Amy G Wagner

Freelance Writer | Lancaster, PA | Harrisburg, PA | York, PA

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Blogging Tips for Non-Profits

Whether you’re a dedicated volunteer or a nonprofit director, chances are your to-do list is packed. That can make it challenging to find time for blog writing that engages donors, volunteers, and other stakeholders. Never fear! Here are simple non-profit blog tips:

  1. Develop an editorial calendar. Take a deep breath; I promise this isn’t as scary as it sounds. As blog writers, we all get busy. It’s not uncommon for an event or holiday to sneak up before we have a chance to blog about it. Take out your non-profit’s calendar and start planning ahead for blog topic ideas that center around events, fundraisers, and even holidays. It only takes a few minutes, but you’ll be rewarded when you’re not scrambling the day before the year’s biggest fundraiser to write a related blog entry.
  2. Add the call to action. This tried-and-true marketing technique is a must for blogging non-profits. According to social media expert Dan Zarrella, the most effective online calls to action contain specifics, convey urgency, and use concrete numbers. Think “Donate today” or “We fed 24 additional families last week—how many more will you help us feed this week?” If possible, make the call clickable by including a button or hyperlink that takes the reader to the next step, whether it’s an email to the volunteer coordinator or a form to submit a donation.
  3. Take a stance. One of the most powerful ways to generate online traffic and conversation is by stirring the pot a little. And, as a non-profit worker, you probably feel passionately about whatever it is you do. Don’t be afraid to use blog writing as a platform to argue against relevant potential legislation, fight for a new law, or tackle an issue that deserves attention.
  4. Invite guest bloggers. Non-profits run on people power, so why not tap those folks to write guest blog entries? Consider a community leader familiar with the work your group does or one of the clients who has benefited from your services. Adding relevant “outside” voices to the blog will build online cred for the organization.
  5. Get social. Chances are good that many of your stakeholders, from current volunteers to prospective donors, are already using social media. That makes websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest ideal platforms for driving traffic to blogs. Here are 3 basic ways to promote your non-profit blog on social media:
  • Post a blog link on social media sites each time you upload a post.
  • Use social networks to post clips from blog entries that share video, whether it’s an interview with a client or footage from a fundraiser.
  • Ask your social network audience what type of blog content they’d like to read, and then write posts related to those topics.

What successful non-profit blog writing tips can you share?

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.



Blog Topic Ideas to Beat the Blank Page Blues

The blank page. Whether you’re writing as a freelancer or blogging for a small business, few things trigger a case of the sweats like a pure white word processing document. So if you need small business blog topic ideas to beat away those blank page blues, read on:

Get down to the business nitty gritty.

It doesn’t matter if you offer small business accounting services or kids’ birthday party venues, your readers expect to find relevant info regarding whatever it is you do:

  • Recap the most interesting tidbits from a recent study or report.
  • Ask readers what they want to you to blog about.
  • Compile a list of your 5 or 10 best blog posts.
  • Post a dictionary-type list of definitions for common industry terms or jargon.
  • Use a keyword tool (Google AdWords is free) to generate a list of related keywords—use those keywords as a basis for a post.
  • Share an infographic. (Check out this post about infographics from social media expert Ilona Olayan).
  • Share your industry predictions for the next 6 months or year.
  • Take a position on a hot-button issue.
  • Share a post-event recap after conferences or trade shows.
  • Write your unique take on a news item.
  • Profile an employee.
  • Interview a client or industry colleague.
  • Share a client case study.
  • Answer the most frequently asked questions about you, your product, or brand.
  • Post a list of your favorite blogs and websites.
  • Review a book.
  • Share a list of relevant resources, whether they’re website links, blogs, or books.

Let’s get video.

Who said great web content had to be in written form? Check out these video blog post topic ideas:

  • Upload a video tutorial that demonstrates how to use your product.
  • Video an interview with an employee, client, or industry colleague.
  • Give a behind-the-scenes tour of your office or facility.
  • Video blog your own reaction to industry news or trends.

Show ‘em your human side.

Don’t underestimate the power of building connections. I don’t know about you, but I find it easier to do business with someone I’ve started connecting with (I also find it harder to be cranky with them!). Showing your human side while blogging for a small business is a smart way to lay the foundation for those connections. Here are a few blog topic ideas to inspire you:

  • Tell the story of how your small business got its start.
  • Blog about why you love whatever it is you do in your business.
  • Share snippets about life in the office or workplace.
  • Blog about your favorite local charity or non-profit organization.
  • Post a list of your favorite local vendors, whether it’s the local coffee shop or your long-time accountant. Share why you love them, too. (“Dotty whips up lattes that would make a Seattle barista jealous!”)

Have fun!

All work, no play creates dull small business bloggers. Don’t be afraid to occasionally publish lighter blog content:

  • Have an exclusive contest (with a fun prize, of course!) for blog readers.
  • Compile a list of the funniest tweets related to your industry.
  • Share outtakes or bloopers from any video content you’ve published.
  • Write about a big game or favorite sports team.

Do you have business blog topic ideas to share?

 

 

Image courtesy of Flickr user Adi Respati.



Web Writing for Small Business – Pain-free Do's and Don'ts

Typing on KeyboardDo you wrangle with writing content for your business? Whether you’re writing a small business blog or penning posts on Facebook, you could be one of the many professionals who would rather lose a toenail than start clicking on the keyboard. But the fact is that the written word is a necessary part of doing business in a world that’s increasingly virtual. Check out these 4 do’s and don’ts for making web writing for small business less painful:

  1. Don’t write an essay. Is my thesis in the right spot? Have I used the thesaurus to insert as many 6-syllable words as possible? These were the kinds of conundrums that kept many of us up late into the night (in my case, plugged into a Walkman). But web writing for small businesses is not about writing a 5-paragraph essay. Keep writing clear, paragraphs short, and, for heaven’s sake, toss out the thesaurus.
  2. Do write for human beings. We’ve all visited one of these sites: a well-meaning small business owner reads an article or two about the power of using keywords—and then goes crazy loco inserting them into web page or blog content.  Using keywords as part of SEO is important but, ultimately, too many keywords will send a visitor clicking away to a competitor’s site. Keyword use is like eating ice cream: a little goes a long way. (Okay, at least theoretically a little ice cream goes a long way! You get the point…) For friendly reading, keep keyword density under 5%.
  3. Don’t bore customers away. Long blocks of text is actually web-speak for bye-bye visitor. The web is a place to get information—the fast and dirty kind (no, not that kind of dirty!). Consumers and buyers want their info in easy-to-scan bites. When writing web content for small businesses, use visual cues to break up the page. Think bullet points, numbered lists, and sub-headings.
  4. Do be yourself. When you’re writing a small business blog or posting an update on a social network, it’s tempting to mold yourself in the image of a competitor or an industry expert. But, ultimately, your value lies in your own experiences and personality. So write the same way you would speak to a long-time customer or a friendly business colleague.

As a busy small business owner or decision maker, you may not have the time (or desire) to tackle writing web content—but the web is often the first touch point for consumers ready to make a purchase decision. Don’t push those people to a competitor by populating your site or social media outposts with stuffy, long content. Now get out there and start writing the content that gets customers clicking!

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.