We quadrupled our blog traffic, can you? Simple guide to content marketing for nonprofits

With each nonprofit client that comes through ArcStone’s doors, we encourage them to either start a blog or give their existing blog more attention. Now, we wouldn’t risk wasting nonprofit’s already slim budget and tight schedule if we didn’t truly believe in the value of content marketing. But at points, it’s hard to convince clients that this effort is really worth it.

That’s why today, we are going to tell you a story: the story of how we implemented the strategy we encourage others to and as a result, saw an increase of 4x the traffic to our blog in just two years. Our story can serve as a general guide to content marketing for nonprofits.

Where we were with our content marketing strategy

Before we dive into the glory of the here and now, let’s rewind and be real with where we were at. Like many of you, we were posting at most 2 to 3 times per week, whenever someone felt inspired to do so or had the bandwidth. In addition to this lack of posting frequency, we weren’t monitoring engagement.

We knew we should do more, but we just weren’t allocating time or attention to it when there were other, more immediate business goals to which to attend.

For the total month of May 2015, we saw about 600 blog views.

2 years later we’re seeing over 2,800.

The simple content marketing strategy we implemented that your nonprofit can, too!

Many of you have likely thought, “we should blog more” and encouraged your team to help write when they can. Unfortunately, this doesn’t usually do much to help your nonprofit. You need a nonprofit content marketing strategy that will keep you focused and consistent.

Here are 11 essential + manageable tasks to add to your content strategy that will take you to that next level.

1. Set goals:

Rather than risk finding ourselves right where we started in a couple months, we decided to set some lofty, yet manageable, goals. One of ArcStone’s digital strategists, Jenna, and I sat down and decided we’d post five blogs a week and then come review the results after six months. We also determined we’d spend more time on designing images for this content, promoting it and then checking in on our Google Analytics each week.

2. Create audience personas:

As a team, we took the time to map out distinct audience types. For your nonprofit, this likely includes a few different types of donors, volunteers, community members and other users. Once we had each audience member in mind, we were able to brainstorm content that could speak to each of them. Get going on this aspect by using our Nonprofit Audience Persona Ebook »

content-marketing-audience-personas

3. Designate blog ownership to a leader/editor:

One way many content strategies collapse is a lack of consistent execution. To avoid this, we assigned one final editor/project lead. Though we would be pulling content written by several team members, I was given the role of ensuring the content was ready to go and implement correctly into our CRM. This also helped us ensure our brand voice was prevalent across all posts and the formatting looked right.

If you have any trouble structuring your team or your content development workflow, take a look at Lisa’s, VP of Marketing at ArcStone, post on Content Team Roles »

content-strategy-roles

4. Utilize a (free!) content management tool:

We recognize that it can be hard to get the whole team on board with yet another tool, but we promise this one is worth it! We use Trello to implement and track all our content marketing efforts. You can read the full review here but we’ll also show you some snippets on how to make it work for your nonprofit below.

free-content-marketing-tool-for-nonprofits

5. Organize content by strategic categories:

A blog with just a list of all posts can be overwhelming to users. If you’re a donor, you may want the latest report on where their money went whereas a volunteer wants to hear about the next volunteer opportunity. Make sure these users can get the content they want when they land on your blog. Better yet, make sure that when they click on their blog category, that section is filled with good content for them to look through.

Trello makes it easy to label all your content. Here’s an example of how we segment ours within the tool. Each month we try to have each color represented across the calendar at least a couple of times:

6.  Assign due dates:

Without a due date, it’s easy to push things off for a later date. We used the calendar “power-up” tool in Trello to track these.

content-strategy-calendar

7. Focus on collaboration:

Through the communication capabilities in Trello, we were able to tag each other on cards and have conversations about posts when necessary. Being able to keep these conversations organized in one place is helpful as it allows you to stay organized and if need be, look back at the conversations later.

trello-free-content-management-tool

8. Promote:

Though we’d like to believe, “if you build it, they will come” it’s not entirely true with content marketing. In fact, Lisa wrote a whole post on why this is and how you can make up for it with promotional and SEO work.

This being said, couple your awesome new production strategy with a content promotion strategy.

Across social networks, we posted not only on ArcStone’s account, but also some of our team members’. This not only reached a larger audience but showed the personality behind our team.

When it came to Twitter, we posted 3-4 times a day, often tagging relevant accounts. This created some major upticks in traffic to our blog. social-media-strategy

3 times a week, we’d also post on Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. For LinkedIn we focus on more professional-oriented content and thought leadership, whereas Facebook we try to post more on office culture and community.

If you’re unsure of what social media platform is right for you, listen to co-owners of ArcStone talk through how you can determine this with The Nerdy Nonprofit Podcast.

Lastly, we sent out our newsletter once-monthly with the top-performing posts from that month. We found we were faster at getting these sent out since we already knew what content to use.

9. Analyze:

All this effort doesn’t get you very far if you’re not monitoring it. You may see a bit more traffic but it’s going to come and go at an unpredictable rate if you’re not making changes to your strategy based on it.

Learn some of the basics in Google Analytics with this post “Nonprofits Using Google Analytics—Get tracking the Right Metrics.”

10. Redesign (when the budget allows):

Once you have some significant insight on aspects like what type of content your audience likes and what areas of the site they go to after the blog, you can consider making design changes. We used heat-mapping tool CrazyEgg to see what parts of the blog users clicked on and paired that with our user behavior insight in Analytics to make strategic design enhancements.

nonprofit-blog-design

11. Keep trying new things:

Once you get started for a few months, the above tips will get you to a great place. However, in a year or so you’ll want to round up your team and come up with fresh ways to approach your nonprofit’s blog strategy. This will help you get your most creative juices flowing and aid your nonprofit in standing out amongst the crowd.


As proof that the above really can work, here’s a snapshot of before and after:

MAY 2015
MAY 2017
Blog Views /Month: 641 2,298
Pageviews /Month: 4,289 8,941
Sessions /Month: 1,831 4,985
% New Sesssions: 70.6% 85%
Organic Traffic: –––> Up 155%
Traffic from Social: –––> Up 74%
Newsletter Subscribers: ~250 ~1030

You can see that the increase in blog views also contributed to an increase in overall website sessions and pageviews, as well as traffic from organic searches and social media. What’s more, all this traffic also lead to 4x as many newsletter subscribers. It’s a lovely trickle down effect!

We hope your nonprofit sees the value in a well-executed content marketing plan. More importantly, we hope you are encouraged by the fact that we, too have a small team. This strategy is crafted around keeping things manageable and simple. Successful content marketing for nonprofits is possible as long as you stick to your strategy, monitor it and continually work to improve it.

Get help with your nonprofit’s content strategy from our team by reaching out here »

Nonprofit blogging mistakes you might be making (+ how to stop)

Besides ensuring you have user-friendly forms for donors and volunteers, the digital strategists at ArcStone would argue that having a well-executed blog is the best thing your nonprofit can do in terms of your website. Unfortunately, nonprofit marketers get so busy that blog posts get written hastily, whenever there’s a spare second. That’s understandable, and we don’t want that predicament to prevent you from writing as it’s better than not writing. However, there are a few negative trends we’d like to point out that, when avoided, could help make the little blog development time you have more worth your while.

1. Not scheduling your posts in advance (and not publishing consistently)

Given that you have many other spinning plates, it makes sense that you wouldn’t have time to plan out your content calendar. But time and again, marketing experts state that scheduling out posts and executing them consistently can create huge gains for your blog. What’s more, studies show readers see inconsistent publishing as a sign that a brand is “out of touch or not up to date” with their habits and needs.

There are so many FREE tools out there to help you stay on top of publishing. We tested and reviewed 3 popular content management tools and wrote a recent post on why we recommend Trello.

free-tools-for-nonprofits
Image Source: CoSchedule

2. Forgetting the importance of authenticity & your brand voice

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your blog. You post about your upcoming event or you comment on a recent occurrence in your field of work, however there’s so much more to write about than that. When people come to your site, they are trying to learn about you and your cause. They want to hear your unique voice otherwise, you’ll blend with the crowd and they won’t know why they should pay attention to you specifically.

Be sure you hone in on what your brand voice is and you consistently write with that in mind. For inspiration on topics, take a look at our go-to sources for when ArcStonian’s get writer’s block. You can derive inspiration from what other successful nonprofits are writing about; charity:water, Save the Children, St. Jude and Kiva all post a wide array of topics that speak to who they are and who they serve.

nonprofit-blogging
Image source: Save the Children

3. Trying too hard with your headline

Though it’s important you stand out and readers feel excited by your headlines, it’s more important your headlines do their job. A title’s main role is to tell readers what your post is about. Don’t get too caught up in being clever or humorous as that’s not the point.

ArcStone wrote a helpful post on how you can craft a title that is primarily descriptive, secondarily SEO-friendly and then if there’s room for it, clever: “Optimize your blog post titles for search, but don’t be boring.”

4. Assuming your readers have all day

This isn’t true for everyone or every post, but for the most part, people like when you get to the point efficiently. Sometimes, you can tell that in-depth full story. But when you’re writing a post on donations or volunteering, explain your point concisely and point your audience towards action quickly. When it comes to these posts directed towards taking action, always keep the goal of your post in mind and include a call to action.

5.  Neglecting to implement the SEO and user-friendly details

Writing the post is work enough, we know, but a blog won’t get far if you neglect some important additional steps. Each post should have alt tags, metadata and titles on its photos and in other areas. You can do so with some of the strongest, free SEO tools for nonprofits out there. Here’s a solid review of SEO tools done by Search Engine Land.

6. Ignoring dialogue

For many in the nonprofit space, community engagement is super important to the very mission of an organization. Community takes hold in many forums and your blog can totally become a catalyst for that. If you have a comment section, pay attention to it. If people comment on your posts on social, always respond. If they don’t participate in either of these, consider prioritizing this. There are tools that can help like Hootsuite and Disqus. We also have a post that reviews the best ways and tools to encourage conversations.

free-community-forum-tools
Image source: Lithium

7. Overlooking Google Analytics

If you take away anything from this article, we hope it’s this last point. Pay attention to your Google Analytics data! We see so many clients post content and then let it sit there. They don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. They don’t base their strategy off of this data. As our digital strategist, Jerod put it,

“Only you know your story well enough to tell it, but on the flip side, only your visitors know what they want.”

If you don’t look at what posts are getting the most attention, how long users are reading them and where they go next, you are not listening to them.

Need help getting started with Google Analytics?


We hope we didn’t overwhelm you with corrections. Instead, this is supposed to serve as a way to make the time you do have more effective. We want to highlight areas that are often neglected so that you know where you can make simple gains.

If you’re struggling to implement any of these aspects but you recognize their importance, ArcStone would love to work with you to come up with a more manageable content marketing strategy and set you up with the tools that will help. Contact our team »

Start a nonprofit blog to increase engagement with your cause

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.

start-a-nonprofit-blog

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.

Use our infographic to develop your personas »

start-a-nonprofit-blog

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:

start-a-nonprofit-blog

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.

Don’t worry, there’s a hack for that. We recommend the Yoast SEO Plugin. Learn about how this and other plugins work here »

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:

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!

Best practices for optimizing your nonprofit’s blog content (and finally getting traffic)

optimize-nonprofit-blog-content

If you pay any attention to the marketing world these days – which I’m guessing you do as you’re reading this post – you’ve been encouraged time and again to write a blog for your nonprofit. The promise is that if you write, your blog will bring your site traffic and eventually, donors, volunteers and support. However, the truth is you can’t just invest in the writing portion of this process. If you want to see real gains in traffic you need to optimize your blog content and ensure it’s indexed by search engines.

ArcStone’s VP of marketing, Lisa, wrote a post on optimizing blog content for search. Below it’s written with your specific nonprofit goals in mind.

5 simple steps to search engine optimization for your nonprofit blog posts

1. If your nonprofit’s site isn’t yet verified on Google, this is a productive first step. Login here and click “Add Property.” Follow the steps Google provides. While you’re at it, link the property to Google Analytics.

2. Nonprofit site’s using WordPress, you get a leg up: there’s several reputable plugins and one of which, Yoast SEO, we highly recommend for improving your SEO. Through filling in information Yoast SEO requests, you hone in on your long-tail keyword and optimize each post according to that.

3. When using a plugin or SEO tool, keep in mind the keyword phrase about which you are writing. What is the main topic? If it’s “volunteer ideas for young professionals” use this in your SEO title, slug and Meta Description. Always keep in mind that this should sound natural and not forced.

The example below is optimized for the keyword phrase “Promoting Blog Content.” optimizing blog content

4. Now that you have a fully optimized, published post, you can go into Google Search Console and click on “Fetch as Google” which you’ll find under “Crawl.” By crawling the blog post, you will almost always get indexed by Google.

5. Finally, by sharing your post across social channels and other sites, you’ll have a healthier SEO. Read more about the best times & methods for social media posting »

I understand it’s not always easy to find time to write a blog post for your nonprofit, but if are putting the effort forth, you should make sure the post is found. You never know what kind of impact this post could have on your readers – they may become your next biggest nonprofit supporter! But they have to find your nonprofit first!

More on optimizing your nonprofit blog SEO:

Nonprofit marketing isn’t all about the ask – thoughts from Gary Vaynerchuk

In a recent post by Gary Vaynerchuk entitled “Nonprofit Marketing: The Same Rules Apply” had us thinking about what is missing in many nonprofit’s marketing strategies. We often focus on “the ask” or the part where we ask for money to keep our nonprofit going. Although enticing your client act/purchase might be the goal of all your marketing efforts, it can’t be the sole focus. What comes before you encourage readers and site users to donate is building their trust.

nonprofit-content-strategy

How do you build this trust? One rule that comes to our minds is the 80 / 20 concept – 80% of content should be helpful to your audience (answering their questions about your field as a whole and providing them with tools) while 20% of content can be more salesy, or in a nonprofit’s case, donation-focused.

Gary uses a boxing analogy to describe two types of user engagement with your content.

JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE A NONPROFIT, DOESN’T MEAN YOU ONLY THROW RIGHT HOOKS

For context if you haven’t read my books, jabs are the value you provide your customers with: the content you put out, the good things you do to convey your appreciation. And the right hook is the ask: it’s when you go in for the sale, ask for a subscribe, ask for a donation.

In the nonprofit world, you probably have a little more permission to throw more right hooks more frequently than a regular business does. However, I am reluctant to even say that statement because the biggest problem in this world is that many nonprofits are only in the right hooking business.

– Gary Vaynerchuk

Even if this strategy seems obvious, it’s one that most nonprofits forget. It is hard to prioritize “helping” and informing your audience, when ultimately you need them to help you via a donation. There’s never enough time to execute these marketing campaigns.

Gary mentions a few nonprofits in the post including Charity Water and Pencils of Promise. Both of those nonprofits have a lot more resources and influence so they do a lot of storytelling and marketing campaigns – often driving more donations.

So how can your nonprofit make progress?

  • Take a look at your messaging across channels. How much of it is oriented towards driving donations vs. helping inform your audience and spread the message about your cause?
  • Create audience personas and make sure you are engaging each of them in the various points of the buying / donation cycle
  • Tell your nonprofit’s amazing stories (like this nonprofit did!) as well as incorporate data and news from the field, so that when your audience is in donation mode, you’re top of mind.
  • Take advantage of free content management tools to ensure you stay on top of consistent social publishing.
  • Use marketing automation software to keep track of your audience and recognize how you can meet them where they are.

If you need help with the “before the ask” our team can set up a digital strategy with you. Contact ArcStone to learn from our experience with other nonprofits.

How to microblog on Instagram as a nonprofit

We’ve already established that as nonprofit marketers, there’s never enough time to keep up with the social media sphere. Luckily, there are a few shortcuts here and there. One such method of building your brand efficiently: the microblog via Instagram.

how-to-microblog

What is a microblog?

In short, the microblog is a short-form blog post. The user optimizes a social media site – such as Instagram – to share short updates and content relevant to their audience. Rather than taking a few hours to write out a full post, a microblogger / your nonprofit can share a quote, a quick update, a photo, infographic or video without a long introduction that a typical blog would necessitate.

And why Instagram?

Because Instagram operates around visuals, it’s ideal for quick and easily-digestible posts. How so?

a) It’s not as busy as Twitter and is not limited by characters.

b) Since it uses an algorithm similar to Facebook’s, if people care about your cause and they like and comment on related content, your content is more likely to show up in their feeds.

c) Millennials love Instagram. In fact, “Over half of all millennials use Instagram every single day” (Media Kix). If you’re nonprofit is seeking out that age group, leveraging a microblog may be key to your strategy.

d) Everyone seems to love visuals. “Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content – photos and videos – saw a 65% increase in engagement” (Hubspot). Seeing as microblogs on Instagram are largely comprised of a visual component, and your nonprofit is probably full of photos/content from your work, this makes it a powerful tool for your nonprofit.

Ways to begin microblogging:

1.Find your value proposition:

What does your nonprofit know a lot about? Most likely you’re highly informed on whichever cause your fighting for, even if you don’t stop to consider it. Share content from the field with a perspective that news stations don’t have. For the most part, people want to become more informed, even when they’re just passively scrolling through Instagram.

2. Share tips:

Not only is a list-based format more digestible, as you see on posts with tips, it can also be the best way to reach an Instagram audience. If you can have your visuals tell the story or inform the viewer quickly, you’ll get closer to the power of the microblog. In fact, 23% of Instagram users get their news on this app so it’s likely they’ll appreciate an update from your field (Pew Research Center).

3. Entertain:

The first two points being said, your posts don’t all have to be facts and figures. The whole idea of a microblog is that your posts are quick and frequent. And perhaps more importantly, Instagram was created for community and fun, more so than for products and marketing. If that means you post an update on your team’s latest staff party or a funny photo from a recent event, more power to you!

What to keep in mind:

1. Connect with your other content

Instagram is a strong tool for community-building, but it’s even more impactful if it connects users to your site and inspires them to take action. Remember to entice them to read your blog or follow up with a call to your organization.

2. Recognize your specific goals on this platform vs. others

Your goal is not necessarily the same here as it may be on your actual blog. Your site’s blog can revolve around in-depth content and case studies, while your microblog can be focused on getting people to read these longer posts or simply reminding people of your nonprofit’s presence.

3. Encourage interactions

If your nonprofit wants attention on Instagram, you should give it as well! Follow other nonprofits, recognize your donors and volunteers, comment on posts related to your cause and have something to say about the greater good.

Pokémon Go + your nonprofit – July Nonprofit Marketing News

If you haven’t been hiding out at the summer cabin the past few weeks, it’s likely you’ve at least heard of Pokémon Go, if not been tempted to play it at all your lunch breaks. You may even be sick of hearing about it by now, however, this post from Nonprofit Quarterly points to ways in which you could optimize it for your nonprofit’s cause.

Go catch em all with your next creative fundraiser. For more trends and tricks, read the recap of the month below with our favorite posts.

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – July 2016 –

Social media lesson: Which networks should you be on?

Podcast + worksheet from co-owners of ArcStone, David & Lisa

nonprofit-marketing-news

Take 10 minutes to listen and determine where to focus your social media energy.

Fresh ideas: Snapchat success story

Contribution from Kate Metzger, digital strategist at St. Thomas University

nonprofit-marketing-news

It might be time for you to try out this social media platform. Read how this nonprofit school targeted their audience with 3 different successful Snapchat strategies.

Google tip: Maximize on micro-moments

From Think with Google

nonprofit-marketing-news

Meet your audience in their time of need with some ideas from Google and our team.

Fundraising: New tool for fundraising data visualization

From Foundation Maps

nonprofit-marketing-tools

Yes, you can track where your funding comes from and yes, it’s free.

If you can spare 30 minutes or so this summer, reply to this message to sign up for a podcast interview. We’d love to chat and hear your story.

Now get Go-ing!  

Jenna & Chloe

the-nerdy-nonprofit-newsletter

Celebrate the little marketing wins – June Nonprofit Marketing News

As we enter summer, it’s a good time to celebrate achievement! Even with limited resources and staff, nonprofits of all sizes make a great impact. We liked this post from NP Tech for Good that shows you things you ARE doing right – 10 Signs Your Small Nonprofit Excels at Social Media.

If there’s anything you feel you’re missing in your digital strategy, glean some help from the posts below, or feel free to reach out to us!

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – June 2016 – 

Free tools in use: Branding & Event Promotion

by Spina Bifida Association
Read how this nonprofit excelled by using some free tools. 
Screen-Shot-2016-05-19-at-2.27.40-PM-5.png

Web design on a budget: Case Study

with Kids In Need 
Review a before & after shot of ArcStone’s recent, budget-friendly site redesign.

Blog optimization 1014 musts for your blog to try pronto

from SumoMe
Some easy and necessary fixes to get that nonprofit blog to rank in search results.  

Fundraising: 3 Critical Things You Must Know About Fundraising Compliance

from Amy Eisenstein 
Amy sits down with a fundraising expert to discuss tricky rules that some nonprofits neglect when seeking donations. 

Be sure to download our audience persona ebook if you haven’t yet had a chance. It’ll make your summer strategy all the more effective.

Cheers to summer!

Jenna & Chloe

the-nerdy-nonprofit-newsletter

Vital Nonprofit Blog SEO Tips You Can Implement Today

nonprofit-blog-seo-fixes

I’m always searching for the best kept SEO secrets to try out for rocking our clients’ and our own blogs’ SEO. Our digital marketing strategist pointed me to a golden ticket for SEO strategy, found on SumoMe: “17 Essential SEO Tips Your Blog Must Follow.” Some of these are especially wonderful for your nonprofit blog SEO improvement.

I’ve highlighted five areas you can fix now (without a developer) which nonprofits often neglect in their blog SEO strategy…

1. Key in on your Key Word/Phrase

It’s common for nonprofits to have idea for their next blogpost based on a reason event or case study – which is great for a blog. However, then that idea gets posted just for the sake of getting it out there, and in this haste, the blog isn’t optimized.

The first step to writing an SEO-friendly blog is to hone in on what phrase will help you show up on Google’s first page. For example, if your nonprofit supports solving the global water shortage, you may want to write a blog piece on the Flint Water Crisis and optimize around, “how to help with the Flint Water Crisis.” That way people with good intentions of helping, will search this phrase and hopefully click on your nonprofit.

Sometimes this is pure luck or completely unpredictable. But at least the SumoMe points to some easy hacks you can think of from the get-go.

2. Hype up Readers with Your Blog Headline

It blew me away how much time SumoMe spends on their headlines – way more than I would have thought to. But if they see this time as a worthy investment, maybe we should too.

Consider polling your nonprofit coworkers, reviewing social media posts that have received the most clicks, or reading this part of the SumoMe blog to improve your ability to captivate potential readers.

3. Speed up Page Load Time

Did you know Google actually lowers your rank if your blog loads slowly? Yes they know their audience well; web users will click of a page if it’s taking too long and find something better. Chances are your potential donors / volunteers / users are looking for quick answers. If they see your nonprofit page isn’t loading, they’ll look elsewhere. They may also assume your nonprofit is behind the times if your technology isn’t working.

Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Use the tips from SumoMe.

4. Keep up with Content

This may go without saying, but it’s not enough to write 5 blogs when you launch your nonprofit site, and then just have them sitting there. Publish a post a week to start, even if it’s just a small news blurb reacting to something going on in the field, a case study with some quotes from a user of your services, or a recap on your latest event.

This isn’t just good for your readers, but as SumoMe points out, it’s good for web-crawlers. They basically see your blog as unhealthy if it hasn’t been updated regularly – similar to a check up at the doc, check in to your blog weekly.

For more on nonprofit blogging tips read,

And of course – call us up at ArcStone or ask us a question at info(at)arcstone.com

Ways to Increase Nonprofit Blog Production

increase-nonprofit-blog-production

You know the importance of a having a nonprofit blog – and if you don’t, read this post. However, like most anyone in the nonprofit realm, you don’t have time to constantly be updating your posts. Here we will give you 3 ways to increase nonprofit blog production.

1. Keep everything documented and communicated through a Trello board (or something like it)

One of the most time-consuming pieces of the writing process is choosing what to write about, however it can be made one of the quickest. It’s likely your nonprofit team gets asked the same questions over and over. It’s also likely you have many events and fundraisers in the works. All of these subjects are potential blog topics, but you lose track of them when you finally have a chance to sit down and write.

Use a tool like Trello. What’s nifty about this software is you can have a column of ideas, then drag each idea into the next column of “in progress/writing,” then to “in review,” and finally to “completion/promotion” as you can see we do at ArcStone below:

using-trello-board-nonprofit-blogging-tools

You can also label each blog. If you have multiple blog categories on your site, label each idea with a color and try to fill your content calendar with one of each color each week. We use the calendar tool within Trello to hold ourselves accountable to filling each of our main categories. Likewise, if you use our favorite strategy, audience personas, you can tag each blog with a specific audience persona you want to target so you can better keep track of who you’re reaching.

Lastly, you can add team members to your board and communicate about your blogs within Trello. You may not have time to write 3 posts a week yourself, but you likely can rotate people to contribute content once or twice a month. Just be sure to have one team member go through each blog (which has been nicely placed in Trello) to keep the tone/style consistent.

2. Have a writing strategy mapped out that you can follow each time

a. Refer to your Trello board and notice what type of content is missing. Do you need more informative content or more stories from the field? Fill in the gaps.

b. Search what content is already out there beyond your site – go on a platform like Reddit or Buzzsumo and search an idea topic you have, then try to write something that hasn’t already been written. You can also use this as a way to see what types of posts get the most traction:

buzzsumo-tool-for-blogging

b. Use Semrush to find which key phrase you want your post to optimize around. Then incorporate this throughout the post, title, metadata, URL & the like. Read more on all the ways you can optimize a blog for better SEO.

searching-for-nonprofit-keywords

c. Cut back on distractions when you finally sit down to write. Close your email, plug in your headphones and resist the temptation to multi-task. You’ll be much more efficient. I love this post which explains how multi-tasking hinders productivity.

d. If you find yourself stuck, switch up your blog format. Did you write in a more narrative voice last time? Try a list-based or how-to blog this time. Find an infographic template on Canva to test out a visual representation of your content. Switching things up will boost your creativity.

nonprofit-infographic-tool

e. Review your blog through following a checklist – like this one I created for myself.

3. Use other people

That may sound like cheating, but it’s actually resourceful. Here are a couple ways to get help from others;

a. Reach out to people at your nonprofit, who have used your services, or people in the nonprofit realm in general. They may be flattered you want them to contribute to your blog. You can even offer to write a post for them, as long as they give you some direction.

b. Find articles you know your audience will like and share them via your blog. You can add your own two cents to the post or simply post a summary and link to the post. Share the post and tag the contributor on your social media posts.

c. Have a post from last year that performed well but is out of date? Recycle it. Follow what the post did, but make it more relevant for today. Don’t just copy and paste, as duplicate content isn’t good for much.

Try out our nonprofit blogging strategy but also feel free to reach out to our team at ArcStone for help generating content ideas.