In today’s digital era, everyone is a publisher, especially non-profits and activists. If you aren’t going to take the time to tell your story and to discuss the issues that are important to you and your organization, then who will take the time? Chasing newspapers and magazines to cover your upcoming event or to publish your op-ed is not the only strategy anymore. Besides, blogging is a much more effective strategy if your goal is to build awareness and to get attention. Here’s how to use blogging to promote human rights:
The more often you can blog (without sacrificing quality), the better. Ideally, you want to blog at least twice a week, but I understand that not everyone can fit that level of commitment into their scheduled. If you need to do it less often, say once a week or every other week, then you need to stick to that schedule as much as possible. Although you’ll build an audience faster if you blog more often, you’re not going to build an audience at all if your schedule is all over the place. No one wants to follow a blog that write three posts this week, and then only write one post over the next three weeks. It’s too inconsistent to keep people coming back. Before you write your first blog post, figure out your level of commitment to the blog, and well, commit to it.
Don’t Just Talk about Yourself
This is the biggest mistake people, and organizations, make when starting to blog. They only talk about themselves! This is fine if the blog is a personal blog, but if you’re writing for your Amnesty chapter or for chapter members, then you need to write about topics that are important to members and to the chapter. That audience don’t necessarily want to hear about chapter events all the time, especially since they probably already know about all the chapter events coming up. Instead, write about the issues and/or write about ways they can be better human rights activist and make a bigger difference. Be a helpful resource, not a bullhorn. You don’t get others to care about you if all you do is talk about yourself. No one likes someone who talks about themselves at a party, so don’t do it on your blog. Talk about the things that interest others to get them to listen and to like your content.
Posts 300 words or Less Aren’t Going to Cut It
This is the second biggest mistake new bloggers make; their blog posts are way too short to offer any value. As you may have noticed, this blog post is already over 400 words, and it’s not done covering the topic of how to use blogging to promote human rights. If this post ended at 300 or 250 words, it wouldn’t be nearly as helpful. This mistake stems from the misconception that search engines like shorter posts, but that’s no longer true. Search engines prefer content that goes into great deal about the topic and offers something of value to the reader. Short posts are okay from time to time, but make sure that with every blog post, the reader feels that reading that post was worth while and provided some benefit to his/her life. If it takes 2000 words to provide this value, then go for it. If 2000 words is way too daunting, then shoot for 600-800 words with every post. This goal is a good balance between giving yourself enough room to go into depth without overwhelming the reader with something that will take too long to read.