How to Blog your way to Increased Constituent Engagement and Fundraising


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The #1 reason people don't give is because they aren't asked. The #1 reason people aren't ready to be asked is because they don't know enough about you, aren't engaged enough with you, and just don't keep you top of mind. A blog can help you change all that. Learn why yesterday's website is today's blog, and steps to take to turn your blog into a powerful constituent engagement tool.

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How to Blog your way to Increased Constituent Engagement and Fundraising

  1. 1. How to Blog your way to Increased Constituent Engagement and Fundraising Claire Axelrad May 8, 2012A Service Of: Sponsored by:
  2. 2. Protecting and Preserving the Institutional Memories of Nonprofits Since 1993 (866) 598-0430 info@cjwconsulting.comA Service Of: Sponsored by:
  3. 3. Affordable collaborative data management in the cloud.A Service Of: Sponsored by:
  4. 4. Today‟s Speaker Claire Axelrad Principal, Axelrad Social Benefit ConsultingAssisting with chat questions: Hosting:April Hunt, Nonprofit Webinars Cheri J Weissman, CJW Consulting & Services, Inc.A Service Of: Sponsored by:
  5. 5. How to Blog Your Way to IncreasedFundraising and ConstituentEngagement Put it together and what’ve you got? It’ll do magic believe it or not! Bliggidi-BLOGgidi-Bloo.
  6. 6. Of all the killer social media engagement tools, it‟sthe „thingamabob that does the job.” Few tools, ifany, beat it.  Businesses that write on blogs get 55% more website visitors and have 43% more indexed pages in Google than businesses that do not.  Next to email, blogs are the most mature form of social media.  Blogs are among top 5 social media tools used by marketers.
  7. 7. I. 4 Reasons You Should Blog 1. Create awareness among potential new audiences a. Don‟t just blog for SEO. b. Think about who should know more about you. Define your target audiences so you can create relevant content. c. Don‟t just think from perspective of your existing audiences. d. Create valuable content audiences will find/read/ share. (Websites get stale fast; Blogs keep us fresh).
  8. 8. 2. Build bonds with existing supportersa. Don‟t just take the money and run.b. Re-enforce messaging that drew people to you in the first place.c. Ask for feedback; create a two-way dialogue.d. Be human; have the blog post come from a real person with a photo.
  9. 9. 3. Build your brand; Establish yourself as a thought leader in your fielda. Your blog is the hub of your content and where your leadership can be showcased. Show what you know better than anyone else.b. Offer useful tips and advice (e.g. “news you can use”).c. Report from conferences to show you‟re on the cutting edge of the latest advances in the field.d. Have your staff post.
  10. 10. 4. Drive traffic to your website (and vice- versa) Your leadership, and ideas you generate through your blog, is what will drive this.a. Get folks to subscribe to your blog; then link back to your website (where, btw, your donate pages lie).b. Put a blog subscription form front and center on your website home page.c. Use universal share buttons to ask folks to follow you on your blog (in addition to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or whatever else you are using).
  11. 11. II. How to Get Started Blogging Plan First Persuade the “powers that be” this is a good idea by sharing blogs from other respected organizations. Put your blog into the context of your larger communications/social media plan. Figure out your audience so you can target your strategies to meet your goals, stay personal and know to whom you‟re writing.
  12. 12. Select a Template  Look at Blogger, WordPress or Typepad. They‟re all free (you can pay for „extras‟) and they all work. Generally I see folks recommending the latter two for professional purposes. WordPress also has a self-hosted installation option. I use Blogger and am happy with it. You have to choose what youre most comfortable with and what works best for your level of expertise and for the defined purpose of your blog. Look at some blogs you like; then make your selection. Trust me, they’re simple. I’m a trogolodyte, and I can do it.
  13. 13. Decide What You’ll Post About  Develop a 3 month+ editorial calendar with topics of interest to your audiences.  Cover a range of topics. Some folks like chocolate; others vanilla. Have something for everyone.  Identify need(s) your readers have. Ask customer service or your receptionist what your FAQs are. Offer help!  Be confident you can change the world by sharing your expertise. Go to a relevant LinkedIn group in your industry. What are people discussing?
  14. 14. Light Bulbs are Everywhere  Look at what others are writing about; find a new angle.  Write about something that matters to you.  Write about something topical. What‟s in the news?  Try to stick to one topic per post. Attention spans are short. Focus.
  15. 15. Decide How Often You’ll Post  Recommend: One post/week.  Too often? Quality can suffer. Readers can suffer fatigue.  Too infrequent? You‟ll lose followers.  Ideal? What you can manage. Consistency is key.
  16. 16. Decide When You’ll Post  Recommend: Test for yourself  Try different days of the week/times of day.  Monitor which posts get the most page views.  Develop a schedule; stick with it. Exception: A blog schedule is about keeping YOUR peace of mind. Different things can come up, life may throw you something you just HAVE to blog about, or promotional opportunities may come your way. Blog when you have something to say.
  17. 17. Decide on the Post’s Length  Recommend: 500-700 words  It‟s not a book; too long and you‟ll lose readers. 500 words is just one page double-spaced. You can do it!  Aim for something you can accomplish. If that‟s shorter, try: “Top 10 Lists”; Event photos with short descriptions; Excerpts from workshops you‟ve already created; Summarize an article in your field and comment on it. Voila!  Strive for variety. Use different formats. Have some fun. Example: Repurpose videos, play with cartoons or other graphic images.
  18. 18. Write a Great Title  Headline copy is read by 8 out of 10. Only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.  Technically, it becomes the link when the post ranks in search engines. Use any key phrase you think folks will search on here, preferably towards the beginning of the title.  Limit yourself to eight or less words, or 66 characters.  Emotionally, the title is what captures folks‟ attention and conveys a first impression of your brand.
  19. 19. Format so your Post is Scannable  Headers and subheads: Ask yourself: If folks read only my headers and subheads, will they get the gist of the article? If to, you‟ve succeeded!  Short paragraphs: Generally no paragraph should include more than 3-4 sentences. One sentence paragraphs can be used to add emphasis and break up lots of copy.  Bulleted lists and numbered lists: These are easy to scan and work well within almost any post.  Bold, Italics, Underline, Color: These are excellent ways to add emphasis and make content more easily scanned. Like anything else, moderation is the key.
  20. 20. Add Images  They break up your copy, making it easier to read.  They‟re worth 1,000 words.  They make your post more likely to be shared. Plus you can share yourself on Pinterest. This is a great way to showcase a different side of yourself and perhaps gain a whole new group of followers.
  21. 21. III. Finding Time to Keep it Up  Spread the work among a team.  Invite folks to write “guest” posts.  Include “who will write this?” as part of your content calendar.  Designate a content manager/editor to assure everything meets the criteria in your content calendar, adheres to your brand guidelines and doesn‟t look sloppy.  Decide who‟ll reply to comments.
  22. 22. IV. Leverage Other Strategies  Consider the blog as the hub of your marcom strategy.  Repurpose; share information in your post on other platforms.  Link to your blog from your e-news. No more scrolling for fans; less work for you!
  23. 23. Share Everything Back and Forth  The magic of blogs lies in sharing.  To be perceived as a thought leader, you must be visible in places where your fans hang out.  Link to your blog from your Home Page.  Let folks subscribe through RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.  Comment on other blogs to raise more awareness of what you do.  Acknowledge your sources and inspiration.
  24. 24. Nonprofit Blogging Checklist  I‟ll provide a Top 10 Checklist summarizing this Webinar.  Unleash your inner blogger… Create inspiring, relevant content... Become a leader folks will follow and, ultimately, invest with to help achieve your mission.
  25. 25. Go Forth and Conquer  Axelrad Social Benefit Consulting    @charityclairity
  26. 26. Find listings for our current season of webinars and register at: NonprofitWebinars.comA Service Of: Sponsored by: