Blogging isn't new. Most organizations have blogs, but not all consider it a priority. More often, people think of blogging as an afterthought, something you do when you have a spare moment. But, there are many compelling reasons to get serious about blogging in 2023.
The Benefits of Nonprofit Blogging
Here are some reasons blogging is as crucial for growing your organization as ever.
Your website is the hub of all your digital activities. Website traffic is one of the keys to growing your organization. Your website should attract donors, community members and newcomers interested in your purpose.
Blogs allow you to leverage search engine optimization (SEO) and drive organic traffic. To optimize for search engines, tie in keywords that are relevant to your audience.
Blog posts are an effective approach for building entrances into your website. Not sure what "entrances" mean in this context? Think of your website as a large mall with many entrances instead of a small building with only a single door. You want to give readers as many ways to find you as possible.
Leverage longtail keywords! Longtail keywords, which are not quite as popular and competitive, help boost traffic. If your work concerns environmental issues, the term "green energy" may be too competitive. Keyword research might reveal that other terms are easier to rank for.
Consistent blogging also helps establish your organization as a credible source of information. If you want to attract donors and volunteers, it helps to have a trustworthy reputation.
Publishing timely, well-researched content is one of the best ways to build authority. This ties in with Google's E-A-T formula for ranking sites. EAT stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Google recently updated it to E-E-A-T, with the new E standing for experience. Read more about E-E-A-T here.
Common Blogging Mistakes to Avoid
Let's look at some blogging mistakes that you should avoid.
Having No Strategy
A common blogging mistake is not having any strategy at all. Haphazard blogging won't produce consistent results. So, what does it mean to have a content strategy?
Establish solid baseline metrics. How much traffic are you currently receiving from your blogging efforts? Is that traffic engaged?
Set SMART goals.
Create an editorial calendar to brainstorm topics and target key themes.
Write and optimize your content.
Set a regular publishing schedule and stick to it.
Depending on the size of your organization, establish a team responsible for blogging. Then, review your accomplishments and goals so you can make improvements.
Not Writing With Your Audience in Mind
When writing for an organization, avoid falling into the trap of looking at everything from one perspective. (Boring!!) Always consider the topics, styles, and preferences that interest your audience.
As businesses create buyer personas to identify customers, nonprofits can do the same. You may have one or more "donor personas" that you can target. For example, "Mary is a 40-year-old professional with a graduate degree who supports social justice organizations." Even though a persona is fictional, it helps you remember that you are writing for actual people.
Not Using a Style Guide
Your nonprofit's mission may be serious, but that doesn't mean your blog needs to be stuffy. If your style is too dry and formal, it won't attract your reader's attention. The same is true for including too many statistics and charts.
Storytelling can be an effective counterbalance to dry facts. For example, if you're writing about homelessness, tell the story of a person or community. This will help to personify the numbers.
When it comes to style, keep your language in mind as well. If you're using technical or unfamiliar words, be sure to define them. You want to make your content accessible to everyone, including those new to the issue.
Not Using Data
If you pay attention to analytics, planning your content strategy is easier. Tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console are invaluable. The following are some metrics you should track on your blog.
Traffic by page: Use Search Console to see which keywords and topics generate the most traffic.
Time spent on page: If visitors are clicking away from a page, it's a sign they didn't find what they needed.
Returning visitors: You want to attract both new and returning visitors.
Source / Medium: Knowing where your traffic comes from is useful. Did visitors arrive at your site from an ad, Google or Bing, social media post, or another source?
Insufficient Calls to Action
Getting visitors to your blog is only the first step. What do you want them to do once they get there? Clear calls to action (CTAs) will encourage users to engage with your site. Make sure to include CTAs on every page. They need to stand out. Here are some example CTAs:
A donation button.
Opt-in to your mailing list.
Free gift to entice people to join, subscribe, or donate.
Download a report or white paper.
Tips to Optimize Your Blog Posts
Optimizing your blog posts is straightforward once you do it a few times. Follow our checklist.
Consider your blog post's title. The title should be relevant and compelling enough to attract the right audience. If possible, include your primary keyword.
Choose a keyword to focus on. Use your main keyword in the title and two or three times in the body of the post. Keep it natural! Don't overdo this.
Use headings and descriptions. Using headings such as H2 and H3 helps Google understand what your site is about and gives context. Descriptions can also help your rankings. A compelling meta description entices users to click on your link in the search results.
Include external and internal links. External links should be to authoritative sources. Linking to other pages helps with SEO, keeps visitors on your site, and helps users to navigate your site.
A blog is a powerful tool for SEO, engagement, and building authority. It can also promote other channels and platforms, such as videos and social media pages.
If your blog needs attention or you haven't started blogging yet, now is a good time to start. If you develop a strategy, track your metrics, and include CTAs, blogging can help your organization grow.