The Secret Behind All Great Nonprofit Blogs
With over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. A nonprofit blog is a great way to do that! Use this tool to let others know about what you are doing to make a difference. Well-crafted blogs highlight your goals and mission. As you build your nonprofit content strategy, understanding why blogs matter, and how to craft them for maximum impact, will help you gain donors and increase your volunteer base.
- Why Having a Great Blog Matters
- Secret #1: Storytelling
- Secret #2: Keep it Sweet & Simple
- Secret #3: Adopt a Format That Facilitates Skim Reading
- Secret #4: Use Examples
- Secret #5: Encourage Reader Engagement
- Secret #6: Include a "Related Posts" Section
- Secret #7: Use CTAs
Why Having a Great Blog Matters
Nonprofit blogs are a great tool to generate traffic to your website. A well-written blog can help:
Reach a Wider Audience
According to 99 Firms, websites with blogs have up to 97% more inbounds. Inbound marketing is when the customer, (or member, volunteer, or donor) comes to your organization seeking information rather than you reaching out to them. This is a testament to how organizations of all types utilize blog writing as a way to complement their marketing strategies.
How does this work? Well, inbound traffic is generated by a little something called SEO or search engine optimization. When readers search for content, and are directed to your site to access your material, the end result is often an interest in your organization as the content provider.
Build Your Brand
Offering engaging and informative content allows your organization to become known as an expert in the field, thus you continuously build your brand.
Additionally, because you have complete control over your content, you can control what topics are covered. The content you develop will reflect upon your organization and that allows you to cultivate your brand so that people see your organization the way you want them to.
If you look at a list of the best nonprofit blogs, the common denominator is providing relevant content that people can use to further their knowledge and resources that supporters can access to obtain more information about your nonprofit.
Let’s get started!
Secret #1: Storytelling
Nonprofit storytelling is a powerful tool that you can leverage when it comes to building a great blog. Stories are uniquely personal so they allow people to get to know your organization, your cause, and what you believe in.
Powerful storytelling can move people and enable them to find a commonality between their own stories and the one you are telling. With this connection, you can bank on increased engagement from your audience and boost visibility for your cause.
Start with your founding story and consider sharing your journey and how your life was impacted before, and because of, your nonprofit.
You can also showcase nonprofit leadership, donor, individual impact, and volunteer stories as a more in-depth look at how your nonprofit changes the lives of the people involved with it. Featuring true stories is a way to humanize your brand and will strike inspiration in your readers.
Pro Tip: In telling stories, make sure that it is truthful and comes from the heart. People thrive on upbeat news so make it light and positive. Keeping it cheerful will uplift the spirits of your readers and serve as an inspiration for them to do the same thing for others.
Secret #2: Keep It Sweet & Simple
The subject matter in your blog may not be "simple." In fact, many nonprofits cover complicated topics. Not only is that fine, but this detailed expertise is worth celebrating! However, regardless of what you are discussing, ensure you are doing so in a way that is easy to read.
Eva loves the sweet and simple approach – and so do her readers!
Complicated sentence structure and run-on sentences may cause you to lose your readers’ interest. (Just ask our editor, she still will not let me use semicolons!) Being concise while still providing useful information is ideal. However, regardless of the length of the article, your main focus should be making the overall article easy to read.
Adding fluff to your blogs will disinterest your audience. The best way to keep their engagement is to have an impactful article that packs a lot of information.
Secret #3: Adopt a Format That Facilitates Skim Reading
A format that allows readers to skim is ideal. This way, they can quickly look through the article, find the most important pieces to them, and then really dig into the content.
To allow for skimming, your blog should be visually pleasing and have breaks in between words. A wall of more than 300 words will have your readers rubbing their eyes or losing their place. Some of the ways that you can structure and format your blog to facilitate skim reading is to use:
Clear and easy to read font
Appropriate text size
Lists, bullet points, and visual elements to break up text
Links to other articles relevant to your post
Pro Tip: In addition to formatting for readability on the web, don’t forget that many people read content on their phones! When you post a blog article, open your phone and pull up the piece. Is it mobile-friendly? If not, make a few adjustments to ensure everyone can read what you have to say, no matter what device they are using!
Secret #4: Use Examples
Using examples helps people illustrate your point better than theory alone. Examples turn theory into concrete knowledge and the better your reader understands you, the more value they get out of the interaction.
As mentioned, providing valuable content allows you to be seen as the expert. If what you say resonates with them, you have a greater chance of turning them into a member, donor, or volunteer.
Secret #5: Encourage Reader Engagement
It is common for blogs to include a comment section to allow for additional reader engagement. The discussion generated between you and your community will encourage readers to continue following your blog and read other articles. For example, let’s say you publish an article about how sports clubs positively impact the development of young children. You can encourage readers to share how they, or their children, were positively impacted by sports in the comments. Others can add to the discussion and additional insights and learning can occur.
Another great example of increasing engagement is to write a blog post about a current news event that is relevant to your organization. You can write a summary of the issue, provide your take on it and add a call-to-action (CTA). This blog post can be shared with your online community. Since the news is fresh and relevant to your cause, this will pique the interest of your viewers and they can share their views on it.
Secret #6: Include a "Related Posts" Section
The main purpose of having a "Related Posts" section is that your users will discover other articles on your blog that address topics that may interest them. Posts included in this section will offer additional information about a specific topic such as nonprofit resources and guides.
Sam knows including related posts will keep his readers engaged!
To use a very real example, let’s say you are reading a blog on how to create a great nonprofit blog (this should sound very familiar). Embedding links or including a related posts section that offers additional related content around developing a stellar content strategy, utilizing SEO to achieve your ultimate viewership goal, and offering tips to improve your nonprofit storytelling gives readers an easy way to access additional related and useful content to further enhance their overall experience.
Secret #7: Use CTAs
Your blog can be well written and informative but if it is missing a call-to-action (CTA) that impacts your organization in some way, you are not fully utilizing the opportunity. Driving traffic to your nonprofit website is great, but a CTA that prompts action on your reader’s part, is better.
Nonprofit CTAs come in various forms and can be included in the middle or at the end of the blog. For example, you may want to utilize the opportunity to request volunteers, solicit donations from existing supporters, or have readers sign up for a mailing list. Because the CTA brings the reader to a new action, ensure you include a link to make the requested action as seamless and easy as possible.
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