Using your voice for advocacy and social good is not only powerful, but also tremendously rewarding and here you can find a few tips I shared at the writing lab at BlogHer’13 in Chicago. Helping others is one of my passions, and to see others embrace social media for social good, does the soul good.
How you can help
Do you use your voice to help your favorite cause? Call attention to an issue that is near and dear to your heart? Well, in case you haven’t realized yet, your words and your stories, can do the world a ton of good.
No matter how big or how small your blog is, whether you just started blogging or have been doing it for years, you are building an audience and a community with every single post you do. And if you take care of your community, they will grow with you, listen to you and most importantly, engage with you. That is extremely powerful, especially if you want to use your voice for social good, advocate for a cause or simply persuade others to do something that’s important to you.
So, how do you persuade others? As a journalist, I can tell you hard facts, stats, and numbers are necessary to back a story up. To make it solid. But numbers seldom move anybody to action. It’s emotions. You cannot persuade anybody if you don’t strike a chord that make them feel the urgency to act on their good intentions. Feelings move people, cold facts don’t.
Striking an emotional chord
How do you make people feel something that will move them to action? The first step is making them care. Dig deep and find the emotional connection, what brings us together, what affects us in similar ways, what touches your heart. Is it the anxiety about your child’s well-being when they are severely ill? The fear of your loved one dying? The sense of helplessness when confronted with a terminal illness?
If you can, bare your soul. I’ve shared how my own daughter’s pneumonia changed the way I viewed vaccine-preventable illnesses and years later, I became involved with [email protected] Even though I knew I wanted to collaborate with them, you know what made it a must do for me? Devi Thomas, [email protected]’s director, shared with me how mothers in certain countries do not even cry at their child’s funeral, because it is not rare for a child under 5 to die. It is almost expected. In this day and age, it was heartbreaking to realize how there are parents who do not even allow themselves to grieve when they lose their babies.
Aside from sharing my story during Blogust last year, which unlocked thousands of dollars in donations, I went into more details during 28 Days of Impact last February and show. Instead of focusing on pneumonia statistics, I wrote my post about how a mother in Congo and a mom in the United States have so much in common despite our backgrounds, our resources and that we are strangers.
5 tips to engage your community
The most important thing when you are writing for social good, is to know your end goal. Do you want people to sign a petition, write a comment, donate or simply be aware? That is your call to action (or CTA) and it’s crucial when you are writing persuasively. The call to action not only drives others to do something; it can be quite empowering because it allows others to actually feel they are contributing to do what matters. If you don’t ask, how shall you receive?
With the CTA, though, keep in mind that nobody likes to be told what to do, so make the request clear, but ask, don’t demand or order people around. Suggest, rather than command. Choose strong words, especially words that evoke something.
Here are 5 tips to help motivate and mobilize your audience:
1. Be clear on what you want: is it a vote, a signature, an email, a comment or a donation? Be extremely specific.
2. Make it easy for your audience: use tools such as Click to Tweet, embed links to the organization or cause you are supporting, create shareable graphics.
3. Repeat the CTA: state your call to action at the beginning and at the end of your post. Many people don’t get to the end of your post. Also include in the excerpt or SEO summary if possible, since it will be displayed on search engines or on Facebook.
4. Connect emotionally and share your personal story: your readers will connect with what you’re sharing if you make it personal.
5. The why: make sure to explain why this is important to do, how this simple action will help others and why you got involved.
Show your appreciation
Finally, always thank your audience and let them know how important their support is to you. Ask them to share and explain that simply by reading what you’ve written, that they are helping you spread the message. People want to know that they are able to help and learn about how they can impact the society we live in for good. Allow your community to feel good about what they do by supporting you and the cause you advocate for, especially if you are able to do a follow up post explaining what was achieved.
Always end in a way that people feel good about themselves, either because by reading your post they are supporting your cause, helping create awareness or because they know what to do to contribute or help out. Something uplifting always is better.
Great ways to get started
In case you want to use your voice for social good, here are great organizations to get involved with:
- Mom Bloggers for Social Good
- Social Good Summit
- [email protected]
- No Kid Hungry
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- World Food Programme