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Should Your Organization Even Have a Blog?

Yes.

Well, that’s the short answer. The long answer isn’t much longer: Yes—and be strategic about it.

The decision to have a blog or not feels age-old, but there’s clearly still reluctance around having one. Only 32% of nonprofits have blogs according to the 2019 Salesforce Fundamentals of Marketing and Engagement at Nonprofit Organizations Report.

For starters, a blog is not just a place to freely share your feelings—it’s an investment that takes resources. While the majority of our clients do have blogs, their capacity to post regularly varies. And when we first meet them, very few of them are doing any keyword research to inform their articles.

A blog done right can fill a variety of needs for your organization while reinforcing your brand. But a blog with no clear purpose doesn’t do you any good. You shouldn’t have a blog just for the sake of it, you should have a blog to deliver true value to your visitors and to attract more. Every blog you write should aim to do one or both of these things: court new people and/or continue to delight your regulars.

You might see other organizations pumping out great content and think, “How are they doing that? How many little elves do they have in there, writing blogs all day and sleeping under the desks in their offices?!”. We don’t have any blog elves here at Mighty Citizen, but we’re not going to lie—it’s time-consuming to roll out blog content.

But you don’t have to be posting an article every week for your blog to be worth it. It’s best to focus on the bigger picture. View your blog as a home for select pieces of keyword-informed, long-form content. Think of it like your closet. Isn’t it better to invest in a few versatile, staple articles of clothing rather than buy a bunch of cheap clothes every week? Your blog is no different.

The Juice Is Worth the Squeeze

The bottom line is this: Your audiences research. They do their homework. They shop around before they commit to any kind of membership, program, or service. Having a blog is a great way to showcase your personality and it’s a valuable tool for your content strategy.

Your blog should bring a different feel to your audience. As opposed to being marketed to or sold on your own perception of your organization, blog readers are essentially opting-in to your content—but you still control the narrative. When people talk about blogs as a great content marketing tool, this is really what they’re talking about. Giving a gift to your audiences and appearing to expect nothing in return.

When we generate (great) content, we generate value. We’re creating space for new ideas and concepts that our audiences can critically think about and implement.

The value we provide is foundational for the relationships we build, and as with any relationship, it’s about personality and trust. A great blog gives your brand both: personality and credibility. One of the easiest ways to gain trust is to demonstrate a fundamental and expert understanding of your industry. If you know what you’re talking about—talk about it!

The decision to engage is always an emotional one—whether it’s a donation, membership, application, or any other form of commitment. Trust is a priority, and here’s the truth: The more human your blog is, the more your readers will trust you. Have fun with your writing so people will like you (!) without straying from what feels true to your organization.

A blog will keep you organized and relevant. Imagine if you were to add a landing page to your website every time you had something to say…it would quickly get messy. Inherently, your blog keeps your closet tidy. It puts the most timely and relevant content first in a way that your whole website can’t do. Your audiences can also ideally filter and search your blog to find the content that’s most relevant to them.

How to Identify Your Staple Articles

Your blog should focus on a few key areas. It’s not an archive, a holding cell for all the weird half-ideas that your boss has, or anything else for that matter. So get used to the idea of having a go-to bench of content—your all-stars, your first string, the 1985 Chicago Bears! This is the content you know will score every time.

United States Women's National Team with their winning trophy

This is commonly referred to as “cornerstone content,” and these articles should be longer, filled with goodies like links, images, charts, and videos. Any tools your organization has to offer (e.g. white papers, reports, recorded webinars, worksheets) will look great woven into these blog posts.

So, what content belongs on the A-team? If you have no idea where to start, ask yourself: What major themes does your organization revolve around? What do your audiences care most about? What’s the bread and butter you’re always serving up at events and on other channels? Think about these as your parent blog posts. They cover overarching ideas and key concepts that easily define your organization, your focus, the value you’re bringing to the table.

Then, more robust content can be built around frequently asked questions. What better way to acclimate your audience to your organization than to stay a step ahead of the questions they have? Build long-form content around each one. The best thing about these is, when someone asks you the same question you’ve answered a million times, you can send ‘em a link to the blog and tell ‘em to have a nice day.

Mighty Insights

Turn your inbox into a toolbox.

Now that you’ve got your cornerstone articles, everything else stems from there. The rest of your content is tangential, falling under one of the cornerstone blogs. These are your “how-to” and “best of” and “deep dive” pieces (like the one you’re reading right now).

Our Insights are structured exactly this way—we have our cornerstone content that we know performs well, then we fill in with topics we know you care about because we send out surveys regularly.

Even if you’re only posting once a month, your content will build on itself over time. It will quickly become a bed of weeds if you use your blog to throw up any random update or request that comes your way. Or, it will grow into a rose garden if you stay true to the purpose you’ve established, always remembering that your blog is for your users, not for you or your team.

I Already Do All of This. So Why Isn’t Anyone Reading My Blog?

Arguably, the most difficult part about having a blog is getting people to read it. Engagement is a hard thing to generate, and it’s especially frustrating when we’re dedicating the time to build valuable content. If you’re an organization with a blog that no one’s reading, it might be time to return to the drawing board.

Nala from "The Lion King" saying "will someone please just listen to me"

Do you know what your clients think about your content? Ask them. Wouldn’t you like to know if they don’t care about what you’re writing? It’s easy to identify content that you care about and think your readers should too, but that’s not always the case. It could also be that you’re not writing enough, or that you’re not having enough fun with it! (Sorry, we know it’s very annoying when somebody tells you to smile more.)

Another possibility is that your audiences aren’t aware of your blog. Is your blog highly visible on your website? How are you incorporating your blog content into your social and email marketing strategies?

Schedule your blog posts into your editorial calendar. Fresh blogs will give your social accounts and emails a facelift while providing more opportunities for engagement. And you might need to make an investment in social ads or other digital advertising to get your beautiful blog in front of the right readers.

A blog is a commitment, but it reaps too many benefits to pass up. Be consistent and strategic, and you’ll start to see your blog as a necessity instead of a nuisance. And always keep your favorite blogs in mind for inspiration!

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