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May 2010

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Nedra Weinreich

I'll share a few things I've done when I've had a blog post I particularly wanted to call attention to:

- Send a personal email to other bloggers who write about similar issues and might be interested in talking about your post on their blogs.
- Post the article to your account (and ask others in your organization to bookmark it as well), tagging it with as many variations of the likely keywords as you can think of (it's kind of like playing Jeopardy, where you know what you want the answer to be, but you don't know what the exact question is that will be asked).
- Submit the article to Reddit and/or Digg (I've had better luck w/Reddit for more general interest stories). Make sure the headline is compelling enough to make people want to learn more (look at the style of the headlines that make it to the front page and try to copy what works).
- StumbleUpon is also a good place to submit it, because there is likely a category that will fit the topic.
- Other places to submit it that might be appropriate are or or as a blog entry on some of the social networking sites like

Good luck!!

celeste w

Hi, Beth and Alison.

Wow—what an impressive organization Alison founded. I posted some general tips on my studio 501c blog -- -- here are some specific ones based on a quick look at Alison’s blog:

--Determine who your audience is. Based on the audience, find a consistent voice for the blog. As I reviewed the blog, I wasn't sure whom it was directed to. It seems to be a mix -- a post from a colleague, a separate post with an intro by Alison about the colleague's post, and a reprint of an internal email. (Many of the posts seemed directed at “internal audiences” who were part of the nonprofit. That’s fine, but I presume from Alison’s query to Beth that she wants to reach a broader audience.)

--Even for the general public, it’s great to invite guest bloggers and to post interesting internal communiqués, but put each post in context for your audience. For example, I would run the essay about “Madeline” right under Alison’s intro, in the same post, so that readers could follow it more easily. If there is an internal email that you think would be of interest, give it some context, e.g., "A colleague wrote to me today about a problem we are having with aabbcc. Here's what he said: ddeeff. It illustrates the challenges we have doing xxyyzz.

--Use more photos.

--Most important, use this blog from Interplast as a model:

Judi Sohn

Celeste is right on. I'll repeat what I'm constantly telling the folks I work's not about us, it's about *them*. I work 60+ hours a week, I have a crazy schedule and a child with a disability, why should *I* care about what Alison is writing about? Alison's blog posts need to pull me in. Get me to relate what's happening to *my* life. Give me a call to action.


Wow .. am in awe of you .. !
This is exactly why I thought of you, Beth, you've increased visibility just by posting me on your blog .. thank you so much .. the comments are wonderful, am just working my way through them now.
Have a great day x

Ashley Cecil

I guess this what happens when you wait 24 hours to respond to an email; everyone has stole my thunder! I esp like Nedra's suggestions.

I'm by no means a "successful" blogger in terms of traffic, but nonetheless, I do have a suggestion: Personally, I think your post are too long. I never read posts that are more than 3 or 4 short paragraphs and less inclined to even scan the longer they are. Try breaking them up and make more short posts out of the same content (edit the time stamps when you finish the idea fleshed out in multiple posts so that you don't keep coming back to publish them). This is also to your advantage as I think more posts increases your search engine results.

Good luck.

David Brazeal

One more thing, Allison -- and this is probably the hardest of all. Your blog will become an invaluable resource when you dedicate the time to post often. Every day, if possible.

I know it's overwhelming to think about that, and I know you have lots and lots of other stuff on your plate. But your blog can tell the story of your organization better than 1,000 slick color brochures or advertisements.

This is a mindset thing. Your blog works best when you integrate it into the work you're doing on the ground. It's not an additional chore, but a part of every single thing you do.

You can start slow. Try to post a compelling photo once a day, every day. Shorten your written entries to make it easier to post often.

If you do this, and do the things Nedra suggested, it'll be a whole new ballgame in 6 months. Instead of writing a post and wondering how people will find it, you'll write a post and get feedback immediately, because you'll have 'trained' your readers to expect engaging content from you all the time.

Paul Lamb

Alison: Another approach you can take, albeit a bit "old school", is to write a OpEd on your efforts and get it published in a mainstream publication or mainstream radio (NPR), etc. many times you can include your URL in the byline. If your article makes it in(usually a personal story works better)you will get lots of exposure in one fell swoop, then you can Digg, Delicious, Stumble Upon, etc. the peice to get further traction in the blogosphere, as suggested above. A tool to help you get OpEds out to 150 or so mainstream publications at once is If you want to view some sample OpEds and Radio Commentaries, feel free to check out some of mine at and click on "published articles"

Joe Cascio

Join up on Twitter and be friends with Beth. From there, you'll pick up lots of others. Me, for instance!! :)

Then, when you post something on your blog, twitter the post's permalink URL and all your friends will see it. It's a good way to increase visibility with well-known Twitterers.

Beth Kanter

Check out Dave Wallace' advice - a gem!

John Powers

I'm late to the party. My opinion is not to worry too much about the length of posts, the really important thing is your voice. Sometimes that takes playing around and writing.

The suggestion to have frequent posts is good, of course but finding the time is hard. One way around that, and it seems you're doing it, is to have multiple authors: Say 8 people who promise to write one post a week. One way to encourage people is to get them to write one post a week for a month; long term commitments are hard. Even when many people are writing, the genuine voice of the person is still important.

I'm so glad you have a Flickr page. Putting up the Flickr BadgeWikipedia is a good thing. You're really great at tagging your photos, so I'm surprised that they aren't viewed more. Leave comments on other people's photos. I bet you have friends at Flickr, start there. And look at who comments on their photos and so on. I did a search "Kenya slums" to see who else on Flickr is posting pictures. Flickr is a great social networking site because everybody seems so nice. You can add links to your blog and Web pages on your profile and with individual photos.

List your blog with agregators.Afrigator is one Also BlogAfrica

It's easy to add BlogAfrica's feed to your feedreader. It may seem like an overwhelming number of posts, but you don't have to read them all. It's a good way to get a feel for the African blogosphere. There are such wonderful people and writers in that Afrosphere!!

Too many to list, but one person whose blog is particularly relevant is Eric Hersman He has two other blogs: African Signals and Afrigadget. Afrigadget is the thing that picks up the most links through. But the main thing is that Hersman is in marketing and his post have great suggestions for using the web. He seems to have "cleaned up" his page and I don't see categories, but type in "web tools" to see some of his post in that category.

Sorry for going on so long. My best suggestion is to make friends. LOL I'm slightly horrified at the thought that people actually go to my blogs. But if you feel like it got to Hts For Health or Bazungu Bucks and leave a comment. LOL, one advantage is seeing two negative examples of what not to do with a blog;-)

Oh, one more thing, Technorati, I see you're registered and I'll link to your blog.

Alison Lowndes

Am - just - about - Afrigator'd .. thank you for your help John .. ecstaticly overwhelmed but soaking it all up like a sponge !

Jayne Cravens

The blogasphere is still sooo small, relatively speaking. Most of the people you want to reach have never heard of RSS or delicious and on and on. In reading your blog, I'd say the audience you want to reach is NOT reached by these methods, for the most part. You are going to have to go where they are online.

My suggestions:

-- look for online discussion groups on YahooGroups and Google Groups relating to aid, development and international volunteering. There are lots of ex-PeaceCorp volunteer groups, for instance. Post to these groups, as appropriate, introducing your organization and your blog. If you can participate in their online groups, rather than posting just once, all the better for getting people to want to visit your blog.

-- post to the Aidworkers Network,, to introduce both your blog and your organization. Participating in an ongoing way will raise your profile even further.

-- post to the responsible travel and year-abroad forums of the Thorn Tree, Lonely Planet's message boards. You might consider looking into other related groups (I think the Rough Guide has such as well, for instance; not sure about Let's Go or other travel guide publishers)

-- participate (don't just post once) at; the more you participate, the more you will raise your profile and reach more people.

Also, if you have a set volunteer opportunity that people can apply for, consider posting it to ReliefWeb; this is a major job and volunteer web site for international work, and it's read by thousands and thousands of people all over the world, even those who *aren't* looking for a job, but just want to know who is out there doing what.

If you have ways that online volunteers can help you, consider posting such opportunities to; it's another way to raise your profile alongside of the many aid and development volunteer organizations out there.

Offline, look for the nearest chapters of Returned PeaceCorps Volunteers and ask if they would like for you to come speak about your organization.

Creative Apricot

Allison, I came across an article which might be worthwhile for you to read. It's called 16 Must Read Articles For Bloggers and has a good collection of articles with advice on how to grow and promote your blog. Best of luck!

Account Deleted

REALLY late to the party, so not much left to say :-) but here are a couple of additional thoughts
- Use categories to group posts to make it easier for readers who are reading your blog as a Web site. Even if a post is long, the category helps them decide if they want to read it
- Cross link to/from your website better. Put your blog in your Web site navigation as well as in the ad spot, and perhaps make the ad look more like "you" -- it almost looks like a link to something else.
- As someone else said, worry less about length than content, but as an aid to your readers when you do write long, and I mean really long, put a little warning at the top of the post.
- Tell us more about yourself and the other bloggers. People like to know the person they are reading.
- Finally, repeating advice from others, because it bears reapeating, link to others and to things in the news as much as possible. Add your point of view. That makes you part of the conversation.

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