You’ve read the blog articles about how fantastic blogs are, you’ve seen the statistics about how blogs can build engagement, and you’ve decided you want to start one for your nonprofit. Great! Here’s how to start:
1. Identify your goals
Starting a blog without having a plan is a setup for failure. Before you start writing, ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Who are you trying to reach? What ideas are you trying to convey? What are you trying to accomplish? Answering these questions will help you determine appropriate content and can even affect your tone and writing style. Setting a goal for your blog will help keep your entries focused and deliberate.
2. Identify your content
Once you’ve got a goal for your blog, the next step is figuring out your content. You don’t have to plan your posts for the rest of the year, but you should have an idea of the type of information you want to convey to your readers. Is your goal to recruit more volunteers? You may want to focus some articles on current volunteers and their work. Do you want to retain more donors? Try writing about how donors changed the world with their money and time. Start brainstorming topics and ideas! Keeping a running list of ideas will help you when it comes time to update your blog.
3. Work out a time frame
This is an important step, especially for busy nonprofit employees! It’s easy to neglect a blog when other projects are coming up, and establishing a set schedule for writing and posting can be a huge help. Decide how often you want to post and how long you can reasonably dedicate to each post, and then stick to it. Whether you decide to post weekly or monthly, consistency is key!
4. Try using a content calendar
Building a content calendar will ensure that your entries make sense individually and as a whole. Once you’ve got your time frame and a repertoire of topics set up, plan a rough schedule for when you’ll post which entries. It’ll help you make sure your entries are posted in a sensible, orderly way. It also helps when you’re extra-busy or have writers’ block!
5. Start writing
Be careful not to get so caught up in planning that you never actually write! Figure out what you need to start writing and start. Just do it. Your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. Nor does your second! Just make sure that you’re writing. When you’ve got your first draft done, take a break before you proof and edit. It’ll give you a clearer head and will help you rewrite more effectively. If you get stuck, try reading your post aloud. It’s a great way to figure out if your article is easy to read or if its wording is awkward.
6. Build a base of articles
Building a base of several articles before unveiling your project is always a good idea. It gives readers a chance to dig into some of your great content right away, which can encourage them to explore other parts of your site. It also establishes that your blog is something that will be updated regularly, which can boost readership. It’s also good practice for new writers who want time to develop their writing style.
7. Post regularly
Nothing kills readership like sporadic updates, and nothing screams “unprofessional” more than a blog that’s been untouched for 6 months. Maintaining readership can be hard, but reviving readership after losing peoples’ interest is even harder. Keep readers’ attentions by sticking to your time frame!
Once you’ve got your blog ready to go, build readership by spreading the word on your site, in your social channels, and in newsletters and e-mails. You’ve worked hard on your articles — show them off!