Should Your Nonprofit Blog in 2023?
It’s a popular question that’s come up a lot over the past six months. There are lots of channels to focus on. A lot of ways to tell impact stories. And a lot of data that supports both sides of the blogging discussion. Combine this with the fact that there’s a limited amount of time in the day and your to-do lists are not getting any shorter.
So what’s a nonprofit to do? When I debate a topic like this, I like to weigh the pros and cons.
The Pros: Blogging Is Totally Worth It
Blogging is a big part of content marketing. HubSpot reports that blogging is the third most common content marketing strategy behind video and e-books. This is important as Classy notes that 92% of nonprofits invest in content marketing.
These stats are not surprising. Nonprofits are driven by emotion and their mission to make the world a better place, so what better way to get the word out than by literally writing your own content and sharing it online. Paired with the fact that nonprofits usually don’t have large marketing budgets and need to ensure that their efforts are leading to a positive ROI (blogs are easily tracked in Google Analytics), it all makes sense.
Blogs are helpful for a number of reasons:
- Blogs help SEO.
- Blogs are an easy way to provide a reason for donors to come back to your website.
- Blogs allow you to provide context around your donation asks when you tie an ask to a story.
- Blogs can power your entire digital ecosystem (social posts, newsletters, appeals, etc.).
The upside seems solid, but there is definitely a worthy argument against blogging, too.
The Cons: Blogging Is a Total Waste of Time
People can digest images in milliseconds as opposed to reading content that takes minutes. Video and visual search engines, like TikTok and YouTube, are growing and taking over as two of the three largest “search engines” on the internet. Attention spans are dwindling and artificial intelligence is writing content on the fly. All of this data leads some people to say blogging is dead in 2023.
Outside of the data, there are several discussions that lead to some organizations being skeptical of blogging.
- Blogging takes time.
- Blogging can be seen as not important in the grand scheme of what’s happening to serve the mission.
- Blogging distracts from other platforms.
- Blogs may not have returned a direct ROI in the past.
The challenges and perceptions of blogging are not insignificant.
So, Is Blogging Worth It?
I believe blogging and content marketing when done right are worth it. It’s definitely not a short term ROI (return on investment), but instead should be thought of as a foundational element for the future. Blogging isn’t easy, but can be powerful and can make a noticeable impact.
Tips to Write Better Blogs
A good blog post combines art and science. It’s full of emotion and allows the reader to see themselves as the hero. It’s backed by data and written with a structure that allows it to be discovered and encourages the reader to act.
It may sound easy, but blogging does take time to get right. Here are five tips to consider.
- Blog with a purpose. On your website content for content sake is a waste of time. Make sure that your blog has a call to action, so that when someone finishes a post, they have something to do next.
- Don’t make the blog a catchall. Put a process in place to help identify the stories that will make good blog posts. One way to do this is with a story element checklist (image, video, quote, result, audio, infographic, stat, etc.) If you have two or more elements and the story has a human protagonist, it’s likely to be a good candidate for a blog post.
- Don’t tackle too many topics. Search queries are getting longer. This means searches are getting more specific, so instead of writing a post that answers lots of questions try answering just one question per post with a comprehensive answer.
- Use technology. Writer's block is real. Embrace tools like Answer the Public and generative AI tools (I had to add a Chat GPT reference to this post) to help overcome the blockage.
- Promote your blogs. Blog posts need traffic to be successful. Post them social, use them in emails, and add them to other areas of your website to ensure that your donors and supporters know the impact your nonprofit has.
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Joe Frye is the account group director for nonprofit and cause at Town Hall Agency. He has spent more than a decade helping organizations make an impact and connect their missions with individuals. He has led award-winning projects and campaigns for organizations including PBS, Partners of the Americas, the Identity Theft Resource Center, Showtime Networks, Duke University, UNESCO and many others.
Joe's experience at the intersection of technology, data and creativity provide a unique perspective that allows organizations to create impactful digital ecosystems, increase donations, grow membership, improve member retention and increase overall revenue.