The word blog has become quite saturated in the world of communications and marketing. Individuals have blogs. Organizations and corporations have blogs. People even ghost write blogs for their pets….no I am not kidding (here). Just about everyone has a blog these days. Why? Because it is an inexpensive way to reach an audience, and consumers are hungry for content.
The first blog was created in 1994, by a Swarthmore College student Justin Hall. It was the early 2000s, however, when blogging really took off as a communication platform. Technorati, which launched in 2002, but was bought by Synacor in 2014, was the first blog search engine which produced (during its tenure) an annual State of Blogging Report. According to Technorati, in 1999 there were only 23 blogs online, by 2006 there were 50 million, and by the end of 2010 there were 152 million blogs. Today there are more than 440 million blogs, but this number only includes blogs hosted on Tumblr, Squarespace and WordPress so in all likelihood the number of blogs is even greater.
What does this mean for your organization?
People are consuming more and more content online in the form of blog posts. In fact, according to WordPress, more than 409 million people view nearly 22.3 million blog pages each month. This is a lot of reach for an organization, and if your organization is not blogging you are out there competing for funding with organizations that have built more influence and credibility through blogging. There are a lot of blogs out there, but a mission driven organization is not trying to reach everyone. As an organization with a mission your audience is already known to you. The audience is the funders, volunteers and individual donors. The blog an organization creates is meant for those that support the mission.
Blogs are not a fad.
While there are other platforms to reach people such as podcasts, e-newsletters or social media channels (i.e. Twitter and Facebook) blogs are here to stay. Many large for-profit companies today have blogs, because blogs help them connect with its audience and in turn sell more products. According to the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report, only 46 percent of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have blogs. A blog will strengthen your organization’s credibility with your audience, which in turn will provide an additional platform to build a community that supports your mission to interact with one another. Having fresh content on your organization’s Web site also drives more traffic to it, and blogging is cost-effective way to bring more traffic to your Web site.
Getting started may seem daunting, but it is likely that there are many people at your organization that have rich stories to tell. Employees and volunteers on the ground working directly with the people you serve can create great multi-media material (blog posts, podcasts, YouTube clips etc.) about their experiences. This material can also provide great testimonials for funders and grant applications. Below I have some links to organizations that utilize blogging to build community and further mission.
Amnesty International (great example of a multi-media blog)