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					   Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit


                          Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit
The Wokai blog has become an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in how
microfinance works in China, how people live in China’s rural areas, the process of building a
non-profit organization from scratch, China’s complex financial regulations and how they
affect people in rural areas, homestyle recipes, and more.

The purpose of this blog campaign is not to raise thousands of dollars this week (though that
would be a nice side effect!) but to spark conversations on various aspects of the Wokai
story in new places. This is a slow-cooking process, and our goal is to encourage more
people to read the blog and share Wokai stories in more places. In the blogosphere, building
long-term relationships with readers, through stories and common interests, is more
effective than a straightforward “click here right now to give money.” Once the relationship
is in place, people will be more likely to respond to requests for contributions.

Our blog strategy has three main parts:

   1. Content Creation (excellent, share-worthy stories and photos, published three times
      a week)
   2. Syndication/Distribution (blog posts automatically reach various audiences through
      Twitter, Facebook, RSS feed by email, RSS feed in a reader, and blog networks)
   3. Blogger Outreach (building relationships with bloggers who might be interested in
      featuring Wokai)

We would like to invite YOU, Wokai’s Chapter Representatives, to get involved in all three
areas.

We will measure success in two main ways: the number of blogs that link to Wokai, and the
number of visitors that come to Wokai’s site from referring sources (as measured by Google
Analytics).

       Content Creation
In the world of blogs, content is king.

For example, Wokai Fellow Evan Kornbluh has written dozens of excellent posts about his
experiences in Yilong County, Sichuan, and other bloggers have taken notice! Richard
Brubaker, a social entrepreneur and professor in Shanghai, a prolific blogger suggests:

       Continue developing Evan-like content that is original, from the field, and offers up
       some interesting stuff (I love the recipes section).

If you are interest in contributing to the Wokai Blog, first have a read of these simple
guidelines:


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   Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit


      Draw from your experience. (Did you grow up in China? Do you work in finance in
       the United States? Did you intern with a microfinance organization in Zambia? Do
       you have a family recipe that uses the mushrooms that Wokai’s borrowers grow?)
      Be sure that your post has one central theme, which can be easily expressed in a
       140-character Twitter post.
      Take a side. Don’t be afraid to be a bit controversial. For example, Casey Wilson
       wrote this post, a RESPONSE to a NY Times Article “Banks Making Big Profits From
       Tiny Loans”, which challenges the notion that microfinance interest rates are too
       high. That perspective comes up all the time in media reports on microfinance, but
       Casey suggested that ARDY raise its interest rates, so it can reach more borrowers in
       the future.
      Often the title of a post will determine whether of not a visitor clicks through and
       continues to read the post. For example ‘What Lady Gaga can teach us about
       microfinance’.
      Take an unusual, unique and engaging angle on a subject
      Numbered lists are great! How about: “The Top 10 Lessons I’ve Learned Through
       Leading Wokai’s _____ Chapter” or “Three Misconceptions About Retail in Rural
       China.”

If you have a post to submit, please send it through to info[AT]wokai.org for review.




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   Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit

       Syndication/Distribution
If you’re an active user of Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Digg, or other social media sites, share
blog posts with your friends and social network. This can be done automatically through
Twitterfeed or manually when you find blog posts you find particularly remarkable. Note:
please don’t automatically spam all your Facebook friends with every post, since they may
resent it more than appreciate it. If they want all the posts, they could “like” Wokai more
directly. Consider encouraging them to do so. Whenever you syndicate or distribute content
in these ways, do it with personal flair.




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   Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit

       Blogger Outreach: tread lightly
We hope you can help us share the Wokai story with bloggers. Based on advice from a
handful of prominent bloggers, we have prepared the following suggestions to help you
reach out effectively. There are essentially to core actions in effective blogger outreach.
First build a list. Second, Build relationships.

   1. Build a List

      Create a list of blogs: take your time building a list and target it to relevant themes
      Be clear on your purpose and why you want to use bloggers
      Don’t do drive by drop-offs
      Ask for recommendations on social networks
      Don’t get the blogger’s name wrong

Once you’ve got a reasonable list of bloggers to choose from, select a few highly relevant
blogs and begin to build relationships with them.

   2. Build Relationships

Get to Know the Blogger, take your time

   The best advice I can give when it comes to pitching bloggers it to establish a relationship
   first, long before you push whatever it is you’re pitching.

        -- Matt Cheuvront

The first step is to read the blog, ideally over an extended period of time. Follow the blogger
on Twitter and leave meaningful comments. The comments should be about the topic of the
post, and add something to the discussion. Don’t go out of your way to mention Wokai, just
join the discussion at hand. Thoughtful, critical and engaging comments are worth their
weight in gold and will help you gain traction.

As you read and join the conversation, ask yourself the following questions:

           a. Has the blogger ever written about microfinance, China, social entrepreneurs
              doing good work in your city, women’s empowerment, 20-something leaders,
              rural banking, or Chinese cooking? (If the answer is no, look for a new blog
              and start over.)
           b. How does this blogger approach these topics? Is the tone of their writing
              mostly personal, academic, professional, funny, self-deprecating,
              inspirational, or status-seeking?
           c. Who reads this blog? Personal friends? Relatives? Professional contacts?
              Researchers?




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   Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit
           d. What is the blogger’s motivation for writing? Is this person seeking a job, a
              book deal, a new career as a life coach, better standing as a professional,
              intellectual conversation with like-minded people, etc.?
           e. Does the blogger encourage interaction? Do you see comments and guest
              posts? Comments are a better sign than widgets bragging about the number
              of subscribers.

Remember, It is still about relationships, so take your time. Blogs are much more personal
than traditional media outlets. So, unless you're pitching the Huffington Post you must
approach blogger outreach in a personal way.

Think About Benefits for the Blogger

Make a list of three ways the blogger could personally benefit from featuring Wokai. These
should align with his or her motivation for blogging. (See above.) In the social sector, we
often spend so much time asking for things that we forget to think about how we can help.
These benefits could include more blog traffic, opportunities to network with professionals
and the tech and finance sectors, the opportunity to learn from Casey Wilson’s experience
building Wokai, a guest post from you (an interesting person with a new perspective!) or
first-hand information about life in rural China.

In other words, will it create value for them?

Write a Personal, Friendly Email to the Blogger

Write like you are contacting an old friend or new career connection. Be concise. Approach
the blogger in your personal capacity. This should NOT sound like a form letter from an
anonymous PR agency – bloggers hate that with a passion! A few tips:

          Start your email with a nice comment about a specific post on his blog
          Identify yourself as a “friend of Wokai” or “Wokai volunteer.” There is no need to
           go into lots of detail about your position in the chapter, but for reasons of
           transparency it is important to mention that you are affiliated with Wokai.
          When you mention Wokai, link to the site. If the reader clicks through, it will
           activate Wokai’s ad targeting system, and Wokai ads will magically follow him
           around the Internet. This means the person might think about Wokai without
           you reminding him!
          Don’t tell the blogger what to do.            Prolific blogger Grace Boyle, of
           www.SmallHandsBigIdeas.com and www.GraceFullPlate.com, suggests the
           following wording:

 “If you like what Wokai is doing, it would be amazing to hear your thoughts or have you
review it on your blog.”

Here is an example, written to Akhila Kolisetty. Her blog is Justice for All
(www.akhilak.com/blog ). Akhila is a recent graduate of Northwestern University,
passionate about public interest law and international development.


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   Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit


       Dear Akhila,

       Hope you are well. I have noticed a dramatic shift in your blog lately, towards more
       personal topics. I like it. Congratulations on conquering this fear of opening up 

       I am helping my friends at Wokai spread the word about microfinance in
       China. Casey Wilson and Courtney McColgan came up with the idea on St. Patrick's
       Day 2007, while they were studying Chinese together here in Beijing. The
       organization has since grown into an international network, with two field partners
       in rural China, 454 loans to Chinese entrepreneurs, and volunteer chapters all over
       the world.

       I think you might particularly like this blog post: Fruit Trees and Obstacles to
       Development. Evan Kornbluh, a Wokai Fellow, is traveling through Sichuan Province
       and writing his first-hand observations about the impact of microfinance there.

       If you like what Wokai is doing, it would be amazing to hear your thoughts or have
       you review it on your blog. If you feature us, we will feature your post on Wokai’s
       official blog, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, which will help your writing reach a
       whole new audience.

       If you're not interested, could you suggest 3 other people we could reach out to?
       Thank you so much!

       Sending you best wishes from Beijing,
       Leslie

You could also offer a guest post, which mentions Wokai as part of a story relevant to the
blog’s main theme. Here is an example of this type of post, which Brendan Rigby submitted
to Triple Pundit: http://www.triplepundit.com/2010/11/facebook-microfinance/.

Follow Up

If the blogger does not respond within ten days, you can send a gentle reminder. At this
point, if the blogger doesn’t respond, or says no, don’t take it personally!

Spread the Love

If the blogger features Wokai, send a nice, personal thank you email and enthusiastically
promote the post in your social network. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, your Gchat status,
your personal blog, etc. Email the Wokai with the link, so it can be promoted on the Wokai
blog and Facebook and Twitter accounts.

For example, when Brendan Rigby’s post went up on Triple Pundit, Chris Bird at Wokai HQ
posted this about it on the Wokai blog.




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   Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit


We can be friends: don’t end the relationship

Continue to read the blog, and maintain a relationship with the blogger. In the future, you
may be able to share an invitation to a Wokai event in the blogger’s hometown, or other
relevant news.

Thanks so much for your help and continued support of Wokai.

Regards,

Wokai Staff & Team




Toolkit prepared by Leslie Forman & Brendan Rigby. Special thank you to Akhila Kolisetty,
Grace Boyle, Dave Fleet, Nathaniel Whittemore, Richard Brubaker, Chrisanthi Giotis, and
Matt Cheuvront for their help in assembling this guide.




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  Wokai Blog & Outreach Toolkit

Resources
     Marketing for non-profits: blogger outreach
              http://www.marketingfornonprofits.org/2009/05/blogger-outreach-tread-
              lightly.html
     Allison Jones: tips for blogger outreach for nonprofits
              http://www.allisonj.org/tag/blogger-outreach/
     Social Media Explorer: How to create a [good] blogger pitch
              http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/online-public-relations/how-to-create-
              a-good-blogger-pitch/




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