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Changing Up the Blog

22 Comments 17 May 2011

Spring is here, there’s finally a whiff of summer on the way, and change is in the air. I left FirstGiving a month ago, and I am really excited to be working again as a digital engagement consultant with nonprofit organizations. I’m also ready to update the look and design of this blog. I’ve hired Jaki Levy and his team at ArrowRoot Media to create a new blog design, and they’ve been working hard to come up with a new look and feel for the blog. As with any change, it’s also a time to reassess, and I need your help with that. I’ll be writing a series of two blog posts to ask you questions about what you want to see more of on this blog, and what features you enjoy in a blog. For this blog post, I’d like to know more about the type of content I should feature on the blog, who you are, and to understand what areas of social media you are most interested in reading about.

 

Type of Content

Looking back on the past two and a half years of blog content, the most popular posts have illustrated and analyzed how to best use social media (Understanding How Facebook Pages Grow, Nonprofit Facebook Welcome Tabs, Principles of Social Media Fundraising, The Case of the 4,000 Twitter Followers Who Don’t Care, and Facebook Engagement Practices: Recent Studies). I’ve written about a lot of different types of social platforms, and mixed up the type of content offered.

Thinking about what to focus on in the future, I’d love to know which types of content you find most valuable:

  • analysis of current social media trends and/or research
  • examples and best practices illustrating how organizations are using social media
  • slide shows and presentations
  • practical, how-to tips for using specific social media platforms
  • other type of content not mentioned

 

Audience

When I start thinking about a strategy, I always want to know who the audience is. I know that most of this blog’s readers live in the United States, followed by Canada, the UK, Israel, India, and Australia. When I started blogging, I assumed that most readers would work in nonprofit organizations, though I often write content relevant for all types of industries and organizations.

I’d like to know more about you so I can offer relevant content. Specifically:

  • what type of work you do
  • does your professional work include using social media channels?
  • what type of organization you work for

 

Social media platforms

Lastly, I’d love to know what type of social media you want to keep up with. This blog has focused a lot on Facebook, Twitter, and online fundraising. At times, I’ve also talked about social bookmarking, video sharing, and photo sharing. What social media platforms are you most interested in reading and learning about?

Please share your responses and thoughts in the comments. I’d really like to hear from you, and incorporate what you have to say into what Community Organizer 2.0 will offer in the future.


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  • Susie A

    Can you make your work & outreach broad enough to seek out consultations w/for-profit companies?

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Good question. I think a lot of the posts are relevant to for-profit companies and I keep that in mind when I write blog posts. I’m curious how many people read this blog that work for for-profit entities? 

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

     As a non-profiteer, I like the examples of how other organizations are using social media as well as the practical how-to tips. I could always use a hand on how to use social media more effectively for my organization.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Thanks, Andy. I’ll keep that in mind: practical how-to tips and use examples from nonprofits. If you have any that you come across, feel free to write them up as a guest blogger, also.

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    Thanks, I will take you up on that! 

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Great, Andy. Looking forward to them. 

  • katiess

    I’d love more info on best practices for social media in regards to photos and social bookmarking.  I’m an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with a youth development organization and the organization is slowly moving towards web 2.0 (slowly) – I’m trying to gather as many resources as I can to help move that process along, and learning a lot of new stuff myself!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Thanks, katiess. I will make a point to write about that a bit more in the coming year. Great feedback!

    [Reply]

  • Erin Fogel

     case studies, case studies with “how to’s”, case studies.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    I really like writing up case studies, but since they are not as well shared as other types of blog posts, I wasn’t sure how much they were wanted. Glad I asked 🙂

    [Reply]

  • Bonnie Koenig

    Debra – Congratulations on doing a wonderful job of modeling what you recommend organizations do – engaging with their audience and building relationships.  This is where I think your strengths lie.  Although you periodically may want to share ‘how to’s’ and other tips, there are many places where this type of information can be found.  Your analytical perspective on what makes for an effective social media strategy and engagement  IMHO is much more unique and valuable, and a number of your most popular blogs (as you note above) reflect this.  So I would encourage you to keep writing those type of pieces!

    BTW, you do a great job of also choosing language that reflects the points you are making (such as the use of the word engagement – one of my favorites, too 🙂 so I just wanted to make a brief comment on the use of the term ‘best practices’.  Although this term has broad usage, a number of us have begun to question the use of this term.  Although there may be good practices and lessons learned to share, best practices tends to promote a ‘one size fits all’ concept rather than what is good for one organization may not be as good for others.  There will be more on this forthcoming, but just a thought for you and your readers! 

    Keep the great posts and engagement coming!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Love that best practices might be getting a 2.0! Curious to hear more.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Thinking about adding a featured slide presentation area to the blog, since I find myself created slide decks about once a month. I’m also trying to figure out how to feature more content that people are interested in reading in a featured content section – any thoughts about how you like to see featured content? Lastly, I’m compiling a lot of resources for others. 

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Bonnie, you make such a great point about the term “best practices.” I always think that social media has few real empiricals (besides “you must engage!”) so best practices may not be the correct terminology. I like your substitution for the term “lessons” and possibly “learnings” may be more in line with what you are saying. Think I won’t create a “best practices” category on the new blog, thanks to this very interesting comment. I am really looking forward to what you will be writing on this topic.

    Thanks, too, for the the comment about continuing to focus on analysis of social media use and trends. From all the comments thus far, I think case studies/examples and analysis seem to be what current readers enjoy, foremost.

    [Reply]

  • I agree with what was written previously. For me the most valuable information here are examples that illustrate your conclusions based on your research and analysis. This is classic Debra. It is what you are good at and where you shine.

    Give us your conclusion, prove it with concrete examples where you explicate your analysis and draw your conclusion to prove your point.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Charlie,
    Thanks for your comments. I’ve always loved the research/analysis and it’s nice to hear that you find it valuable. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Andrea

    I love how-tos & examples. It helps me learn to see how others are using tools. Broad surveys on emerging trends are interesting, but I’m not on the bleeding edge with most applications.

    My work is primarily nonprofits, but includes civic & political projects, too. I have clients who are barely dipping their toes in- a few are at the “digital brochue” stage of their websites! I’m especially pressed when civic/governmental clients are successful & active in new media, because they have some of the highest hurdles to overcome (needing 3 sign-offs for a tweet …)

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Andrea,
    Thanks for letting me know that you like the how-tos and examples. The commenters thus far have really appreciated the “best practices” (written in quotes to keep Bonnie’s fair comment in mind), so I think I might integrate some how-tos in with the case studies and best practices. I’m also thinking about blog post categories, so a “how-to” category seems in order.
     
    I haven’t really blogged about gov 2.0, but I do find it fascinating how governments are using social media. I’d love to tap your knowledge of that at some point here on this blog!

    [Reply]

  • Debra:
    I can only echo the comments of others here: the how-to pieces and examples are so helpful to others navigating this new landscape.  My niche is with the smaller, community-based org and I like to see examples featuring these types of orgs – who are doing social media right w/ a limited budget/resources.  Sometimes the beauty of working for a small npo is a lack of restrictions (of course, you’re also grantwriter/event planner/individual giving manager/database manager and now social media manager – all rolled into one!).  
    I also loved Bonnie’s comment.  As much as I adore Twitter, it certainly isn’t a tool that I recommend every organization use. 

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Thanks, Pamela. Your comment is a wonderful reminder to feature smaller community-based organizations and how they are using social media, as well as case studies from this organizational size. There are smaller organizations that are very experimental with social media for the same reason you mention: lack of restrictions, willingness to try new things, one person wearing many different hats.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    Hi Debra.

    As I do more blogging, what’s become really interesting to me is which posts attract what types of people and interaction. I’ve found that posts that attract more Google traffic have a terrible bounce rate – people don’t stick around much. They want and answer (usually this is a How-To do something in Facebook post). Posts from sources such as Feedburner, Hootsuite and LinkedIN stick around much more, but fewer people come.

    My best post has been a list. It’s crazy how much list posts get clicked on and shared.

    Do you want your audience to be beginners, or advanced practitioners looking to sharpen their skills and broaden their knowledge base?

    For me, since I work solo, I like to hear a nice juicy case study, including and especially lessons learned.

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    What a fantastic way to think about the blog in terms of who do I want to attract! The fact is that I would love a mix of both – more experienced social media practitioners and those who are early in the learning curve, so that they can help each other out during the blog conversation (blog comments). I have tended to be more interested in developing blog posts can straddle both audiences, and not many of the how-to-do-this posts that are aimed at new practitioners.

    What I’m guessing, from the comments to this blog post, is that many of the readers are intermediate to very comfortable social media practitioners, since many blog commenters seem to be asking for juicy case studies. I’m hearing that feature request loud and clear.

    To speak to your other point: I have also found that my lists receive the most traffic, but they are in-and-out with a very high bounce rate. I’ve never looked at which sources send readers with the lowest bounce rate, but that is a great thought to research the connection between sources and bounce rates.

    [Reply]

About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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