Abby Wuellner, manager of media relations for St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann (@MomDocKathleen), primary contributor and editor of St. Louis Children’s Hospital blog, childrensmd.org, shared great anecdotes on how their audience grew by publishing relevant content. Matthew Hibbard (@mrhibbard), primary contributor and editor of Metro’s blog, www.nextstopstl.org, provided insights and strategies for developing stories. Bev Pfeifer Harms (@b) did an outstanding job moderating and the group covered many areas in a brief amount of time.
A list of 20 tips for successful blogging was shared as a resource from Mueller Communications. They are:
- Be Trustworthy: Top staff leadership and board members must know you will properly represent the organization and be able to enhance and protect your organization’s reputation.
- Be Focused: Blog posts should help your organization achieve its goals. All stories should clearly connect with your organization’s mission.
- Develop an Editorial Calendar: Organize and schedule your content to assist your organization with regularly schedule programs, events or seasons.
- Engage Everyone: Staff, board members, volunteers and clients with the ability to write an appropriate story should be given the opportunity to appear on the blog. A diversity of voices and organizational roles shows strong teamwork and collaboration.
- Be Consistent: There’s no magic formula for the number of posts your organization must publish to be successful. A weekly post will show visitors your organization is vibrant and active. Take advantage of current events to write posts about how your organization serves the community.
- Be Patient: It may take a few months or years to develop a loyal audience. Too many organizations abandon blogging within a few weeks if views and shares are low. Keep focused on creating and distributing good stories and the audience will follow. This will position the blog as a place for thought leadership and it can be influential.
- Promote: Post links to your blog on all social media channels and in e-mail newsletters. (Schedule Twitter updates several times each day for at least two days after each blog post.) Use images and graphics to enhance posts.
- Display Variety: Show how your organization serves many types of clients or engages various groups of volunteers. No one wants to read a series of posts about your upcoming fundraising event and all of the silent auction items. But they will read a story about a client who benefited from services made available by successful fundraising.
- Use Templates: Help yourself and other authors by using a template to help you write more efficiently.
- Measure: Review your analytics to evaluate your blog’s performance, but don’t be consumed or overwhelmed by data.
- Tell Stories: Your audience might not remember a statistic reflective of your organization’s success, but they will remember a personal story of triumph made possible by your agency.
- Use Different Modes: Break up a string of written posts with a link to a short video or an audio interview.
- Invite Guests, Be A Guest: Ask your organization’s partners to contribute a post to show the collaborative nature of our community’s nonprofit agencies. Reciprocate by offering to write a post on another organization’s blog.
- Write Interesting Headlines: Spend time writing a phrase to entice a visitor to read your post. Numbered lists are effective and readers can efficiently comprehend your messages.
- Read Other Blogs: Be aware of what other organizations in your sector are writing about. Read blogs of other nonprofits and small businesses. (Create a custom news feed of blogs through Feedly.com, a news aggregator.)
- Create Easy-To-Read Layouts: Use images, graphics and subheads to break up long posts.
- Highlight Your Team: Recognize staff and volunteers who consistently perform at high expectations by displaying their results.
- Turn Presentations Into Posts: Many hours are spent preparing presentations for board meetings or community events. Re-purpose the material by writing one or more posts based on the information.
- Encourage subscription by e-mail: A person who subscribes to your blog by e-mail will receive the content directly in their inbox. Readers don’t have to visit your blog or access their news aggregator to get the story.
- Study Your Audience: Spend time analyzing your readers. You might want to survey your readers or subscribers to better understand what stories or information they would like to read. Consider developing a persona of a typical reader review their demographics before creating content.
Organizations using a majority of these tips will be successful. However, all communications strategies and tactics must be contributing to successful achievement of your organization’s goals and fulfilling its mission to be truly successful. Sharing a variety of stories on a frequent basis will strengthen your organization’s digital presence, which will lead to more engagement and all of its benefits.
Do you or your organization need help with getting your blog established or keeping it fresh? Contact Joe Mueller for a free one-hour consultation on improving your organization’s blog or communications strategy.