14 Powerful Ways to Choose Engaging Topics For Your Nonprofit Blog

Blog topics
08.17.2011By

Now that you set goals for your blog and have selected the right blogging platform, what are you going to write about? This is the number one question that keeps every blogger up at night, and is exactly why it’s referred to as “feeding the beast”.

1. Survey Your Readers

One of the easiest ways to find out what your readers want is to conduct a survey. Remember to ask yes or no questions around specific topics–or select 10 topics and ask respondents to pick the top three–in order to get the most responses. Idealware has a great list of online survey tools, and you can also post surveys to Twitter with PollDaddy:

2. Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Monitoring blogs and using the advanced Twitter search will enable you to find out who’s talking about your cause. This will lead you to recent articles, and also give you insights into what’s important. If you’re a community-based org, you can also research local trending topics on Twitter:

3. Check Out Your Click-Throughs on Twitter

If you’re using Twitter, chances are you tend to share a lot of useful content. Tools like Hootsuite and Bit.Ly allow you to go back through your recent tweets to see which links received the most click throughs.

4. Check Your Faved Tweets

You can use Favstar to find which of your Tweets people have marked most as favorites. This gives you insight into which topics resonate with the people who follow you.

5. Ask People on Your Facebook Page

If your organization has an active Facebook page, you might want to try soliciting blog post ideas from your fans. The best way to get the most responses is to have fans pick their favorite out of three topics. Not only will this give you topic ideas for your blog, but you’ll also improve your Page’s Edgerank in the process.

6. Check Out Your Best Facebook Page Stories

Facebook Insights can tell you a lot about how users interact with your Page’s content–specifically which status updates received the most feedback and interaction.

7. Take a Look at What’s Trending in Community Forums

The Brain Aneurysm Foundation has a private NING community where survivors, friends and family discuss a variety of topics that are both important and personal. Community managers have the ability to quickly see which topics are getting the most comments, which can be expanded upon in blog posts. (Note: If you’re going to take this approach, be careful to remove any sensitive information.)

8. Read Related Blogs

One thing you definitely want to be doing if you’re going to be blogging for your organization is read related blogs. Especially the top blogs in your cause space.

When you read these blogs, pay attention to the posts that have the most comments, the most re-tweets, and the most shares on Facebook.This will ensure that your topics are aligned with what people are passionate about.

9. Expand Upon Comments on Other Blog Posts

In the process of reading other blogs, you will occasionally find yourself leaving thoughtful comments.  Try and get into the habit of asking yourself whether these type of comments could be expanded upon in the form of a blog post.

10. Dig Deeper Into Comments

If you currently have a blog, go back to the posts that have received the most comments asking yourself: Are there any topics or unanswered questions we can answer in a follow-up blog post? Not only will you get a new topic, you’ll also give more life to these popular posts by linking back to them.

11. Check Out Your Top-Viewed Webpages

And if you don’t have a blog yet, check out your top viewed pages in Google Analytics. Read through these pages on your website and look for common topic themes that can be used for blog posts.

12. Check Email Open Stats

If you’re using an email service like Aweber, you can also view click-throughs from your email newsletter to articles on your website.

13. Talk to People You Meet at Events

Ask them if they’ve been reading the blog, and what topics they’d like to see more of.

14. Look to Your Social Fundraisers

Last but not least, look to your top social fundraisers for blog topics. Read through the stories on their fundraising pages. How are they telling your story in a way that moves people?

How do you find topics for your blog?

  • http://www.sheilasguide.com/ Sheila Scarborough

    We can never have enough ideas to help with “feeding the beast.” :) Very helpful post – you always have the nicest screen shot graphics to explain things, too.

    • http://johnhaydon.com/ John Haydon

      Sheila – That’s great! Are you helping an org with their blog?

  • http://www.sheilasguide.com Sheila Scarborough

    We can never have enough ideas to help with “feeding the beast.” :) Very helpful post – you always have the nicest screen shot graphics to explain things, too.

    • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

      Sheila – That’s great! Are you helping an org with their blog?

  • http://vizify.com/ifdyperez Ifdy Perez

    I loved this, John! You get creative when it comes to finding resources for blog topics by peeking into small corners and places that aren’t so obvious. This is very helpful for nonprofits wanting to blog and don’t really know how to start. .)

    • http://johnhaydon.com/ John Haydon

      That was my goal! There are probably another 14 places out there…

  • http://twitter.com/ifdyperez Ifdy Perez

    I loved this, John! You get creative when it comes to finding resources for blog topics by peeking into small corners and places that aren’t so obvious. This is very helpful for nonprofits wanting to blog and don’t really know how to start. .)

    • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

      That was my goal! There are probably another 14 places out there…

  • Ele

    This is so useful for all those non-profit newbies out there such as myself! Thanks!! Ele (elegibson.com)

    • http://johnhaydon.com/ John Haydon

      Ele – glad it’s helpful! Does your org have a blog now?

  • Ele

    This is so useful for all thoseu00a0non-profit newbies out there such as myself! Thanks!! Ele (elegibson.com)

    • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

      Ele – glad it’s helpful! Does your org have a blog now?

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  • Amanda

    Hi John, I really like this and will be featuring it in NTEN’s weekly member round up. Thank you!

  • Amanda

    Hi John, I really like this and will be featuring it in NTEN’s weekly member round up. Thank you!

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