Posted in Social Media on 7:48 am
Lately we’re noticing some trends and new tools that we think could affect blogging and how non profits share content with their supporters. Tons of non profits and foundations use blogs to shape conversations & inform people on their issues. The rise of blogs in the ‘90’s & ‘00’s gave voice to those who had been previously been denied access to publishing. Since that time blogging strategy has followed a pretty consistent plan – write a blog post, tell people about it in hopes that they’ll read it, comment on it and share it.
Some new tools have come on the scene and have us re-thinking this traditional blogging strategy. None of these make us believe that blogging is dying, because it’s not. They do, however, make us question what we’re trying to accomplish with our blogs and whether an emerging platform or tool better fits our goals.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
We’re hearing a lot of long time bloggers say that they’re blogging less since Google+ launched. Google+ doesn’t have a word limit, like Twitter’s 140 characters or how Facebook used to, so it allows for long posts, similar to a blog post. Because it is a social network what you share on it is visible to a larger crowd who may not have visited your blog, and bookmarked or RSS’d it. Not to mention that a ton of bloggers are SEO obsessed (that’s Search Engine Optimization, or the process of writing and tagging your content in a way that makes it come up sooner when someone searches on your topic). Google+ is being integrated into all of Google’s services, including search, which could really change the game on how people find out about you and your blog.
Embeddable Tweets -
When Twitter released its latest incarnation in December it allowed you to take a tweet and make it live, i.e. embed it, on any website. Recently we’ve found ourselves embedding tweets that comment on our blog posts. This bridges conversations about a topic between mediums, in this case your blog and Twitter. Have you been measuring your blog’s success based in part on the number of comments your posts get? If so, you might want to re-think this data point and recognize that the conversations you are sparking might happen outsides the confines of your blog.
Curating in public -
The rapid rise and popularity of sites like Pinterest, Storify and Scoop.it allow you to share content where people are gathering online, as opposed to trying to drive them back to your blog. All three of these tools allow you to curate a topic, capturing and sharing something (e.g. a news story, your mission, an event) in real time and as it evolves. Of course all three of these can and will be traffic sources for your blog, but viewing them just as that would under-utilize them.
For example, during the Super Bowl there was a Twitter campaign called Take Back the Pink in reaction to the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood debacle. In the past I would have written a blog post about this campaign, but instead created a Storify story in real time as it unfolded and instantly shared it. Now I could still blog about it if I wanted, but this new tool gave me a quick and easy way to share the campaign and interact with a community that cares about this issue.
Think about it this way: A blog post is like painting. You start with a blank canvas, fill it up with paint to create a picture and then hang it publicly for people to look at and comment. However tools like Scoop.it, Storify and Pinterest are more like creating a mural in a big public space. It changes and evolves and people can watch and comment as it takes shape. Heck you might even have people contribute to it.
The biggest take-away from all of this? Always, always stay focused on what it is you’re trying to achieve with your blog. Are you trying to build community, shape public policy, show what makes your organization different, build your email list or be a thought leader on your issue. New tools and trends will continue to come along and disrupt what we’re doing. You’ll know which to embrace and how to modify your blogging strategy if you know what it is you’re working to accomplish.