Tell your story! Create an online blog to share news, write editorial posts about redevelopment and get people talking about your activities and initiatives.
Introduction to Blogging
Everyone loves a good story. Whether it be over coffee, before bedtime or around a campfire, people connect by telling stories to each other. With the advent of the World Wide Web, there are now millions of stories being told online and dozens of new ways to tell them. One of the most popular methods is to create and author a web log (or “blog” for short). Blogs are websites where people can write and share their thoughts and stories publicly.
Different blogs have different purposes. There are educational blogs, pet blogs, personal blogs and others that defy categorization. If your CRA wants to grow its digital footprint, build support and connect with residents, a blog can be great way to do so.
How to Start
A CRA blog has three main goals:
Increase website traffic
Tell meaningful stories
Connect with the people who matter
By taking the time to understand the goals of a blog, your CRA can optimize the site and its content. Before getting to work, however, you need to set up your blog. If your CRA has an existing website, you can simply add a blog page and start writing. If you don’t already have a website, you need to select a blogging platform. The most popular blogging site on the web is WordPress. WordPress is a beautiful and easy-to-use platform that lets anyone create a website with a blog, no web design experience necessary. We recommend using WordPress for its simplicity, but if you want other options, there are plenty to choose from.
Once you’ve added a blog page or selected a platform and set up a website (most sites guide you through that process automatically), you will need to decide what kind of content you want to publish. A CRA blog should most resemble a business or nonprofit blog. It should be informative, sometimes opinionated, but always positive and representing the organization in the best light possible.
Posts are stories or articles published on your blog. What types of blog posts can CRAs write? To start, your CRA can write articles informing the public about new developments or projects nearing completion. People love being informed about local news, and a blog gives your CRA a chance to show-off completed projects and build excitement for new ones. Be sure to include lots of photos so that people can see what your CRA is up to.
In addition to writing about new developments, members of your CRA can contribute editorial-style posts promoting the benefits of redevelopment. Talk about the advantages, economic and otherwise, of smart redevelopment to help show the reasoning behind redevelopment and show that your CRA cares deeply about its community redevelopment area.
When writing posts, aim for clarity and precision. Remember, blog posts are on the internet for the whole world to see, so one wrong word choice or error could become a costly mistake. Select your language carefully to avoid offending or marginalizing anyone, and try to take a fact-based approach. If talking about a controversial topic, do your research. Gather stats and facts that support your stance. This will help show your reasoning and also convert more supporters.
Overall, a blog can be a valuable tool for messaging and telling your CRA’s story. If you don’t want to wait for media coverage, you can create your own press and frame the story the way you want it in a blog post. Share posts using social media and email lists, and the press might pick up the story. If that happens, you’ve not only created publicity, but chosen how the story was told. For any CRA, this is a powerful opportunity to change public opinions about redevelopment.
Not sure how to move forward with your CRA blog? Please contact Jessie Johnson, FRA’s account executive at RB Oppenheim Associates. RB Oppenheim Associates is an integrated marketing and communications firm located in Tallahassee, Florida. RB Oppenheim Associates can provide numerous services for your CRA such as advertising, social media management, web development and more. Public relations counseling and advice is included in your FRA Membership.