Maintaining a blog is like running a marathon. You can’t just do it on a whim—you have to be in it for the long run, otherwise you won’t be rewarded. So how do you write the right content on your nonprofit blog?
When you take away all the bells and whistles, you end up with the foundation of your blog: the content. Your blog is going to have an awfully hard time being exceptional if its content is a flop.
Much like training prepares a runner for their big race, taking time to prepare beforehand will set your blog up for success. Here are some ways to ready your blog’s best material.
Tee it Up
Start off by taking note of your resources. What do you have in terms of information, manpower and networks? Those will determine where you get your inspiration, how much you can create and how it’ll spread. When you take time for this you’ll uncover your assets and the places you’re better off shying away from.
Once you’ve decided on your “thing,” ask yourself what value it’s providing to your readers. Is it primarily educational, or are you using it as a platform to share stories? This will give you a better idea of how to create and shape the content that’s to come.
Beef it Up
Once your blog has a function, you can brainstorm what it needs to include. Create a list of topics related to your nonprofit and some potential places to find new topics. You can hit the ground running if you know what you’re looking for.
Take the Nonprofit Hub site: we built it as an educational resource for nonprofits and other organizations. Within that, we developed expertise in areas like fundraising, donor retention, social media and more. We focused on research, expert opinions and our own experience to generate regular content in those areas.
In a rut for coming up with categories? Think about how you can incorporate these things into your blog:
- Sharing stories of your nonprofit’s successes and failures.
- Analyzing case studies. How can they apply to you and your blog’s audience?
- Inviting guests to write posts for your blog.
- Digging deeper into previous ideas—find something factual and go further than the original author.
Split it Up
Easy-to-read content means engaging content. A big block of text is like a brick wall—it’s not too fun to look at, and it’s just about as hard to get through. Don’t make readers trudge through what you’re saying. One of the easiest ways to spice up your content is by breaking it up. There are lots of ways to do that.
- Start off with a bang. A fascinating introduction can make or break your blog posts. If readers hit snooze from the get-go, then they’ll move on to the next best thing.
- Add some visuals. A picture says a thousand words, and it takes a fraction of the time to digest. A few carefully-picked photos can go a long way.
- Captivate with headlines. Headlines are another great way to split up your content. They’re like milestones throughout your post, and they can give readers an overview of what’s to come.
- Make a list. If you’re looking to lighten your load, then a list is just the thing. They can consolidate heavy paragraphs into something more understandable, and they remove the added responsibility of coming up with transitions.
Each of these items has a profound impact on the way that readers take in your content. Each post is a little like a work of art—the more people like looking at it, the longer they’ll stay to admire it. Each feature takes just a little extra formatting and thought, so make the effort—the blogosphere will thank you for it.
Keep it Up
Now that you’ve got a foundation for building your blog, you can add a few bells and whistles to help it go the extra mile. Design and search engine optimization are both elements that take blogs to the next level, but don’t forget why you created your blog in the first place. Content comes first, then the frills. Make sure you’ve got the basics down pat before you start tackling a whole new beast.
Behind every great blog is great content. Before anything else, think long and hard about what type of content you want to provide, how you can produce it and what it will add to your organization. Preparing great content will set you up for success long past the starting line.
Originally published 10.26.16—Updated 11.14.17