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Bedazzle Them with Your Blog - 1/16/2014 -

Bloggers new and old received some great takeaways at the Association Media & Publishing Lunch and Learn on how to develop an engaging blog.

By Rena Malai

Wing of Zock and Word Cloud sound a lot like things Alice may have stumbled across in Wonderland. But the first is actually an academic medical informational blog, and the second a term used for a type of online visual art. These are just a couple of things that blogging enthusiasts discovered at the recent Association Media & Publishing Lunch & Learn: Developing a Blog that Will Dazzle Your Readers.

Attendees learned that at a basic level, a blog is like an online journal — with the added flexibility to give a unique voice as contributors write blog entries from their own point of view. It’s also a way for organizations and individuals to get their presence noticed online, creatively engage staff and readers, and promote information.

"Blogging attracts an intriguing combination of experiences,” said Alan Callander, social media manager at the American Association of University Women and one of the panel presenters at the Lunch & Learn. To help start or keep an effective blog going, Callander introduced the quad online content tool, a summary of four core points that can help steer a blog’s overall message and goals in the right direction:
  • Purpose/Outcomes/Goals
  • Audience
  • Message
  • Channels and Strategy Suggestions
Brainstorming on these points and starting small, Callander said, can help to paint a clearer blog picture.

"Our AAUW blog started small at first in 2008 because of the passion and interest of a few staff,” he said. "It grew from two to three posts a week, to two to three posts a day, and eventually into a popular outlet for readers. Over the last five years, our blog leadership has grown, and it gives us the opportunity to reach out and communicate with more audiences.”

Blogging can be a viable source of information, but blogs need promotion through social media outlets — like Twitter — to gain a wide audience. However, even those who don’t use social media can still be good bloggers, and many will use blogging as a way to establish an online presence.

"Some Zock contributors like the online voice the blog gives them, even though they may not engage in the likes of Facebook, Twitter, etc.,” said Wing of Zock editor and Lunch & Learn panel presenter Jennifer Salopek.

Additional takeaways from the Lunch & Learn on dazzling blogs:
  • Include photos with entries
  • Have well written, concise posts
  • Stay updated on blog terminology
  • Cross-post a blog entry to a company website to generate more views
Blog editors were also advised to keep an eye on editorial burnout among staff who blog voluntarily, and to give employees ownership of their entries and let them be themselves for a strong, cohesive blog.

And Callander added that having cupcakes at staff blog meetings never hurts — productivity and participation will almost always rise.

Rena Malai is a staff writer for NASW News, published by the National Association of Social Workers. Association Media & Publishing sincerely thanks her for covering this Lunch & Learn for our members who were unable to attend.


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