Nonprofit Blogging Basics to Get You Started
Blogging is an excellent tool that can be used to drive traffic to your website and create sharable content and engage with your audience. It is (should be) an important part of your content marketing strategy, however, blogging can seem like a daunting, time-consuming task.
To ease the strain here is a quick guide to show you how to get started, and some best practices to keep a successful blog
1. Understand your Audience
Before you start writing, it is vital to understand who you are writing to. Ask questions like: what do they want to know about? What will resonate with them? It may be beneficial to also do a keyword search. This is where using platforms like Google Analytics and Google Trends may come in handy as you can look up which terms your audience is using on your site and trendy topics and keywords are being used in different parts of the world.
2. Choose your Topic
Now that you know who your audience is and what they are interested in, choosing a topic should be easy. Choosing a topic involves considering what will be valuable to your mission or your supporters.
You want your audience to care about what you have to say. Often this can be achieved by talking about things you care about, or by telling a story that uses emotional language.
3. Pick a Format
There are many different kinds of formats that a blog post can take. Pick or create a format that makes the most sense for your topic. Some popular formats are:
The How-to Guide
The Breaking News
The Personal Story
4. Create an Outline
When writing, it is important to stay organized to avoid messy writing unclear messages. Creating an outline can help you declutter your thoughts and ideas and can help you stay on topic while writing. This will allow you to be clear in your message to your readers.
5. Open strong
After you finish your outline, it is time to start writing. It is important to start strong to pull your readers in instead of them scrolling by. This can be done by starting with a punchy headline and a strong hook in your opening sentence.
Open with a story or a joke, or maybe an interesting statistic that will grab your audience’s attention. Then create some foreshadowing by suggesting what is to come in the article so that your readers will be compelled to read on.
6. Close Strong
The closing paragraph is also important to a successful blog post. It will help cement your post in your readers' minds and can be used to create engagement where you want it.
Depending on your format, you could wait until your writing reaches its natural conclusion or create a summary of ideas to close (bullet points are great for readers who skim over articles). You could also fish for comments and reactions or create a call to action by encouraging readers to donate, share, and/or subscribe for example.
Integrate Everything on Your Socials and Your Website
This will drive more traffic to and from your blog posts which will create more engagement with your audience and give them more access to your content. Linking past posts and calls to action when appropriate will help with your SEO and introduce new readers to your content. Every new reader is a potential donor.
Use Images and Visuals to Grab Attention
Creating and using visual content can increase the engagement and shareability of your posts. A picture is worth a thousand words, and you can capture you cause efforts of your organization in the photos that you share. The formatting and organization of your posts are also important when accessing your visual presentation. Creating headers and subheaders can break up long boxes of text, and bold hyperlinks can make your text pop.
Keywording and SEO
It is important to optimize your page SEO. Incorporate keywords you are targeting but make sure to not overkill. Don't cram keywords in if it doesn't make sense. Also, if you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly then do it but again don't force it.
Use Analytic to Track Successful Posts
Here is where it would be good to you a program like Google Analytics and start tracking your post from the start to get a better picture of your data. This will help you better understand your target audience, what they are looking for and the impact of your posts.
Be Consistent with Posting
Creating a consistent schedule of posting is very beneficial to your apparent credibility and reliability. It can also create content to put in the e-newsletter and to share on social media, which means posting consistently can create a constant stream of content to go to almost all your digital platforms. You can drive more traffic to your website and donor pages. If you are just starting, maybe try posting once a month until you get more comfortable, then you can increase the frequency. Ideally, you want to be posting every week or every other week.