Can having a blog benefit your organization? Yup.
Below are eight benefits of having a nonprofit blog.
1. Blogs help provide quick, up to the minute news about your organization and cause.
If you've worked for a nonprofit, you know how painfully long it can take to put together a newsletter. Blog posts, on the other hand, can be written in 15-30 minutes. Not only can you share organizational news as it happens, you can also comment on how breaking news in the world relates to your cause, or organization.
Tip: If you're going to use your blog as a regular communication tool, please allow readers to subscribe by email as well as rss. Many, many people do not know how to subscribe by rss. Use a service like Feedblitz or Feedburner Email to facilitate readers' subscribing by email.
2. Blogs can help you work faster.
Just because you have a blog, doesn't mean you should stop having an e-newsletter, or print newsletter. In fact, it can help provide content for both. If you've been posting on your organization's blog regularly, you'll have lots of content to pull from when you sit down to write your newsletter. If you're writing an e-newsletter, you can point back to the original blog posts, which will also drive traffic back to your organization's website.
3. Blogs can help you reach more people.
It's been said that people need to see an advertisement seven times before they will buy. Below are eight ways someone might read one of your blog posts more than once:
- As the original post on your blog.
- As an excerpt in your e-newsletter, and clicking through to read the rest.
- As a mention in your Twitter feed, and clicking through to read the rest.
- As an excerpt on your Facebook feed, and clicking through to read the rest.
- When someone emails it to them.
- When someone shares it with them using an AddThis like button on the bottom of the post.
- When they find it saved by someone on a social bookmarking site like del.icio.us, StumbleUpon or Digg
- When another blogger links to it on their blog.
Search engines like sites that update their content regularly and have lots of incoming links; consequently, they like blogs!
For more information about nonprofits, blogs and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) check out Organic Non-Profit SEO, The Nonprofit SEO Guide, Blogs and Search Engine Optimization, and 2009 NTC Preview: Kevin Lee on Search Engine Optimization
5. Blogs can give you the press you seek.
Rather than crossing your fingers that a reporter will cover a story about your work, blogs can help you create your own coverage. For example, Community United Against Violence used a blog to cover the trial of men accused of murdering Gwen Araujo, a woman they killed after they discovered that she was biologically male. CUAV's blog eventually drew media attention to the trial when the blog was covered by the news.
Also, if you are writing about the same topics repeatedly on your blog, when a reporter is searching online for an expert on your issue, your posts may come up at the top of their search results.
6. Blogs can help your supporters and potential supporters get to know and trust you.
As important as branding is in marketing your organization, it is also important to step out from behind your brand, and show your supporters and potential supporters that there are real people, like them, running your organization. In an overly branded world, people are looking for ways to figure out who to trust. The personal, human tone of a blog can help.
7. Blogs facilitate conversations with supporters and potential supporters.
In my book, there are two things all blogs must have: a way to subscribe and comments. Now, I know that many organizations have a fear of being overrun with negative comments.
Thing is, if you want to build relationships through your blog, you have to have conversations. Think of the comment area of your blog like a cocktail party. There are going to be superficial commenters, sad commenters, funny commenters, deep commenters, thoughtful commenters, commenters you don't agree with, and once in a while, commenters you need to ask to leave.
For now, just worry about getting people to come to your party, not how to throw them out.
8. Blogs can be fun!
When choosing who is going to blog for your organization, please don't assign it to someone who looks at it as another thing to check off of their to-do list. Writing for a blog is a creative and social experience. It involves not only writing posts, but also reading and commenting on other blogs. Again, it's like going to a party, and no one wants to chat with the person at the party who'd rather not be there 'cause they were forced to attend.
What do you think? How has having a blog been beneficial, or not beneficial to your organization?
Cross-posted from BlogHer.com. Britt Bravo is a Big Vision Consultant.