Make blogging an essential tool in facilitating your group

Growing your group, refreshing your member and keeping everyone in the loop as to what is going on is essential to continued activity and engagement in your online community.

Blogging can be a great tool to help you do this. But how do you get started? How do you plan and review blogs and what different styles can you use?

 

Let’s start with the basic

As you always have to quote Wikipedia in a blog (unwriten rule) here we go.

blog (a truncation of the expression weblog) is a discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Webconsisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries ("posts"). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page. (Wikipedia)

For me over the last few years Blogging has started to become an essential tool in a group facilitators armoury.   Not only can it be used to promote the group and the activities, it can lead to recruitment and recognition of what the community is doing,

It can become the place that holds the knowledge and history of the community due to it chorological order allowing new members to see what has been happening and allowing you to remind the members of what you have been able to accomplish.

 

What are the fundamentals of blogging?

I would say there are 4 things to think about when writing and developing your blog posts.  The First 2 are around writing the blog.  The second two are the forgotten ones.  What’s the point of writing a blog post if no one has a chance to read it and if they do, what made them read it?


Pick a topic and a title

  • Pick one topic to focus on per post
  • Make the value of the post clear
  • Make sure the title describes the post
  • Keep the title between 50-60 characters (shows the best on search engines)

Format and optimise the post

  • Whitespace is a good thing
  • Use section headers to highlight points
  • Use bullets and numbering
  • Bold important statements

Promote your blogs

  • Share on social media
  • Share via internal newsletters etc
  • Link from previous post
  • Add links to relevant previous blog posts

Analyse the performance

  • Number of views
  • Number of comments
  • Number of likes
  • Shares, likes etc on social Media

So, what are the different styles of blogging and when can you use them?

There are a number of different styles of blogging that you can use to support your community.

I have broken them down into 3 different themes to help you pick the style that you want to use depending on the situation.

 

Looking to promote your group

Type

Description

Buzz

Difficulty

Reporting back from events

 

Instead of just letting your team or close colleagues know, you can now tell a wide range of people who were unable to attend and look for further discussion from people who did.

1 out of 5

Easy

List blogging

 

This is the highly popular of the top ten list (or any other number) list about something.  Blog posts in this type of format are frequently bookmarked or shared

 

5 out of 5

Medium

Interview blogging

 

Conducting an interview and publishing either audio, video or transcript of the interview into a blog post.

 

4 out of 5

Medium

                    

Looking to grow your group

Type

Description

Buzz

Difficulty

Recruitment

 

Writing blogs pointing out the work of your group or interesting things that are relevant to your group are great ways to recruit new members as you can also add a link to your group.

4 out of 5

Medium

Re-post

 

Taking a post or article from another location and reposting a significant part of it as a blog post with limited original commentary

1 out of 5

Easy

Topical

 

Concentrate on a particular specialised topic. Using links to news or articles and personal opinions.

3 out of 5

Easy

            

Keeping members in the loop

Type

Description

Buzz

Difficulty

Live blogging

Blogging at a face pace about something in real time as it happens. With constant updates to a blog or a stream of blog posts.

4 out of 5

Hard

Announcement blogging

Break news about an announcement or news that was not previously available elsewhere. For maximum effect, being the first to break the news matters most.

5 out of 5

Hard

Link blogging

Collecting a series of links to websites, blogs or other online content to create a list of resources with links in a single blog post.

 

4 out of 5

Medium

    

Remember.  You don’t have to create all the content yourself. 

Just look around and you will find lots of content and ideas that you can cherry pick for your group.

How do I start?

  • Follow relevant Twitter #tags.
  • Join other online communities.
  • Sign up to organisational newsletters.
  • Identify and follow influential bloggers.
  • Sign up to newsfeeds on relevant websites.

If you have already started to do some of the above, you have already started on the content curation journey.  Now it’s about flagging up interesting items that you have been writing in your blogs and sharing with your member.  You can do this via ‘Announcements’ and ‘Group messages’ leading to greater engagement within your group.

 

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2 Comments

Ivan Butina 1 Year Ago

Very nice and useful @michael.norton , thanks a lot for putting it together! How did you come up with the "buzz" measure? Two tips I would add to blog writing: start with a capturing first sentence and end with a question that would engage the community.

Michael Norton 1 Year ago in reply to Ivan Butina .

Thanks for the tips @ivan.butina I'll add those when I repeat the webinar in the future.  The buzz rating and styles come from the work of Rohit Bhargava 

http://www.slideshare.net/rohitbhargava/the-25-basic-styles-of-blogging-and-when-to-use-each-one and I have been adapting it based on how I have seen different bloggers use those styles.