The State of the Blogosphere offers a useful spotlight on important trends and returns from blogging – many of which can be applied to the nonprofit sector. If you cross the results of the SOTB with the recent Idealware social media guide research and survey about how nonprofits use social media, the result is proof of the power of blogging to deepen engagement, attract new stakeholders, create thought leadership and expand services.
Technorati recently released its annual State of the Blogosphere (SOTB). This past year, 7,200 bloggers responded to a lengthy survey on every aspect of blogging (I also participated). Responders included hobbyists, self-employed, self-defined “mom bloggers,” part-time bloggers, and corporate bloggers. The resulting annual State of the Blogosphere is a snapshot of the world of blogging – who’s blogging, how they are doing it, what technical features are they using, what are they blogging about, and the benefits of blogging. (You can read the complete three-part State of the Blogosphere report and analysis from Technorati.)
Their are a some very compelling findings relevant to nonprofit organizations – specifically blog impact, promoting the blog, blogging tools, and the impact of using social media channels for your blog. Though the SOTB surveyed all bloggers, I’ve focused on survey replies from the “all bloggers” and “corporate bloggers” categories.
Blog impact: visbility, thought leadership, service expansion
From the results, it’s clear that blogging is effective at raising the profile of the organization within the industry. The SOTB survey asked “Which of the following statements describes how your blog has helped your business?” The results: greater visibility in the industry, prospective clients have read their blogs and purchased products or services, and the blog has helped their company to be regarded as a thought leader in the industry. (Additionally, in Idealware’s report, many nonprofits know that blogging is one of the top social media channels nonprofits use to enhance relations with an existing audience.)
Nonprofit takeaways: donors, potential clients, and potential collaborators may be reading your blog before contacting you. Blogging deepens relationships with existing stakeholders, too. If becoming well-known within your sector is an organizational goal, blogging can help you get there.
The relationship between Twitter and blogging
The SOTB shows the rise of Twitter activity by bloggers, and its effectiveness. 88% of all corporate bloggers have Twitter account. 37% of them believe that Twitter is a more effective driver of traffic to their blogs than it was a year ago. Corporate bloggers tend to use Twitter to promote the blog, stay on top of current news and industry buzz, understand current online buzz, and interact with blog readers. Most corporate bloggers automatically tweet their blog posts.
Nonprofit takeaways: Use Twitter to source industry news, promote the blog, and develop relationships with blog readers. If you’re not yet tweeting, the SOTB offers the compelling reasons you need to start.
The relationship between Facebook and blogging
The majority of bloggers use Facebook, and 62% of corporate bloggers have a corporate Facebook page and use Facebook to promote the corporate blog, Corporate bloggers also use Facebook to market their businesses, interact with blog readers, and syndicate their blog posts. Almost 50% of bloggers feel that Facebook is more effective at driving traffic to their website than it was a year ago!
Corporate bloggers feel that Facebook is the most effective social media channel for driving traffic to the website, overall, followed by Twitter, with Linkedin an extremely distant third.
Nonprofit Takeaways: Opening a Facebook Page may be the single best thing you can do to drive traffic to your website. It’s also great for creating deeper relationships with stakeholders and interacting with them off 0f the website.
Other social media channels used by bloggers
The primary social media channels used by corporate bloggers are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr and Delicious. This syncs nicely with the Idealware survey of nonprofit organizations, which found that most US nonprofit organizations are blogging, using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, video sharing, and photo sharing.
By far, most bloggers (87%) regularly integrate photos into their blogs, and 50% use video. Corporate blogs, on the whole, also include the ability for multiple authors, social sharing widgets (share on Twitter, etc.), RSS feeds, a commenting system, a search box, tags, and categories.
Nonprofit Takeaways: the tools listed above create community, simplify and amplify social sharing, and make your blog easier to find online. Integrating photos and videos into a blog adds interest. Photos and videos are great storytelling tools, too!
Attracting visitors to the blog
Aside from using Facebook and Twitter, bloggers are employing other means to attract visitors to their blogs. The most popular method is tagging blog posts, followed by using Twitter and Facebook. Given that this is a Technorati survey, it isn’t surprising that many bloggers list their blogs with Technorati and Google. Bloggers also recognize other blogs as a way of creating attention to their blog: 54% comment on other blogs and “hope for reciprocity,” and 49% link to other blogs in a blogroll.
Nonprofit takeaways: Use these tactics to bring visitors to your organization’s blog. Most importantly, be generous! Commenting on other blogs, linking to other blogs, and creating a blogroll to recognize other great blogs are worthwhile methods of gaining the attention of those other bloggers – and bringing them into your community.
What are your takeaways from the State of the Blogosphere?
Does your blogging experience differ from the survey results?