Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Top Tips: Team Blogging Guidelines

Image from mksystem, available under
CC BY 2.0 license
Starting a team blog can be a great way of getting people communicating, sharing the load of maintaining a blog, can bring different perspectives out and be a fantastic way to share ideas and resources with a wider audience.  But, how to handle all of those different contributors?  What sort of guidelines might come in useful?  Well, the following are the guidelines we use for our Learning Technologies blog and you're welcome to share / rework...

  1. Use a conversational tone when you're writing (but stick to the purpose of the blog!)
  2. Be mindful of your external audience - do not say anything which breaches confidentiality, copyright etc and explain all internal acronyms on first use. Include references where necessary.
  3. Add labels / tags to your blog posts to help people find content on particular themes.  It's also helpful to have the author use their name as a tag / label too so that bringing together all of one author's posts is simple.
  4. Schedule your blog post where appropriate giving time between your post and the preceding post so the blog doesn't get swamped.
  5. Everyone who writes for the blog should have a profile available which says just a little about them - if you can use your name when you sign off with your blog post, that's also helpful in reducing the somewhat anonymous feel of team blogs.
  6. Blog regularly - at least once a fortnight (especially at first to build up searchable content).  Blogs need to be sustainable and committing to blogging regularly helps it to become part of your practice (and means that for a team blog, it's not left to the same two or three people to blog!)
  7. Do not make recommendations for tools / services that cannot be supported centrally - it’s okay to point people towards things they might find interesting / relevant, but only make promises the team can keep!
  8. Include an image with every blog posting - an extensive source of CC licensed images can be found using www.compfight.com - it really helps to make the blog more visually interesting / helps it stand out in RSS feeds / thumbnails of entries etc.  For more than just images - music, video, clipart etc - then CC Search is also fantastic.
  9. Participate in conversations about our blog posts and take responsibility for the conversations you start... if someone comments on a blog entry you’ve made, make sure you reply!
  10. Consider how your words will be read - can they be (mis)interpreted or (mis)represented? Don't blur fact with personal opinion.
  11. Encourage readers to contribute perspective, additional knowledge and expertise. Acknowledge other people's comments.
  12. Publicise the blog - whether that's on Twitter, Google+, Facebook or wherever you think it'll be relevant to others.  Let them know they can subscribe.  Make it easy for them to find it!
It's also important to have at least one person with an overview of a team blog and who can make editorial changes / decisions.  And if that person's you, make sure you communicate the purpose of the blog and the guidelines clearly before everyone gets blogging.  Too late, is... well... too late!

Anything else that might be part of a set of team blogging guidelines?  What do you think?

Sarah

1 comment:

  1. Another tip I forgot to add, but which is important is that it helps if you sign off with your name - although you can generally see the 'posted by' information somewhere on your post, if you specifically sign off with your name, this is useful for people reading the blog as otherwise it can all be a bit anonymous!

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