Tips for Effective Use of a Blog that Every Charity & Candidate Should Know

22 Feb 2018


Blogging intimidates a lot of website owners. You've likely heard that blog posts should be a certain -- and fairly wordy -- length, with catchy headlines, and captivating photos. And that is true when you are using a blog as a marketing method to attract new clients, or to build your brand as an influencer or topic authority.


But there are other uses for blogs that can give some website owners more flexibility and less pressure in posting.


How Political Campaigns Can Use Blogging


I have a client who is campaigning for a local government office. In creating her website it was obvious to me that the blog page would be perfect for a number of communications to her constituents.  For example:

  • frequent posting of videos of her town hall meetings

  • videos of listening sessions

  • where and when announcements of upcoming campaign events

  • her take on local campaign issues when they come up in the news

  • photos of neglected problems, and her proposed solutions

  • spontaneous thoughts in counterpoint to her campaign opponent

As social media losing credibility in the wake of the Russian troll farm exposés, readers want platforms they can trust. If you are running for office, your number one job is to make yourself the most trustworthy candidate in the race. This is accomplished by frequent and open communication on trustworthy websites -- such as your own!


In other words, a blog can and should be used as a kind of expanded social media platform that both posts a "promo" on Twitter and Facebook, and also brings readers from social media to your website. Wix makes this easy now with several simple click tools.


Post frequent reports to your community on your activities, positions, talks, investigations, fundraisers, campaign staff, and counterpoint arguments on important local issues.


Blogging for Activism and Charity Organizations


I have had several non-profit organizations as clients over the years. For these types of organizations, blogs need to serve multiple audiences:

  • donors

  • service volunteers

  • staff and board members

  • community activity participants

  • recipients of organizations' benefit efforts


Try to post blogs that have information specifically for each audience, on a rotating basis. Provide information that helps each audience accomplish what you need from them.


Donors need to know how and what to donate, where and when to do that, and what difference their donations have made to the organization and its beneficiaries. It's also good to show photos of similar fundraising activities, to get people anticipating their enjoyment of your events.


Service volunteers need to know what kind of expertise you need, and when you need it. They need to know what kind of professional qualifications or experience is required, and who to contact. And be sure to show photos of how they might expect to be put to work.


Staff and board members often appreciate blogs that keep them on track with certain program goals.  Blog about the latest progress on long term goals such as building projects, as well as the launch of new short term or recurring activities such as public presentations and workshop series.


The general community and your organization's beneficiaries will learn to get info on what they can attend, who they can refer to you, and what they need to qualify for assistance by checking your blog.


Other agencies too will appreciate having this central place for researching information about your organization, and confirming that you are an actively engaged, legally constituted entity.


Make sure your headlines or category links on each post indicates the audience meant to read the post, to make searching for specific blogs easier.



Techie Tips for Special Use Blogs


Writing Tips

  • Write as if speaking to one reader at a time

  • Use you and I, not they - be personal

  • Use the most common vocabulary - don't get fancy

  • Use action verbs in short sentences

  • Never use colons

  • Use a lot of bullet lists with short phrases

  • Skip periods in bullet lists

  • Break paragraphs after 3-5 lines

  • Write with 5th grade clarity

  • don't worry about summary and transition paragraphs


Photo Tips

  • Vary colors

  • use lots of different backgrounds - not all outdoor or indoor

  • use photos that illustrate your main point

  • limit photos of cluttered scenes

  • limit photos of more than 3-5 people 

  • don't use blurry pictures

  • make sure you have permission to take and publish photos

  • don't use photos from Google without copyright permission


Categories and Tags (Keywords)


The Wix blog has two ways to help organize your posts. Category labels appear as text links above each post's headline. A separate list of all categories you have designated can be additionally displayed on your blog pages.


Categories should be very broad labels. For example, you might have a category of Donations but not specific types.


Tags, also called keywords, are meant for more detailed type of labeling. Tags are often displayed in what's called a "tag cloud", which is a set of word links that may appear in a variety of sizes, as a visual signal of how many posts are available concerning one tag versus another.


Using the Donations category example, related tags might be Money, In Kind, Pre-Owned. If you have written 15 blogs about Donations /Money and only 3 on Donations /Pre-Owned, the Money tag will appear larger than the Pre-Owned tag.


Categories and tags are important to the search engine optimization of your website. The location for setting them is just to the right of where you upload or create the post itself, when using a laptop or desktop computer to blog. If you are using the special Wix blog tool for cell phones, look around for this feature.


For more info read these posts in my blog:


Tags and Categories -- What Are They and Do You Need Both


Adding Alt Tags and Keywords to Blog Posts




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Why I've Retired

It's possible this will come as a surprise to you -- it certainly has snuck on me that I'm well past retirement age. Over the last year or so, my heart has been pulled in other directions, and while I still love the creative aspects of website design, I want to use my time making a life rather than devoting my energies to making a living. So I plan to travel, attend writers' retreats, work on learning to take good iPhone photos, and just be open to where my spirit guides take me. I have also stepped back from my esoteric work for 2020, and who knows what the future holds for that.

Please see the blog post for my two Wix designers who have earned my highest recommendations for serving my client niche.

All the Best to You!