The phrase “build it and they will come” does not apply to blog posts. I realize that could be a pretty frustrating revelation for those without ample free time to churn out awesome blog content and strategize the best way to promote each individual post. But, if you want people to see what you’ve written, you’ll need to also actively send them to your nonprofit’s blog from a variety of other places. In this post, we’ll break down how to promote blog posts on all of your marketing channels.
Building an Audience
Building an audience that you can promote to doesn’t happen overnight. It’s built brick by brick once you can get and remain active on the marketing channels that your community uses. And it begins with knowing your target audience. Only then can you create helpful and informative content that answers a community’s questions, sometimes even before they’re asked.
To build trust and reader numbers, you need to be consistent in both value and when you’re actually delivering the content. If they don’t know what to expect or when to expect it, readers will be similarly shifty regarding if and when they decide to read new posts. To help keep yourself on track, we’ve found creating an editorial calendar is immensely helpful.
How to Promote Blog Posts
Once you’ve published a blog post, you can and should send visitors to your blog from all of your marketing channels. I’ve outlined what you can do on the most common marketing channels we see nonprofits using.
As you’re building your nonprofit website and organizing the pages it will have, prioritize your blog. Burying it in the About Us section or trying to brand it with a name other than Blog can make it pretty difficult for visitors to find. Whenever possible, we like to keep Blog in the main navigation so that it’s both clearly named and easy to access.
Pulled to the Homepage
To keep your homepage fresh and constantly updated, consider a system that pulls recent blog posts to the homepage. It’s likely that your homepage is one of the most-visited pages of your website. Using it to promote blog posts not only keeps the page updated with your nonprofit’s big news, but also lets visitors landing on your homepage know about the helpful content on the blog and encourages them to check it out.
Our platform client, the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, does a great job using their homepage to promote their active blog. They give readers a taste of recent posts and let them know to expect a new post every Wednesday.
Aside from on the homepage, you can drive traffic to the blog with contextual links throughout your page content. Whenever a subject comes up that has a corresponding blog post, don’t be afraid to link it. Your readers will appreciate the subtle offer for additional information on a given topic. And as you’re writing new blog content that might relate to older page content, it’s never too late to revisit a related page to add a link once the post publishes.
Rule numero uno in nonprofit marketing — Never neglect your email list. Each time you publish a blog post, you can send it out in an email or refer to it in an ongoing email campaign through a variety of different ways.
- An email with a summary and link to the blog post
- A link to the blog post as part of an automated email workflow, such as one sent to new supporters
- Used as a piece of a bigger campaign, such as an email fundraising campaign that links to a blog post for more information or the full story
- A teaser included as part of your longer email newsletter
However you decide to let your email list know about new blog posts, be sure that you do!
It’s important to customize your posts to each social media platform that you’re active on. To give you an idea and get you started on some of the most common networks that nonprofits are using, I broke down how to promote blog posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with a few important best practices to keep in mind when posting about blog content on each network. If nothing else, don’t forget to include the link to your post!
Popular posts on Facebook often include a catchy or intriguing blog post title, an image element and compelling text within the post itself that adequately shows off the value of what you’ve written about.
- Write interesting and friendly copy
- Tag those included in the post, like partners
- Create an image that’s 1200 x 630 pixels
- Post any videos if you included one as part of the blog post
- Encourage engagement through comments and reactions
- Post in any related groups that you’re a member of
Twitter values brevity, authority and knowledge. The information-sharing culture is ideal for sharing insightful and informative blog posts to a potentially much wider audience than your current followers through retweets and hashtag use.
- Include compelling copy (280 or fewer characters)
- Mention other users included in the post
- Use two relevant hashtags to spread your post’s reach
- Encourage sharing
- Create an image that’s 440 x 220
- Post any videos from the blog post
- Tweet the link a few days later with new copy
- Retweet or thank those that mention you or share your tweet
The social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn is perfect for thought leadership content, industry trends and how-to blog posts.
- Include a summary of the blog post in the copy
- Create an image that’s 520 x 272, or multiple images
- Post in relevant groups
- Adapt for a LinkedIn audience and publish on Pulse
- Encourage your team to share updates as they’re comfortable doing so
Links to your blog content (and to your website in general) from outside websites are a great way to pull in additional traffic as well as indicate to search engines that your website is helpful and worth linking to. Consider this as you draft new blog content. When doing research and choosing to link to outside sources within content, the author’s goal is to choose the most complete, helpful and well-written page. Make an effort to be that page for the topic of each blog post you take on.
As you think about promoting your blog post, are there other websites that the content would be a good fit for that jump to mind? Ask them to link to your post or share the content in another way, like on social media. But reaching out to websites and letting them know about new and helpful content you’ve published can be a fragile business, even if you have a previous relationship with them. There’s a fine line between coming off as spammy and coming off as helpful. Avoid being spammy by sending a personable, customized ask that doesn’t seem like a cold call.
Through Search Engines
Aside from building links for search engine love, it helps to optimize the post for one specific keyword in order to increase your odds of ranking on the first page of results for that keyword. Keyword research can be a tricky beast so we won’t get into that here, but if you have a list of keywords that you’re working from already, you can optimize the post to rank for one of those words.
And even if you don’t have a list of words with known opportunity, you can still take advantage of this promotion avenue with your best guess. Think about the topic that you’re writing about and the phrases that you searched yourself as you were researching it for the post. Choose the phrase that you think the most people would search for if they were looking for your post and optimize for that phrase.
Google Ad Grants
Another way to take advantage of search engine traffic is through Google ads. A Google Ad Grant offers a $10,000 monthly budget within Google AdWords for qualifying nonprofits. Create text-based ads and associate them with different keywords that you’d like your post to appear for. By setting up Google Ad Grants, you can advertise your most helpful, mission-focused blog posts by creating ads for them.
A Note on Guest Posts
What’s different when it’s not a post on your blog? When you guest post on another organization’s blog, you should still promote that post as you would a post on your own website.
For extra emphasis and to advertise the collaboration between your nonprofit and the organization you wrote for, feature them on your website in an “as featured on” section of the homepage. Or you might create or update a page on your website that summarizes and links to guest posts you’re particularly proud of, like within a press room. You could even post a blog post on your own blog that talks about the guest post, summarizes the post and links to the publishing website so visitors can read the whole post.
It’s also nice to keep an eye out for promotions from the organization you published with and find ways to expand on them. For example, you might re-tweet a blog promotion tweet with a comment or share a Facebook post on your nonprofit’s page.
How does your nonprofit promote blog posts through your marketing? Do you have any questions about how to promote blog posts? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.