Blogging is the one social media activity that drives consumer and user recommendations. It is probably the "easiest" of all social media to master....and yet, many non-profits and social benefit agents are intimidated by it.
Yes, blogging is a challenge - creating unique essays and written content on a regular basis seems daunting, especially when done in balance with other online and offline activites. So as part of a semi-occuring feature on this blog, we will focus on strategies and recommendations that can allow people to feel more comfortable in using these challenges. And so, without further discussion, let's move into the "Bs of Blogging".
- Be Prepared - With many blogging and web site platforms (such as Wordpress, Blogger, Weebly, and Squarespace) available to users, it may be wise to do some research to find the platform that works best for you and/or your organization. (After all, blogging takes consistent time and effort,
and the platform that makes it easier for you to maintain that consistency is the one that is the "best" platform). You also might want to pick up a copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style as a way to brush up on grammar and proper punctuation.
- Be Consistent - Whether you post daily or weekly, try to stick to a set schedule of posting to the blog. Blog posts may take anywhere from half an hour to an hour and a half to write (based on content, finding appropriate backup links, etc), and the strategy should be that even if you only post once a week at the minimum....you or your organization is posting consistently.
- Be Personable Yet Professional - For some, social media is a way to demonstrate that you are a "subject matter expert". For others, the important thing is to be "human". In all social media - even in blogging, and especially when you're posting on behalf of an organization - you need to mix
both qualities. People want to feel as if your organization has a "personality" of sorts (in marketing, this may be referred to as a "brand experience"), but it is also important that you write in a way that makes your organization stand out. If you are blogging on behalf of a non-profit and/or social venture, you
understand precisely what the organization is about, and you have an opportunity to place your best foot forward
- Be Willing To Research - Once you are blogging, you may read and/or hear terms such as "RSS", "Search Engine Optimization" and/or "Blogger Disclosure Guidelines". There are plenty of free online resources that can help educate and inform your practice. (Hubspot is a great example, containing numerous resources on a variety of social media and marketing channels).
Don't be afraid to spend some time researching and learning - most of these resources are written in plain English, and quite honestly, will provide great value in your efforts.
- Be Visual - Whether you embed a YouTube video or photo to liven your post, increasingly research is finding that visual media drive engagement and exposure. Feel free to stay text-based if you must, but to make your posts more vibrant, attaching visual media helps insure that people read your post.
- Be Sociable and Relatable - Once your post is live, it now becomes a great resource to inform others about your mission. Share it on your social media channels - Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. (Don't be so quick to dismiss Google Plus - that channel provides greater visibility for search). And since your organization is looking to be personable and professional, this becomes another way to maintain that consistency of tone.
Hopefully, you now have a basic how-to in terms of thinking about blogging, and are hopefully motivated to begin considering it. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them below, or you can send me a note either via Linked In or my web site's contact page. And as always, thanks for reading!