Blogging basics

Best practices

  •  I am looking for reporting, for description, for details, and for good writing.  I would love to hear insight into what you have read or experienced, but back it up with details, description, and facts, rather than just opinion.
  • Your posts should relate to this class – media, data, information, reporting, writing. Talk about something you saw, someone you met, or something you experienced – and why it’s relevant to what we are studying.  Share insights you have gained.
  • Your opinion is valuable, but this should not be considered simply a chance for you to voice your opinion.  You should be thinking of things you can write that help tell your story, and if you voice an opinion, back it up with facts, information, reporting, research.
  • We will have an edit/approval process for blogs.   Blog posts have to go through this process.

Standards for blogging

  • Be professional: The standards for stories online are the same as for print or any other platform.
  • Be accurate: While the nature of blogs is more casual, that doesn’t mean SLOPPY or unverified.
  • Set and meet expectations: Not all subject matters lend themselves to opinion. Be clear what the expectations are.
  • Show commitment: You must blog often to be successful. Consistency is key to establishing a relationship with your audience. Twice a week – more if you can.
  • Interact with readers: Monitor comments to your blogs and respond when appropriate. But don’t get into arguments or long debates. Tell readers if you plan to edit their comments, and if you do be careful not to change meanings. It’s best to edit only for grammar and clarity.
  •  Be ethical, credit others: Do not repeat full stories, and always credit the work of others when you reference it.
    • Use only enough text to give the reader the idea what the linked-to content was about. Then link back to the original content.
    • Credits and copyrights are essential on photos and video. Do NOT use photos from Web sites or elsewhere without permission, and always credit the originator. The exception is government sites, which – unless there is an indication otherwise – have photos that are in the public domain.

Format of a good blog post

  • Posts are short – short sentences, short paragraphs. Typically, posts contain fewer than 200 words.
  • Posts are consistent.
  • Write simply; make it easy to read.
  • Have a “” A tone. A style.
  • Write specific link text
    • Readers won’t be engaged by “click here.”
    • Tell where you are taking them – don’t surprise the reader by sending them off site without a clue.
    • Include at least one hyperlink per post. Links add content and context.
    • Don’t be afraid to link back to other posts within site or blog.
    • If you are linking to multimedia, tell the reader this. Again, no surprises. Readers dislike being taken to a video that starts automatically and has sound if they have not been prepared for this.
  • Add visuals
    • Photos
    • Video
    • Slideshows
    • Graphics
    • Maps
  • ALL content not originated by you must be credited. Links are preferred, but credits and copyrights are mandatory. Any content taken and used without permission and without credit will result in a 0 on the assignment, and could potentially lead to disciplinary action up to and including a failing grade in the course.

Blog headlines

  • Make sure they say something – they often are what the search engines pick up
  • No ital or bold
  • Use a subject and verb
  • Include keywords
  • Follow style used in the publication or set by blog. Choose upstyle or downstyle and be consistent
  • Use single quotes when appropriate, not double (headline style)
  • Don’t be clever unless you can be clear as well
  • A headline promises the story you have
  • Should be digestible
  • Easy to understand — and works “out of context”
  • Try to write your headline FIRST. It will help make the content better — stronger, authoritative. You’ll have to live up to the promise of the headline

 

A tutorial on how to post and edit in the class blog