Blogging Is about People

I love blogging. Writing blog articles is one of my favorite activities for myself and for my clients.

Today I’m working on a series of articles for a client. As I write, I remember why I like blogging so much. It’s because blogging is about people.

When I write a blog article, I think about the people who have searched for that article because they are looking for helpful information.

Who are those people? What is going on in their life that has led them to search for this article? How can I help them with my words?

Once I have that person in my mind, I write as if I am sitting with them and talking about the topic they are searching for. That person matters to me. I want to help them find what they are looking for. I want to commiserate with their pain points and encourage them with simple solutions.

I take the time to be creative in the way I write. After all, that person is giving their time to read the article. I hope they will have a good experience. Maybe they will come away with new ideas or be reminded or encouraged in areas they already knew about.

That’s what blogging is all about. Connecting with people, understanding them, offering helpful tips, sharing relevant stories, and encouraging them in their day. 

Blog writing has other important elements as well. Keyword research is helpful, so you know what people are searching for and how they are looking for that information. The right keywords help people find your blog, so they can read those articles you wrote just for them.

It also matters when you include photos, meta tags, links, and calls to action in your blog article. All those elements help people find your article and improve their experience of reading your blog and engaging with your website.

If you have a product or service that provides the solution people are looking for, don’t be shy in sharing it. While your blog article shouldn’t read like a billboard, there’s nothing wrong in sharing a link to your solution and helping your prospective customer find the relevant product or service page on your website.

If you serve customers locally, you will need to include that information in your blog as well, such as including your locale in the tags or in a few of your calls to action.

All of those technical aspects of blogging are important and need to be included.

But above all, remember that blogging is about people. When you keep people in mind, you will enjoy blogging, your words will connect, you will build trust, and you will remember why you do what you do.

If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of blogging or the time it takes, I can help. Everything I just described, I do the same for my clients as I do for my own blog. Your customers are people who matter to me. I will put myself in their shoes, get to know what they are looking for, and write in a way that connects with them. Talk to me about how I can help you create or grow your business blog.

Happy Blogging!

Are Your Blog Posts Evergreen?

If you are building your business blog or if you haven’t posted in a while, a great way to start is to create evergreen blog posts. These are the posts that last over time. Just like evergreen trees, evergreen blog posts are always alive and relevant, throughout the year, season after season, year after year. Your evergreen posts are the ones you will often refer people to read.

I recommend that business blogs have at least 10 evergreen posts that you can refer people to read. If you are just starting your business blog, I encourage you to concentrate up front on writing evergreen posts. Those initial 10 posts will give you a solid foundation to build on. When you create evergreen posts, you will know you are spending your limited time on blog posts that will work hard for you and have a lasting impact. Because evergreen content remains relevant over time, those blog posts will need fewer updates. So you can concentrate on what’s timely and new.

Why are evergreen blog posts important? Evergreen content will help you grow your business in many ways. You can utilize evergreen blog posts to:

(1) Give your website visitors a solid overview of your business. The more they learn about your business through your eyes, the more they will feel like they know you and trust you.

(2) Answer many commonly asked questions. You will enjoy being able to refer clients and prospective customers to your online library of evergreen content.

(3) Show prospective clients you care enough to anticipate their needs and their greatest areas of concern. Clients will see you have taken the time to create thoughtful blog posts that address their most common concerns with in-depth insight.

(4) Demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership in your industry. Position yourself as an authority and go-to person when someone needs help in your line of business.

(5) Keep your main web pages from looking overwhelming and cluttered. A few simple links will allow visitors to explore a topic more deeply through your evergreen blog posts.

(6) Educate your website visitors by publishing a current topical post and then saying, “To learn more about this topic, please read ABC article” – with a link to the relevant evergreen post. That way, you don’t have to keep repeating basic information in each new blog post. You don’t have to assume your prospective customers have that basic knowledge. You just write your timely topical post and then link to the relevant evergreen article that gives prospective customers the basics.

(7) Provide great opportunities to link different parts of your website together to create a seamless prospective customer experience.

The more evergreen content you create, the more you will enjoy that last benefit. It is a wonderful feeling when you create a new blog post, and you find five or more posts you can link to from your existing evergreen library. The more evergreen content you have, the more opportunities you will see to add those links.

It’s fun to look at a line you have just written and think, Hmm. I can link to XYZ post that I already published on that topic. Fun and practical too because you are creating a better quality online experience for your prospective customers. With these interconnections, you are making your website look and be active as well.

Your website visitors will follow those links on a journey of getting to know you and your business more deeply. They are more likely to follow those posts to a conversion point, ready to respond because they have already engaged so much with your content. They are also likely to bookmark and share your post with its rich evergreen links.

How do you generate evergreen topics for your blog? You will find a helpful starting place simply by answering the following questions with bullet point ideas:

(1) What are the most common questions you are asked by current customers and prospective customers?

(2) What basic areas of your business do you wish your clients understood better?

(3) What are your clients’ most common pain points? For each pain point, what 3 helpful tips can you give them (without giving away the farm)?

(4) What intro “speech” do you find yourself repeating every time you talk to a new client or prospect?

(5) What areas of your business or industry do clients and prospects probably not know about – but they should?

(6) What wisdom have you learned from working in your industry that you want to share with clients or even with other professionals in your field?

(7) What interesting history, benefits, or other stories behind your services, products, ingredients, or business style can you share with your prospective customers?

Those bullet point answers that you just listed are potential topics for your evergreen blog posts.

If you are just building your blog or starting again after a break, I recommend focusing on some of those evergreen topics right away. Then keep the list handy for the next time you draw a blank for your blog topics. You can’t have too many evergreen blog posts. But you can have too few.

Depending on your blogging schedule, aim to get at least 10 evergreen posts on your blog within a year, even if that means one a month. Sometimes it helps to block off time and write several at once. If you do that, schedule them for posting over time if you need to, to keep a steady posting schedule.

In other words, don’t upload them all at once unless you know you can keep blogging on a regular basis. Consistency of blogging is more important than quantity or frequency. And no one will be able to read them if you upload them all at once. Depending on your blog design, visitors might not even see them if you post them all at once. Spread them out over time. Keep your blog fresh.

Here is one more tip you might find helpful about evergreen blog posts. If you create 20 evergreen posts, it may also be worth the effort to collect and publish them in an e-book that visitors to your website can download for free. I have so many posts on one of my blogs that people have told me they would even pay for an e-book to read my posts in one place, rather than hunting for them. You can find many creative ways to enhance your prospective customer experience and boost your website activity by including a downloadable e-book. And those evergreen blog posts are a great way to gather that content.

If you need help getting started, I offer a writing service in which I interview you to create a list of evergreen topics. Then I write a collection of 10 to 20 posts for you, sometimes with a short follow-up interview for any clarifications that are needed. I’ll help you formulate a plan for which articles to post when, and I will make suggestions for other more timely posts you may wish to write in between. I have also helped my clients turn those evergreen posts and interviews into e-books. I welcome you to contact me for a free consultation.

Invite Your Board and Volunteers to Build Your Nonprofit Organization’s Blog

Are your board members and community volunteers helping to grow your nonprofit organization’s blog? If not, this would be a great time to invite them.

Your blog is one of the simplest ways to get the word out about what you do. Your blog also brings interested people to your website. When website visitors find lots of informative and engaging blog posts, they spend time exploring your site, bookmark it, and share your articles.

The challenge for nonprofit organizations is the lack of time to write and publish regularly on your blog. You’re busy serving your cause every day. Who has time to write?

That’s where your board and volunteers come in. They have unique ways of looking at your organization’s activities and sharing the importance of what you do.

Blogging for nonprofit organizations
Picture by Geralt at Pixabay

Your board and volunteers can write about:

  • Why they chose to join in your vision.
  • How serving your mission has impacted them.
  • Their favorite moments with your organization.
  • Highlights of an activity where they have participated hands-on.
  • How your organization benefits the community.
  • A day-in-the-life reflection.
  • Their greatest hopes for your organization and the people or causes you serve.
  • And so much more.

If they feel like they don’t know how to write an article, you might suggest that they talk into a tape recorder or make a bullet point list. There are simple ways to get ideas across in writing.

Perhaps you can find a volunteer to head up this project. Maybe someone who loves to write. This volunteer can interview the board members or transcribe and edit their recordings or thoughts. I had the privilege of doing this at an organization where I served on the board. My interviewing project helped me become more involved with the organization in many ways.

This volunteer can also interview staff members to capture their perspectives on the vision and mission. No doubt your staff has a lot to share but may be too busy to write about it. A volunteer can take the time to type up and edit the staff interviews and ask additional questions for further information. That’s another project I participated in, as a board member, and I was thrilled to do it.

Allow your volunteer bloggers to be creative and to reflect their unique style. Do you have an attorney on your board? Let her write her reflections in a legal style. Is one of your volunteers a poet or songwriter? Let him write creative verses for your blog. Moms are often good at capturing and writing in dialogue style. Encourage each person to write in their unique style and voice. That makes for a well-textured and lively blog.

blog writing for nonprofit organizations
Photo by StartupStockPhotos at Pixabay

It is amazing to watch a nonprofit organization’s blog come to life when many people get involved and contribute. We are doing this right now with an organization I am involved in, and these guest articles have stirred a lot of interest. Visitors see the activity and different perspectives, and they want to be part of what your organization is doing.

When board members and volunteers are published on your blog, they will share those articles with a whole new audience that you might not have tapped into yet. You will get more article shares from people who know and trust your volunteer bloggers.

If you don’t have a volunteer/board blogging team, start reaching out today. Getting everyone involved in your blog is great for team building and creating outreach momentum. And it just might be fun too!

12 Simple Questions to Bring Your Organization’s Blog to Life

With all the amazing work your organization is doing in the community, it’s not easy to find time to keep your blog up to date. But your blog is one of the first places people will visit to learn about what you are doing.

How do you keep adding to your blog when you don’t have much time?

Keep it simple.

Answering questions is one of the easiest ways to fill a blog post with useful information that also shows your passion for your work. You can even speak the answers into a tape recorder and have them transcribed quickly. Your answers will sound so natural that your readers will think you are talking directly to them.

There are many questions that lead to great blog posts. Often, those questions are the ones asked by your customers and supporters. Check through some of the inquiries you receive by email. You will probably find good topics for your blog. If one person is curious about something in your organization, others will be too.

If you would like some help in getting started, here are 12 questions relevant to your blog. Answer these 12 and you will have one blog post for each month of the year. You can blog more often (and probably should), but this will help you hold down the fort in the meantime.

Blog Questions:

  1. What is your organization’s mission, and what are 3 specific ways you have carried out that mission in the past year?
  2. What is the biggest problem your organization helps people solve?
  3. What are 3 ways your organization is unique from other organizations in your field?
  4. What is your favorite success that you have witnessed in your organization’s work this past year?
  5. What do you like most about the people you work with? (You don’t have to name names; just describe the qualities, personalities, goals, and atmosphere.)
  6. What is the biggest challenge your organization has faced, and how did you overcome it?
  7. What is one major change/improvement your organization wants to help create in the world?
  8. What are 3 things most people probably don’t know about your organization?
  9. What one thing has surprised you the most about working in your field?
  10. What do you like most about your customers or supporters and/or what are the qualities you appreciate about them?
  11. What is the latest “new thing” your organization has done? (It can be big or small.)
  12. How and why did you get started in this business?

Don’t overthink it. Just answer from your heart. Base your answers on the experiences that come first to your mind. As you answer the questions, just be yourself and speak/write in everyday conversational language.

You will be amazed at how your responses will connect with the people who visit your blog. Your answers will help make your company feel more three-dimensional, more real to them. They will see themselves wanting to get involved with your organization.

And you will have a blog that helps you stand apart online.

Got Bloggers?

Did you know that if you are a nonprofit organization, you can invite bloggers to write in their personal blogs in support of your organization? (If you are a for-profit company doing a market campaign with a nonprofit, you might want to know this as well. It would be a great suggestion to give your nonprofit partners, and you might have the resources to help them set it up.)

We all know that the best way to spread any message is word of mouth. And what better word than the words written by people who love blogging and love what you do.

Compassion International offers a great example of engaging bloggers to make a difference in the life of a child. You can learn more at their Compassion Bloggers web page.

Samaritan’s Purse also offers a Blogger Network and sends occasional blog post topics for people to write about. I recently wrote a post in one of my blogs in response to the annual Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoebox project (notice I am intentionally not using the full name of the project because I don’t want this blog post to detract from their own online messaging).

You can read my blog post about the shoeboxes, where you’ll see that I opened with my own story: what a special Christmas box meant to me as a teenager. Then I went on to explain why I love the project. I closed with a reminder of the upcoming collection date and a link to their website.

Samaritan’s Purse did not pay me to write that post. I offered it voluntarily – in other words, I have offered my blog and my blog writing skills to support their cause and to let people know what they are doing. Therefore, I am not under advertising influencer restrictions.

Yet I did choose to write at the bottom of my post, in italics, that “I volunteer for the public Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Network,” with a link to their blogger website. (Some blogger networks even provide a badge or button that bloggers can add to their posts with this messaging already on it.) That alleviates any questions about my reason for blogging and my relationship to the organization. It also alerts other bloggers that they can sign up for a similar opportunity to blog for this organization.

In my blog posts, I also sometimes talk about or refer to The Center for Inner Healing, Inc., which is another nonprofit organization I support with my writing and for which I also volunteer locally. There again, I am not paid to write about the organization. But for the sake of informing my readers, I add to those posts that “I enjoy volunteering for The Center for Inner Healing, Inc.”

Blogger networks and blog posts by volunteers: Those are two different ways you can help bloggers write about the amazing things your organization is doing. While bloggers may choose to write about you in any type of blog, whether personal or business, often people will write about your organization in their own blog with a similar theme. Bloggers often write because they are passionate about a cause. If their passion lines up with your cause, chances are it’s something that will interest the readers of their blog as well. That’s more people who would love to know what you are doing and who would love to click on your website link to learn more.

If you set up a blog network or allow your volunteers to blog about your organization, be sure and create a disclaimer that the volunteer/network bloggers are not representing your organization. You might also occasionally spot check to be sure the blogging network is being utilized appropriately (one of your volunteers that you trust may enjoy that task).

If your own volunteers write on their own blogs, be sure they understand what is and is not appropriate to talk about (i.e., no confidential information from inside the organization) and be sure they indicate in their blog posts that they are volunteers, so readers will know they are not speaking on your behalf. You can provide whatever messaging you want them to add to their posts to clarify this, or even create a message badge or button for them.

When I reference The Center for Inner Healing, Inc. in my blog posts, I am very careful to word things so readers will know I am not representing or speaking on behalf of that organization, but rather I am responding to them as a volunteer who loves what they do.

There are bloggers out there who love what you do. Consider giving them a way to give back through their blogging.

People Are Waiting for Your Blog

I love writing blog posts. Why? Because I also love reading blogs. I enjoy the experience. As a writer and business owner, I want to create that experience for others. Your blog will also create an amazing experience for your website visitors.

That’s exactly what people want to find in your blog: an amazing experience. They want to come to your website, read your blog, and feel like they have already tried out your products or services through the stories you share. They want to have that experience before they sign up or purchase something. If you create this atmosphere for them, your product or service will fit in easily. The experience comes first.

How do you create that atmosphere with your blog? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Let readers know who you are. Tell your story. Why do you love your product or service so much? How has it changed your life? (Let people know how you, yourself, are a customer or client of your own business.) What motivated you to start this business to offer this product or service to others? How do you hope to help make their lives better?
  2. Why should readers trust your perspective on your field of business? What are the specific problems and struggles you have seen – and personally experienced – that have motivated you to offer a solution? (Very often, we are concerned about our loved ones and readers will connect emotionally with your honesty.) What are your values – as a person and as a business leader?
  3. What is it like for you to work with your products or services every day? What are some of the highlights, the memorable moments in the life of your business? Share about a time when you said, “Wow, I’m so glad I get to do this every day.” People love those stories. They want to be part of those experiences.
  4. What advice, suggestions, and helpful tips can you share with your website visitors, based on your experiences of working in this business? If you had only one opportunity to talk to a person who is asking questions about your products or services, what would you want that person to know? Don’t think about sales. This is a bigger moment. If you had one chance to impart some wisdom or a helpful suggestion about the problems or struggles that brought that person to your website, what would it be? Picture the person standing in front of you, asking for help. What would you say to that person?
  5. Think about something new and surprising that’s happened with your business. It could be a discovery that led to a new product or service. Or just one of those amazing moments when you said, “Wow. Did that just really happen?” If you have employees, think about a moment when one of them experienced something fascinating or even life-changing at work. Or a unique moment when a customer or client shared something interesting about your products or services. (Obviously, you’ll either want their permission to share – which is a powerful way to blog – or you can share more generically using a different name and changing the specifics.)

People enjoy hearing stories. They enjoy experiences. Your prospective clients and customers actually want a blog they can look forward to reading and sharing. If they were interested enough in your product or service to find your blog post, they want to know more. They want to explore and try out what you offer before they make a purchase decision. They want to find someone they can trust for reliable information and answers to their questions, and then spend some time listening to you.

A well-crafted blog can provide all of that and more. Your clients and customers are waiting to hear from you. It’s time to start blogging! What will your next blog post be? Let me know – I would love to read it.

Blog Posts Build Customer Relationships

Blog posts are a great way to build relationships with your clients, customers, and prospects. When people read your blog, they connect with you and your business. They get to hear your helpful suggestions. They discover some insights into a problem they are trying to solve.

One of your most effective blog posts is to share a way your clients or customers can do for themselves what you could do for them.

That might seem counter-intuitive. You want them to come to you for help. Why would you teach them how to do it themselves?

Here are three great reasons to share a helpful how-to in your blog posts:

1. You can’t go wrong giving something away. You will always get more in return than you give. When you are generous with your clients and customers, they will be generous with you.

2. Each time you share helpful advice, you position yourself as an expert. People who read your blog will see how much you understand, just by how you describe your answers to their problems. This makes your website a trusted go-to resource, and one they will share with their friends. Trust is not easy to build. The more relevant insights you share in your blog, the more people will trust you.

3. In many situations, no matter how well you describe a solution to your clients’ or customers’ problems, they will not be able to do it by themselves. They will still need help. And whose help will they seek, but the person who tried to get them started: You! Even if they are able to put your advice to good use and get past their immediate problem, who will they turn to down the road, when they encounter a bigger problem they can’t fix by themselves? Again: You!

Blogging is a great way to share what you know, to help people see firsthand what you can do for them, and to become a trusted resource in your area of expertise. Where do you start? Find out what your customers or clients need most, and start talking to them about it through your blog.