A post by Chris Brogan on “Strategic Blogging and Some Tactics to Nail It” for business got me thinking about how nonprofits could benefit from a full fledged blogging strategy. A well implemented blog with a solid strategy behind it can be an incredible tool to help you connect with supporters on the web. Let’s look at some goals, questions, strategy and tactics to get you started.
What are your goals? — [What do you want to achieve]
We all know that having goals are key to success. Without goals you have no idea if your efforts are producing the desired result, no way to know if changes are needed, no way to make the right adjustments and no way to know when to throw a party!
Here are a few to get you started:
- Build awareness
- Generate buzz
- Keep people informed
- Educate general public, local leaders, supporters, donors and volunteers
- Reach new supporters, donors and volunteers
- Build loyalty
- Provide more ways to engage or support
- Raise more money
- Tell and show donors how funds are used
- Demonstrate progress and success of active projects
- Organic Keyword Marketing (SEO/SEM)
Resources to keep you thinking:
- What are Your Nonprofit’s Social Media Strategy by WildApricot
- How to Create a Blogging Plan and Actually Reach Your Goals This Year by ProBlogger
- Social Media For Nonprofits
Before you get going you should think about a few things. You might even consider creating an internal team (small one) that can think through as much as possible up front. Answers to the below questions (and others) will help you solidify your goals overall strategy and the tactics you will use along the way.
- What do you really want to accomplish?
- Are your supporters, donors, volunteers online?
- Are you ready to handle negativity?
- Who will own the work internally?
- How will you incorporate this into people’s daily jobs?
- Can you hire or make it one person’s sole responsibility?
- Do you have funds and time to invest in figuring it out?
- How long are you willing to wait until you see results?
- What’s your willingness to experiment, take risks, and adjust your plans?
- How will you measure results?
Resources to keep you thinking:
Strategy — [How you will go about achieving your goals]
What’s strategy you ask? A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. For each of the goals above there can be many strategies that will help you achieve them. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Build awareness and generate buzz – Write posts that let people into the process you go through to get everything ready for the new event or initiative gives benefits to the early birds. Make it easy for people to share.
- Educate general public, local leaders, supporters, donors and volunteers – Continuously write about what your nonprofit is doing, how it’s making an impact and how people can help.
- Reach new supporters, donors and volunteers – Push out quality content without fail and participate in social channels. Use social tools to make it easy to find and learn about you.
- Build loyalty – Spend time every month writing about and highlighting your donors.
- Provide ways for people to engage and/or support – Write content that guides people to your other web properties such as a volunteer position sign up form, an even registration page, a forum or your online giving form.
- Raise more money – Write posts that will guide and encourage people to give. Make it easy for people to give online and offline while also showing people how you are using their money.
- Tell and show donors how funds are used – Post a monthly digest about current projects, successes, progress and new initiatives.
- Demonstrate progress and success of projects – Publish posts that are specifically about the projects you have going on.
- Organic Keyword Marketing (SEO/SEM) – Ensure you are writing content weekly that will help you rank high for keywords/phrases that mean something to you and to people interested in what you do.
Resources to keep you thinking:
- Starting a Social Media Strategy by Chris Brogan
- You Need a Blog Strategy by ProBlogger (Darren Rowse)
- Blogging Strategy 101: a Primer by SCOUT
Tactics — [Specific actions you will take]
Here are some specific actions you can take that fit nicely into the strategy outlined above.
- Build awareness and generate buzz – Write weekly for your blog. Add a ShareThis.com. TellAFriend.com or AddThis.com as well as Tweetmeme.com. Incorporate these widgets into your blog. Make them easy to spot.
- Educate general public, local leaders, supporters, donors and volunteers – Create a weekly “spotlight” series that is written in such a way that people leave understanding more about the work you do. Make sure to categorize them together.
- Reach new supporters, donors and volunteers – Respond to EVERY comment you get on your blog without fail. Set up “outposts” (hat tip Louis Gray) on sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Spend an hour a day participating, talking, sharing, linking and engaging with others. Check out Outposts by Chris Brogan as well.
- Build loyalty –Write a monthly “highlight” piece on volunteer work being done. Make sure to identify specific people and show your appreciation continually. The posts need to be about the work they are doing. Use images of the people and if those you are spotlighting have a web presence make sure to link generously.
- Provide ways for people to engage and/or support – As often as you have new projects, initiatives, activities or events post about them. Make sure you tell people what you need and how they can help in ever post.
- Raise more money – Use a tool that makes it simple for people to give online. Make sure it’s in a place that everyone can see no matter where they are on your site. It’s back to call to action 101.
- Tell and show donors how funds are used – Categorize and tag your posts by project name and type of work. Incorporate these updates into a monthly newsletter that you send to opt-in subscribers (Yes, your blog should also have an eNewsletter).
- Demonstrate progress and success of projects – Use video. Post it on YouTube and use their nonprofit call to action. Then embed the YouTube video on your blog. Do this as often as possible. Video is a great way to show people what’s happening.
- Organic Keyword Marketing (SEO/SEM) – Determine what key words are important to you and spend time looking at what other nonprofits in your niche are optimizing for.