Rethinking Your Blog: Five Questions to Ask Yourself
This article first appeared on the AFP Vancouver Chapter website. It is reprinted with permission.
Nonprofit blogs can be great resources for keeping your donors and others in the community informed about the great work you are doing. But the blogosphere is constantly changing.
If you find that your organization's blog seems to have flat-lined, perhaps it’s time for a re-think. If you’re looking to bring greater strategic alignment to your blog, here are five questions to ask yourself:
1) Who is accountable?
The first thing to consider when creating or re-thinking a blog is who will manage it. Social media strategies of all kinds rest on having someone who can follow through and get the content out in a consistent and timely fashion. Whether it's a team of people or one person managing your blog, it is important that blogging lands on at least one person’s official job description.
2) Do you have enough time dedicated?
It may sound obvious but blogs need to be updated regularly. This means that the person or team accountable must have dedicated time to write and update the blog. How often you update your blog is up to you. Some organizations update a few times each day while others post a few times a week. Best practice is to post at least once a week to ensure that there is fresh content available to your readers. Staying consistent with your posting schedule is also important as people will learn to check back regularly.
3) What are you trying to accomplish with your blog?
The most obvious answer to this question is connecting with your donors. Blogs are an excellent way to keep your donors aware of what you are doing with their dollars, but it’s not the only thing your blog can do. Blogger Susan Gunelius wrote about the reasons to have a blog, many of which are relevant to nonprofit organizations. Her points include:
- To establish yourself as an expert. Many nonprofit organizations could create blogs about the general issue they are raising money for. The David Suzuki Foundation is an excellent local example: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/
- To help people. This is similar to being an expert, but is more specific to a health or lifestyle related charity.
- To connect with people like you.
- To make a difference. Isn’t that what all nonprofits are trying to do? A blog can be used to bring light to a certain issue.
4) How are people finding your blog?
This point is often overlooked, but it is critical to your blog's success in achieving whatever goals you’ve set for it. How are you making sure the blog is out there? You certainly can just leave it sitting on your website for people to stumble upon but there is so much more that can be done.
The easiest thing is to use other forms of social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter to direct your followers to your blog (and vice versa). There are a couple of other suggestions from GettingAttention.org. They suggest syndicating your blog via an RSS feed or adding your blog headlines to your organization's homepage. Rather than simply having a blog tab, let people know on the homepage that a new post is up and provide a title and teaser to encourage them to read more.
5) What is your content?
Finally, it’s time to look at your content. Once you’ve defined your goals and have a strategy in place, what will you write about? Our friends at GettingAttention.org have a few suggestions:
- Quickly summarize and point to other articles on the web that are relevant to your audience.
- Invite experts in your field or issue area to contribute as guest bloggers.
- Get timely information out without tech staff or web designers. You can even do “real-time” reporting from a conference, field visit or legislative session.
- Cross-promote and re-use all the content you create for your website, print magazines, e-newsletter and social media.
With these five questions answered, your blog is sure to be a hit!
Visit the AFP Vancouver Chapter website, http://www.afpvancouver.org/e-Newsletter-Issues/Issue-6-November-2012/Rethinking-Your-Blog.aspx.