Guest blog post by Mary Jefferson, Owner of MakeItCountMarketing.
As I’m sitting with my customer discussing the navigation for their new website, I always suggest that they add a blog to the new site. It’s interesting to see their faces . . . and their reactions. I almost always hear, “Who’s going to read my blog?” It’s hard for them to imagine their members, donors or potential supporters, coming to the site to see what they’ve written that month!
It is hard to imagine because it doesn’t exactly happen that way. Your supporters will get to your blog, but only if you’ve promoted it! It’s what you DO with your blog that brings traffic to your website, establishes your authority and converts web traffic to leads.
Here’s how it works.
Your expertise. Every nonprofit has expertise. It’s this knowledge and experience that your prospective donors are seeking when they take an interest in your mission. So “showing off” a little bit with information that’s in your blog articles helps convince prospects that your nonprofit is the one they want to support. You demonstrate your expertise and your authority on the subject by providing tips, ideas or stories – all of which are powerful, persuasive tools.
Adding content to your website. Every time you add an article to your blog, you’re adding new content on your site. And when you add content, you enhance your search engine optimization. Hopefully, your blog article includes a few key words that prospective donors and supporters might use to search for your capabilities. As search engines crawl the internet, the new content will cause your site to be re-indexed – increasing your chances of being found through searches.
Promote your blog. Once your article is written and approved, post it on your blog, then promote it. If you distribute an email newsletter, send the first portion of your blog – maybe the first paragraph or two – in your next newsletter. After that first paragraph, add READ MORE. Then take the reader to the rest of the article on your site. So now you’ve accomplished 3 things.
- First, you’ve taken the reader up to your website, where they can read more about your nonprofit. You are driving traffic to your site!
- Secondly, you’ve PUSHED marketing to your prospects and members. This is how people will discover your blog and realize your expertise.
- And finally, you’ve given yourself a way to measure the success of your article. Once your newsletter has been distributed, you can see how many people clicked through to your website to read the entire article. Over a period of months, you will start to see what topics get the most attention. These are the topics you want to write about more often.
Share your article. You should also share your article on various social media sites. Write an introductory sentence and then give your followers the link to your article. Again, you’re promoting your website and even more important, you may be influencing someone who has not contributed to your nonprofit before. Our social media followers may not necessarily be on your email distribution list, so you end up reaching more people. You are engaging your readers and nurturing your leads!
Extend your reach. There are even more ways to use your blog. Here are some examples:
- LinkedIn. This site now makes it possible for anyone to share an article. When you go into LinkedIn, you see “Share an update, Upload a photo and Write an article”. It’s this third option, “Write an article” that you want to select. LinkedIn will take you to a page where you can copy and paste your blog article and publish it. Here is another audience that will get to know you and another example of engagement.
- Resource of information. Once you start blogging, you’ll realize how much information you’ve published. Now use it to answer questions. If you get an email and someone wants to know how you help individuals, answer them, and then give them the link to one or two of your articles. Not only will they get the real story, but again, you give them the opportunity to learn more about your nonprofit when they visit your site.
Blogging tips. There a few things you can do to further enhance your brand.
- Consider using a photo or illustration with each blog article. A photo attracts more attention. And when you post your blog article on social media, the same photo will show up there as well. There are lots of different website where photos are free or cost $1. Just make sure you are using the photo legally. My favorite is photodune.net. One more thing, your photo is there as an “attention-getter” – don’t fret over finding the PERFECT photo.
- Create categories on your blog. Try to think big picture and create just a few categories. Then, when people come up to your site to read one blog, they may choose a category and read a few more articles. Encourage engagement!
- Assign key words to every blog article. Think of the 3-4 words that you might use to “label” your article. Assign these key words in your blog application. When someone goes to Google and performs a search, if they’ve used one of your key words, your article just might come up in their search results.
Still not convinced? This is a very informative article from HubSpot on the benefits of blogging. The information will help you understand how blogging helps convert interested parties to customers!
Mary Jefferson is owner of Make It Count Marketing (www.makeitcountmarketing.com) – a MD-based consulting firm experienced in creating marketing solutions designed to work for small businesses and nonprofits.