As a blogger, you know how important it is to have links to your blog out on the web. Likely, you’re already doing many things to get more of those links, including having interesting content that will spread among the social media platforms and writing guest blog posts so you can link back to your blog.
However, there is one form of internet citizenship that you probably haven’t thought about yet: virtual volunteerism. The internet is full of non-profits who need content written and organizations that couldn’t write a blog post to save their lives. There are even online newspapers that can’t seem to fund themselves and need a lending hand. Volunteering in exchange for a byline link or an author’s page isn’t just self-serving altruism, it’s smart.
The trick is to create a symbiotic relationship where both parties flourish. Find what they need (photos, an editor, stories, a webmaster), and tell them what you’d like in return. If they’re willing to pat your back, give them a hot stone massage with scented oils. By going above and beyond, they’ll be grateful to you and more likely to help you out.
If you’re a student, talk to your career services department. Even if you’ve gone the online education route, it’s possible someone at your college can help you find a great place to volunteer.
Another thing to consider is that you’ll want your blog topic to match up as much as possible with your charity. If you blog about home life, look for opportunities that deal with tutoring children, building houses or even focus on domestic violence. Bloggers who tackle environmental projects will find plenty of opportunities to work with international wildlife organizations and animal shelters.
Since many adoption decisions are made based on animals’ photos online, shelters are finding they need better photographers to work with. Since many photographers rely on their blogs to bring in clientele, they’re in the same sort of predicament. They need more exposure, and the animals need better exposure. Shelters will be more than happy to link to your site if you become a regular photographer for them. If you can’t actually visit their location, you can give them tips on setting up shots and have them e-mail you the raw files so you can edit them. You can also jump in with writing cute descriptions and editing them.
There are a myriad of projects available, so it’s no surprise you’ll need a way to sort through them. Volunteer Match is just that tool. You can search based on keyword and then check the box to specify that you’re only looking for virtual volunteering opportunities. Search for just the word ‘blog’ and 124 opportunities immediately pop up. Of those, there are certainly opportunities for everyone.
When you contact a non-profit, be completely clear about your intentions. You want to paint it in the best light possible, but you also don’t want to stick a condition on your volunteerism at the last minute. Let them understand that you’d love to help out, but that you’d appreciate a little link love as well. Avoid being a spammer, and offer to help them regardless of whether or not they link to your blog. However, don’t continue assisting them if they continue to be unwilling to help you out as well.
Remember that being a good citizen has more benefits than a boost in rankings. You want to put genuine heart into your work and do your best. Don’t just shoot for the minimum to scrape by; realize that you have the power to help and take control of that power.