Getting Started With Blogs


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  • - Removed Warsaw screenshot, replaced with Social Media Hub Policy screenshot
  • Removed DipNote screenshots of comments Replaced with moderation policies of Social Media Hub
  • - Replaced Embasssy screenshot with DoDLive screenshot
  • - Replaced Culturati screensho with DoDLive screenshot
  • - Replaced London’s screenshot with DODLive
  • Getting Started With Blogs

    1. 1. Getting Started With Blogging<br />A guide for creating Official Pages<br />
    2. 2. Table of Contents<br />Why Blog?<br />Things to Think About<br />Tips for Successful Blogging<br />Terms of Use & Blog Moderation Policies<br />Measuring Blog Effectiveness<br />Comment Blogging & Guest Blogging<br />Best Practices<br />Resources for Further Reading<br />
    3. 3. Why Blog?<br /><ul><li>A blog can help you engage with your local audiences in real conversations.
    4. 4. Blogs put a human face on the embassy or consulate and create an engaged connection with people in the host country.
    5. 5. Blogs are increasingly a news source for mainstream media.
    6. 6. A blog can improve the placement of your content in search results - especially if you link your official Web site and other DoD material to the blog.
    7. 7. A blog gives you an idea of what people interested in your topics are thinking about.
    8. 8. If you don't know what blogs are or how they can be used, check out this video.</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    9. 9. Things to Think About<br /><ul><li>Do you have the content and energy to publish often enough and well enough to be interesting?
    10. 10. Write in the first person perspective and pile on the personality.
    11. 11. A blog is more an op/ed than a press release.
    12. 12. Make it real and immediate to encourage discussion and engagement.
    13. 13. Allow comments AND respond to them.</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    14. 14. Tips for Successful Blogging<br />
    15. 15. Tips for Successful Blogging*<br />Start by listening.<br />Determine a goal for the blog.<br />Estimate the Return on Investment (ROI).<br />Develop a plan.<br />Review and rehearse. <br />Develop an editorial process.<br />Choose a blog platform and design the blog.<br />Develop a marketing plan.<br />Remember, blogging is more than writing. <br />Final advice: be honest. <br />* From Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Forester Research, Harvard Business Press, 2009<br />
    16. 16. 1. Start by Listening<br /><ul><li>Before starting a blog, listen to what is being said on other blogs about issues important to the DoD or in your Service branch.
    17. 17. In order to find blogs to follow, you can Google Blog Search. It allows you to search the content of blogs using keywords.
    18. 18. Google Blog Search (you can search for blog content in other languages by using Advanced Search.)
    19. 19. The following official DoD registered blogs are taken from the DoDLiveblogroll.
    20. 20. Army Live
    21. 21. Navy Live
    22. 22. There are independent bloggers who blog specifically on military and security matters.
    23. 23. Wired’s Danger Room
    24. 24. Foreign Policy’s The Best Defense
    25. 25. Small Wars Journal
    26. 26. You can also search Twitter for trending topics:  </li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    27. 27. 2. Determine a Goal for the Blog<br /><ul><li>What is your goal?
    28. 28. Reach existing contacts or find new ones?
    29. 29. Respond to news stories?
    30. 30. Connect with family or friends?
    31. 31. Provide a new prospective on life in the military?
    32. 32. Know your goal and topic areas before you start.
    33. 33. Some ideas:
    34. 34. Deployments
    35. 35. Living overseas
    36. 36. Military families/Family readiness
    37. 37. Humanitarian efforts
    38. 38. Health and fitness
    39. 39. Combat photography</li></li></ul><li>3. Estimate the Return on Investment (ROI)<br /><ul><li>Use a simple decision support document like a spreadsheet to figure out how your blog will pay off, and how much time it will take and what kind of support you will need from other people in the armed services
    40. 40. Will you need IT support?
    41. 41. What about training costs?
    42. 42. Are you following OPSEC?
    43. 43. Analyze the benefits of the blog in terms of public relations value, reader insights, etc.</li></li></ul><li>4. Develop a Plan<br /><ul><li>Who will write the blog?
    44. 44. Will your blog have one or several authors?
    45. 45. Are you representing yourself, your troops, your mission, or your base, etc?
    46. 46. Include others in your decisions about your blog. More people knowing and collaborating about your blog will increase the chances on success.
    47. 47. Consider posting entries written by guest authors who have expertise in topics important to your audience.
    48. 48. How often will you blog? Will it be daily, weekly, monthly, etc?
    49. 49. How will you handle comments?</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    50. 50. 5. Review and Rehearse<br />Get ideas from what others do. You can find a blogroll of Defense-related and government-related blogs on<br />Write five to ten posts before you go live and explore topics you’ll cover. Actually writing good blog posts will change how you think about blogging.<br />
    51. 51. 6. Develop an Editorial Process<br /><ul><li>What level of review do the postings need? Good blogs are personal and informal. Too many cooks (approvals) will spoil the broth.
    52. 52. If you assign a content reviewer, who will do it if this person isn’t available? This process needs to be flexible and lightweight. You may want to post quickly to respond to events and fast-breaking news.
    53. 53. Blogs must allow comments. Will you moderate comments or allow them to be posted without viewing them first? </li></li></ul><li>7. Choose a Blog Platform and Design the Blog<br /><ul><li>You can use free blog software such as Blogger,, or WordPress,
    54. 54. If you use one of these free Web-based blog programs, remember to use a generic team email address so it can be shared with others.
    55. 55. Some posts host the blog on their post’s Web server. You can freely download WordPress at </li></li></ul><li>8. Develop a MarketingPlan<br /><ul><li>If you want people to read your blog, you’ll need to market it.
    56. 56. Target your content to a specific audience
    57. 57. Announce your blog with traditional methods, such as a press release and emails to your contacts.
    58. 58. Place a hyperlink on your official Web site to your blog.
    59. 59. Integrate your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.) into your blog. When you post to your blog, let your readers know by posting it to your social media sites.
    60. 60. When you comment on someone else’s blog, link back to your blog.
    61. 61. The text of your blog postings will also help: use the name of your base, unit, etc and topics that resonate with your audience in the titles and text of your posts so that your content will be picked up in search engines.</li></li></ul><li>9. Remember, Blogging is More than Writing. <br />You must be willing to monitor other blogs, respond to comments made on your blog, and in general, be part of a dialogue. <br />Engage your audience, even if the topic is controversial. You want to know what people are thinking. You want different opinions.<br />
    62. 62. 10. Final Advice: Be Honest and Original<br /><ul><li>Verify your facts and provide links to additional information. Readers must trust your integrity.
    63. 63. Be transparent and open with your readers.
    64. 64. Don’t just repeat on your blog what you posted on your Facebook or Twitter. Take a new slant on your topic: expand, explain and engage. </li></li></ul><li>For USG Official Use Only<br />Terms of Use and Blog Moderation Policies <br />
    65. 65. Terms of Use & Blog Moderation Policies<br /><ul><li>You must include terms of use on your blog and include a comment policy and external links disclaimer.
    66. 66. These terms provide guidelines about what type of content you will and won’t accept from your readers.
    67. 67. You can adapt language from terms of use from DoD Live and the Social Media Policy.
    68. 68. DoD Live:
    69. 69. Social Media Policy:
    70. 70. If you decide to moderate your blog before comments can go live, you’ll want to document this policy as well.
    71. 71. The goal is to be transparent. Your readers don’t want any unpleasant surprises.
    72. 72. Be robust and tolerant. Just because someone disagrees with the blogger is not enough reason to take a comment off a blog.
    73. 73. We have provided examples of how some posts have handled terms of use and moderation policy information in their blogs.</li></li></ul><li><ul><li> The Defense Department’s Social Media Hub has an approved User Agreement that you can link to or copy and use for your blog.
    74. 74. You can also read the entire text of the DoD Social Media Policy by accessing
    75. 75. DoDLive uses Wordpress as a base for its blogs.</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />Terms of Use Example <br />
    76. 76. Moderation Policy Example<br /><ul><li> This screenshot was taken from the NavyLive, the official blog of the United States Navy
    77. 77. To view this page, please go to</li></li></ul><li>Using Guest Blogger Entries<br /><ul><li>Gina Hill, the wife of a wounded soldier, guest blogged on DoDLive on the subject of PTSD and her personal struggles of supporting her husband during these rough times. </li></li></ul><li>Measuring Blog Effectiveness<br /><ul><li>Comments are not a reliable indicator of how many people are reading your blog. Most of your community will be listening and “lurking,” not commenting.
    78. 78. If you use, you can install Google Analytics
    79. 79. Google Analytics tells you which blog posts were accessed, how long your readers stayed, how they accessed your blog, and more.
    80. 80. How to do it:
    81. 81. has a rudimentary statistical package installed in the blog software, but will not allow you to use Google Analytics.
    82. 82. Ask your Webmaster if there is a possibility of using the same analytic software as the post’s Web site.</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    83. 83. Comment Blogging & Guest Bloggers<br /><ul><li>If, after analyzing your resources you decide not to blog, consider having staff join other communities and comment on existing military-related blogs or blogs similar to yours.
    84. 84. Some general guidelines:
    85. 85. A comment blogger must include his/her name and professional position
    86. 86. Must adapt to the language of the blog
    87. 87. Must not be overbearing or rude
    88. 88. Encourage staff writers/bloggerswith relevant expertise to offer to write guest entries on your blog</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    89. 89. Best Practices from the Field<br />
    90. 90. Blogs Should be Written in the First Person<br /><ul><li> Bob Carey was a guest-blogger on DoD Live who wrote about the Federal Voting Assistant Program. Notice how he talks about his life, his personal experiences, and his emotional investment into his project.
    91. 91. See the blog post at</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    92. 92. Blog Writer Should Provide a Human Face <br /><ul><li> This screenshot was taken from U.S. Air Force Live, the official blog of the USAF
    93. 93. SSgt Thomas Ryan not only includes his picture, but writes with a voice that showcases his personality.
    94. 94. You can see the blog at</li></li></ul><li>Be Transparent<br /><ul><li> The DoD Live blog clearly identifies its bloggers and staff members.
    95. 95. You can view this page and the rest of the DoDLive team at</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    96. 96. Explain Your Moderation Policy <br /><ul><li> It’s important to be clear about how you moderate comments.
    97. 97. This example is from the DoD Live blog.</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    98. 98. Reply to Comments If Necessary<br /><ul><li> You don’t need to comment on every posting that someone in your community creates, but you should respond when it’s appropriate or when you want to get the conversation back on topic.
    99. 99. Commenting back and forth humanizes the blogger and makes real engagement happen.
    100. 100. From Armed with Science, at</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    101. 101. Resources for Further Reading <br />
    102. 102. Policy Guidelines<br />The Department of Defense released its official policy on new/social media in February 2010.  The policy (Directive-Type Memorandum 09-026) states that the default for the DoD non-classified network (the NIPRNET) is for open access so that all of DoD can use new media. <br />This is DoD’s first official policy on new media.<br />For USG Official Use Only<br />
    103. 103. Articles about Blogging<br /><ul><li>Blogs, from
    104. 104. Blogging Lessons For and From Journalism, from the Blog Herald
    105. 105. How to Avoid Getting Burned From Negative Comments, from The Viral Garden
    106. 106. How to Build Lasting Relationships with Your Readers, from Inspiration Bit
    107. 107. Marketing Your Blog: 10 Essential Tips You Should Know, from Hongkiat</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />
    108. 108. Blogging Software Help<br />Getting Started With Blogger, from<br />Blogger Help, from<br />Web-based help:<br /><ul><li>Your Website or Blog on, from Delphis, Ltd.
    109. 109. Support
    110. 110. help
    111. 111. Support</li></ul>For USG Official Use Only<br />