October 16 was the fifth annual Blog Action Day. In the past Blog Action Day has focused on climate change, poverty and water. The aim is to “raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.” This year Blog Action Day coincided with World Food Day, so the topic was, naturally, food.
Bloggers regularly unite to write about specific topics for reasons much less lofty than changing the world. Food bloggers, since we’re on the subject, regularly join together to cook or bake from the same book, or to raise funds for fellow bloggers in need. Sharing recipes and experiences leads to camaraderie and community, as well as a generous amount of cross-promotion. Camaraderie, community, promotion: would you like some of that for your association?
Hosting a Blog Action Day is an effective way to help your association reach its public relations, communications, marketing and membership engagement goals.
- Raise awareness and educate your audience (members, industry professionals, policymakers, press, consumers) about a critical issue, cause or legislation.
- Increase your association’s Google ranking and presence.
- Spark a conversation about an industry issue or challenge.
- Bring new perspectives and voices into the conversation.
- Strengthen relationships with industry bloggers (members and non-members).
- Create cross-promotion opportunities for bloggers.
- Create camaraderie and community with readers and bloggers.
- Be a good community citizen.
Before you reach out to bloggers or market the event, prepare everything you’ll need:
- Simple sign-up form for participating bloggers.
- Badge that participating bloggers can display on their website or blog.
- Website page for Blog Action Day resources – information about your issue or legislation with calls to action.
- Website resource page with tips on subscribing to blogs, writing for the web, copyright (including legal photo sourcing) and search engine optimization. Take this opportunity to educate your members about the benefits of reading and writing blogs.
- Invitation list.
- Marketing plan.
- Goals – what will success look like?
Find industry bloggers by monitoring the keywords related to your issue using Google Alerts or another social media listening tool. A personal invitation to participate is more effective than a call for participation, but do both so you don’t miss anyone. Invite bloggers (members and non-members), organizations, industry thought-leaders, authors, speakers, community leaders and policymakers to participate.
Encourage people to create videos for your YouTube channel if they’re not comfortable writing. Offer to publish guest posts for those who don’t have their own blogs; perhaps they’ll continue to blog for you in the future.
Promote Blog Action Day (BAD) on your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn group, Twitter, newsletters and email signature. Dedicate “above the fold” home page real estate to Blog Action Day. If it’s not important enough for your association to put on your website’s front page, why would anyone else make an effort? Designate a Twitter hashtag for the week, but first do a search to make sure no one else is using it.
Alert new and traditional media, consumer groups and policy-makers. Tell them why your issue or cause is so worthy of focus and conversation that bloggers across the state/nation/world will unite to discuss it.
After Blog Action Day
Recognize and thank your bloggers before, during and after the event. Divvy up the names and mail personalized thank you cards to them.
Report your success – participation, page views, mentions and other results – to your participants, members, new and traditional media and other stakeholders.
Follow up with the participating bloggers to ask about their experience and what could improve for next time. If you like their writing style, ask them if they’d like to contribute guest posts to your association blog.
Has your association done anything like a Blog Action Day?
Deirdre Reid, CAE is a freelance writer who participated in the 2010 and 2011 Blog Action Days.
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