MRG Foundation grantees are the experts on so many pressing social issues: immigration, workers’ rights, old-growth forest protection… the list could go on. But, because so few progressive grassroots groups are writing online, people who know less — but write more often — can wind up drowning out our voices on the web. What’s one strategy that you can use to raise your voice on the web? Blogging.
“What?! Blogging? Another thing to do?!?” I know you’re busy… but there are few things as important as your knowledge and experience, and I wish it was getting out there more. Let’s review three ideas that could help you say, “yes” to blogging.
You Are the Expert You’ve Been Waiting For
Many of our grantees hold very specific knowledge and experience on your issue. But it’s not enough to know things — you can’t create change unless other people know these things too.
Write about what you know well:
- When a new bill is proposed on your issue, is it good news or bad? Simplify it for us.
- Did you just meet another constituent whose story is a great example of why we need to change a certain law? Share their story with us.
- Are there other groups doing great work on your issue? Connect others with them too.
Keep your blog focused on what your organization knows well — what you actually are an expert on. (See examples below).
One thing I love about blog writing is that you can keep a conversational tone. Just don’t assume that people know your issue inside-out like you do, (so, go easy on the acronyms). And please don’t swear. A blog doesn’t have to be formal to show that you’re an expert on something, it just has to be accurate and relevant.
Who Are You Writing For? Friends and Allies.
One reason to blog is to stay in touch with people who want to hear from you — not to reach the “general public.”
Write for your members and allies. People get connected with your group because they recognize that you do good work — they count on your organization for news and relevant information on your issue. You can write for your blog as if you are writing a quick email to your most engaged supporters about recent developments on your issue.
Don’t worry about writing for people who are already opposed to you, or for some “general public” that may not even care. Write for your friends and allies, so that for you, blogging = relationship building.
Then make sure that your friends and allies can get your fresh blog posts in the way that’s convenient for them — email, Facebook or Twitter, for starters. Make sure your friends and allies know you’re blogging, and solicit their comments/feedback.
Less is More
Yes, blogging is another thing to do. But there are a couple ways to keep the task in check. One is to pick your area of expertise, and only write about that. Don’t respond to every news story out there. Another is to pick a window of time to draft something each week. Yes, each week. There is news on your issue every week, and your friends and allies want to know what it is.
And each week, commit to writing something brief — brief for the benefit of your readers, and also for your sanity/time management. Pick one thing to write about at a time, and once you’ve said the one thing, stop writing. Create a list of possible future posts for ideas that come up when you’re writing.
Crafting brief blog posts is something you can turn into a routine, and if you just keep writing, over time you will have written a bunch of pieces on different facets of your issue area.
If It Were Up to Me…
… every single MRG grantee would have a blog. You all are the experts on so many different areas. Two excellent examples of grantees who blog now:
And then there’s MRG Foundation’s blog on Social Change in Oregon, written by our director, Marjory Hamann.
If you can commit to writing something brief once a week about something your organization knows well, you would be surprised how much you could influence public debate… consider it!
This post is the why, but then there’s the how. My next post will be on how to get started on blogging.