2015: The Year You Start Blogging
This is remix to ignition…
I wrote about why your organisation should be blogging in 2014, and now I’m here to tell you (again) that 2015 is the year you should really start blogging. Don’t slap me – I know you’re busy, and here I am telling you that on top of everything else you’re already doing, you should either start something new or work harder/better/faster at something you’re already trying to do.
But I am here to tell you that starting/maintaining/kicking ass at blogging doesn’t have to be so painful/time sucking/impossible. Consider this a gentle lecture.
So first, some reasons why blogging is important for your nonprofit organisation, 5 things to consider in planning your blog, and then 50 simple topics that you could be writing about.
Why Your Nonprofit Should Start A Blog
There are many reasons why blogging is a great idea for your nonprofit. I’ll rattle off all 1900 for you over coffee sometime but for now I’ll start with just 5.
1) Blogging is a great way to tell your story.
Of course you have one. It’s incredible, starting from those grassroots beginnings through to all the mission-driven awesomeness you do on a daily basis. This is the perfect way to help people better understand what you do.
2) Blogging is a great way to show love to your community.
Donors, volunteers, sponsors and supporters need to know their love and trust is well-placed, and what better way to report to them on a regular basis than to write about what you’ve been up to. You don’t have to wait for the annual report to keep these people in the loop – and the bonus is once you’ve got them on your blog, they’re already on your website with the rest of your resources (and donation page!) just a click away. Check out this article about why blogging is a great way to show your supporters some love.
3) Blogging is a great way to create shareable content.
How this is supposed to work is this: you write a blog post and you immediately have something to share via your social media streams (no more forced “Happy International Tuba Day” tweets!) This content not only drives people to your website, but great content gets shared/retweeted/reposted. Share the content, share the love!
4) Blogging is a great way to establish website presence.
This is when we get into the bits about Search Engine
Optimus Prime Optimization (SEO). Sentient Google Robots (SGR) are constantly crawling the web with their billions of tentacles, seeking out and indexing information. When you write great, up to date content containing keywords, it pleases the Sentient Google Robots and you rate higher in searches. The more relevant content you produce, the happier the robots, and the easier it is for people searching to find you.
5) Blogging is a great way to sharpen the way you communicate about your nonprofit.
If you are consistently thinking and writing about what makes your organisation relevant, awesome, and a leader in your sector, it will no doubt have an effect on the way you think about your organisation. It will help you better understand not only how outsiders perceive your organisation, but how insiders do, too. This activity will strengthen your brand and help you develop a deeper understanding of what you do.
5 Things To Consider When Starting A Nonprofit Blog
For this section, I will draw inspiration from some great thinkers who have scolded me over the years.
1) “Great writers read!” screamed my creative writing prof as he threw a copy of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock at my head.
I am not going to throw a laptop at you, but I will suggest you take time to look at what other nonprofits are doing with their blogs, especially organisations that are similar to your own.
2) “Get into it, dammit!” bellowed the director of my 9th grade school play, who then burst into tears because I wasn’t “Queen Charlotte Mecklenberg-Strelitz” enough… doch!
Truthfully, the person/people in charge of writing your blog should be into it. Your staff IS your organisation, and their unique voices add so much value to this content. If there isn’t team consensus (ie, it’s a dreadful chore for everyone involved), either build consensus or reconsider.
3) “Where the shit are my deliverables?” ululated the creative director of a film company, who thought he was Bono and wore nasty linen shirts.
It is important that you build consistency with you posts by posting regularly. This doesn’t mean everyday – it simply means to pick a schedule and stick with it. Daily, weekly, every Monday and Friday, bi-monthly, whatever works, work it!
4) “You better get your ass in line!” screeched my volleyball coach after I skipped a practice. Again.
Get yourself a good editorial calendar set up and use it to track and schedule your ideas, as well as keep track of what/who you need for each post. Doesn’t need to be fancy – a basic Excel spreadsheet will work just fine. And remember this sage advice: Post if you have something to say. (*Hint: you probably have a lot to say… your organisation is full of great stories.)
5) “HORSE SHIT!” roared my dad. He was right – I totally took his beer.
Before you click send, remember it’s quality over quantity. Don’t publish anything that you don’t feel good about. Think about your intended audience. And make sure your posts are jargon and horse shit free. There are a lot of useful writing prompts and theme suggestions out there, but remember – post if you have something to say and avoid trying to fit into ideas that don’t mesh with your mission. You could end up looking a little like this guy if you do.
So what are you going to write about? The great thing about it is that so much of this content is right at your fingertips – all it takes is just a little tweaking to make it work for you.
To get you started, I’ve created a list of 50 ideas for your nonprofit blog. You can download it for free by clicking here.
Happy writing! Any questions? Throw them my way!