3 Ways to Build a Nonprofit Blog Worth Sharing – RCA Series Part I


Let's share our music

Let’s share our music

R.C.A.  That’s the three things.  Yup.  When building a blog that’s not only worth reading but also worth sharing, you’ve got to think like an RCA Victrola and record.  A great recording captures our attention.  It transports us.  It carries us away.  It brings us into the music/story in an easy flow.  It gets us tapping our toes and up on our feet dancing. Woo-hoo… it’s a party!

And don’t you just want to share a party?  To get your readers to share your party you’ve got to make sure your blog posts are Relatable (they find common ground with your readers); Conversational (you speak directly to your readers), and Actionable(you achieve your blog post’s purpose).

Once you understand the three principles of R.C.A. you’ll be well on your way towards having a blog your readers will share with their networks. Today, let’s begin with the first principle:  how to put the ‘R’ in R.C.A.


All businesses need to be relatable.  In Can Your Audience Relate to Your Brand? we’re treated to some tips from business marketing strategists who ask: Do you want your brand to evoke an emotion when people hear its name? When people connect with your brand, they may not only buy it, they might also advocate for it! And, of course, that’s the point in trying to build a blog that’s worth sharing.

There’s a big difference between telling and sharing. Telling is the old school model of communication.  You want a new school paradigm.

OLD: Outbound/Push/ Communication Model:
(1) Here’s what I’ll tell you; (2) I’m telling you, and (3) Here’s what I told you.

NEW: Inbound/Pull Communications Model
(1) Here’s how I feel; (2) How do you feel, and (3) Here are ways to deal with the feeling.

SHARE; Don’t Tell
Telling = monologue.
Sharing = dialogue through describing emotion, intent and observation.

An example of the “telling” model is to say: “We help children with disabilities succeed in school.” OPEN/SHUT. If you don’t have a kid with disabilities you may stop paying attention here. In the sharing model you might say: “I did well in school and loved to read.  So when my son struggled with reading I found it difficult. I thought I’d failed.” OPEN. Can you relate to the latter?

Sharing is relatable. I know, I know. In the C.P.A. Series  I told you to be authoritative. But don’t be arrogant.  You must be humble enough to be relatable. Mark Schaefer in {grow}: The best advice I ever received for my business, and my blog suggests adopting “a strategy of professional humility.”  He learned this from management guru Peter Drucker. When we’re a bit vulnerable, and we involve others in our thought processes, we often come up with a better solution together.

Sharing is emotionally evocative. For content to be shareable the reader must be moved. In the example above, anyone who has ever had a kid who was different than they are can probably relate.  You want people to feel something whenever they read one of your posts. Feeling is what leads to action.  And my guess is that you’re not just posting for your own amusement.

Speaking of amusement humor is something that is often easy to relate to and makes your blog accessible. Where appropriate, consider adding a bit of whimsy and fun to your blog posts or other social media. For example, OneJustice is currently running a “Justice Karaoke” contest to “vote for your favorite justice song!”  This is perfect, because what is more emotionally evocative for most folks than music? Just thinking about these songs got me in the mood to do something to make our world a more just place. Nice.

Simply telling folks what they must do is not relatable. You can pontificate all you want, wringing your hands and blowing your megaphone to beseech folks to give to you.  But the fact remains: You have no leverage.  No one has to give to you. So you’ve got to engage folks. You’ve got to present a value proposition.  You’ve got to share the weight of decisions affecting us and our neighbors; this is when we begin to create a community that cares.  If you make this philosophy central to your blogging, you’ll have a relatable blog that’s worth sharing.

Of course, it helps to believe in the value of crowd-sourced wisdom.  When you ask folks “what do you think?” or “how do your feel?” you have to care about their answers. Then you can respond to them, keeping a (hopefully) meaningful conversation going. If you think you already know all the answers, making your blog relatable will be difficult. If you’re really “shut”, then simply pretending to be “open” won’t work.  You’ve got to be authentic.  If not, folks will ultimately see through you. They won’t relate.

Feelings.  Nothing more than feelings. A soundtrack for your blog writing?

An authentic voice will emerge more easily if you give your brand and your readers feelings. We’ll talk in Part II of this Series about creating personas for your readers, but first you must create a persona for your organization.  To be relatable you must humanize your messaging. So talk about how you feel about an issue.  Ask your readers how they feel.  Then, finally, suggest ways to deal with these feelings.  If you try this, I promise you’ll find it to be a very powerful way to offer value to your constituents.  You listen to them, discern their problems and offer them a way to deal. Got it?  Feel; then deal.

ACTIONABLE TIP #1: Look at your balance of ‘you’ to ‘we’. ‘We’ is usually followed by something about the organization. ‘You’ is usually followed by something about your reader. You want more ‘you’ than ‘we.’ That’s relating.

ACTIONABLE TIP #2: In the final paragraph of your blog article ask specific questions regarding the topic you’ve just discussed. Ask readers their thoughts and whether they agree or disagree. Invite them to share further examples that would help other readers. Ask them how they feel. You’ll be amazed the difference this will make if it becomes a habit with everything you write.

Do you have any actionable tips to get blog posts shared? When is the last time you shared a blog post, and what made you do it?

 Photo by Flickr Beverly & Pack

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  1. This is so very helpful to my newly created foundation! Thank you Claire!
    Teresa Woolson recently posted…Starting a New Non-ProfitMy Profile

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