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Code of Good Practice: Blogging

By Paul Caplan, New Media Trainer for Media Trust

Blogging has really taken off and can be a useful tool for voluntary organisations. This article provides some good practice guidance for creating and using blogs

Introduction

Blogs began life as online diaries. They quickly developed to become online spaces where people could sound off about things important to them, share ideas and information, link to interesting places online and above all, tell stories.

Stories are at the heart of effective Blogging because Blogs, as part of the Live Web, are basically about conversations. They enable ordinary and extraordinary people to create content relationships without the help or interference of Big Media. Every second of every day someone is launching a Blog to talk and join in the global conversations about every subject and issue under the sun.

Good Blogging begins with reading. Go to Technorati and search for something you’re interested in. Read some of the Blog stories people are writing about your issue, maybe your organisation. Visit their Blogs, maybe subscribe to them by adding their RSS feed to a Bloglines account and keep up-to-date with the conversation.

Join in. Add a comment to one of these Blogs. Get a feel for joining in this new form of conversation and content relationship. Speak as a human being not a spin doctor or a spokesperson. Tell your story.

Jump into the network. Start a Blog, write your own stories. If you can’t install something like WordPress (on your server, visit Blogger and three steps later you have a Blog.

There are lots of clever things you can do with Blogs when you get going. You can add tags so technorati categorises your postings so others can find them. You can create a photo album at Flickr and tag your pictures. You can add audio files to your Blog entries and so create a podcast.

But the most important thing to concentrate on is the content and the content relationships.

Content and the three P’s

Make it personal. Your Blog is an extension of your personality. You are sharing your ideas and stories. Be open and tell your readers what it is like to be you at the heart of your campaign. Make your organisation come alive. It is full of people doing things. Write about stuffing envelopes and putting up a stall in the pouring rain not just the Government’s latest white paper.

Work in partnership. Think Blogs not Blog. Help your service users or stakeholders Blog, put your stories alongside theirs and link them. Let your visitor see all the different sides, shades and stories.

Make it. You know about your subject, you’re passionate about it. You want others to understand, get enthusiastic maybe even angry. Let that lead your writing. This is a conversation you’re having.

Content Relationships: working the read/write Web

This new Live Web is about conversations, not top-down delivery of information or messages. Encourage and enable comments. Respond to them. Learn from them. Argue with them. Form relationships with the writers. Comment on their Blogs. Network. These content relationships are powerful and full of potential. Those involved in your conversations may be able to help you fundraise or campaign (and you might be able to help them) but they may also be able to help you see or do things in a new way.


About the author

Paul Caplan, New Media Trainer for Media Trust
Media Trust is a dynamic, innovative charity that brings together the media industry and charities.  Media Trust does this in many ways: through media training seminars and workshops, an award-winning film and TV production unit, their own digital TV station - Community Channel, Media Matching, Community Newswire in partnership with The Press Association, and Campaigns Team.

Glossary

Blog, Feed, Live Web, Network, Podcast, RSS

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Published: 26th October 2021

Copyright © 2021 Media Trust

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