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How to make your blog brilliant

Blogs are great. Well, lots of them are. When done well, they are a brilliant way to allow personality and opinion into your charity’s web presence. While some charities choose to run blogs that feature many different writers, rotating the responsibility between them or inviting many guest voices into the space, many key staff and leaders establish their own individual blogs, within or beyond the charity’s site (read our favourite chief executive blogs here). But if you’re planning to start your own personal blog, linked to your professional charity role, or are hoping to ramp up an existing one, how can you make sure it stands out? Here are Amazon PR’s ten top tips for the best blogging.

Things you'll need

  • The time and enthusiasm to commit to sharing your thoughts and ideas with the world on a regular basis!
1

Know what you want it to be

Be clear on what your blog will be about, and what areas it will and won’t cover. How much personal stuff do you plan to include? Will you focus mainly on insights from your daily working life, comment on global issues, personal fundraising exploits or your professional development? Your blog may well be a combination of all these and more, but you should know where you expect the focus to lie in order to be able to attract readers and keep them. And bear in mind what those most likely to come to your blog will be most interested in!

2

Involve your comms team

If you’re not someone who sits within the communications team, make sure you involve them in your plans, so you can make sure you’re using the blog in a way that adds value to wider organisational comms and reinforces agreed messaging. This way you’ll also be able to get their help in promoting what you’re doing. This doesn’t mean you have to clear everything you’re writing or limit your topics to what the comms team is focused on, of course, but you need to make sure that what you’re saying doesn’t contradict or complicate the wider narrative, and where possible and appropriate, adds to it. 

3

But make it your own

Your blog shouldn’t be ghost-written by someone else in your name. In some cases you might need someone with specialist knowledge or skills to help you set out an argument or find the right way to highlight things, and it’s always a good idea to get a second look for editing and proofing, but ultimately it needs to be your words, your insights and your personality, otherwise it won’t be authentic and engaging. 

4

Think about timing

The best blogs are regular. People should know if you write, on average, every two weeks, every month or every two months. Whatever you opt for, make sure it’s achievable and sustainable. There’s no point starting out with a bang, writing something new every week, if you know you’ll have run out of ideas, time or motivation within three months.   

If you are going to have to neglect your blog for a while, it’s a good idea to post a short message explaining that and giving an estimation of when you’ll be back in action, so people don’t think it’s just been forgotten about.

5

Keep it brief

Don’t write too much. People don’t tend to visit a blog expecting to be there for a long time. They want a snippet, a brief insight, a clear point on an issue or a glimpse of an important experience. Too often people use their blogs as a space for long, meandering musings or rambling rants. Each of your posts should be as brief as you can make it. Introduce the point of your post, make that point, perhaps illustrate it, and then sign off. You can always write a follow up piece or signpost people to longer sources, if need be. 

6

Make dates clear

You don’t have to have them at the top of your posts, but you need to make sure people can see the date each entry on your blog was posted up. This is vital for allowing to people to see the context in which a post was written (was it immediately after a major national news event, for example, or in the weeks running up to Christmas?), and also allows new visitors, coming along to suss out whether your blog is for them, a sense of how often you blog and whether the thing is even still live and up to date. 

7

Make sure you engage

This is a blog, not a web-page. It should be a conversation and a community space, linking in with the principles of wider social media. If people comment, make sure you respond. You also need to spread the love – connect with other bloggers writing on similar issues, by adding links to them from your own page and posting comments on their sites. 

8

Promote it

Don’t let your pearls of wisdom go unread. Writing a blog is about much more than just putting the words up on the screen – it’s also about telling people they’re there and convincing them to take a look. Highlight your new posts on Twitter and Facebook, link to your blog from all your profiles, including LinkedIn and your staff biography on your website, and from your email signature (providing that’s ok with any of those who need to approve such things in your organisation!).

9

Use strong photography

Pictures will bring your words to life and draw people into your posts, as well as helping you break up longer chunks of text to make it less daunting to new visitors. But, as ever, make sure they are good, high resolution photos that won’t devalue the quality of your writing.

10

Review and revise

One of the biggest benefits of blogs is their flexibility, and also the ability to monitor how they are performing. You should regularly check traffic to your pages, look at what posts are most well-received and which get shared most widely, to help inform future plans and avoid things that aren’t going down particularly well with your audience.

Further information

For more advice on the principles and processes behind great communications, see Amazon PR’s free guides.

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Page last edited Apr 28, 2017 History

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