When you think of blogging, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Perhaps your initial thoughts might make you think of something like “Dear Diary,” a place for teenage angst or for those who wish to remain anonymous about their day-to-day lives or feelings.
While this might have been the case around 10 to 20 years ago, blogging has now grown into a reputable skill that can become a very powerful weapon for those who use it wisely.
Using blogging effectively can change the face of your nonprofit forever.
Blogs have become more important than the news
If we put this into perspective, it is because of blogs and social media – not necessarily the news or mainstream media anymore – that we know so much about what is really going on in the world around us.
Blogs are one of the quickest sources of information for many people worldwide. Here are some of the best examples of this:
- The Black Lives Matter movement began because a group of women started sharing their thoughts online and realized that a movement for justice was building.
- If Philando Castle’s girlfriend did not turn on her camera phone and go on Facebook Live after the police unnecessarily shot him to death in their car, the public would not have been moved as much to act.
- If the water protectors from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe did not start telling their own story online, people throughout the country would not have known that their land and their culture was being threatened by a pipeline.
So why aren’t more nonprofits using this valuable online tool to tell their stories?
How to change your thinking about blogging
According to Bloomerang, only about 37% of nonprofits are blogging regularly. Very few nonprofits are creating infographics and ebooks, which help you drive even more traffic to your blog over time.
If your nonprofit falls into this category, don’t fret. There are some simple steps you can take to improve your marketing strategy.
One reason to include a blog on a website is to replace the news and media, photo gallery and video sections, which a lot of nonprofits have historically used to showcase their updates.
These sections are just stories that do not require separate tabs.
Instead of a packed website with all those extra tabs, creating a blog with a variety of compelling content would attract many more people to your website.
Your blog does not have to be lengthy, nor is it only about writing articles. You can include short snippets of information, some pictures or videos, or you can just let the visuals speak for themselves.
This is a great formula to model because it does not require much writing, but every post can be meaningful because it still tells a compelling story. Blogs also don’t require too much effort to maintain.
Time to get “real” about your nonprofit’s marketing strategy
If you’re still questioning whether your nonprofit really needs to have a blog, consider blogging as the fuel for your organization’s marketing strategy.
The winning formula for any nonprofit looking to launch a marketing strategy starts with using content marketing (i.e. blogging) as your fuel, according to Guidestar.
Next, you share your content on social media to ignite the fire.
Once you’ve got people’s attention, connect with them using email to keep your fundraising engine going.
Who remembers MTV’s “The Real World?”
“The Real World” can be a model for organizations that want to connect more with their main audience.
When you’re blogging, don’t just focus on the people in the community whose lives you are changing. That still makes people feel like you’re not really a real person.
Every now and then, don’t be afraid to peel back the curtain, talk about what you are doing as it is happening and create a drama around an issue you are fighting for. You are already characters in a real-life story anyway.
This is the technique that “The Real World” made popular.
Take control of the media you present
Most importantly, having a blog can give your nonprofit the press it seeks.
With the democratization of storytelling tools available online nowadays – and with the media continuing to fall short of its duty to tell the stories of the communities where they reside – your nonprofit can take control of your own advertising and control the media you present and wish to portray.
In my opinion, the best example of how a nonprofit blog should be run is actually not run by a nonprofit and not even on a website. It’s Davey D’s Facebook page, on which he frequently blogs as the “people’s journalist.”
Davey D is well known in the San Francisco Bay Area for his Hard Knock Radio show on KPFA, and he has always had his pulse on the intersection between hip hop and politics.
Take, for example, a post that he shared on his Facebook page about gentrification and Oakland’s beloved Lake Merritt. The popular community gathering hole became a hotspot of controversy after a few white people contacted the city about noise complaints because a group of mostly black and brown folks started drumming in the park.
The following was his “blog post”:
This is the kind of perspective that only nonprofits can bring to the table because they are often the closest to what people are going through.
Sharing that kind of independent story on a blog would not only help your nonprofit connect more with the people that you are trying to serve. It could also draw media attention to the issue you are promoting and give your nonprofit a larger platform.
However, this is only possible if you continue to blog regularly about an issue that fosters a lot of engagement with the public.
So you want to keep your website fresh and alive, bursting with content and a platform to voice your opinions? Blogging is the way to go.