How to Create An Awesome Blog For Your Nonprofit That Will Get You Seen Online
Blogs take a lot of work. You have to think of topics and spend hours researching, and on top of that you have to distribute the content! If your organization doesn’t have someone designated to create your blog content it can be difficult to keep up with posts, and you may even find yourself wondering "is a blog really necessary?”.
I’m here to tell you that it is! Blogs are a great way to not only give important information to your donors and other supporters but can also help your organization get noticed online.
Benefits of Blogging
Tell Your Organization's Story
The best part of blogging for your organization is not only to give information surrounding your cause to boost your digital presence, but it can also help to tell your organization’s story. Use it as a way to really connect with your audience and write posts that not only inform but inspire.
You can tell your founders' story of how they got the organization started, highlight your accomplishments and feature your staff, volunteers, donors or clients sharing their story. Think of how you want your organization to be perceived by others and start creating content that communicates that image to the world.
We are in such a digital age that if you’re not telling your story, someone else will, and chances are they won’t tell it right. The best part of having a blog is that you are in complete control of your content and it’s distribution.
Use it as a Networking Tool
Blogging is the best way to show yourself as a leader in your industry. By writing content that answers your audience's questions and providing information you’re communicating to the world that you are an expert in your industry. When looking for guests for Donor Engine’s Podcast Fundraising Superheroes, I almost always look at an organization's blog first. This way I know more about the nonprofit itself, but also their expertise and contribution to the industry.
Having a blog can also give people a chance to interact with you. Readers can share, like or comment on your posts which can lead to contacts. If people enjoy your content you can encourage them to join an emailing list to be notified when new posts go live. You can also connect with other organizations or industry professionals by interviewing them for blog content and having them also share the content on their platforms.
This is by far the most popular reason why nonprofits and companies will create blogs. It acts as additional web pages which will make you more likely to pop up on someone's search engine ultimately driving more traffic to your website. That traffic can turn into more volunteers, signatures or donors in the long run.
Blogging partnered with a strong website will take your digital marketing strategy to the next level while also creating great content for your social media. I’ll discuss later in the article how you can properly SEO optimize your article to rank better in online search engines.
A completed blog usually takes about 3 hours to create. Between writing, editing and finding images, blog content can take up a bit of time in a person’s schedule. One way to help organize and manage your blog is to create a blogging schedule.
This includes finding content topics and creating a content schedule to plan topics in advance and keep to a schedule. Just keep in mind that although you are planning in advance you also need to be prepared to make adjustments based on what is going on in the world and your organization.
Finding Content Ideas
One of the hardest parts of writing a blog is coming up with topic ideas! Writer's block is real, and it will hit the moment you sit down to think of a topic. So how do you get over this and come up with great topic ideas? Here are some suggestions:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there questions that your donors, volunteers or clients ask a lot? This is a great way to start thinking about topics that are relevant to your audience's needs. Think about how you can answer these questions in a blog post.
For example, if your volunteers want to know what opportunities are available you can write a post outlining the types of volunteer opportunities your organization has or an appreciation post highlighting one of your volunteers experiences.
One of the best ways to find topics is to see what your industry's influencers are talking about or what's trending on social media platforms. Be an active listener and think about how your company's unique voice or perspective can contribute to trending topics.
Read Other Blogs
In order to know what makes a good blog you have to read blogs! Take a look at some other organizations blog topics and see what topics inspire you. I’m not advocating you copy another person’s content, but to take your own stance on topics you read about.
When finding topics for your blog ask yourself
- Is it interesting to my audience?
- Is it relevant to my audience?
- Does it help solve a problem my audience is facing?
- Is it unique to my audience’s needs?
Creating a Content Schedule
Make your life easier and plan out your content! Attached below is an excel sheet that you can use to organize and plan your content topics.
Feel free to customize the Excel Sheet to fit your blogging style and content plans. Be sure to make note of holidays or important dates for your organization so you can plan content accordingly.
What Makes a Great Blog Post?
SEO Optimizing Your Content
When writing your blog the words you use are very important. By incorporating certain words or phrases into your writing you can increase your chances of being seen on google’s homepage. In order to find out what words to use start off with a good old google search!
Go to the search engine bar and type in your content topic. There you will find 2 key pieces of information. The search results and the guess phrases in the search engine. Using these results you can look at what word combinations and phrases are most popular and use them in your blog copy.
For Example, if I wanted to write an article on the best SEO tools I begin by typing my topic into the search bar. Then based on the most popular search topics Google will suggest more specific phrases like "Best SEO Tools for Wordpress”. This can help you find phrases to include in your blog.
Than when we click enter, scroll down away from the paid ads as these results rely more on paid advertisements than keyword optimization. You’ll then see the top websites based on your search results, from these you can look at their meta description for the keywords and phrases. From this example we can see that SEO Tools, Best Free SEO Tools and best SEO software are also popular keywords.
Pick 2-3 keywords and use them in your blog’s titles, subtitles and copy. Keep it mind not to use them too much, you're writing for people not Google! So readers (and the search engine) can pick up when content is not using keywords organically and it can do more harm than good.
There are also SEO tools you can purchase to get more extensive keyword data but the method above is a great beginners way to find and search for popular keywords.
A Great Image
A captivating image can grab your reader's attention and make your blog stand out. You also need to make sure the images you're using are copyright free, the best way to avoid this issue is to use your own photos. You can also find images online by using a paid service like despositphotos.com or free services like google image search (just make sure you go to tools and select labeled for reuse) or Free Images.
You can also use free online image editors like Canva
to spice up your cover photo by adding text, filters, shapes, and more!
Don’t Have Time to Blog?
One of the biggest problems nonprofits face is finding the time to blog. Which is completely understandable, if you have a small team it's hard to find time to write when there is some much going on. If this is something your organization is struggling with you can try some of these ideas:
- Divide the work amongst several staff members. You can set a goal for 4 people to write 1 article a month and this way you have new blog content every week
- If you have the financial resources you can hire a copywriter to do the work for you
- Consider finding a volunteer or an intern. If you are low on resources and time finding someone willing to write content as a volunteer can be a great help to your blog