Looking for something to blog about—and an easy way to organize your post? Find inspiration for blog posts in “The Mistakes Charitable Startups Make,” a Wall Street Journal article that’s called “Starting a Charity? Here’s What To Do, and What Not To Do” in the online edition.
Blogging mistakes effectively: Copy the formula
Here’s the basic formula:
- You do these good things
- As you do these good things, you may make common mistakes
- Mistakes and their fixes
Mistake 1 and its fix
Mistake 2 and its fix
Mistake 3 and its fix
Mistake 4 and its fix
Part I: You do these good things
It’s good to start with something positive your clients do. It gives them a chance to feel good about themselves.
The Wall Street Journal‘s article kicks off with “People who are passionate about a cause typically have several options.” One of them is starting a nonprofit, the article’s focus.
You can substitute any activity your clients feel passionately about. For example,
- Teaching their children to spend money wisely
- Creating corporate benefits that boost employee morale and retention
- Leaving a legacy for future generations
- Planning to travel in retirement
Part II: You may make common mistakes
Teach your clients that their activities may come with challenges. You don’t need to scare the heck out of them. Just give them an incentive to keep reading.
The Wall Street Journal article says the following:
Starting and running a nonprofit is a complicated business, and one that nonprofit experts say individuals all too often seriously underestimate—from raising money and choosing the right board members to filing paperwork correctly. Such shortcomings can lead to costly mistakes, ultimate failures, and sometimes even lawsuits against well-meaning but nevertheless unprepared philanthropists.
Part III: Mistakes and their fixes
After quickly attracting your readers’ attention, provide them with a list of problems and their solutions.
The Wall Street Journal sets off each problem with a heading. For example, THE MISTAKE: Not doing your research or THE MISTAKE: Underestimating the paperwork.
After identifying the problem in a heading, you can quickly explain it. Or, you can follow the Journal‘s example by telling a story of an individual who grappled with the problem. The author of the charitable startup article interviewed people. You may have stories from your clients, colleagues, or personal experience.
Next, explain the solution. The Wall Street Journal makes it easy for readers to find the solutions by adding a heading saying THE FIX.
Wrap up your post
The newspaper story ends with the conclusion of the last mistake-fix pair. You can do the same. However, if your blog post tackles one of your areas of expertise, consider adding what’s known as a “call to action.” A call to action urges the reader to take another step.
Imagine you blogged about “Mistakes People Make When Retiring to Costa Rica.” Your call to action might be “Click to download our report about ‘Managing Your Finances from Costa Rica,'” “Sign up for our webinar on ‘Living in Costa Rica,” or “Call us to discuss how we can ease your transition to Costa Rica.”
Blogging mistakes that your clients can make can turn their mistakes into your success. If you’d like to learn more about better blogging, check out my financial blogging class.