Blogging can be a fun and effective way to engage with your donors, volunteers, and community while bolstering your social media presence. The content you create helps further your message and raise awareness of your efforts online and in the real world. But is content creation, alone, enough?
To truly take advantage of blogging’s potential, analyze what content really works for you. Social Media Examiner compiled a list of nine tools every blogger should be using and shows you how they work. Here’s a look at some of these tools and the ways in which they can support a nonprofit’s online presence and engagement:
A remarkable website, BuzzSumo shows you how widely shared your content is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Use this to see which of your blogs are the most popular on which networks. You can also compare your stats with other prominent sites or blogs that cover similar topics. This opens up potential for new content ideas and strategies.
If you use Google Chrome, StayFocused could help you make better use of your blogging time. This app lets you restrict the time you can spend on the sites that distract you most, potentially letting you work more efficiently. If simply limiting time isn’t enough for you, there is a Nuclear Option that blocks out everything except for your “allowed” sites, like your blogging utility.
Add From Server
If you’re using WordPress and frequently upload large media files, then their Add From Server utility could be useful. This plugin gives you additional options to manage and upload large files and playlists.
Easy Tweet Embed
Another useful WordPress plugin, Easy Tweet Embed lets you create pre-populated tweets to place throughout your blog posts. The tweets can be customized to reflect the content of the post in which they appear and can be written to include mentions of prominent or relevant figures. This makes it easier for your followers to engage with and share your content, which helps your message and cause spread that much faster.
Easy Pricing Tables
If you use WordPress and have any kind of subscription or membership facet to your blog or organization, these pricing tables can make it much easier and more stylish to communicate the costs and benefits of membership to your audience.
Probably most famous for the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive is absurdly useful for any blogger, but it’s especially useful for nonprofits. Do you record podcasts as part of your blogging and social media efforts? Most hosting services for these recordings are costly – or restrictive if you aren’t paying for premium membership. The Archive lets you store these recordings FOR FREE. NO CHARGE WHATSOEVER. No more allocating funds away from more important things. You can even embed the recordings directly into your blog from the Archive. Why wouldn’t you use this?
If you’re just starting an organization or just stepping into the blogosphere, you want your name to stand out. You also don’t want to step on anyone’s toes by accidentally taking an existing name. Namechk helps you avoid that level of embarrassment.
Infographics are everywhere. If you aren’t working them into your web content, then you are missing a crucial avenue for audience engagement. Easel.ly provides creators with templates and simple drag-and-edit tools to help make infographics much easier to build.
Markdown Quick Tags
For the last tool, we go back to WordPress again. If you prefer to write your posts outside of WordPress, using Microsoft Word or Scrivener or any other software, it can be difficult and time-consuming to reformat them for proper WordPress display. The Markdown Quick Tags plugin makes this much easier, replacing WordPress HTML with simpler tags that cut down your editing time. This way you can work comfortably and more efficiently.
UPDATE: How About Two MORE?
” A picture is worth a thousand words,” and a blog would be pretty boring without images. Canva is an awesome tool which provides an easy and inexpensive way to create original graphics with high production value. The free-mium pricing is a big plus for nonprofits on tight budgets, too. While there is plenty of power to the free model for creating just about anything you’ll need for your blog, social media, or marketing materials the premium account adds a lot of ease for consistent users. For example, you can store your brand’s color pallet and once you’ve created one image you can have it automatically resized to a number of popular templates (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, IAB Banners, etc) without starting all over (as you would in the free version). We use it at TopNonprofits and it makes creating our images a snap!
Answer the Public
Sometimes the hardest part is getting the ball rolling. Yep, coming up with a topic or a title could be the inspiration you need. An awesome site, Answer the Public, acts as a super cool and user-friendly topic generator…even if the guy in the video is a little off-putting!
Are these tools helpful to you? Do you use other tools to improve your blogging engagement? Share them with us in the comments!
Want to read more on blogging?
If you’re just starting out, FirstSiteGuide has a series of guides for starting a website/blog.
Want to see examples of folks who are winning at blogging?
Top 150 Nonprofit Blogs This list is updated twice a year