Successful Blogging for Non-Profits Tip #3: Know Your Ask
Know what you want your readers to do.
Have you set blog objectives like these?
- Get more donors.
- Connect with potential clients.
- Draw attention to our organization and what we offer.
Those are good goals. But when it comes to your Ask, those goals have two huge problems:
- They’re big-picture goals. They’re too general to give focus to an individual post.
- They’re one-sided goals. They’re all about you, not your audience.
Instead, give your blog post a laser-focused call to action. Design your CTA to do two things: move your audience toward more engagement, and meet a specific need of your organization. Read on to find out how.
Ask your audience to engage
Your readers engage with you in stages. So target some of them (an audience segment) at a particular stage of their journey, then ask yourself, “What do I want these readers to do next?”
Move readers to the next stage on their journey
Here are some examples of actions readers could take to go deeper with you:
- From the Awareness stage, readers might express Interest by signing up for your email newsletter.
- Interested readers move ahead by either making a donation or using your services.
- Past donors might respond to your Retention efforts by committing to monthly giving.
- Repeat supporters or clients might advocate for you as brand ambassadors, sharing your social media posts or providing testimonials for your website.
- And so forth . . .
So how can you move your audience forward in these ways?
Make your CTA specific, appealing, and possible
Your reader’s response should come as easily as sliding down an icy hill.
Make one clear call to action per post. Ask the reader to do only one thing. And ask for it directly. Just like this:
- “Don’t miss our next pet giveaway! Sign up for our email newsletter by clicking here.”
- “Stop by our office today to register for our free parenting classes.”
- “Click here to give to our Christmas for Orphans fund.”
- “Like us on Facebook.”
Make answering your call easy. Your crafted content has aroused certain thoughts and feelings in your reader. They’re ready to act. Make it smooth.
- Be sure your donation button works and leads to an easy-to-navigate donation page.
- Check your sign-up page: is it clear, simple, and adaptable across devices?
- Are your social media sharing buttons simple to use?
Make a plan. Set up an editorial calendar for six months or a year. For each regularly scheduled post, include a note about which audience segment it will reach, where they are on their journey, and what you will ask them to do.
In this way, one glance will tell you whether you’re covering all segments of your audience and increasing engagement at all levels.
Key Takeaway: In each post, call your audience to take one action to engage more deeply with you.
Ask and you shall receive
You don’t move your audience into more engagement just because it’s the thing to do. You also move them in order to meet the needs of your organization.
Does that sound a bit self-serving? It isn’t when your mission meets the needs of others. Ideally, your blog does, too. Readers should feel so educated by your content, or so moved by your story, or so outraged/saddened/troubled, that they want to do something now. And that something they do should meet your need.
Link your call to action with a desired outcome
Successful business bloggers know: ask for action that leads to a desired outcome for your organization.
Nonprofits can do this, too.
Let’s look at how a nonprofit animal shelter called Tomorrow’s Pets might plan a post. First they think about what they need. Then they think about where their audience is coming from. Next, they aim their post to meet an inner need of their audience. It could look like this:
- Desired outcome: Tomorrow’s Pets gets more volunteers helping with animal care
- Audience’s stage of engagement: Interested (They have heard of Tomorrow’s Pets and they care about animals.)
- Aim: Appeal to readers’ emotions—create deep concern for all your animals lacking healthy exercise due to a shortage of volunteers
- Call to Action: Sign up online to help exercise animals once a week
Look at what Tomorrow’s Pets did there:
- Identified one thing their nonprofit needs
- Identified one audience segment to target
- Aimed the post to compel that audience segment to respond
- Asked for one specific, do-able action that would both ease the audience’s concern and solve the shelter’s volunteer shortage
Key Takeaway: Call your audience to an action that generates a desired organizational outcome.
Reach Your Audience, Aim Well, and Ask Wisely
Couple my pointers from this series on blogging for nonprofits with well-written copy and a customized content marketing strategy to amplify your message. Go spread the word about your organization!
Let Me Share the Load
If you’re looking for a caring freelance writer
to shoulder the content load for your organization,
consider Karen Ingle Freelance.
I specialize in writing about people and groups who make a difference.
Together, we can connect you with the clients and donors you’re looking for.
Contact me soon, so you can get back to what you do best—doing good.
Karen Ingle Freelance
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