In the middle of the bedtime story Becky’s phone rang. Everyone we know also has kids and would never call at that hour unless it was something important. And it was. An Amber alert had been issued for a little boy in our community. No one had seen him in several hours. “Would you help spread the word?”
I have a large-ish internet audience, scattered all over Tennessee. She asked for our help because she wanted to reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, because a child’s life was at stake.
I just announced who will be traveling to Uganda in January with Compassion Bloggers. I chose these bloggers from the thousands who’ve visited CompassionBloggers.com/take-a-trip to tell me they’d be interested in traveling with us some day.
Every time I make such an announcement I get this question, or some variation of it:
I’m thankful Karen asked so kindly. That’s not always the case. Hell hath no fury like a blogger (feeling) scorned.
It’s really two questions, isn’t it? First, why do you only take “A-list” bloggers on your trips? (I don’t like that label, by the way.) Second, why invite everyone – “A-list” or not – to sign up for the chance to take a trip when everyone doesn’t have a shot at going on one really?
The first question is easier than the second. Lives are at stake. I want to alert as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
But let me clarify something. I’m not after the biggest blogs.
I’m looking for bloggers who…
- treat everyone with respect
- are open to some degree about their orthodox Christian faith online
- do not attract an audience with free stuff or controversy
- have written in the past about Compassion or children or poverty or missions etc
- interact daily with an engaged audience
- utilize multiple forms of social media well
- tell a personal story expertly
Now, if a blogger does all this, yes, they will likely have a larger audience than most. But it’s not the audience size I’m after. The smallest blog we’ve partnered with had roughly 3,000 unique visitors per month – who were highly engaged.
So, the second question: If I know a blogger with 10 readers has little chance of traveling with Compassion Bloggers, why do I invite all bloggers to sign up for a trip? Because you never know.
Out of the 4,000 bloggers who’ve asked to be considered for a future trip I’m currently watching (sounds creepy) 196 blogs. I watch them (still creepy the second time) because they have a chance, no matter how small, of becoming the kind of blogger that reaches the most people in the shortest amount of time with the call to save lives.
You never know.
Does’t all of this come down to trust? If you trust Compassion’s ministry like I do then please trust that they wouldn’t put me in charge of Compassion Bloggers unless they trusted me. (I have to tell myself this every time I have a humbling hard day at the proverbial office.) I’m asking you to trust me. Trust that I want to make the most of every penny of Compassion’s marketing money. I want boys and girls to be released from poverty so badly…that on these trips I lead I must partner with bloggers most likely to reach the most in the least amount of time.
The boy was found, by the way. Only took a couple hours. The employee at the Pappa John’s recognized the boy when he went running past his store. Because the alert got out to four people here and 4,000 there. A community came to his rescue.
Just because a blogger doesn’t travel with Compassion Bloggers doesn’t mean they aren’t making a huge difference for Compassion’s children. This month alone over 1700 children have been sponsored through Compassion’s blog network – blogs of all sizes. 1700 kids! Sign up to take a trip and join the network of bloggers supporting Compassion every month. BOTH make a real difference in the lives of children.
I’m always up for learning something new. So teach me. Have you got a better way to go about this? I’m listening.