Solutions to 3 Common Nonprofit Blogging Woes

Created by Cori Albrecht

nonprofit bloggingGenerating dynamic content is still the best way to attract and keep supporters and donors. Of course, consistently creating helpful information and engaging stories doesn't always come easy. Whether your nonprofit blogging woes stem from a lack of ideas, a boring blog personality, or disorganized content, the following information will help you to solve them.

1. You’ve run out of ideas.

Feeling like you’ve spent the entire day brainstorming, with no gold nuggets to show for it? Stop searching inward and look outward at what your audience is searching for online.

There are a few options for mining your readers’ interests for new ideas.

To solve your pain, solve theirs

Use the problems, challenges, and goals of your key personas to determine your blog topics. Bring your organization together to create or revise your key personas. Then take each challenge, problem, or goal and plan a blog that directly answers the persona’s questions on that topic. Interviews with people representing your personas can result in very useful blog content and can also build your organization’s relationships with key stakeholders.

Revisit your content library

Out of your existing blog posts, ebooks, videos, and webinars, which ones have been the most successful? Which ones could use a follow-up, refresh, or expansion? Are there videos, webinars, or conference panel outlines that could be repackaged as individual blog posts or as series of blog posts? Identify the holes in your content, then fill them.

Reset social media alerts

What was hot a week or a month ago is yesterday’s news. Think about what’s trending in your field or community right now. Keep tabs on developing issues and stories. Which trends and areas could you respond to with valuable insights and information? Which ongoing issues have you neglected to cover in the past?

Survey your audience

Find a way to pinpoint your supporters’ and donors’ interests. What do they want to know more about? Are they interested in hearing how their donation dollars are spent? Do they want to hear more about what happens behind the scenes? Or do they enjoy success stories from the communities you serve? Use their responses to fuel your next blog series.

Don’t forget keyword research

This critical component of content marketing takes human behavior into account and combines different aspects of the data that Google makes available. Paid keyword research tools include Google Ads Keyword Planner, HubSpot's SEO tool, and Keywords Everywhere. There are also many free tools available. Once you’ve homed in on relevant keywords, you can break them down further into subtopics for your blog posts.

2. You struggle to organize your blogs.

Small and mid-sized organizations often have tiny marketing teams. You might even be a marketing department of one! When you’re forced to wear several hats throughout the day, it’s easy to get disorganized or distracted.

Here are some ideas to help you remember and organize your topics:

  • Organize your blog topics into topic clusters. Planning content using topic clusters is good SEO practice. More important, it helps you organize your content while connecting your audience’s everyday questions to a big theme within your organization’s mission or work.
  • Phone apps. Download Evernote, Todoist, Feedly, MindNode, or another note-taking app that works for you. When you keep blogging ideas on your phone, it’s easy to sort and share them with the team.
  • Keep a notepad. It might sound rudimentary, but a simple notepad and pen can be a lifesaver. You never know when you might experience a stroke of genius, so pick a small notepad that stays with you in the car, by your bedside, and at your office desk. Review your brainstorming scribbles at the end of each week, then transfer your best ideas to the growing list of blog topics in your phone app.
  • Make a content calendar. A list of 20 unrelated blog posts isn’t a bad start, but your planning shouldn’t end there. Your nonprofit content market strategy should include a content calendar that maps out each month’s or quarter’s blog posts. The calendar and strategy should include the topic, who the post might be for (using personas), and how it fits into the journey from curious reader to full-fledged nonprofit supporter.

3. Your nonprofit blog is boring.

It’s not always easy to create attention-grabbing content. If you’ve managed to crank out content that even you find downright boring, ask yourself: “Is this content valuable to my key personas?”

If your answer is a resounding “yes,” then it’s time to punch it up and make it more exciting.

Use humor (when appropriate)

If your organization and the work you do has a lighter side, inject some personality into your content. It’s easy for a blog to sound stiff and formal. Instead, think of it as a letter to or a conversation between your staff and supporters. Don't shy away from light humor, personal stories, and a semicasual, familiar writing style.

Make it skimmable

These days, most people read blogs on their phones. Keep your blog reader-friendly with subheadings, bulleted lists, or numbers to break up large blocks of text.

Also, add graphics and infographics to make content more visually appealing.

Incorporate video

People look at videos five times longer than static content. If you want to connect your audience with the message and mission of your nonprofit, videos are the way to go. Sprinkle graphics and video content throughout your blog to captivate readers more quickly and easily.

At the end of the day, remember that you’re writing for the human, not the search engine. Your content might not always be polished and perfect, and it doesn’t have to be! A successful nonprofit blog simply needs to be relatable and dynamic for its audience.