About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

Rotary Speaker
Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

Free Content for #Rotary and NFP Use
Please use any posts for Rotary District or club Newsletters. Include the profile at the bottom of each article, Robyn's headshot and a link to this blogsite. Let him know and he'll promote it to his social media followers.

Contact him at robyn@unimarkcreative.com

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Part 2 - Choosing a Blogging Platform With the Tools to Enhance Your Stories

Written by Robyn T. Braley

So, you’ve gone through the steps and are ready to launch a blogsite as part of your Rotary Club’s brand program. Blogging is an excellent way to tell stories that inform and shape the opinions of others. It is an easy way to explain what you do and what you are known for. In other words, your brand.

Blogging takes discipline and hard work. To maximize the impact, set-up requires an organized and systematic approach. Choosing a platform that is right for you is a key part of the process and requires careful thought based on comparative analysis.

Before reading further, it may help to do a quick scan of 3 previous posts in this series. If you are a social media neophyte, they will introduce you to the basics.

Choosing a Blog Platform 

Once you’ve sketched out an editorial plan and began creating a content library, you are ready to choose a platform. Blog platforms eliminate the need to know HTML website  coding and protocols necessary for building a traditional website.

Don’t get me wrong, a blog is really a website. The best platforms provide tools for making a custom site that will be as unique as it is distinctive and functional. The look and feel will immediately engage visitors and draw them into your brand.

And the biggest bonus? You won’t need to be an expert to design it and maintain it. When you choose a user-friendly platform and take a few tutorials, all you will need to launch your site is content.

Engaging Branding Is Key

Before you launch into building your blogsite, let’s review the idea of a brand. To maximize performance, it is key that the design, content and meaning be aligned with that of your club.

Rotary is all about doing. And, it’s the “doing” that gives Rotarians meaning.

The process of branding is living out an inner meaning in a way that breathes life into an organization. It provides outward evidence of an internal belief system. Your blogsite should reflect that.

Why Content is Still King

A whizzy design will never overcome poor content. Building a blogsite without quality content is like putting lipstick on a pig or a mask on a cow. Neither the lipstick nor the mask will cover up the truth of what is on the inside. The pig will still be the pig and the cow will still be the cow.

Without quality content, the rest of your blogging decisions will be mute. The most dynamic and dazzling Pet Food branding program will fail if the dogs refuse to eat the dog food. Putting lipstick on a pig or a mask on a cow doesn't make a pork chop into steak or vice versa.

Comparing Platforms

Review and compare different platforms. My advice is to choose one known for intuitive design options and a wide range of easy-to-help tools.

The best platforms offer a wide variety of tools such as slideshows, video or audio inclusion, interactive galleries, animations, graphics, image editors, standard blog elements, and more.

I suggest choosing a platform that suits your experience and abilities. There is one caveat.

While functions may seem beyond your capabilities now, once you start blogging, you will learn fast and develop a passion for it. The key is to anticipate what your needs will be down the road.

In a later post I will write about ways to market your blog. Choosing a platform that offers functions making it easy to promote your site through other social media channels is a no-brainer.

  • Hosting incuded
  • Custom domain included
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Designs available
  • Plugins and extensions
  • User friendly
  • No advertising

Just the Facts, Ma'am

I hesitate to refer readers to a site where I don’t really know the people. But this site seems balanced in their reviews. Top Ten Reviews is a company that reviews a variety of products and services.

Below are provided links to their reviews. However, they've also made it easy to form your own opinion. There are links to the various sites allowing you to compare their evaluation with your own research.

Top Blogsite Performers 

WordPress, Gold Award Winner

Weebly, Silver Award Winner

Wix, the Bronze Award Winner

Blogger, Fifth Place

Domain Names

Choosing a custom domain name that is relevant to your club is a key part of branding. It will also make it SEO searchable and easy to remember.

For example, my clubs website address is www.calgarywestrotary.org. A domain name like wwww.calgarywestrotaryblog.org would leave no doubt about the affiliation.

For Rotary and other service clubs, using your country suffix like .ca or .au is not a bad idea if most of your marketing is targeted within your local community and country. However, if you plan to target a world-wide audience, .com or .org is universally recognized.

Many of the platforms offer domain name registration services and provide tutorials about how to set them up.

Once you have chosen your platform, written and editorial plan, created your first content and registered your domain name, you are ready to launch. You are officially a blogger.

The End

What do you think? Do you publish a blog? Do you have tips? What platform do you use? What do you like about it? I want to hear from you. Please comment below.  

Robyn Braley is a brand specialist, professional speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. He has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. He often speaks at Rotary clubs, conferences and leadership development assemblies.

Contact Robyn

Email: robyn@robyntbraley.com   Connect on LinkedIn Follow on Twitter: @rtbraley_rotary 

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