Why Blogs (Still) Matter For Social Entrepreneurs

Feb 28 2014, 2:36pm CST | by

Why Blogs (Still) Matter For Social Entrepreneurs
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

When social entrepreneurs ask me about a digital media strategy, the first words out of my mouth are often these: “start a blog, today, right now.” They sometimes look at me like I teleported in from the mists of 2006, but I always stick to that advice. Blogs are still a vital part of a strong digital media strategy, they’re inexpensive to start, they work very well with small teams of founders and do-gooders, and while they’re not as “hot” as they were half a decade or more ago, for my money they’re the best way for a social venture to communicate with a wide audience.

Sure, blogs are a bit long in the tooth. My own personal blog turned ten last month, and frankly I’ve been writing on blogs and pre-blogs and proto-blogs for nearly two decades now. It’s a long tail digital trail, and an older bit of technology in a mobile-dominated media world. But so what? Blogs today remain perhaps the most cost effective, sustainable, and best-structured communications commitments social ventures can make.

“Blogs are fantastic for highlighting issues and content that you care about, and establishing your organization as a leader and thought leader in the space,” says Jereme Bivins, Digital Media Manager at the Rockefeller Foundation. “Also, they don’t have to be solely for original content. Invite guest posts, share link-roundups or media that are compelling; or break down your organization’s dense reports or publications into digestible, focused stories or pieces.”

Social entrepreneur Caroline Avakian agrees. She recently launched SourceRise, a new social enterprise connecting journalists to expert sources at international NGOs. “Our website’s blog has been a critical piece in being able to tell the story of why we came to be,” says  Avakian. “That one post has drawn a ton of traffic and it’s how people are getting to know us and sharing with their networks. I’ve found that people are more willing and inclined to share a founder’s story of a need she came to fill instead of just sharing a website.”

In my experience, there are five core reasons for social enterprises to use blogs for communications:

1. Tell your own story – Blogs are direct. They don’t rely on someone else’s network, and they allow you to express yourself freely. They’re also fast, generally easy to manage, and self-organizing. A decade into the mainstream acceptance of blogs, they’re still the easiest content management system to launch and to use.

2. Run your own press – Your blog is your blog. Especially if you’re hosting the software (or more likely, running it on a co-hosting service) it’s your printing press. Getting your story out the way you’d like to doesn’t matter on the limitations imposed by social media platforms.

3. Make authenticity matter – When you run a blog – and it does require a commitment to post regularly – it looks like the lights are on, and the social entrepreneur is in the office. Engaging potential supporters with your real voice (not the voice of a public relations agency) will pay dividends. And it also makes it easy to “go direct” with both success and failure.

4. Invite conversation and engagement – A well-run blog tells the world: “our front door is open, come in.” It allows you not just to publish, but to interact and share. For social ventures in a networked world, this is a simple concept and a vital one.

5. Social media needs a headquarters – Sure, social media is where the people are and you can’t not be active on Facebook and Twitter these days. But what are you going to say there, where are you going to send people, what are you going to share? Your blog – even a simple one – creates a digital media hub for your message and outreach.

That complete package makes a difference to social entrepreneurs. “I’ve been blogging for ten years now and it has been hugely valuable,” says nonprofit social media guru Beth Kanter. “I don’t have to market myself, establishes thought leadership, and serves as a home base for my social media presence. But there is another value, it forces me to track and write about the topics I do training and consulting on – and thus enhancing my knowledge and expertise. It serves as a ‘personal learning space or network’ where I can curate knowledge and share it with my network.”

And your blog is your blog – the organization is in the driver’s seat. “There’s a huge value to owning a simple printing press, 2014 edition, on a blog,” says consultant Howard Greenstein, my teaching colleague at New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising. “They can take away your Facebook page, or change the rules of how promotion works, or suspend your Twitter. But they can’t take down your blog, as long as you don’t violate copyright rules.”

So make sure a blog is your digital plans for your social venture. “From a social enterprise perspective, it can be a critical component, especially when you’re just starting out” says Avakian. “We’ve found our blog to be an indispensable tool in sharing our story and building our network of journalists and nonprofits.”

Source: Forbes Business


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Modi moots infrastructure finance facility for Saarc region
Kathmandu, Nov 26 (IANS) To hasten economic integration within Saarc nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday proposed to come up with a special purpose facility to finance infrastructure projects in the region that will enhance connectivity and trade.
Global warming aiding spread of honeybee-harming parasite
London, Nov 26 (IANS) Global warming is aiding the spread of a parasite that is decreasing honeybee populations around the world, a research has found.
Blu-ray discs can boost solar energy supply
New York, Nov 26 (IANS) Regarded as one of the best ways to store high-definition movies and television shows because of their high-density data storage capacity, Blu-ray discs have also shown to improve the performance of solar cells, says a new research.
TV frequencies to deliver Wi-Fi internet in future
London, Nov 26 (IANS) What if you could download songs or transfer movies at any given location with the help of a 'super Wi-Fi' network that reached your smartphone via TV frequencies?

Latest from the Network

Collective efforts more important in Saarc region: Modi
Kathmandu, Nov 26 (IANS) Nowhere in the world are collective efforts more important than in south Asia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit here...
Read more on Politics Balla
Modi speaks of Mumbai attack anniversary at Saarc
Kathmandu, Nov 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday recalled the horror of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack at the Saarc Summit and stressed on the need to combat "terrorism and trans-national crimes". "Today...
Read more on Politics Balla
Money transactions via Bitcoin not safe
London, Nov 26 (IANS) Researchers have shown that money transactions via Bitcoin network do not protect user's IP address and it can be linked to the user's transactions in real-time. The team demonstrated that only a...
Read more on Business Balla
India can connect Saarc students through e-libraries: Modi
Kathmandu, Nov 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said India is prepared to connect students in the south Asian region through e-libraries. "IT has removed all barriers to quality education. India is...
Read more on Politics Balla
Court orders Maradona to pay for slander victim's legal fees
Buenos Aires, Nov 26 (IANS) Famed Argentine ex-footballer Diego Maradona must pay the legal expenses of Shanghai Shenhua team coach Sergio Batista for alleging he took bribes from national players, an Argentine court...
Read more on Sport Balla
Life-saving bacteria found in turkeys
New York, Nov 26 (IANS) The biological machinery needed to produce a potentially life-saving antibiotic is found in turkeys, researchers have found. "Our research group is certainly thankful for turkeys. The 'good...
Read more on Business Balla
Taylor Swift values Lorde friendship
Taylor Swift says Lorde and Lena Dunham as the ''most important'' people in her life at the moment. The 24-year-old musician really appreciates the friendship of the pair and insists it's great to have peers you like...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Susan Boyle: Catholic upbringing has made me single
Susan Boyle blames her single status on her Catholic parents' ''coded behaviour''. The 'Wild Horses' singer has revealed her mother and father's strong Christian beliefs have affected the way she approaches romantic...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Black Friday looks good for Kohl’s
Kohl’s has released their Black Friday 2014 advertisement flier. The big draw to Kohl’s for this year’s version of Black Friday is that the company will have over 500 deals in store. Kohl’s will start their Black...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
Jennifer Aniston felt 'uncomfortable' filming Horrible Bosses 2
Jennifer Aniston felt ''uncomfortable'' filming scenes for 'Horrible Bosses 2'. The 45-year-old actress has admitted to feeling a little uncomfortable as she filmed some sexually provocative scenes with some extras for...
Read more on Movie Balla