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Five Reasons Why Nonprofits Who Utilize Social Media Should Also Blog

February 3, 2010

There are currently 133 million blogs worldwide. The world doesn’t need another blogger, right? Wrong. In the short 6 months that I have been blogging, I have come to the conclusion that blogging is the missing piece in a successful social media strategy. Here are five reasons why:

1) Blogging allows your nonprofit to have a consistent stream of fresh, timely new content to Tweet, post on Facebook, etc.

Social media is content driven. Blogging allows nonprofits to quickly and easily create and post content that’s timely and relevant to the here and now. That’s especially true on Twitter. Your organization is much more likely to be successful on Twitter if  you can respond quickly to breaking news related to your mission and/or organization. People don’t RT old news, and the static content on your website is only interesting for a Tweet or two.

The subject of nonprofits and blogging was very popular in 2006 and 2007. The main idea was to put a human face to your organization’s mission to better tell your stories and successes. While that’s still true, blogging as a tool for nonprofits needs to be re-evaluated in 2010. MySpace and Facebook weren’t being utilized by nonprofits in 2007 (except for a few early adopters) and Twitter did not exist. Today these  sites have transformed how people use the Internet and get their news. Through blogging, nonprofits can share their stories, break news, and share resources quickly, easily, and successfully to their communities on social networking sites.

2) To improve your search engine results.

In recent years Google, Bing, Ask.com, etc. have all changed the way they search the Web to archive and list Web pages in their search engines. SEO experts and spammers got so good at utilizing meta tags to manipulate search engine results that Google and others have now changed their search “spiders” to look for keywords in page titles, not meta tags. Blogging tools like WordPress and TypePad automatically add the code for page titles in every new blog post you publish to the Web.

This was a real opener to me. For example, I used the meta tags “Facebook” and “Nonprofit” on my website, but my site wouldn’t show up in the first 10 pages of a “Facebook Nonprofit” Google search. But just recently I created a blog post with the words “Facebook” and “Nonprofit” in the title, and within one week my blog post showed up on page one of a “Facebook Nonprofit” Google search. Wow. Showing up on page one in Google search results has led to numerous press interviews and a few new clients… all without spending one single penny on search engine optimization.  It’s time for nonprofits to re-evaluate blogging, its purpose, and its effect on search engine optimization.

3) To get access to statistical data.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 utilizes WordPress (a blogging platform) and the statistical data WordPress provides  has been incredibly helpful in helping me understand my readers and the content that they are most interested in. From daily to monthly visits and most popular blog posts, WordPress also allows you to view referral URLs and how many visitors came to your blog from Google searches, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. It consistently amazes me that the posts nonprofits read the most (anything about Facebook ) are not the ones that I think they’d be most interested in (mobile technology ).

4) To build community around your mission.

Buzz words like “Community” and “Engagement” have become very popular over the last 12-18 months in reference to sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, but blogging and blogging platforms (like Blogger, WordPress, TypePad) gave birth to the idea of a social web. The ability to post comments on blogs is where it all started, and honestly, I’ll take a comment on my blog over a comment on Facebook any day of the week.

5) To grow your fans and followers on social networking sites.

I have icons for Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, etc. on my website and my blog, but very people click on them on my website. Many do on my blog. Why? I think because my website is classic old school marketing (which is still necessary and serves its own purpose) while my blog has a face, a name, a personality, an opinion. People want to “Friend” and “Follow” humans with emotions and opinions, not marketing bots.

Related Webinar:
How Nonprofit Organizations Can Successfully Launch and Maintain a Blog on WordPress

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35 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 7:00 am

    Good information, thanks for sharing

    I use blogger and will look for analytics mentioned.

    Agree totally with people want to interact with person / human. Go figure.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    February 3, 2010 7:20 am

    I see that you mention using wordpress as a positive thing largely for the analytics it provides. We currently have our blog on our website and use google analytics for these same things. However we are still having some trouble getting traction on our blog. Have you found that having a blog on wordpress makes it more successful/brings more traffic than hosting it yourself?

    Thanks for any insight you can provide on this 🙂

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      February 3, 2010 7:28 am

      Well… I used Blogger briefly, and none of those posts showed up in Google results, but with WordPress, within a week. Twitter is the real power house for my blog though, and listing new blog posts in e-mail newsletters makes a big difference. Promoting your blog on LinkedIn groups is a must. Also, is the content on your blog interesting? That’s most important. Finally, I have looked at your homepage for about 15 seconds now and can’t see a blog link? My eyes missing it? Integrating your blog into your website, e-mail newsletter, Twitter, Faceboook, LinkedIn, etc. is essential. Soon… blogging will go mobile…

  3. February 3, 2010 7:21 am

    Be passionate! It’s contagious and the rest will catch the fever along with you. 🙂

  4. February 3, 2010 9:46 am

    As the founder of a new org I believe that establishing a blog will be very important to the growth and success of our organization. Not only will a blog allow us to provide new information and provide updates timely, but our community will also have opportunity to respond directly to us. This type of dynamic interaction is what is most exciting to me. I hope that our blog (soon to come) with provide an open forum for our community, friends and supporters.

  5. February 3, 2010 12:02 pm

    Interesting bit about the meta tags, I’ve noticed that wordpress automatically stuffs your title into the page URL but I wasn’t aware they ranked any higher than meta.

    Thanks!

  6. February 5, 2010 3:35 am

    Here are my reasons to blog.
    1. My web traffic doubled when I started to blog. When I began using Twitter it jumped another 30%. I use other social media to point back to my blog thus upping my traffic.
    2. My new traffic, as a result of my blog, puts me at the top of my particular industry in terms of traffic.
    3. My blog posts have easily allowed me to write two books. Blog posts make good frame work for chapters.
    4. Several of my blog posts have been used by our Director of Marketing to show our value to potential customers. Used correctly a blog has many other legs to stand on.
    5. It gives me a pulpit to preach from!

    Blog on!

  7. February 5, 2010 7:07 am

    All great reasons. Not coincidentally, they strongly mirror the rationale in the for-profit sector as well.

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned is the opportunity for your audience to interact with your organization. It’s an opportunity to connect and begin building new relationships and strengthen existing ones.

  8. February 8, 2010 7:42 am

    This article is very helpful as someone beginning to blog about new organization on wordpress.com/tuesdayinc.
    Will work with wordpress analytics. Also really like http://www.statcounter.com/ for more geographic data.
    Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Thank you! -A

  9. February 9, 2010 8:37 am

    This is actually an all new area for us and we are working on it all. I found your blog on Twitter and I am glad we did. Very useful information…thank you!

    Mark
    Friends Like Us
    http://www.friendslikeusfoundation.blogspot.com

  10. February 10, 2010 12:01 am

    As always Heather, you are spot-on the mark.

    Thanks for sharing the link to the SEO article, which confirms what I have long believed. When a clients tells me they’ve hired SEO experts I just groan. In other words, the client hasn’t listened to what I have told them about SEO or some SEO hack has been telemarketing and convinced them to sign up.

    Keep up the wonderful work!

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      February 10, 2010 4:22 am

      Thanks Michael. I read late 2008 that 2009 would be the year that SEO experts went out of business. Better to just hire a blogger. 🙂

  11. March 3, 2010 9:14 am

    Hi Heather,

    We just launched our new blog at http://lionsclubsorg.wordpress.com/ … thanks to your wonderful Webinar.

    Eileen =)

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      March 3, 2010 12:31 pm

      It’s looks great Eileen… love it.

  12. March 18, 2010 7:14 am

    I consult both large and small organizations (NFP and Fortune 500) that the first step to engage in social media has to be a blog so you can develop content to share out on other social media sites and/or to attract people to your site.
    Before even venturing into the wild and crazy world of blogging – surf other blogs, leave comments and build a trust relationship with people who share common interests or passions – you can also Tweet the blogs you like and share them on Facebook…again this builds your followers and your online social network…once you have an understanding of the value proposition of the content, expertise or muse you can bring to a blog start to capture it and share it with your network in all formats possible. I suggest trying to focus on 3 social network mediums otherwise it can get overwhelming…like Twitter, Facebook and Digg.
    Remember – you don’t own your content or followers/contacts/friends on social networking sites so your goal is to drive them back to a site you own/moderate – a point solution blog like WordPress is a great solution. If you want something more robust check out IGLOO’s free community offering that includes a blog, document sharing, wiki and much much more – all for FREE! http://www.igloosoftware.com/free

  13. April 1, 2010 5:55 am

    This is a really interesting article…as always.

    One question comes to mind – how do you find the time to blog if you are a small nonprofit organization?

    For instance, staff in our field offices have some really powerful blogs, but they explain that it takes a lot of time and energy to update their blog regularly. As a small support office, our fear is that we would spend far too much time and energy creating material for a blog, when we could/should be directly engaging with volunteers. What are your thoughts? Perhaps, you have some tips on how to manage a blog efficiently?

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      April 1, 2010 7:29 am

      Well… honestly, I think blogging is important enough to find the time. And it depends what you are blogging about. One post a week… 2-3 paragraphs… that’s do-able. I do give a very comprehensive webinar on blogging that covers how to set up up, manage it, and 15 different ideas for blog content. Blogging really is essential in Web 2.0. Good luck.

  14. April 16, 2010 1:55 pm

    Insightful post!

    I am a Social Media Coordinator for UBC Sauder’s Social Entrepreneurship 101: Africa Initiative. We teach the students involved in the program that blogging is indeed essential as a tool, but should compliment and be complimented by your entire marketing mix.

    If you were interested to see more about out project please have a look at http://www.africa.sauder.ubc.ca or you can find us on Facebook: SE101.Africa or Twitter: @SE101Africa

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