24 Apr Lessons Non-Profit Organizations Can Learn About Blogging
Recently, a blog post we wrote for a client was quoted in a news story published by a national newswire. It’s good news for our client who gained some exposure. It’s also good news for us because it demonstrates to our client we’re doing our job well. I have hesitated to post about this “success” because the blog post referenced was a remembrance of one of the organization’s supporters who recently passed away. However, I think this particular post and the reference to it offers some lessons non-profit organizations can learn about blogging.
Fifteen years ago I graduated with a degree in Journalism, and I would never have predicted the state of news and newspapers as it is today. Honestly, at that time I didn’t pay that much attention to it. Now I live and breathe the changes. The field of news reporting has changed more than most in the new climate of easy internet access. This latest “success” for us highlights a few points for me as a writer, journalist, and blogger:
A newswire article quoted a non-profit blog post. Read that again. Blog posts are no longer reserved for those on the fringes or the mom who wants to tell the world about her toddler’s potty training adventures. B2B blogs and non-profit blogs are written regarding topics that matter to your customers and friends and family. When they are written well, they can and will carry the same authority as a news interview or story.
Not everything we write is fun. Most people think of blogs as being either fluff or controversial. This one was neither. Our country, our state, and our client lost a good man of integrity and a staunch supporter. Our client could not let him pass from this life without speaking a word about the way he lived. We were honored to be able to write that post for our client and express their thoughts in a way that might touch other people.
Being ready is half the work. Barring a miracle (which we prayed for along with our client), we expected this event. We did not have a timetable. We did, however, start to gather our thoughts and the information we would need ahead of time. Be aware of the events happening in your industry, your clients’ industries, you company, and your community. Have a general plan in place to handle the writing of big event stories. If you are ready, you can present a well-thought out, well-received, timely article.
Don’t jump on trending topic just because people are talking about it. Part of what made this article work is that our client had an established, long-term relationship with this supporter. Had they not really known this person, writing a blog post about this person’s passing could come across as insincere and damaged our credibility instead. Every year we see similar situations when companies use #MLK for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday when the rest of the year civil rights and African-American heritage is not even on their radar. I’ll be blunt; it’s offensive, and it damages your credibility. You want your nonprofit blog to be taken seriously. You have plenty of opportunities to be known as a voice for your business without jumping on a trending topic that doesn’t really resonate with your company.