Recently, I presented to students at Trine University about blogging, specifically focusing on what you need to think about before you start and the steps to get started. It’s a good topic for nonprofits, as well, because blogging is one of the most effective ways to tell a story, share organizational news, and highlight industry trends and information. To put it simply, your agency blog will help position your organization as a resource in the community and tell a fluid and engaging story.
Here’s what you need to do before you get started:
1- Do some research
How are other nonprofits like yours around the country and in our community using blogs? What do you like? What don’t you like? Once you’ve done the research, you should understand the capabilities of blogging and its relationship to your social media and email marketing campaigns.
2- Review your marketing goals
I can’t stress this enough. You should understand how blogging would fit into your goals. Remember that marketing plan you put together? [Laying the Groundwork for your Marketing Plan & Defining your Marketing Objectives] Make sure you can clearly communicate your strategy to your team before implementation.
3- Put together a preliminary content schedule
This isn’t something set in stone, but the practice of putting together a rough schedule will help you determine the frequency with which you post to your blog. When I started the blog at Cancer Services our initial schedule looked like this: Monday- industry news, Wednesday- agency/program news, Thursday- event/fundraising news, and Friday- note from the Executive Director. This is an aggressive schedule, but it helped us ramp up content immediately after launching our blog. Yours might look something like this at first: Monday- agency news and Friday- note from the Executive Director.
4- Determine your bandwidth
Do you have the human resources necessary to establish and maintain a blog? Who will maintain the blog? Does that person have room in their schedule to devote time to writing and managing a new marketing channel? An honest assessment of your organization’s ability to do your blog justice is necessary before embarking on such a project.
If you’ve determined that blogging is the right choice for your organization, here are some simple steps to help you get started:
1- Choose a platform
There are many free and inexpensive blogging platforms available. My preferred platform is WordPress, but here is a list of other popular ones: Tumblr, Blogger, Medium, Quora, Squarespace, Typepad, Weebly. A quick Google search about blogging platforms will yield valuable search results that can help you decide which platform is right for you.
2- Register your domain
Most blogging platforms offer this option to you when you sign up. Just follow the steps and be sure to choose a domain relevant to your organization.
3- Set a goal
This goes back to that rough schedule you outlined before you started. How often do you intend to blog? Set a goal and then stick to it. Consistency is key.
4- Start Writing
It sounds simple enough, but sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Just get some words down and do so consistently.
5- Keep Writing
Be consistent. If your blog sits stagnant for more than a month, people will stop paying attention. In order to build and maintain an engaged audience, you need to post regularly.
6- Share your content
If your organization has a well-established social media presence, do not be afraid to share your blog content across those channels. It will help drive traffic to your blog.
As always, remember to take it slow, have a plan, and have fun. If you have questions or ideas for this blog, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to connect with you on social media too.