We cannot deny the importance of internet, social media and blogging for organizations. These are integral parts of online marketing strategies of organizations in today’s digital age. For non-profits too, it is important to develop content for online platforms, and to utilize these media. A blog is a discussion or information portal, and is increasingly becoming the new face of expression, communication and also a form of journalism. Some advantages of blogging by development organizations are: increased traffic on your website, organizational positioning in the sector that is instrumental for image/ brand building, even promotion of your cause or campaign by interlinking web-pages. So, it is up to you how you make the most of your website and such platforms.
Some tips for non-profits who want to explore development blogging:
- Decide who will blog?
Some NGOs might have a communications team or dedicated person or team for managing social media presence of the organization, while some might not. In either case, it is worthwhile to discuss and decide who will blog for an NGO. It is not imperative that the communication team takes care of it. One needs to understand that a blog is a conversational piece with a pinch of personal opinion about a theme or topic. Thus, people in your organization, staff can blog on the website, but not on the behalf on the entire organization. This creative freedom must be given to the blogger, with of course, some moderation by the communication team, or the team that handles social media and website.
- Identify talent in your team:
NGOs would need to identify such talent within their teams, which may not be difficult. Discuss with your staff; check out their social media accounts and LinkedIn posts to identify such talent. Use a disclaimer on the blog page, if apprehensive about the organizational image, stating that ‘the views expressed are solely of the blogger/ author and do not represent the organization XXX’s opinion’.
- How often and about what?
Now the question arises, how often should someone blog, and about what. Discuss openly with the bloggers you have selected from your team or from outside, about what they want to write about. The overall theme may be associated with the organization’s cause, with myriad views. The author/ blogger must be conversant with the topic and must have good theoretical and practical knowledge about it. The frequency must be good enough to garner high number of hits.
- Write like you are talking- conversational style:
It is important to note that while good language skills are necessary for writing a blog, one must avoid using heavy words and jargon. A blog should have conversational style, and express one’s views and experiences about something in an interesting manner to engage the reader.
- Content with spin:
The content is of utmost importance in a blog, like in any other piece of writing. But the blogger needs to add a spin to the content, to make it much more interesting. A blog must be written in a reader-friendly style. An interesting title is also very important for a blog, one that evokes interest and curiosity. For example, ‘5 effective ways to lead your fundraising efforts’ as a title is way catchier than a plain ‘Methods of fundraising’.
- Remember- a picture speaks a thousand words:
To add both zing and quality to your blog, make sure to include lot of examples, pictures, videos, graphics, wherever possible. Give relevant links for further reading or examples to engage the reader better.
- Reply to comments:
Make sure you reply to the comments and feedback, and you do so fast! This will keep the blog alive, and readers will be engaged.
- Guest posts:
Encourage guest posts or guest blogs initially. A person, who is engaged like he is a part of family, is more likely to be loyal! Similar is the case with your online engagement strategies like blogs. Such people may later support your cause in more than one way in future, you never know!
- Interlinking with important campaigns/ projects of your organization:
You may wish to utilize the ‘hits’ on your blog page as a resource too, apart from engaging the readers. So, you may link your blog page with important campaigns/ projects of your organization. You can give web-links or tags on the blog page to guide the reader towards your campaigns or navigate to other pages.