Blogging 201


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The presentation on blogging best practices by Mandy Burrell Booth, Ben Schulman, & Marissa Wasseluk for the Center For Nonprofit Success' Social Media Summit in Chicago.

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  • Introduce what CNU is and what we do.
  • Started the blog in 2009, and we’ve had a lot of success using it in a variety of ways: to share our story, to humanize our work, to provide news analysis, to strengthen partnerships by posting guest blogs, to generate content to share on social media, to engage with people on our issues. We have more than doubled our web traffic, from about 3,000 unique visitors per month to about 7,000 unique visitors per month.
  • We’ll focus on two of these now, and come back to the others later
  • - Use ‘loaded’ works to convey inclusion: join, you, now, support, learn.
  • How do we use our blog in a day-to-day sense? How does our blog support other aspects of our site and communications infrastructure? How does our blog support pushing forward our initiatives? How does our blog then interact with our social media presence?
  • How do we use our blog in a day-to-day sense? How does our blog support other aspects of our site and communications infrastructure? How does our blog support pushing forward our initiatives? How does our blog then interact with our social media presence?
  • How do we use our blog in a day-to-day sense? How does our blog support other aspects of our site and communications infrastructure? How does our blog support pushing forward our initiatives? How does our blog then interact with our social media presence?
  • Blog is used to serve different purposes but above all, has to maintain a certain voice of the organization. It should not be the your own.
  • How to segment your blog Cater to different types of readers and convert casual readers to core followers
  • Tools of Engagement Feed Relevant Content to Core Users and Followers
  • - Hand off to Mandy for storytelling aspect.
  • We knew we had to tell stories. EMPHASIZE THE HUMAN CONNECTION PIECE THAT’S OFTEN MISSING WITH STATS AND FACTS. “ As children we were naturally good at telling stories about events or topics that mattered and learning from others via their stories, but as we became older we were taught that serious people relied only on presenting information and "the facts." Accurate information, sound logic, and the facts are necessary, of course, but truly effective leaders in any field — including technical ones — know how to tell "the story" of their particular research endeavor, technological quest, or marketing plan, etc. The most common way to persuade people, says McKee, is with conventional rhetoric and an intellectual process that in the business world "...usually consists of a PowerPoint presentation" in which leaders build their case with statistics and quotes, etc. McKee says rhetoric is problematic because while we are making our case others are arguing with us in their heads using their own statistics and sources. Even if you do persuade through argument, says McKee, this is not good enough because "...people are not inspired to act on reason alone." The key, then, is to aim to unite an idea with an emotion, which is best done through story. "In a story, you not only weave a lot of information into the telling but you also arouse your listener's emotion and energy.“
  • Who knows this story? What modern stories have been based on this story? The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. Goliath was the Philistine’s heavy, and even  Saul , King of Israel, was terrified of him. David was just a teenager, but he was not afraid of Goliath because he felt like had a greater power on his side – God. So David volunteered to fight Goliath. With a shepherd’s staff, slingshot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. His first shot went through a hole in Goliath’s armor, felling the giant. Then David then took Goliath's own sword, killed him and then cut off his head.
  • Go through elements of storytelling handout and then transition to 15-minute exercise
  • What was hard? How do we overcome those obstacles?
  • Phase 2
  • Phase 2
  • Phase 2 This is kind of ironic, because if you’re googling “worst SEO blog”, this’d be on the front page.
  • Phase 2 Create concise, unique and accurate page titles that are appropriate for your content. Search engines like Google look at your title and title tags that are used to display in search results
  • Phase 2
  • Phase 2
  • Phase 2 Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query.
  • Phase 2
  • Phase 2
  • Phase 2
  • Multimedia helps stories stick even more – and nowadays, we have so many tools at our disposal for telling digital stories: social media, YouTube, photo sharing sites like Flickr, easy/free blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumbler. People say these tools are free – and that’s true. But they take time to manage, and as we all know, time is money. So be selective: Know where your audience is and focus on growing and nurturing your network there. Learn more at
  • - Use Facebook to aggregate links and drive discussion of topics back to - Link to member-generated, articles, etc.
  • - Use Facebook to aggregate links and drive discussion of topics back to Link to member-generated, articles, etc. - CNU becomes aggregator of urbanist news threads and themes; CNU becomes confluence point where all traffic for urbanist news is driven
  • Use Twitter to reinforce blog and vice versa
  • Who to follow; who not to follow How to converse with followers Maintain conversations and connections
  • encourage participation on other channel other than official site Allow people to converse and establish connections Maintain branding
  • Perfect for events and conferences - LIVE BLOG encourage participation on other channel other than official site Allow people to converse and establish connections Maintain branding
  • Curate conversation of Twitter follower Maintain branding to drive traffic back to website
  • Reinforce Ben’s message about sharing posts via multiple channels. Show how maximizing those channels made a huge difference in our web traffic during BRT campaign: Blog Facebook Twitter Video Publication Event Enewsletter Email Media outreach
  • Engage your own staff in being a blog believer, ambassador
  • Pitch other blogs, share intentionally on FB/Twitter with those who write on similar perspectives
  • Invite guest bloggers
  • Pitch traditional media
  • Develop a media partnership Example: Bronzeville storytelling campaign/media partnership with Vocalo
  • Blogging 201

    1. 1. Blogging 201 Social Media SummitThursday, April 12, 2011
    2. 2. Today’s goals1. Explore what makes compelling blog content2. Learn technical best practices3. Discover new strategies, tools to engage the audience4. Discuss pitfalls, how to avoid/address them
    3. 3. The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is a member-based, advocacy organization promoting walkable,mixed-use neighborhood development,sustainable communities and healthier living conditions.
    4. 4. Nonprofit Communicator npcommunicator
    5. 5. Content tips• Know your audience• Share your unique perspective• Break news• Highlight expertise, partners• Use multimedia• Eradicate nonprofit speak, jargon• Tell stories
    6. 6. • Know your audience. Write pieces with intent that encourage curiosity and invite action.
    7. 7. • CNU Salons are interactive and timely tools that are used to engage with our audience daily, and support our events and initiatives. Tailor the message to the bigger picture it supports.
    8. 8. • CNU Salons are used to promote and highlight upcoming events. CNU holds an annual Congress in a different city each year. Our twentieth event - CNU 20 - will take place May 9-12, 2012 in West Palm Beach, FL. We maintain a separate website for our annual event. This year, it’s
    9. 9. • CNU Salons are used as entry point to encourage further discussion and analysis of our initiatives. They provide an opportunity to link and/or comment on relevant media pieces.
    10. 10. • In turn, CNU Salons help drive traffic to main initiative pages on website and provide tangible examples of the larger issues being addressed.
    11. 11. Content as bait: engagenew readers and followers;convert them to corefollowers.
    12. 12. Maintainrelationshipwith corefollower toyour cause.
    13. 13. • Blogs are used to convey different messages for different purposes, but should consistently maintain the tone and voice of the organization. It should be engaging and lively, but it should not be your own.
    14. 14. Power of storiesStories have sticking power.“We can tell people abstract rules of thumbwhich we have derived from prior experiences,but it is very difficult for other people to[remember and] learn from these. … Storiesmake the events in memory memorable toothers and to ourselves. This is one of thereasons why people like to tell stories.” Roger C. Shank, from Tell Me A Story
    15. 15. Power of stories
    16. 16. Six elements of a great story• A relatable protagonist• Scene-setting• Conflict• Solution• Change• Call to action
    17. 17. Storytelling exercise1. Think of the biggest thing yourorganization is doing right now.2. Take five minutes to imagine it as a story,for instance as if it is a movie.3. Share!
    18. 18. The nitty gritty stuff matters• Keyword-rich headlines• Internal/external links• Tags
    19. 19. Anatomy of a Blog Title / Header Lead ShareButtons
    20. 20. SEO Best Practices• Create content consistently and often• Use keywords, tags and metadata• Keep your site and content organized• Be social and share your content
    21. 21. What Doesn’t Work
    22. 22. Frequent, Consistent Content• Make it easy for folks to find your content! – Accurate page titles – Title tags• Photos & videos drive traffic
    23. 23. Keywords• Always use appropriate and relevant tags and keywords to a post or page. – Find your keywords!
    24. 24. Keywords• Add alternative titles, tags and descriptions to photos and other multimedia content embedded on a page. – Cat, kitten, lolcat, icanhazcheesburger cat, funny cat picture, cat cheeseburger meme
    25. 25. KeywordsIf possible, writedescriptions formetadata tags onyour pages.
    26. 26. Content Organization• Plan out your website and consider the hierarchy of content to be displayed.• Ensure your site is easy to navigate for your users• Consider using categories to organize content.
    27. 27. Socialize!
    28. 28. Socialize!• Share your posts, photos and videos on various social networks.• Encourage audiences to link and share your website and content.
    29. 29. Socialize!• Create out-bound links on your own website or posts to encourage a mutual link and established relationship with other sites, especially to site that are relative to your content, industry or field.
    30. 30. Engaging your audience• Use Social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter• Try, Tumbler• Segment your blog• Pitch other bloggers• Invite guest bloggers• Develop media partnerships
    31. 31. Tools for the job
    32. 32. Incorporate multimediatools and platforms.Integrate content intoyour blog.Drive traffic back to yoursite.
    33. 33. Use Social Media feedsto measure impact ofmessaging.
    34. 34. New Tools of Engagement: TUMBLRLinkeverywhere,everything.
    35. 35. • Link everywhere, everything.
    36. 36. New Tools of Engagement: TUMBLR
    37. 37. New Tools of Engagement: Paper.liLink everywhere,everything.
    38. 38. • Link everywhere, everything.• Maintain branding• Relate everything back to your home site.
    39. 39. CONTENT + MULTIMEDIA = = www.cnu20.orgContact: Ben Schulman,Communications Director,, 312.551.7300, x.12CNU: twitter- @newurbanism**** twitter-@bdsdispatch****blog-
    40. 40. BRT campaign• By “maximizing channels,” MPC grew web site audience by >30 percent during one campaign.• Social interaction increased by 31 percent.
    41. 41. Pat staff on back w/analyticsVisits•October 2010 to September 2011 = 87,158•Increased from 62,738 over previous year
    42. 42. Use blog to get staff noticed
    43. 43. Invite guest bloggers• Strengthens partnerships• Expands audience• Potentially increases your credibility
    44. 44. Break news
    45. 45. (Multi)media relationsMPC-Vocalo-Bronzeville Alliance partnership•Written features - MPC•Audio features - Vocalo•Live remote broadcast events - MPC-Vocalo-Bronzeville Alliance•Multimedia web content - all
    46. 46. Avoiding pitfalls• Develop a social media policy
    47. 47. Contact usMandy Burrell Boothmburrell@metroplanning.orgBenjamin Schulmanbschulman@cnu.orgMarissa