The Gift of Life Institute was interested in starting a blog and recruiting experts in the organ procurement industry as guest bloggers. Below are the dos and don'ts of blog creation, writing, and publishing I composed for the Gift of Life Institute.

Blog

Blogging outlet to share through other social media channels.

Blogging for business

Creating a Blog Dos

  1. Target customers and understand your audience

    1. Don’t spread yourself too thin when blogging – stay focused.

    2. Audience

      1. International OPOs

      2. Professional donation specialists

      3. Decision makers (execs / senior leaders in organizations)

  2. Understand their problems

    1. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Listen to their problems—what information are they searching for, what service problems do they have, what is their misunderstanding about a service?

    2. Action — write a list of the most common problems, gaps in information and issues

  3. Identify how you can help them

    1. Action — with the list of problems highlight the ones you are confident that you can write about and fit with your industry

    2. Draft a list of ideas around each problem—this will be used later

    3. Give away advice that people should pay for.  Consistent blog is a very low cost way to offer a “free trial” to potential customers

    4. Be serious about the Gift of Life Institute services. Let reader know the cost/risk they are taking if they don’t take seriously what you’re offering

    5. FAQs

  4. Review what other people are talking about (on the similar or the same subject)

    1. Gift of Life Institute doesn’t have much competition but identify key topics e.g. categories on other’s blog pages talking about a similar topic

    2. Which posts were popular? Which had the most comments and discussion?

  5. Set goals, objectives and metrics

    1. Use SMART objectives

      1. Specific

      2. Measurable

      3. Achievable

      4. Realistic

      5. Timed

    2. Use spreadsheet to plan out targets by week/month then your results

  6. Build Blog on website and working title

    1. Needs to be visually appealing and easy to navigate – think more magazine than blog

  7. Build on marketing functionality

    1. Tag and share

    2. Add in tracking e.g. goals so you can measure performance

  8. Link to social media and email

    1. Hook up blog to social media channels so that people can easily share content

    2. Build email subscriptions to build email list

  9. Keep up with editorial calendar

  10. Research your keywords and phrases

    1. Do keyword search and focus on the long tail keywords and phrases for your niche

  11. Optimize SEO for each post to build traffic. Here’s another site for Optimizing SEO

  12. Respond to comments and thoughtfully comment on other’s blogs

  13. Add Meta Description which gives searchers the ability to read a short summary of the post before clicking into them. Ideally between 150-160 characters and start with an action verb; “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover”.

Creating a Blog Don’ts

  • Don’t try to sell the Gift of Life product. This blog should be about driving traffic to the website. But establish expertise through examples.

Writing a Post Dos

  • Target customers and understand your audience

    • Don’t spread yourself too thin when blogging – stay focused.

    • Audience

      • International OPOs

      • Professional donation specialists

      • Decision makers (execs / senior leaders in organizations)

  • Organize your content before you write

    • Write an outline including subheads to include in final blog

    • Which aspects are the most important and write about the most important elements in the lead

      • Don’t organize in an Inverted Pyramid style like newspaper reporters do (most important information at the top, least important at the bottom). Instead of giving away all the valuable information in the beginning, keep your audience reading by presenting solid information again and again through the entire blog post, all the way to the post’s ultimate destination: the call-to-action at the bottom.

        • Here is a great article explaining all of this. To skip to format options other than the inverted pyramid style, scroll ¼ way down to “What can you use instead of an inverted pyramid?”

        • Here is a video explaining the Pyramid writing style

    • Know your focus and try not to stray from it

      • Make ONE point, pull it apart and drive it home. Open a new document and write down “extra” ideas that come up along the way, those are great ideas for future posts

  • Develop killer headlines

    • Think like a magazine editor here—it can be the difference between a click and a no-click

    • Use the list of formulas for killer headlines

    • The best headline might come to you after paragraphs of writing the post

    • Find a quirky off-angle title to tell us the point you’re about to make in a way that nobody else would

  • Write a captivating intro and lead

    • Open with your close. Give punch line in first paragraph and try for the first sentence

    • Be credible. Deliver what you promise

    • Go-To Lead Starters

      • Ask a question

      • Paint a picture

      • Share a metaphor or quote

      • Use a staggering statistic--make it big.

  • Organize content while you write

    • Use outline and subheads and  fill in the blanks

    • Bullets and sub-bullets

    • Short paragraphs

    • Subheads

  • When using an abbreviation, use the entire title the first time you reference it

    • Ex. Organ Procurement Organization (OPO)

  • Use short sentences (15-23 words)

  • Use white space to give your reader a break from constant words on the screen

  • Use photos and other graphics and videos. The Institute will help with this part of the process.

  • Use calls to action and mention related articles

    • Use links within posts

  • Be relatable, be yourself

    • Make it personal. Use a client example or one from your own work that shows how idea plays out in real life.

    • use emoticons in your writing

  • Show, don’t tell

  • Cut out all paragraphs, sentences and words that aren’t critical to the main idea.

Writing a Post Don’ts

  • Set unrealistic goals—know your schedule and abilities so don’t attempt to write everyday if you can’t. Work with the Institute to develop a schedule. You’ll find your groove.

  • Limit your word count—if you have something to say—say it! When the time and subject is right, go long (500 words or more). Just remember to stay on topic.

  • Make grammar mistakes—readers take you seriously if you take yourself (and Gift of Life Institute blog) seriously.

  • Be negative—Gift of Life Institute blog will go a lot further by being positive, inspirational and supportive to the community that you’re writing to

  • Write long paragraphs—long blocks of text are hard for readers to digest, especially while reading on computers and tablets. Use short paragraphs, bullet points/lists and subheads

  • Avoid trying new things—Gift of Life Institute blog must evolve which means risks are sometimes helpful. Add infographics, personal stories or guest bloggers!

  • Talk over the reader’s head. Write in plain language for anyone to understand.

Publishing a Post Dos

  1. Always link back to anyone mentioned (individual or company) and let them know

  2. Tag—these are specific keywords that describe the post and allow readers to search for more content in the same category on your blog

  3. Fix visual appearance

    1. titles and subtitles should be consistent

    2. pictures should have a similar boarder

    3. consistent style from post to post

    4. Make blog’s purpose immediately apparent

      1. Visitors should be able to tell within 3 seconds what Gift of Life Institute blog is about. Use a bio box, tagline or something similar to communicate it. Would visitors be able to describe to others what Gift of Life Institute does?

      2. Put a contact link, button or page on your blog. Make it clearly visible.

  4. Add Meta Description which gives searchers the ability to read a short summary of the post before clicking into them. Ideally between 150-160 characters and start with an action verb; “Learn,” “Read,” or “Discover”.

  5. Highlight guest authors at the top and bottom of post