not everyone will a superstar blogger.  Just because someone is influential does not mean that your cause will resonate with them.  Actively look everywhere for people who are passionate about your cause. #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  44. 44. Get Inspired  Third Sector Today – Nonprofit Blog Post Best of the Day: #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  45. 45. Top 11 Takeaways Figure out the “why” of your blog and be consistent. 2) Write good stuff. 3) Post at a regular time. 4) Mix up content – How To posts, FAQ, Video Testimonials, etc. 5) Don’t be long-winded. 6) Make sure you keep readers with an RSS feed, email sign up, etc. 7) Promote all posts. 8) Use an SEO plugin. 9) Measure, improve, measure, improve. 10) Incorporate visuals. 11) Be social yourself – comment on other blogs, be active. 1) #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  46. 46. In Conclusion Always think back to your audience. What are they reading about, writing about, sharing and commenting on? What are they interested in? It’s not about YOU – it’s about them! #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  47. 47. Nonprofit Resources  John Haydon –  Nonprofit Tech for Good –  Beth Kanter –  Amy Sample Ward –  Problogger –  My blog – #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg
  48. 48. Questions? Tweet me: @JuliaCSocial Facebook me: Email me: m THANK YOU! #npblog @JuliaCSocial @4GoodOrg