Seven Sins of Nonprofit Blogging

With all the benefits nonprofits can reap from blogging, I’m always amazed that so many organizations skip blogging. Or worse, do it poorly.  Here are seven (deadly?) sins of nonprofit blogging to avoid.

Sin #1: Not Blogging

The Mightycause Foundation lists 11 benefits nonprofits can reap from blogging. There are tangible benefits to promotion like improved fundraising, increased web traffic, and more earned media coverage. But blogging also offers intangibles such as improved executive presence.

Sin #2: Waiting to Publish

In my experience, waiting to publish leads to not publishing.

If you wait until you think you have something worth publishing, or enough material to publish, then inevitably nothing seems worthy. You end up publishing sporadically, or not publishing at all.

On the flip side, once you commit to a publishing schedule, you’ll find the material you need to fill your schedule.

If you want to learn how to sustain a blog over time, check out my free, short course on thinking like a content strategist.

Sin #3: Blogging for Your Organization, Not Your Audience

Some nonprofits fill their blog with entries about their events, their grant awards, their executive appearances. It’s all about them.

Ever socialized with someone who talks exclusively about themselves? Annoying, isn’t it? Blogs (and social media) that only discuss organization news are equally annoying.

Write about what your audience wants to know, not just what you want to tell them.

Sin #4: Publishing Without a Plan

You wouldn’t follow a blog or magazine that lacked all predictability of content. If the top three articles in an issue were vegan cooking tips, foreign policy theory, and instructions to install a water heater, would you continue following that publication or channel?

That topic mix might land in your personal Facebook feed because that’s what you’re are personally interested in. The same approach does not apply when planning your blog content.

For a short, free course on publishing with a plan, check out my course on thinking like a content strategist.

Sin #5: Promoting Where They Ain’t

I’ve seen organizations promote their blog content on a channel like Instagram without any idea of whether their audience uses Instagram, or what Instagram was designed for and good at doing.

You’ll bring more readers to your blog, and thus to your website overall, by promoting your content in the places where your audience naturally congregates. That includes off-line, real world venues like conferences, trainings, and clinics.

Sin #6: Being Ugly

The words in your blog may be beautiful and timely and relevant. People won’t read them if they are ugly.

To avoid creating ugly online publications:

  • Write in shorter paragraphs.
  • Use lists where appropriate.
  • Break up text with section headings.
  • Including photos and illustrations.

Good blog imagery doesn’t need to be expensive, either. See my free photo page for several sources of good photos and illustrations that are free to use, as well as free photo editing tools.

Sin #7: Not Reusing Your Content

Nonprofit blogging that is useful and attractive with regular posts takes thought and work. It’s a sin to not make the most of that work by reusing blog content elsewhere.

Blog content can find additional life in many places such as

  • Newsletters.
  • Fundraising appeals.
  • Proposals.
  • Articles.
  • Executive presentations.
  • Annual reports.

(Image courtesy of MaxPixel)

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