What I Would Say to Social Entrepreneurs Who Think They Don’t Have Enough Time for Blogging
When you think of blogging, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Perhaps your initial thoughts might make you think of something like “Dear Diary,” a place for teenage angst or for those who wish to remain anonymous about their day-to-day lives or feelings.
While this might have been the case around 10 to 20 years ago, blogging has now grown into a reputable skill that can become a very powerful weapon for those who use it wisely.
Using blogging effectively can change the face of your social enterprise forever.
Blogs have become more important than the news
If we put this into perspective, it is because of blogs and social media — not necessarily the news or mainstream media anymore — that we know so much about what is really going on in the world around us.
Blogs are one of the quickest sources of information for many people worldwide. Here are some of the best examples of this:
- The Black Lives Matter movement began because a group of women started sharing their thoughts online and realized that a movement for justice was building.
- If Philando Castile’s girlfriend did not turn on her camera phone and go on Facebook Live after the police unnecessarily shot him to death in their car, the public would not have been moved as much to act.
- If the water protectors from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe did not start telling their own story online, people throughout the country would not have known that their land and their culture were being threatened by a pipeline.
So why aren’t more social enterprises using this valuable online tool to tell their stories?
How to change your thinking about blogging
If you look at the numbers, only about 37% of social enterprises are blogging regularly. Very few of them are creating infographics and ebooks, which help you drive even more traffic to your blog over time.
If your social enterprise falls into this category, don’t fret. There are some simple steps you can take to improve your marketing strategy.
And I know what you’re probably thinking right now: I get that blogging is important, but I’m busy. How often do I need to post? Which types of content should I provide? How long is an ideal blog post? Will people even read it? And how will a blog post translate into money for my social enterprise?
Let me explain.
If you want to build a following on your blog, then you need to be frequent and consistent.
This is an absolute priority as failure to post regularly will quickly result in your visitors losing interest and no longer looking up your website. If they check several times and your website is the same as it was last time they looked, then this means that they will be likely to give up.
The very minimum you should be posting then is once every two weeks. If you do this, then you should also post on a consistent day and make sure that you are always on time.
While you can get by on one post every two weeks, this is very much not the best strategy. What is far preferable is that you aim to produce at least one blog post a day. That might sound like a lot, but the proof is in the pudding.
Think of any of the top blogs that you like to read on a regular basis: how many blog posts do they have? In all likelihood, they probably post multiple times in a single day or at least once a day. If you’re a social entrepreneur hoping to make money from a product sold on your website, then the main activity you should be engaging in is writing your content and then promoting your content.
In terms of length, most marketing experts now recommend aiming for longer-form content.
Anything that’s 1,500 words and over will be able to provide much greater depth and much more insight compared with something that is just 500 words.
Therefore, these longer posts tend to be better at creating trust and authority and they also tend to be shared more. They additionally have a greater chance of ending up in Google’s curated “news” section, which is fantastic for increased visibility and more visitors.
The only problem is that writing one or more posts a day at 1,500 words each becomes a rather impossible task for most brands — and even most bloggers.
A better strategy might be to aim for shorter content — perhaps 500–700 words — for most posts and then to write a few longer ones.
This also has another added benefit, in that it will allow you to keep your content looking more natural and organic.
When every single post on your website is roughly similar in terms of its size and structure, then this actually can be a bad thing from an SEO perspective. To Google, too much consistency doesn’t look organic.
It doesn’t look as though you wrote the articles that way because that’s how you thought they should be. Rather, it looks like you wrote them that way because you thought it would help you climb Google.
In other words, it looks like you’re trying to game the system. On the flip side, if your content varies in length, then it looks more as though you’re focused on delivering good content for your readers without concern for how it might impact your SEO. Ironically, this is what Google wants you to do!
Let me also just take a moment to plug the real value of storytelling.
Storytelling means that you’re making your content much more personal and phrasing it as something that happened to you or to someone you know.
So instead of talking about a new technique that’s being used to reduce childhood hunger, you might instead talk about what your social enterprise is doing to reduce childhood hunger through a certain technique.
This subtle shift will make anything you write about considerably more engaging — to the point that it has often been described as “SEO for the human brain.”
Storytelling is powerful because the brain has evolved to respond well to stories.
Stories allow us to imagine ourselves in the storyteller’s shoes which makes whatever is being said much more engaging, emotionally resonant and interesting.
What’s more, we like to hear how stories end: so if you start your story off in an impactful way, you can bet your audience is going to keep reading.
Bottom line: Tell more stories, and people will give you permission to sell them more stuff.
Time to get “real” about your social enterprise’s digital marketing strategy
If you’re still questioning whether your social enterprise really needs to have a blog, consider blogging as the fuel for your organization’s digital marketing strategy.
The winning formula for any social enterprise looking to launch a digital marketing strategy starts with using content marketing (i.e. blogging) as your fuel, according to Guidestar.
Next, you share your content on social media to ignite the fire.
Once you’ve got people’s attention, connect with them using email to keep your sales or fundraising engine going.
This last part kinda works like MTV’s “The Real World.” (Who remembers the confessionals?)
“The Real World” can be a model for organizations that want to connect more with their main audience. How so?
Because when you’re blogging (and sending emails about your blogs, which you should always be doing), you don’t just want to always point the camera on your customers or the people in the community whose lives you are changing. That still makes people feel like you’re not really a real person.
Every now and then, don’t be afraid to peel back the curtain, talk about what you’re doing as it is happening and create a drama around an issue you are fighting for. You are already characters in a real-life story anyway.
This is the technique that “The Real World” made popular.
Take control of the media you present
Most importantly, having a blog can give your social enterprise the press it seeks.
With the democratization of storytelling tools available online nowadays — and with the media continuing to fall short of its duty to tell the stories of the communities where they reside — your social enterprise can take control of your own advertising and control the media you present and wish to portray.
Let me tell you a quick story about a recent post I saw on Facebook that caught my attention, and what you can learn from it.
Davey D is well known in the San Francisco Bay Area for his Hard Knock Radio show on KPFA, and he has always had his pulse on the intersection between hip hop and politics. He’s known as the “people’s journalist” for a reason.
One day not too long ago, he shared a very interesting post on his Facebook page about gentrification and Oakland’s beloved Lake Merritt. At the time, the popular community gathering hole was starting to become (and it still is in many ways) a hotspot of controversy after a few white people contacted the city about noise complaints because a group of mostly black and brown folks started drumming in the park (who remembers hearing about #BBQBecky?).
The following was his “blog post”:
This is the kind of perspective that only social enterprises can bring to the table because they are often the closest to what people are going through.
Sharing that kind of independent story on a blog would not only help your social enterprise connect more with the people that you are trying to serve. It could also draw media attention to the issue you are promoting and give your social enterprise a larger platform.
However, this is only possible if you continue to blog regularly about an issue that fosters a lot of engagement with the public.
So what does this mean for your business or organization? If you want to grow your visibility, authority, trust and impact online, then you should consider having a blog.
It not only keeps your website fresh and alive with new content but it also adds value to what you’re ultimately trying to sell.