Session Notes: Blogging to Spread Your Story

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Wow – what a fabulous session we had this morning at The Storytelling Non-Profit Virtual Conference! Natasha Golinsky of NextLevelNonprofits.com joined us to talk about blogging and content strategy.

We had some great discussion during the session and folks were asking amazing questions! Below are the slides from Natasha’s session along with some notes and FAQs.

 
 
 

Highlights and Key Takeaways

> Blogging is a great way to create engagement and conversation with your community.
> Whether your just starting out or having blogging a while, take the time to create an ideal reader profile. This will write better and more effectively for the audience you want to reach.
> Your blog is a means to an end. Decide what one action you want people to take when they come to your site to read a post and then make it very easy for them to take that one action.
> Organize your blogging efforts by creating an editorial calendar. Even if it’s just a month at a time, this will take the guess work out of trying to figure out what to write about. You can even organize months or weeks by themes or topics.

A Few Resources

FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Flickr
WordPress
Magic Action Box plug-in – great for the end of blog posts to highlight your call to action!

FAQs From the Session

How do you come up with new topics regularly?
There are a couple of ways to hack content creation. The simplest is to keep a pad of paper near your desk and just write down ideas whenever they come to mind. Use your ideal reader profile and think about what that person would like to read. You can also survey your audience to find out what they are interested in and then write about that.
More broadly speaking, there are a few types of blog posts you could create.
> Case studies
> Photos
> Stories
> Organizational/program updates
> Editorial/educations posts about your cause

How often should we be blogging?
Once a week is sufficient and is a relatively low time commitment. You don’t necessarily have to produce a ton of content. Instead focus on promoting that content and getting in front of your ideal readers.

If we are a small organization with no dedicated communications staff member, how can we manage a multi-author blog?
Use an editorial calendar! That is the best recommendation. Assign people a consistent day of the month to publish a blog post and touch base as a team once per month.
Even if you are not a small organization, having a multi-author blog can be useful in terms of getting different types of content and voices in the mix.

When tweeting a post, do I type the title of the blog post in the tweet or something else?
You can definitely just use the title of the blog post in your tweets. Especially if you have taken the time to write a great headline, it’s not a bad thing to repurpose it. But if you want to tweet it out more the 3 or 4 times, it’s good to change it up so your Twitter account doesn’t look spammy. Try asking a question or using a quote.

What are some ways besides social media to share your posts and drive traffic to your blog?
One of the most under utilized opportunities non-profits have is to develop joint ventures and collaborations with other organizations. By this we mean, partnering with other non-profits who do similar or complementary work to help share your content with their audiences. This could be a list swap, where you basically send each other’s content to your email lists, or it could be more complex.
Speaking of email – email marketing is a great tool for sharing your content with your community! It’s already a list of people who like your organization and chances are they’ll be interested in reading what you have to say on your blog.

What about using stories in a blog post? Any pitfalls to watch out for?
Stories are a great type of content to showcase in your blog posts. Much like a business might write up a case study to talk about their work, you can use stories to show just how awesome your organization is.
There are two ways that you can share stories in a blog post. First, you can interview someone and write the story yourself. Or, if the story subject feels so inclined, you can invite them to write the post themselves.
Here’s an example of what that could look like.

Do you have question from this session? Please leave a comment below and either Natasha or myself would be happy to answer it!

- Vanessa

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