In this guest post Debbie Dubrow from DeliciousBaby.com looks at the idea of using a blog to do community service work.
For most of us, our blogs are a place to share our passions, engage with new people, and hopefully make a little money. I want to share with you why I think it’s also important for every blogger to occasionally use their blog to help support a charitable cause. Giving through your blog is not only emotionally rewarding, but it also makes good business sense.
You Are An Influencer
Even if your blog has a very small following, your readers come to you because they enjoy your “voice” and trust what you have to say. That’s no secret to PR professionals, many of whom seem desperate to get us to write about their product or service. But why use your voice and the platform you have built up exclusively to help promote someone else’s business? Posting about a relevant charity or cause you care about is an easy and effective way to lend your support without writing a big check or giving up much of your time.
Be creative, and make sure that what you write about is relevant to your audience. For example, on my travel blog I posted pictures of pre-cyclone Myanmar in an effort to help readers understand the country better and hopefully donate money to support rescue and recovery efforts. Sharing my personal experience and my viewpoint helped my readers better connect with the disaster in Myanmar, and was an effective way to help increase donations.
Real World Results are Rewarding
As bloggers many of the ways we measure our success are esoteric: bounce rates, page views and comments per post have little meaning in the real world. It can be incredibly rewarding to do something that has a measurable real world impact, whether it is fundraising, a toy drive, or hearing from readers that your words motivated them to volunteer.
A Great Way To Build Relationships
Blogging can sometimes be isolating, and it is incredibly satisfying to work together with other bloggers to promote a common cause. Working together is also a great way to build relationships, and to establish yourself as a leader in your niche. As bloggers, we spend a lot of time asking other bloggers to link to us, stumble our posts, and promote us using other social media tools. Sending email on behalf of a charity or cause that really needs it instead of for yourself is a way to connect without being self-promoting.
As a case in point, this winter three other leading travel bloggers (Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy) and I have organized PassportsWithPurpose, a fundraiser for Heifer International. The effort has built bonds between us that will last throughout the year, and I have grown to know more about each blogger, their strengths, and their backgrounds through the effort. The goodwill does not stop there, though. I was amazed and touched at how quickly over 50 other travel bloggers were able to round up prizes for the raffle, each one developing a relationship with a sponsor in order to make it happen. The outpouring of support from those 50 bloggers and countless others in promoting the effort has been truly heartwarming. I expect that the relationships and goodwill forged during this time will last through the year and payoff in countless other ways for each of the participants. We will also raise thousands of dollars to give people on the edge of starvation the means to feed and support themselves.
Connect With Your Readers
We all become one-sided on our blogs, focusing on a particular aspect of our personalities, and often a single passion. For me, blogging about family travel is rewarding, but sometimes feels superficial. Each time I’ve taken time on my blog to advance a (related) cause that I am passionate about, I’ve noticed that every measure of “reader engagement” has gone up. From comments, to subscriber-ship, to tweets and inbound links, my readers do more for me when I express my passion for giving. I think readers enjoy the opportunity to see us as fuller human beings, beyond just the one interest that we’ve chosen to reveal on our blogs.
Connect With Sponsors
Online Advertising is tricky for potential sponsors because it is hard to identify which blogs can drive real world results (like purchases) based solely on traffic numbers. Having a concrete measure of success (for example raising money for charity) can help build your credibility with a potential sponsor.
Bio: Debbie Dubrow is a mother of two living in Seattle, WA. Together with Beth Whitman, Michelle Duffy and Pam Mandel she founded PassportsWithPurpose, a fundraiser for Heifer International where a $10 donation to Heifer enters you to win one of many fabulous prizes. Her own blog, DeliciousBaby.com is packed with helpful advice about traveling with babies, toddlers and kids.