Blogs are discussion or informational sites published on the web, consisting of entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order
Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries, some function as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs.
The university has no in-house blogging tool - those who want to blog should use Blogger (Google account required) or Wordpress as the two best and, most importantly, free tools. Other free blog sites and tools are available.
For what purpose?
Have a clear aim for your blog. As with other social media channels you need to think about why you are doing this.
- Think about what you want to blog - should be added value and not replace or compete with RGU main site content.
- The blog should complement the main site content and point back wherever possible as it will all help to both give the blog more prominence in search and also enhance the reputation of the RGU site and in consequence, RGU.
- Use your other social media channels to ‘trailer’. Some channels will allow an automated update from your blog – e.g. Google + and Blogger can be linked to update and post to G+ from the blog automatically.
- Content should be engaging and there should be a clear purpose.
- It should be kept up regularly – weekly at least but possibly more often depending on what is being said.
- Find a ‘space’ in the communication landscape – so find something that is both desired by the potential audience that no one else is doing and easy for you to post about. Don’t repeat any other social media posts or blogs.
Who is your audience?
Is it staff, students, prospective students, researchers – everyone or anyone?
In common with other channels, you need to build your audience and so understanding them and what might interest them is important to developing a successful blog. There are various techniques on how to promote your blog to the right audience – it is not as simple as creating and then waiting for them to come to you.
What does your audience want/need?
Try to focus on your audience and find out what would be useful or interesting to them and not already adequately covered through other channels. If you want to blog about an academic specialism because you are an authority on the subject, for example, then your topic will be of interest to other researchers and students alike. How would they benefit from reading or subscribing to your blog?
Who is going to write the blog?
Blogs are a great way of keeping your audience updated, but you need to consider who will be writing and how often they're likely to write.
There are two considerations here:
- Who is actually going to compose the content and input to the blog?
- What ‘voice’ or personality do you want this blog to have?
The first is addressing the practical considerations of time and resource. Do you have the time to regularly post to a blog? Will you be disciplined enough to do this? Are you comfortable with writing? Do you have a range of headline topics available to blog about?
The second is addressing the way you write in order to make your blog resonate with the intended audience. Do you understand how your audience communicates? What will be best received by your audience – a casual approach with short sharp articles or an in depth article which enhances other authoritative web content?
What rules are there?
What or who will govern your blogging activity?
- Who is going to write?
- How regularly?
- Who is going to monitor (if applicable)?
- Comments or not?
- Editorial responsibility?
- RGU official or personal?
If you are going to blog officially as RGU then there are basic rules of engagement that should be followed:
Use of logo – this should be used unmodified. Guidance is available on how and when to use in RGyoU
Bloggers must not post to the detriment of RGU’s reputation
- Academic Regulations apply to students
- Disciplinary procedures apply to staff
A comprehensive, high-quality blog post doesn't have to be long.
In fact, the shorter the better bearing in mind that we all have limited time to devote to reading the massive amount of content on the web. Blog posts should include three sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.
Introduction: explain what you are about to write/discuss as succinctly as possible, set the scene, draw in the reader.
Body: here you can expand on your topic, being mindful of length and audience. Basic principles on writing for the web apply which include short sentences, avoiding jargon, using bullets to aid scanning and many, many more.
Conclusion: finish off your post with a brief summary of what the post was about and what your reader has, hopefully, gained from it. You may also want to list further information links and provide the opportunity to comment.
Here are some excellent blogs from around the internet on a wide range of topics. Many appear to be mature websites with high quality, regularly updated content:
Examples of RGU blogs
There are already many blogs on the web which are written by RGU staff and students.
Our Principal leads the way and blogs in a personal capacity.
The Library blog provides the additional information that current students find useful.
The IT department blogs about what’s happening in a more informal and engaging way.
Daniel Doolan blogs in images which are very effectively conveying his message.
and also uses a blog to provide further details on IDEAS seminars
The Events Management BA(Hons) group have a blog
Useful guidance for bloggers
Google’s own blogger help is intuitive and easy to understand.
A bloggers viewpoint – which is more controversial
Questions that must be asked