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April 12, 2022

2021: The Year of the Nonprofit Blog

Every February we are asked to reflect on how we performed in the previous year. I've found, looking back at my job in 2021, that it really was the year of the blog for me. Let me explain.

I didn't write all that many blogs for my organization in 2021, but what I did do was successfully direct and manage four different people in their own blog writing. Conservation Scientist is my job title, but I directly wrote or managed the writing of 18 blogs, creating about 20,000 words on the website, which resulted in:

  • 92,000 impressions in search
  • Over 1200 clicks onto our website from Google Search

There were only 50 blogs in total published in 2021 on our site, so my managed content represented about 36% of the total. And, not everything that got written in 2021 was published. 2022 came rolling up on us pretty quick, and all told, we have about a 4 month "evergreen" blog backlog to get through before we need to start writing new content.

Blogs I TouchedOther Blogs
Avg Pageviews232205
Sum Pageviews57966993
Avg Time on Page2:482:40
Avg Bounce Rate68.15%78.45%
Avg Exit Rate55.17%60.25%

I'm honestly pleased with these stats. My blogs were better on every stat except total pageviews, which makes sense because I only contributed 1/3rd ish of the content. Folks stayed on my pages longer, bounced and exited less, and got > 10% more pageviews on average than other blogs on our website.

Not bad for a Conservation Scientist, right? But hey - this isn't some secret, magical formula that I'm applying to my work. There's no pixie dust that I sprinkle on my blogs, or those written by interns and contractors. The simple truth is this: We wrote what people wanted to read. And, we made it easy TO read.

Why do people read nonprofit blogs?

There are a thousand reasons that people read blogs, but really - it comes down to two things. Reading blogs, much like other web activities, is about one of two things. Either they're gathering background information because the topic interests them, or they're trying to answer a direct question.

Man faceless mail business

In most blog writing courses or videos, you'll see a big focus on monetization. They'll talk about purchasing intent. Purchasing intent is less relevant to a nonprofit, although, keeping the donor pipeline in mind is important. Instead, we're really focused on providing high quality, trustworthy information that inspires people to take action. What that action is, of course, varies.

Why do people write blogs for nonprofits?

In a perfect world, the answer to this would sync up perfectly to why people read blogs. Alas, that is not the case. People write blogs for many reasons, but at my day job at an environmental nonprofit, I find that my colleagues write blogs for one of a few reasons:

  • Providing information to current or future donors (e.g., an "update" blog about a campaign)
  • Responding to current events
  • Providing a longer narrative for our members to click on, usually from social media or from our newsletter

What we were missing before mid-2020 was creating broad, evergreen content that can appeal to people that don't know us. That's what I pivoted my team to do in 2021, and that's why our blog stats blow me out of the water.

How can I get more people to read my nonprofit blog?

That's really the crux of it, isn't it? The answer is both simple and complex. You need to write content that people are searching for. Social media is like using a camera flash when you need a flashlight. It's there and gone, ephemeral when you need a constant, steady light.

The constant, steady light that you're searching for is SEO. Optimizing for search engines is a long-term strategy, but it pays real dividends. These blogs that my team have written in 2021 will continue to perform well for a few years. They rank on the first page of Google for their search terms.

If you need help with your nonprofit's web content, go ahead and reach out. Getting that external help you need is more affordable than you think.

Until next time, reader.

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