Blogging can be a beautiful thing. Not only is it a great way to establish your authority, but even more importantly, it’s an ongoing opportunity for you to share new, helpful information with your visitors.
We often talk to nonprofits that are totally on board with the various ways a blog can benefit their website. But it’s also pretty common that we come across well-intentioned nonprofit marketers who simply get busy with the rest of their very-full plates and end up letting their blog fall by the wayside. And an unused blog doesn’t do your nonprofit a whole lot of good. In fact, it can actually hurt you by making your site seem outdated as well as appearing that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say on a regular basis.
But you can change that. Here are some tips to keep you on track and make it much easier for you to keep up with your nonprofit’s blog.
Develop a Blogging Strategy
First things first – go into the world of blogging with a strategy. Having a plan in place from the outset will help ensure you know the role your blog should play in your larger marketing strategy.
Here are some key questions to keep to mind:
- How often will you publish? On what days and times?
- Who are you trying to attract to your blog?
- What topics will you cover? What categories will you need?
- Once someone is on your blog, what’s the next step you’d like them to take on your website?
- How will you share your blog content with others?
If you can answer the above questions, you’ll be well on your way to starting an awesome blog.
Brainstorm Topics in Batches
Brainstorming topics is often the hardest part of blogging. It’s daunting to know you need to write a post and having no topics in mind. And in my experience, perfect blog post ideas seem to be terrified of deadlines, because that’s often when they’re the hardest to find.
To avoid the panic of needing a post and being out of ideas, brainstorm your blog post topics in batches. Once you get a few flowing, others tend to follow. Devote at least half an hour of distraction-free time each month to just writing down every idea that comes to mind. You can always sort through them later.
Put Together an Editorial Calendar
Once you have a large list of topics and know how often you’ll publish, map out the next few months using an editorial calendar. This will ensure you’re covering the topics you intend to while allowing you to write well in advance of your actual publish dates. Trust me, writing even a couple of weeks in advance makes blogging far more enjoyable (and a whole lot less stressful).
Distribute the Workload
Blogging can be a lot of work. It shouldn’t all fall to one person. Enlist others within your organization to write about their areas of expertise. One person should definitely run point on keeping things organized and making sure you stick to your blogging strategy, but that doesn’t mean that person should write all of the content.
Honestly, the best blogs often have a variety of voices. Balancing different points of view can provide even more value to your visitors.
Accept Guest Posts
Publishing guest posts can be another great way to introduce a diversity of voices to your blog. Tap into your connections and members of your community. Having others write content for your blog can be a great way to save time. It also allows you to drive new visitors when your guest authors share their work on your site with their network of connections.
We’ve written a whole post dedicated to the benefits of accepting guest bloggers if you’re interested in a deeper dive into the topic.
Another great way to generate content for your blog is to repurpose your content. This means taking content created for some other reason and turning it into blog content.
For instance, let’s say you publish a new piece of research. Break out the key findings and turn them into a blog post (or series of blog posts). Then link back to the full research for those interested in learning more. Not only will this help you save time in generating new content, but it also helps promote the research you’re doing.
Don’t publish research? No problem. You can try repurposing key highlights from your annual report. Or a brochure that you typically send to those seeking your services. Or content from your upcoming direct mailer. Or a presentation you’ve prepared for an upcoming event.
If you dig a bit, I’m sure you have plenty of incredible content you can repurpose and share on your blog.
Never Skip a Publish Day
This may sound simple, but it’s hugely important. Once you have a day set to publish, don’t skip it. Ever.
If you know you’re going to be busy, plan ahead. Write posts weeks in advance. Ask others to help you out. Just make sure you never let a publish day slip by without a post going up. Make it non-negotiable. Skipping “just this once” is a slippery slope that often leads to you looking back six months later and realizing you haven’t published.
Not every post needs to be a 2,000 word manifesto (in fact most won’t be). But just make sure you stick to your schedule, each and every time.
Share Your Content Widely
Once you’ve published your content, make sure you’re actively engaged in distributing it to your community. Your incredible content doesn’t do you much good if no one reads it. Share it on social media. Include links to it in your email newsletter. Mention it at your events. Link to it throughout your website (both to the main blog as well as individual posts). Include links (consider shortened ones) in your direct mailers.
If you’re taking the time to publish helpful information on your blog, you need to make sure people are aware of it.
By following the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to getting more out of your nonprofit’s blog. Have any additional tips? Or questions about anything we’ve outlined above? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.