going local: using your blog for your community

going local: using your blog for your community

This week one of my favorite bloggers, Sami Cone, spent some time at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. She Instagrammed about the amazing services and care they provide for children with leukemia and other devastating illnesses. I looked forward to her pictures and found myself checking Instagram more often than normal in order to see what she was sharing and learn more about this incredible hospital. Memphis is just three hours from where I live and we’ve had several friends and family with children who have been patients at St. Jude. It’s one of those places my heart connects to.

As I looked at all of Sami’s updates, I was reminded—again—of the power we wield through social media and through our blogs. I’ve been able to partner with some incredible organizations like Freeset, Samaritan’s Purse, and The Exodus Road to help spread the word about the ways they are making a difference. And I have loved every opportunity I’ve had to invite people to be a part of changing the world in all kinds of ways—from buying a goat to giving a bag.

But what about the ways people are making a difference in your community? One of my most popular posts is 10 Ways to Help in Your Community. I shared it a couple of years ago as part of a series I was writing on ways to make a difference during the holidays. Just ten simple ideas for helping others locally … it wasn’t anything spectacular or really unique.  But it struck a chord with readers. Why? I think because it was so simple. And it was relevant.  The ideas were doable no matter what size community.

We write about all kinds of things. Books, home decor, faith, writing, fitness, nutrition, parenting, marriage … the list is endless. As are the ways we can connect locally through our blogs. Sharing about a great zumba class you attend by linking to the gym’s website, inviting your child’s school teacher to share a few ways parents can help in the classroom, or sharing about a local food bank and their services are all simple ways to connect to your real life, across the street community. And to invite your online, across the screen community to engage in their real life communities as well.

There are several advantages to sharing about local organizations and opportunities. Here are few:

  1. Increase in local readership. This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but I have found local readers are very loyal! And they are more likely to share on social media, especially when I write about local opportunities.
  2. Expand your influence. One of the best opportunities I have had a result of blogging is writing a column for our local newspaper. Every week, my column appears, as does the link to my website. In the past two years, several speaking opportunities have come as a direct result of that column.
  3. Build strong connections. Writing about local organizations and people who are making a difference has helped me build stronger connections within my community—both offline and online. Helping others see how they can engage in serving their communities is one of my passions. By writing about what happens in my community, I am able to help others connect in theirs.

Have you ever used your blog to share about events, organizations, or opportunities in your community? 

{Next week we’ll be looking at how you can use what you have learned through blogging to benefit your community—and maybe even make money!}