The idea of a blog is great. It brings more traffic to your nonprofit’s web site, it increases your SEO, it helps you position yourself as the thought leader you are in your field, and most importantly, it helps you connect with your supporters.
I’m not sure if anyone else has this problem, but when I’m asked to write a blog post and “just come up with something”, my first reaction is deer-in-the-headlights idea freeze and then a slow panic-attack leading up to the day before (or day of) my post being due as I’m still trying to figure out what to write about. I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Sitting down in front of that blank page on my screen to start my post, it can be daunting. I’m much more comfortable delegating and editing. I know exactly want I want to see, and how it should look/sound. But starting from scratch? That’s seems to drain out any ideas I’ve ever had.
So what’s an upcoming-blogger to do? Here are some tips and tricks I use to get past the deer-in-the-headlights feeling I get when faced with coming up with a new blog post. First and foremost:
- Make an editorial calendar. If your organization doesn’t have this, it’s a first step. Mark on the calendar events and campaigns your organization has planned that you can tie posts in to. By figuring out which topics will be most relevant to your supporters throughout the year, giving months “themes” for topics, this can help tremendously with blogger’s block.
If you have an editorial calendar and you’re still stuck…
- Create a list of topics you want to see on your blog (that aren’t already on the editorial calendar). How do they reflect your mission and values? Start a pool of ideas (volunteer success stories? Success stories of those your organization supports? Event tips/successes?) and go from there. The ideas don’t necessarily have to be blog posts that you yourself would write; you can share the ideas with co-workers who are facing the same problem when it comes to being their turn.
- Start a bunch of draft posts. Just start writing. What I do is start a Word doc or Google doc and just list a bunch of topics off the top of my head (whether they are on my list from the tip above or not, maybe they have nothing to do with it) and then I start writing. I jump around to different topics as I feel inspiration. The point is I’m writing. I can go back later and clean out the not so amazing ideas and polish up the couple of good ideas I may have had. Bonus: this way I’m halfway done with 3 or 4 blog posts that I can go back and look through later, instead of muddling through one at a time, each and every time.
- Don’t be your own worst enemy. When you’re drawing a blank on what to write, bounce a couple of ideas off of your peers. By talking to your staff or volunteers, they might think of something obvious and perfect for you off the top of their heads, but you were just thinking too hard about it to come up with that on your own (trust me – been there, done that).
What other suggestions do you have for defeating the daunting task of creating blog posts?