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

US-Japan joint rain radar mission to end next year
Washington, Nov 1 (IANS) After 17 years of groundbreaking 3-D images of rain and storms, the joint NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) will come to an end next year, the US space agency said in a statement.
Al Qaeda threatens to disrupt Australian fuel supplies
Sydney, Nov 1 (IANS) Al Qaeda has urged Islamic militants to attack oil tankers in maritime hotspots that supply Australia with up to 70 percent of its petrol, a media report said Saturday.
Insomnia triples risk of motor accident deaths
London, Nov 1 (IANS) Developing a healthy sleeping habit could be a life saviour as researchers have found that insomnia significantly increases risk of death caused by motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional fatal injuries.
Resveratrol could impede benefits of exercise
Toronto, Nov 1 (IANS) Contrary to popular belief, adding resveratrol (RSV) to your exercise routine may not enhance the effects of physical activity, said a study.

Latest from the Network

Jessie J: Fame is hard
Jessie J says people can't understand how hard it it to be famous. The 'Bang Bang' hitmaker likes to offer support and advice to other artists because it isn't ''easy'' being in the public eye. She said: ''We've all...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Nicole Scherzinger feels lost
Nicole Scherzinger is feeling ''lost''. The 36-year-old star worried fans recently when it was reported she'd tried to jump out of a moving limo and it's now been claimed her strange behavior is a result of being too...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
JWoww: Marriage 'doesn't mean anything'
JWoww says marriage doesn't ''mean anything'' to her. The former 'Jersey Shore' star, who has three-month-old daughter Meilani with her fiancé Roger Matthews, got engaged two years ago, but still doesn't feel in any...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Chinese citizens get more power to sue government
Beijing, Nov 1 (IANS) China Saturday adopted an amendment to expand the people's right to sue the government. Members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the amendment to the...
Read more on Politics Balla
Court Enables Police to Compel Users Unlocking the iPhones with the Fingerprint
The police has been provided with more power, as the court rules that they will be able to force the accused person unlocking the iPhone with the fingerprint scanner.According to Mac Rumors, the declaration has been...
Read more on Apple Balla
Endangered vampire-like deer sighted in Afghanistan
Kabul, Nov 1 (IANS) Strange deer with vampire-like fangs have been spotted more than 60 years after the last confirmed sighting in the rugged forested slopes of northeast Afghanistan. Known as the Kashmir musk deer -...
Read more on Politics Balla
An app to avoid smartphone distraction
London, Nov 1 (IANS) Getting distracted by your smartphone? An app called Offtime helps you get rid of apps and notifications at a time when you need to focus on important work. The app also prevents people from...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Insomnia triples risk of motor accident deaths
London, Nov 1 (IANS) Developing a healthy sleeping habit could be a life saviour as researchers have found that insomnia significantly increases risk of death caused by motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional...
Read more on Business Balla
Emma Watson, Judi Dench win Britannia awards
Los Angeles, Nov 1 (IANS) British actresses Emma Watson and Dame Judi Dench were two of the six honourees at the annual Britannia Awards. The annual ceremony was hosted by BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
All's still not good between Avril, Chad
Los Angeles, Nov 1 (IANS) Trouble continues to plague singers Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger's paradise even as the news of their split continues to do the rounds. After a little over a year of marriage, the duo is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla