The modern era of nonprofit marketing began more than 25 years ago when nonprofits realized that without a website they were virtually out of business. Everyone went out immediately and launched a website.
Key WordsThis herding virtually swamped the internet. Early search engines were engineered at universities until Jerry Yang created Yahoo! Directory and world-wide-web search went commercial with Yahoo and America Online leading the way. When nonprofits learned that search engines could find their website treading water in the vast internet sea by recognizing key words and ranking sites according to a primitive algorithm, they (and everybody else) started monkeying with their website wording. Key words became the rage.
Social MediaMobile devices and social media rode to the rescue and the herd jumped on. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, You Tube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr contrived new immediate ways to communicate with the marketplace and we all went wild. Some in cyberspace have become addicted to Facebook and some use Twitter to run the entire U.S. Government. But again, the crowd closed in and even social media has begun to diminish as a nonprofit communication tool. It is now almost impossible to rise above the noise level and communicate your mission to stakeholders via social media alone.
What’s Next?What now? Should you go back to publishing a hard copy newsletter and hope that after the USPS eventually delivers it to your donors and volunteers they don’t trash it with the other flyers, offers, and coupons? I think not. As marketing and communication techniques continue to evolve nonprofits must continue to adapt their marketing campaigns.
BlogIf you haven’t done it already, it is time to start a blog. That’s right – a blog. Just like the one you’re reading right now. As the internet continues to change size and shape, the old email and social media tools no longer fit the task. A blog, however, confined to 750 words per post, falls somewhere between a newsletter and a tweet. The tweet doesn’t supply enough information to engage the reader in your mission. The newsletter is too copious and most internet consumers will not focus that long. The blog is perfect.
The Benefits of Blogging
- A blog allows you to share stories and tell them in-depth creating a deeper connection between you and your future donors.
- A blog offers you the opportunity to develop content. The advanced search engine AI algorithms recognize topics beyond key words and rank sites based both on topic popularity and refreshment. A weekly blog on topics closely related to your mission would not be overdoing it as far as the search engine is concerned.
- If your blog posts are providing value to your visitors, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually start getting people linking to your posts. Search engines decide how popular you are (and factor this into how high you should rank) partially based on your inbound links.
- Blog posts can be found forever on search engines and promoted through multiple online channels. As your blog content gains traction, donors can share posts again and again via social media to attract new donors to your cause.
- Building a blog full of engaging content can make a world of difference in boosting your number of supporters and donations.
- A blog can be a great way to stand out. If you post valuable blogs you eventually will be seen as the expert in your field.