When first helping nonprofits develop their marketing strategy, one of ArcStone’s primary objectives is getting them set up with a blogging strategy. Nonprofit blogs hold huge potential. They contribute to huge gains in several main goals such as spreading the word about your cause, reigning in donors, and getting people to subscribe to your newsletter. Our VP of Marketing at ArcStone, Lisa, recently wrote a post on how to get started with this process, which I repurposed for you all below.
Before we offer tips, 3 reasons why to start a nonprofit blog
- You know that search tool, Google? The one that gets people to find your nonprofit in the first place? When you have a blog, and frequently post on it, your site will be more heavily indexed. This means a higher chance of people finding your site. Additionally, research from marketing giant HubSpot, found that sites that have a blog also have 97% more inbound links. Again, this means higher online visibility.
- Turns out, people actually trust blog content. BlogHer found that 81% of U.S. consumers trust the information they find on blogs. If you’re worried people won’t take your content seriously, think again.
- If people are coming to your blog, you have a higher chance of engaging with them. Whether your messaging is about fundraising or volunteering, you’ll be able to speak to an audience you wouldn’t have otherwise reached.
We recognize you may already be convinced, but there’s a reason your nonprofit hasn’t launched a blog (or kept up with your current one). It’s challenging and it takes time to see results. Through the following 10 tips, we hope to help you start a nonprofit blog that is successful.
10 tips towards starting a nonprofit blog
1. Develop personas.
Nonprofits often struggle as they have vast audiences. The problem is, their content speaks to everyone at once. This also means they’re not really reaching anyone at an individual, engaging level. Jake, the liberal arts student who’s interested in volunteering will have one set of needs and goals. Whereas Mary, the finance professional who’s interested in making a donation to your organization will have her own. Whenever you start writing, know who you’re target reader is.
2. Write for your audience.
If you want to pull in traffic from Google, you’ll need to write content that answers people’s search queries. If possible, use a keyword research tool such as SEMRush to find out what people are typing into Google. If you can’t afford investing in a tool right now, you can even just rely on Google Suggest. See below:
Based on the search above, a popular topic for a blog post might be “Why volunteering is good for your health” as people are already searching for content regarding that topic.
3. Study your keywords.
If you’ve found a strong key phrase to write about, do some more research on what other wording you can use throughout your post. You’ll want to do this in a natural way so as not to “keyword stuff.” Learn more about SEO strategy here »
4. Determine your call to action.
Now that you know who you’re writing for, you have to decide what you even want them to do after they read your post. If you’re trying to get more volunteers like Jake for your next event, write a post on how volunteering is good for your health, and then include a call to action that asks him to sign up. Craft a killer CTA »
5. Map out a draft.
Once you have your audience, your goals and keywords, include it all in a draft. This will help you stay focused on your nonprofit’s goals as you develop more content.
6. Decide the length.
Nonprofit clients often ask how long their blog post should be. There’s not one right answer here. If you have time for longer format blog posts (2000+ words), you’ll have more keyword targeting opportunities. This type of post also tends to give you more room backlinks.
Shorter posts often are more attainable when you’re low on time or budget. They also have an advantage many don’t realize: Google likes fresh content and according to HubSpot, organizations that blog more than 20 times per month get five times the traffic than those who blog less than four times per month.
Lisa’s formula: 8 short posts to every long post.
7. Find your writer.
The writing process gets tricky. If you’re too busy to write a post yourself, consider outsourcing. Review the pros and cons »
If it’s more of a matter of not having the knowledge base of the subject, find yourself a subject matter expert. To save time and budget, ask them specific questions so you get the answers you need quickly.
Another way to save time? Use content management tools. That way, you can communicate with your team and stay organized. See our favorite writing tools for nonprofits »
8. Optimize your post for SEO.
9. Be ready to analyze.
If you’re not analyzing how well your content does, you’re going to miss out. Install Analytics and be ready to study how your posts are doing. Learn how to get started with Google Analytics with this ebook»
10. Create your publishing plan.
The chances of people finding your content go way up if you have an adequate social media plan. We have some tools to help:
- A nonprofit’s guide to social media posts [infographic]
- Which social media networks should my nonprofit be on?
- How to follow the success of great nonprofit social media accounts
Blogging is one of the most effective routes to helping your nonprofit gain visibility. We hope you feel ready to start a nonprofit blog and that you reach out for help!