BestContent for Your Cause Marketing Blog
Text, video, pictures, podcasts — which do you prefer to communicate your cause marketing message? What medium you want to use is your choice. It’s best to pick one you feel most comfortable and expressive.
Some prefer text because they enjoys working with words. Gary Vaynerchuk, the famed vlogger — someone who blogs with videos instead of words, pictures, or podcasts — behind Wine Library TV (Wine Library), prefers video. Humanitarian photographer David duChemin (Pixelated Image Blog) likes using pictures (believe it or not!). But David also mixes it up with text and podcasts.
Your best strategy is to use a combination of text, video, pictures, and podcasts.
Text is the default medium for blogs, so you’ll be in good company if you choose words (hey, they worked for Shakespeare). Selfishgiving.com is a text-based blog, the blogger uses pictures and sometimes video, he prefers words above all else. You may, too. When using text in your blogs, follow these guidelines:
Until you figure out what your readers prefer, keep your posts short (300 to 500 words). Online readers want news they can use and prefer bite-size reading.
Make your posts scannable. Use bullets and numbers to draw the reader’s eye to key points. Underline and bold words that you want to emphasize. Include hyperlinks to posts, articles, and sites that expand and explain key ideas.
Write like a human being. Use short, active sentences to make your points. Avoid jargon, big words, and long sentences. Joe likes to say, quoting Mark Twain: If you can catch an adjective, kill it!
Video can be a fantastic option. Not only are videos very popular — YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web, and 24 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute — but if you use it for blogging, you can call yourself a vlogger. How cool is that?!
Here are a few tips on how to best use video on your blog:
If you’re including a video from a site like YouTube, don’t just provide a link to the video. Embed the video right into your post so that viewers can watch it on your blog instead of visiting a separate site. You can embed a video right from YouTube. Just click Embed to get the embed video code, copy it, and paste it in your post.
If you’re making your own video, don’t get too caught up in the production quality of your video, especially in the beginning. It’s easy to capture cause marketing programs in stores and interviews with the video app on your iPhone or a Flip video camera.
Most of the time, you’ll want a small, handy device you can carry with you. Your smartphone or a Flip fit in your hand perfectly, and it can even record in high definition.
Like text posts, keep your videos short. Don’t increase their length until you have a better feel for creating videos and your viewers are craving longer pieces.
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? More than podcasts or video, pictures need to play an important role in your blog, especially if your blog is mostly text. Pictures engage, enliven, and educate your reader. Don’t forget to include them.
Here’s how to use pictures effectively in your blog:
Complement text posts with pictures. You want to use pictures that grab the readers’ attention, explain a point, draw their eyes down the post, and connect them emotionally to the topic.
Be careful not to use licensed pictures without permission or free pictures without noting the source. You can buy images for as little as a dollar at iStockphoto.com, or you can get free images at Flickr's Creative Commons pool.
You can give credit by linking the picture directly to an owner’s Flickr page. That way, readers can go straight to the source, where they can see who took the photo, leave comments, and explore other photos.
In general, use pictures to say or capture something that just cannot be said in words. Pictures can tell a powerful story. Just don’t clutter your posts with random photos. Dramatize, elicit, enlighten, and educate.
A podcast is an audio (or video) file that you can listen to and download from the Internet. Podcasts generally are broken up into episodes and have a regular host. If you ever wanted to host your own show, a podcast may be your best shot!
Keep these pointers in mind when you’re creating a podcast:
Choose a good mic. Don’t use the one on your computer, as it will pick up sounds from all around your room. Many good sites (Podcasting News) review good microphones, even ones for under $100.
Keep your podcasts short. Fifteen minutes is probably just about right. Conserve your extra time for equipment checks, production, planning, and good editing. Many podcasts are on the web. Make sure that yours is stands out.