|"...your society is probably sitting on a gold mine of material..."|
Your society's blog is one of its most valuable means of communication. It can reach anyone — members, non-members, potential members, people who never thought before about being a member, but discovered you're a useful group to know.
One of the challenges to having a successful blog is finding good content. Posting notices about your meetings is good (and necessary!), but a steady stream of meeting announcements isn't going to keep people coming back to your blog. You need something more. Fortunately, your society is probably sitting on a gold mine of material — the back issues of your society's newsletter.
Republishing is OkSome people hesitate to republish material from their newsletter. "Won't people be annoyed to read something they've already seen?" Here's the thing – most of the people reading your blog never saw that item in your newsletter from 4 years ago. In other words, this is brand new material for them.
For those people who were members back when you published it the first time, it will be a refresher. (Of course, there's always the possibility that they didn't actually read it the first time, so it's new for them, too!)
|(Photo Credit: Freeimages.com)|
Go Green – Evergreen, That IsAs you're going through your old newsletters, look for "evergreen" content. That's the type of material that isn't time sensitive, but is relevant whenever someone reads it. Look for articles that cover things like:
- Libraries and archives in the area
- Where to find certain types of records
- Uncommon sources
- Unusual or humorous records
- The history of your county
Work With Your AuthorsDepending on the agreement you have with your authors, you might not have permission to go ahead and republish it on your blog. Before you do anything, contact the author of the article you want to republish and get their permission to do so. Otherwise, you could be infringing on their copyright; you don't want to do that.
When you publish it on the blog, give that author credit. Give them a byline either at the beginning or at the end of the post.
After you publish it, get back in touch with the author and give her the link to the post. Encourage her to share the link with her social media followers. (Even if she isn't on social media, she'll appreciate seeing how it turned out on the blog.)
Reformatting and UpdatingYou'll likely need to do some reformatting to take the article from your print publication and make it shine online.
- Add hyperlinks where appropriate. If the original article said, "Visit our website," make that a hyperlink to your website.
- Add headings to break up long text. People tend to scan when they read online. Headings give them points to stop.
- Add images. Blogs are visual. Good images not only help your readers understand and retain the material better, they are key for sharing on social media. No image = nobody will pin it on Pinterest. Poor images = less sharing on Facebook and Twitter.
- Update anything that needs updating. If the original article says the library is open until 9:00pm, but now it's only open until 7:00pm, change it.
A Marketing OpportunityBesides giving the author's name, give your society a plug. Be upfront that this came from one of your newsletters. It turns it into a mini ad for your society. Consider this at the end of the post:
"This article is by Sarah Jones and originally appeared in our newsletter, "Climbing Your Tree," in June 2010. The newsletter is one of many member benefits. If you're not a member, please join us!"Be have "join us" as a hyperlink to the membership page on your website.