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Make blogging an essential tool in facilitating your group

December 15, 2017 Leave a comment

It was part of discussion that came up in our Newbie Tuesday discussion in the Online Facilitators community on the Knowledge Hub.  A lot of facilitators liked the idea of blogging.  But didn’t know where to start and the best ways they could use it.

I’m no expert in blogging.  But I do like to write my thoughts down.  So here are my thoughts on how to make blogging an essential tool in facilitating your online group.

Why should you do it?

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 basics

As you always have to quote Wikipedia in a blog (unwritten 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 chronological 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?

 1. 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)

2. Format and optimise the post

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

3. Promote your blogs

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

4. 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

 

  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

  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

  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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Can an A-ha moment encourage member blogging?

September 9, 2014 Leave a comment

No I’m not talking about the 80’s Norwegian band.  But the moment when members of a community start to believe that you do not need to be an expert to write a blog.

A ha moment

A number of facilitators of communities that I have spoken to would love to have more member’s blogging about the subject area.  But when they speak to them, they are a little shy and do not believe they are expert enough to write a blog.

So this is a little idea that you could try out with them to show how easy it is.

There are a number of blogging styles that you will see when you start to read.

Event blogging is one of the easiest and if very common place.  You even start to see some people rushing trying to be the first to post a blog after the event. (Maybe that’s just some of the events that I go to)

Event blogging is– sharing impressions, opinions and insights from and event of seminar with others who may or may not be able to attend

So what’s the simple way to do this?  Well next time you are at an event with a number of your members of your community ask a few of them if they would like to fill in the A-ha moment.  I came across this idea at one of the Henley KM Forum but never thought to use it in this way. 

When you approach your member say that as a key member of the community we would love to capture your insights from the event so we can share with the wider community.

At the end of the event quickly take a photo of what they have written down.  And now you have a range of insights that can be shared with your members of the community.

Hopefully, a simple example like this will show your members how easy it is.  And maybe for the next event, you may even have some volunteers.

25 blogging styles and when to use each one

July 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I was asked the other day for some advice on blogging. I’m still learning and there are some great bloggers out on the CoP platform that you should check out.

But I did come across this by Rohit Bhorgova. I didn’t realise there where so many styles of blogging. I’ve picked a few from the 25 examples. And remember the figures are if you want to make an impact across the web.

 

Instant Blogging– Sharing Insights, original ideas, commentary or trends on a particular topic. Many consider this the most difficult type of blogging to do.

  • Max times per week: 5+
  • Buzz Index: 4
  • Difficulty: Hard

Ambition Blogging – Blogging about something with the aim of trying to attain it – usually by targeting the decision makers through the blog post.

  • Max times per week: 1
  • Buzz Index: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy

Meme Blogging – Starting a thread of discussion by sharing your response to a query and then challenging other bloggers to answer it on their own blogs.

  • Max times per week: 1
  • Buzz Index: 5
  • Difficulty: Medium

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.

  • Max times per week: 5+
  • Buzz Index: 5
  • Difficulty: 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.

  • Max times per week: 2
  • Buzz Index: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium

Evangelist Blogging – Passionate blog post sharing an affinity and support for a social cause, organisation, product or individual that you believe in.

These posts are meant to inspire others to believe in the same thing.

  • Max times per week: 5+
  • Buzz Index: 3
  • Difficulty: Medium

Did I ever listen to Ted’s tips on Blogging

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s nearly four years since I persuaded Ted to film these top tips on blogging.

I probably should have done a lot more with the video, but the whole social media thing was very new and at the time not many people talked about Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook in their day to day life.

So did I listen to Ted’s tip?  Well I think I have.  And do these very simple tips still ring true in today’s blogosphere?

P.S. And Yes he still has that jumper.

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