Build Your Online Community By Doing Some Good

I won’t sugarcoat it, it’s not easy gaining new readers.  In fact, it’s extremely difficult and takes a tremendous amount of time.

One of the most effective strategies for traffic building is by creating a sense of community around your blog or website.  Unfortunately, this is also one of the most difficult.

With the holidays here, I thought I’d share a marketing strategy that builds your online communities and also does some societal good.

Build Your Online Community By Helping Your Favorite Charity

(Note: this can also be done for specific events but since it’s the season to be giving…I’ve decided to focus on charities)

Step 1:  Pick A Worthwhile Personal Cause

All of us have been affected by something.  Not one single person hasn’t had to deal with a friend, family member, or personally struggled with disease or hardships.  Pick a charity or cause that’s close to your heart that you’ve been touched with or means a lot to you.

If you write a geographically based blog or have a business in the local community, then choose a local charity or local affiliate to work with.  (If you are from Mars and can’t think of anything, then support the troops fighting overseas and their families.  Puppies in shelters could always use some help too…but I vote for the troops)

Step 2:  Make it Personal

Why do you care?  If you don’t care…or its perceived you don’t care then no one else will.  Actually, let me rephrase that…why are you passionate about it?

Write a post or make a video about why this cause it important to you and why it’s personal.  You don’t necessarily need to give intimate details you’re not comfortable discussing to the world, but it does need to be a personal experience.

If you’re wanting people to donate to starving countries in distant impoverished lands, you don’t need to have gone and seen the devastation…but people want to know why you’re passionate about it.  Tell them.

Step 3:  Change Your Site & Profile Pics

Most charities or causes have a color pattern associated with them.  Breast cancer is pink, Red Cross is red, Yellow is for deployed soldiers. (for a full list colors and associated caused, CLICK HERE )

If your site is extensive or if your design skills are poor, then just change the header, maybe the logo, and links.


Twitter was Red on Dec 1, for World Aids Day. 

Google has become famous for changing their logo to coincide with certain events.  So why can’t you?

Step 4:  Create An Action Step – With a Goal

Creating awareness is great, but an action step is better.  An action step with a goal attached is the coup de gras.  People like helping people…especially when they see you’re passionate about it, but you need to tell them how you want their help.

Give your readers an action step to do and how they can help out.  Twitter’s actions step was ” Follow @JoinRED to find out how” people can help with Aids Day.

A page or link where folks can donate is great…or simply tell them to pass along the information on their social networks.  Provide contact information and ways for them to get involved if they want to help.  But you need to tell people specific steps with what they should do.

The goal builds a sense of urgency and more people are willing to get onboard faster and help you reach your goals.  Keep an active scoreboard on your site to let people know where you are at and how far or close you have to go.

Step 5:  Inform Your Readers

If people are used to seeing your site a certain color…and all of the sudden that has changed and you have a ribbon attached to your logo…they need to know why.

Let people aware of the cause you are supporting and why your site has changed and for how long.  I would send an email to your list and a post to your blog informing them exactly what you are doing and why.  This is where you tell them why you’re passionate and what your goals and intentions are.

Step 6:  Create Awareness

After you have let your readers know exactly what’s going on…it’s time to tell the rest of the world.  Start tweeting your links and informing your social networks.  Add a banner on your social profile pics so new followers can immediately see what you are doing.  Adding to your social profiles pics also adds interest because when I’m quickly scanning the several thousand people in my network…a giant pink ribbon or mustache over the face quickly gets my attention.

Step 7:  Join Forces With Others

Unless this is the “Help Scott Bishop” cause (which I do not endorse)…others will find what you’re doing interesting and important.  Contact the local charity or chapter and tell them what you’re doing.  Search for others on Twitter and Facebook who have done the same thing and join forces to spread the word.  Post to the charity wall or blog.  Contact other blogs or your friends and ask them to join forces with you.