Nonprofit Marketing: Blogging in 5 Sensible Steps

Nonprofit Marketing Blogging in 5 Sensible StepsYou can’t imagine how many queries I get from nonprofit organizations wondering if they should launch a blog. They’re usually feeling pressured (by the media, colleagues, perhaps even competitors already blogging) to do so.

My response is always the same; to stress that blogging is a low cost but high effort endeavor that does generate some very clear benefits for nonprofits. Key benefits include opening new channels for documentation and knowledge-sharing, especially for for non-profits that have been constrained by the time and costs of other web technologies, and enlivening your group’s Web presence and engage clients, supporters and strangers alike in your work. Read more about the benefits of blogging here.

But many of you are wisely cautious about jumping into blogging. Resources ($ and time) are all too finite for us nonprofit communicators. So here (inspired by MarketingProfs’ TJ McCue) is a simple five-step approach to tiptoeing into the blog conversation:

  1. Identify key terms—what’s your org’s expertise? Define it with key words and phrases and confirm with a free search term tool like Nichebot.
  2. Identify the top blogs in your field based on key terms using Google Blog Search, and start to read them (use a blog reader like Bloglines).
  3. Set up search alerts via Google Alerts for those key terms (How tos here) to see where else they’re covered (you can choose to get alerts on blog coverage only if you’d like).
  4. Set up a comment tracker like Co-Comment to see what your comments generate.
  5. Comment on blog posts when you (or your ED or program director —
    whoever would be blogging) have something valuable to contribute.

Tiptoe in with this five-step program today to get a taste of blogging, without setting up your own blog. When you do, you’ll get a much clearer sense about whether your organization’s investment in blogging makes sense. And there’s a bonus — you’ll be developing a corps of online readers and colleagues who “know” you and are likely to read your blog (when/if).

P.S. Here’s how the National Women’s Law Center put blogging to work.

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Nancy Schwartz on August 1, 2007 in Blogging for Nonprofits, Nonprofit Communications | 3 comments
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  • Nancy, this is great information. Sometimes the benefits of blogging aren’t apparent until you try it. My own blog has garnered coverage in local media, when editorial pages printed some of my posts in their “verbatim” columns (without asking me first, incidentally; something to keep in mind — people tend to treat blog entries as community property, so don’tpost chapters of a book you hope to publish someday!). This is the most thoughtful treatment of the topic for nonprofits that I’ve seen. Thank you!

  • Hi Nancy – I agree with you and also with steve. The whole blog-or-not-to-blog has haunted me and my clients for many years. I’ve never been one to recommend technology for technology’s sake – but definitely see the need to help clients understand how a blog and impact – or embarrass them. (they never really seem to think about the flipside)
    some other tips to keep in mind (great one steve…)
    – Don’t just have ‘blog’ as a strategy. You need to clearly define what the blog will be focused on- and keep it on track.
    – How does the blog fit into your overall integrated communication strategy? Is it supported by your entire organization?
    – How will you measure the success of the blog?
    -Make sure that there is someone on staff dedicated to createing content. And monitoring content and comments. Make sure that all comments are factual…AND…make sure comments are tracked and responded to when appropriate.
    – revisit the strategy for your blog every quarter and re-align if necessary, or give it a new look and feel. Blogs that appear fresh maintain traffic.
    thanks
    jeff herrity

  • I get this question all the time too! This is a great list and I will definitely refer the next person who asks me this question to your post (and add it to the blogging course I’m teaching for Duke again this fall).
    Thanks Nancy!

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