We were delighted to be Print Sponsor at the recent Social Media Exchange 2016 – a one-day conference which was all about storytelling and social media for charities.
Whilst we were in attendance, we saw Seaneen Molloy-Vaughan from Mind , talking about the power of blogging for charities. She explained how blogging can help to show an organisation’s human side, so helps your audience relate to you more. It is also quick and reactive – readers can interact with the blogger immediately and discuss the post with other readers. A blog is also a great space for readers to share their own stories and help them feel involved in your cause and projects.
We thought we would share her steps in setting up a blog, whilst her presentation was aimed at charities the steps could be used by any organisation thinking about blogging:
- Select your platform
There are basically two choices for where you can place your blog – either as part of your website or hosted separately on a self-hosted blogging platform, such as Blogger or WordPress.com. Both have their benefits, but embedding it directly in your site means it can help with the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and helps drive readers to other pages on your site too.
- Create a schedule
Planning your content in advance is highly advisable, not only because it helps you to be organised, but also so you can let your audience know what to look out for. You can advertise the next blog post to your readers in advance and drum up interest for it. It also means you can recruit bloggers in advance for relevant topics.
- Recruit Bloggers
You can of course write blogs internally using staff, but it is always good to involve your audience which could include those that you know well: beneficiaries, trustees and donors. However, you could also find existing bloggers that have a special interest in your cause, recruiting them via social media. Don’t always rely on the same bloggers, look out for particular hashtags and approach new writers if they are passionate about your cause.
- Create guidelines for your bloggers
You know what you want to say to your audience, so be specific with your bloggers about what topic you want the post to be about and in which tone. Think about any rules around content type – ie whether or not you allow opinion pieces. Provide a word count guideline and a deadline. You also need to manage expectations that not every blog will be published, if your blog proves popular or if the blogs submitted aren’t suitable for your blog.
- Share your blog
An obvious point, but once written you need to share your blog articles. Use hashtags to reach your audience on social media and graphics about the blog are good to share and gain interest. Cross promote the articles through your other communications channels like emails.
It was a really useful presentation and providing an interesting insight into how Mind manages its successful blog.