Best Practices in Blogging Patton Group Advisors, LLC August 8, 2012 John S. Patton, III
TUTORIAL OUTLINE • Section One: Why Blog? • Is there Sufficient Demand? • Opportunities to Expand Your Influence • A Timely Knowledge Sharing Platform • Section Two: Changes in News Consumption • Where Do People Get Their News? • How the Internet Has Changed News • Snapshot of a Typical Blog Reader
TUTORIAL OUTLINE • Section Three: Writing An Effective Blog Post • Improving the Scanability of a Blog Post • Choosing Format & Post Length • Writing Engaging & Provocative Content • Additional Tools For Creating Exciting Content • Section Four: Template Recommendations • Writing a Good Headline • Intro • Body • Conclusion
SECTION ONE: Why Blog? • Is There Sufficient Demand for your Topic? • Is a Blog appropriate for your organization’s goals? • Do you have anything interesting to say? • Are your competitors blogging successfully? • Do you have the budget? • If you are already blogging, how has your readership developed over times? • Do you have metrics in place to evaluate which posts have performed well? • Has your overall readership increased?
SECTION ONE: Why Blog? • Opportunities to Expand Influence • A well crafted blog post can: • Influence trends • Create a breakthrough idea – OR – • Provide information • Example of influence: What happens when you “google” a term that your organization has coined?
SECTION ONE: Why Blog? • A Timely Knowledge Sharing Platform • Disseminate timely knowledge in your digital network • Two Way Communication • Audience and peers can comment directly on your blog • Immediate Feedback • Medium for ideas to go viral • A blog post, tweet, or other digital product can quickly be shared by other orgs, people • With this potential, there is no limit to how many people can see your publication
SECTION TWO: Changes in News Consumption Where Do People Get Their News? Statistics as of March, 2011
SECTION TWO: Changes in News Consumption How the Internet Has Changed News • Democratization of News • Online news sources can be created from almost nothing • News is Free • Blogs, twitter and other online platforms are free • Decentralization of News • News can come from anywhere at any time • An unknown blog can break the biggest story
SECTION TWO: Changes in News Consumption • Snapshot of a Typical Blog Reader • Because your reader is looking at a computer screen: Average reader spends only 96 seconds reading a single blog post People read 25% slower than reading on paper Only 16% of people read blog posts word for word
SECTION THREE: Writing an Effective Blog Post • Improving the Scanability of a Blog Post The Problem: • This problem exists • across all platforms: • Twitter • Facebook • Inboxes • RSS Feeds
SECTION THREE: Writing an Effective Blog Post • Improving the Scanability of a Blog Post • The Solution: • Grab Reader’s Attention by Breaking Through with: Photos, Videos & Infographics
SECTION THREE: Writing an Effective Blog Post • Choosing Format & Post Length Distribution of Blog Posts by Number of Words
SECTION THREE: Writing an Effective Blog Post • Choosing Format & Post Length • Perceived Problem: Blog posts have to be long and heavily researched • Reality: Shorter, more frequent posts (150-600 words) should be the norm • Take less time to write • Fit the 96 second average • Increased frequency in news feeds • Increase RSS pings • Increase SEO ranking What is the average post length of your blog?
SECTION THREE: Writing an Effective Blog Post • Writing Engaging and Provocative Content • Problem: Blog posts can be boring, esoteric and too internally focused • Solution: • Create a list of provocative questions that will be answered in your post. • Use a question at the beginning of your blog post to draw the reader into a two-way discussion • Keep a list of your questions that can be used as an entry for numerous tweets pointing back to your blog post
SECTION THREE: Writing an Effective Blog Post • Additional Tools For Creating Exciting Content • Curate • Help people see your organization as a thought leader with a timely perspective by offering important insights on current events, reports or studies • Add Value • Offer critical observation or inquiries • Link Up • Use hyperlinks to reference other parts of your website or external sites • When in Doubt, Post! • Don’t let this guide put you in handcuffs • If you feel like your blog post will be out of line with these principles, write it anyway
SECTION FOUR: Suggested Template Writing a Good Headline • Problem: Readers are often deterred by bad headlines • Solution: Create something informative and engaging that leaves your reader wanting more… • Bad Headline • 'Qatar TV Channel Acquires New Hardware' • Good Headline • 'Al Jazeera International Chooses Apple Technology'
SECTION FOUR: Suggested Template • Intro Paragraph • Start with values and framing of why the subject is important • Evidence, anecdotes or current events • Focus on the unique knowledge of this post
SECTION FOUR: Suggested Template Body • Support your key message(s) • Use language that is simple, straightforward and understandable by all audiences • Think about how this post could be disseminated on twitter or facebook • Include a few sentences that could be used on these platforms • Refer back to the initial questions to be answered
Conclusion SECTION FOUR: Suggested Template Provide info about what your topic means for Living Cities and the broader field Provide ways for people to get more information if applicable
Who Is Your Audience? What Groups Read Your Blog? • Members • Customers • Stakeholders • Media • Government • Casual Reader • Customers • This is an example of just some group categories. Take the time to think about the people that comprise your readership and keep them in mind when writing.