Tips about blogging

 

Barrow Cadbury Trust’s blog features opinion and discussion primarily from organisations we are currently working with and/or supporting, as well as the occasional in-house blog.  The themes of the blogs tend to be linked to news events, report launches, legislation, campaigns, etc.

Our intention is to build up a body of blogs around the structural changes we are aiming to achieve in order to disseminate Barrow Cadbury Trust’s and our grant holders work more widely and increase the conversation.  The blog is a place for conversation and debate, and, sometimes controversy.

The content of blog posts varies, but all posts must be relevant to Barrow Cadbury Trust’s mission to promote social justice.  Topics range from improving social inclusion in financial products to the limitations of current immigration statistics.

We are always open to suggestions for possible posts which our readers will appreciate and which reflect Barrow Cadbury Trust’s mission.

Below are some guidelines which may be helpful when writing a guest blog:

  • Length: Posts on our blog are generally between 300 and 500 words long.
  • Tone: The blog is informal and chatty, and we want our readers to join the conversation and share their Personal stories and anecdotes are a good way to make sure you don’t sound too corporate or theoretical. Feel free to be controversial in your writing—it’s a good way to start a conversation.
  • Content: Writing a blog is very different to writing a research report or journal article. Sometimes it is useful to link to a source, particularly when quoting a lot of figures.
  • Pictures: All our blogs feature an image or graphic. We are happy to include a picture of the author with a post, so please send one with the blog if possible. If you’d rather use a different picture, that’s fine too, just email it over with your post.
  • Links: If you’d like to link to a particular report or website please indicate this in the text you send us and include the url.
  • Editing: We may edit your blogs after you have submitted them, but we will always try to run any changes past you before we publish the blog to make sure you are happy with them.
  • Bio: Please include your job title and contact details.
  • Do have a look at previous blogs on our website to get an idea of what we publish.

Blogging Tips

The following tips are intended as guidelines for anyone writing a blog for Barrow Cadbury Trust.  They are not written in stone, but there are some basic ground rules which will help give your blog the broadest possible exposure and help extend the ‘conversation’ and prolong the shelf life of your blog.

A blog allows the author to: 

  • assert their authority in their field;
  • help maintain their (professional) profile and/or build on it online;
  • raise awareness of their current areas of focus, creating opportunities for conversation/collaboration.
  • Whereas traditional media coverage gets a lot of attention on the day it’s published, it is often lost the day after. A blog on the other hand has an ongoing audience because it remains online and gets picked up by search engines like Google and can be linked to time and time again.

What should a blog contain?

Stories

Stories are the key to successful social media. They are the oldest and most powerful way of communicating a message.  Your message should depend on the core values of the organisation.  Include stories about individuals and how your organisation has helped them (if appropriate).

Images

We’re hard-wired to respond to people’s faces so use photos of individuals (if appropriate) – one colourful image may be enough to entice people to read on.  Group photos are okay if it’s relevant to the topic but people respond to images of individuals (but make sure to get written permission if necessary).

Quotes

Get quotes from people and use them in your blog.  They make blocks of text infinitely more readable and they back up the facts you’re giving with a human voice.

Videos

Video is one of the most popular ways to communicate a message online.  If you’ve got a short video (ideally, no longer than a couple of minutes) make that the focus of the blog.  Let videos tell your stories but make sure there’s ample text included to introduce a video and say why your audience should watch it.

The title at the top

The title should simply communicate the message of your blog post in a single (tweetable) sentence – a question is good, a controversial or funny statement is usually good, having the word ‘you’ or ‘your’ in the title is also an effective psychological tactic.

The date and author’s name underneath the title

It’s important that the reader is able to identify the person who wrote it and when.

The first paragraph of a blog is your conclusion

‘This is what I’ve discovered and why it’s important.’
This is very important.  People skim-read online, more so than with print and will decide very early on whether this blog is worth reading or not. You need to get your main message across as concisely as possible in the first two or three lines.  The other reason this is important is because most readers will click a link to your blog having seen it somewhere else, e.g. Twitter or Google Reader where the title and sometimes the first line is all they have to go on when deciding whether it’s worth reading.

The main content of the blog

Should explain how you reached your conclusion.  It contains text and an image or video where possible. A blog post should be short (around 600 words) and should sum up what it’s about in the first paragraph.

Ending the blog

Try ending on a question. Blogs aren’t about broadcasting information but bringing it up in a conversational manner – and conversations are never one-way. 

Any questions about blogging?

Please do not hesitate to contact us: –

Diana Ruthven – Communications Manager d.ruthven@barrowcadbury.org.uk 0207 632 9077

Tim Soule – Operations & Communications Officer t.soule@barrowcadbury.org.uk 0207 632 9064