Getting Our Blog Legs
I am asking staff members at Queens Council on the Arts to think of the blog as a connective place for people. A place to encourage public conversations. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize what I am asking is for everyone to rethink how we work.
Networked Nonprofits do this. They know how to engage people inside and outside the organization using social media tools, like a blog, to become more effective, streamlined and connected.
What we are doing is creating a schedule around our programs and scheduling two posts per week by staff members. This is a place for us to start sharing openly and consistently with our community. Only with input from everyone involved will this work.
OK, now what?
Here are some take aways from blogging sessions and hallway discussions at the Americans for the Arts Convention this past June. I thought is was interesting how often these points would come up throughout the weekend.
* A blog is a place to invite a conversation and build a community of commenters, readers, subscribers, lurkers and other forms of attention.
* Blog posts should be written to be responded to, not merely read. Resist the temptation to preach, rant or become a wall of text.
* Keep your wordcount between 250 – 500 (the equivalent of 2 typewritten pages).
* Be clear. Cover only one idea per post. If your topic is complex, create several posts out of it and stockpile them.
* Be helpful
* Be VISUAL. More people respond to images and video than text.
* Break up text into smaller blocks of information, use captions to guide the eye
* You don’t have to write every post. Invite guest bloggers, do interviews, create a visual display of images, involve other people’s work.
* Put in a lot of link love. Other bloggers will appreciate the acknowledgment and readers will like the resources. People like people who share.
* Include a call to action (tell me what you think, leave a comment, sign up for the newsletter, register for a workshop etc). After people read your piece give them a way to stay connected.
* Do not write anything you would regret or be embarrassed by. This should be obvious but you never know.
Readers are attracted to your voice, your persona in text, your tone. Once you have gained their respect and trust, they will become a community that gathers around your posts.
Here are suggestions for blog post topics. Some you don’t have to write yourself! They include the following:
1. A video clip of a workshop, performance, presentation, karaoke session… (Little or no writing necessary)
2. An interview with an artist, student, consultant, donor, art group, person with something to say… (Little or no writing necessary)
3. A review of a product, book, event, restaurant, experience…
4. A top ten list of coffee, samosas, affordable art, QCAF questions, places to hear local artists…
5. A guest post by another blogger. This is a good way to extend your readership (No writing necessary outside of a brief intro)
6. A thoughtful response to or synopsis of an article, current event or situation
7. A how to article. How to write a killer grant app. How to set up a WordPress blog. How to commission a song.
8. A series of images from an artist, a trek through Jackson Heights, open studios… (Captions, brief intro)
Check us out. Let us know what you think!
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Thanks so much! I really appreciate your help.
Word of mouth is the best way to share, don’t you agree?