More often than not, talking with nonprofits about using a blog on their website leads to a conversation about capacity and content—and if you have enough of either of them. But there’s also an opportunity cost to consider. If having a website with a blog helps you free up time in other areas of your work, offers a better user experience, and engages more of your audience… that’s a lot of great marketing to leave on the table.
8 Reasons to Start a Blog
Would a blog help you meet your goals? Can blogging actually simplify your content creation process? Here’s how to identify different scenarios where a blog is the right tool for your nonprofit.
Spoiler alert: a lot of these situations involve how and where you publish your latest news and updates. (Which you should absolutely be doing.)
1. Your best news content is tied up in PDFs or emails.
Don’t ditch your newsletter; just get more out of it with a better strategy for how you distribute its content. If the only way that people are going to see what you’re up to is by downloading a PDF document or subscribing to emails, a blog gives you a place to make the information accessible in the long term and a chance to build internal links.
You can either publish all the articles in their entirety in one post (in which case anchor links help navigate the content) or break them up and publish a post for each of your top items.
2. You’re posting ongoing updates on a single, static page.
This is the “not-a-blog” blog where, instead of using a blog system, you update a page with different snippets of content, like media coverage, campaign news, or program updates. Formatting a page like this quickly becomes the wild west, and a lack of consistency in terms of how often it’s updated and the information that people find there makes it increasingly less helpful over time.
Alternatively, a blog gives you a tool to publish information in chronological order and organize it for readers using simple categories. Visitors can always find the latest news in the same place.
3. You have a bunch of web pages that just recap past events.
As a content strategist, my heart sinks a little when I run a site crawl and see that an organization has dozens of floating pages for events going back a decade or more. No one is likely to find them, but you can’t bring yourself to get rid of them. Maybe they are home to photo galleries or videos or sponsor and donor acknowledgments.
While you don’t need a website with a blog just for event recaps, using your blog to promote and summarize events is another way to help fill up your posting schedule. Get more inspiration for blogging about events in our free guide full of blog post ideas!
4. Your site doesn’t demonstrate your area of expertise.
Wondering how you can position your organization as a leader in your field? A blog is key for thought leadership marketing. Rather than trying to make your entire website seem like a white paper, you can publish articles on your blog that showcase the experts on your team and give you the room you need to dive into important issues.
From there, a content distribution plan will help you stay organized as you promote your blog posts in other places, like on social media, in an email newsletter, or a link on a partner’s website.
5. You’re trying to use social media posts as a blog.
Speaking of social media, it does a pretty poor job of serving as a substitute blog. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, these platforms are simply not meant for writing, reading or following long-form content, especially over multiple posts. And using the wrong format typically results in low engagement.
One exception to this rule is LinkedIn, where you can publish your own articles directly on the platform. If that’s where your core audience hangs out, consider publishing your posts on your website first and reposting on LinkedIn for maximum value when it comes to search engine optimization.
6. Web pages about your programs are too cluttered.
Effectively marketing your nonprofit’s programs or services means offering great content that explains what you do, who it’s for, and the next steps for someone who’s interested in what you offer. That can result in overcrowded pages that are difficult to organize and keep up to date.
If your program pages aren’t performing well, a blog could be the perfect tool to start streamlining. For example, blogging about nonprofit programs allows you to speak to different audiences (youth vs. teens), offer related resources, more thoroughly explain your approach or method, and provide the latest updates. Just be sure to cross-link between the posts and the related page to keep your visitors moving around the site.
7. You need a home for short-term campaign landing pages.
You’re not going to see a ton of results from a landing page that’s hard for people to find. And once a campaign is over, just like event recaps, you might want to keep a record of the campaign without dealing with an ever-growing list of floating pages.
By using a blog post as the landing page for a short-term campaign, like for Giving Tuesday or an awareness day, you’ll ensure that it has a home on your website, now and in the future. Plus, when it comes to promoting your landing page, a blog post can bring in just as much traffic as a page.
8. You have a stream of articles to share on the site and elsewhere.
Folks who are on the fence about making a new website with a blog often confuse a blog’s role as a breaking news source vs. an active hub of information. A blog can be whatever you make it, whether that’s a place to share inspiring stories from your community (like Superhero Stories from KIF1A.ORG), highlighting issues and offering commentary (like Yellowstone to Yukon), or providing helpful resources to the people you serve (like Aging Ahead).
No matter the type of content, a blog is a way to manage a regular stream of information that you want to share with the world. And by creating a website with a blog—as opposed to blogging on a third-party platform—you get the benefits of the website traffic that your blog content generates. For example, a blog post that gets a lot of shares on social media might send a bunch of new potential supporters to your website, where your relationship with them begins.
Adding a Website With a Blog to Your Strategy
Did one or more of these scenarios resonate with you? It might seem like you’re adding more work to your plate when you start a blog, but fully incorporating it as a new tool in your communications toolbox can help you reap a lot of rewards.
Here are a few additional tips as you venture into the world of blogging.
- How Does Blogging Work? Getting Started At Your Nonprofit
- 13 Blog Features to Include in Your Nonprofit Blog
- How to Create a Nonprofit Editorial Calendar
Download Our Nonprofit Blog Post Toolkit
Getting started with your blog can be intimidating. Download our blogging toolkit including a simple blog post template, pre-publishing checklist, and blog post promotion tips.
What’s keeping your organization from building a website with a blog? Are there any other scenarios when you think a blog can improve a nonprofit marketing plan? Let’s talk more about blogs in the comments section.