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  • 1. the GGW way Dan Malouff how to be effective & get published BLOGGING Arlington County DOT Greater Greater Washington BeyondDC
  • 2. Effective blogging Why blog? To build & engage a community of people (on the internet) who are passionate about a topic
  • 3. Effective blogging Good blogs combine: 1. news 2. advocacy 3. accessibility } 2 out of 3 isn‘t enough and they get progressively harder
  • 4. Effective blogging For every blog post, ask 3 questions: 1. news what facts are you reporting? 2. advocacy what message should readers get from it? 3. accessibility will readers (on the internet) get the message?
  • 5. Effective blogging Blogs are NOT: • Newsletters • Press releases • Comprehensive plans • Academic journals You can use a blog to talk about those things, but good blogs should be easier & more fun to read.
  • 6. Effective blogging Blog posts shouldn’t be long dissertations that follow the essay structure you learned in grade school. Blogging is a different kind of writing.
  • 7. Effective blogging Blog writing puts the most important info up front, in simple language. More specific details & less important points come later. most important message details
  • 8. Effective blogging Blog readers want to know right away what your article is about and why they should care.There’s too much competition on the internet to screw around.
  • 9. Effective blogging Blog readers want to know right away what your article is about and why they should care.There’s too much competition on the internet to screw around.
  • 10. Effective blogging Blog readers want to know right away what your article is about and why they should care.There’s too much competition on the internet to screw around.
  • 11. Effective blogging Blog readers want to know right away what your article is about and why they should care.There’s too much competition on the internet to screw around.
  • 12. Effective blogging Blog readers want to know right away what your article is about and why they should care.There’s too much competition on the internet to screw around.
  • 13. Effective blogging SO GET TO THE POINT Don’t lead with process “I went to a meeting…” Don’t lead with irrelevant details “Often in life…” Lead with the takeaway! “Remember this one thing…”
  • 14. Effective blogging Many blog readers only read the first paragraph. Say what they need to know right away, and keep it short. Otherwise you’ll get the dreaded tl;dr
  • 15. Effective blogging Most blog posts only need 2 sentences to sum them up. One sentence to explain whatever you’re presenting, and a 2nd to set necessary background context.
  • 16. Effective blogging You can add more details later. People who want to keep reading will, but people who are skimming will still get the point. This is where to talk about sources, go into detail about implications, etc.
  • 17. Effective blogging SIMPLE LANGUAGE ALWAYS USE City planners often intentionally use complicated language, to try and sound technical and objective. Blog readers respond better to simple language.
  • 18. Effective blogging “For northbound bicycle traffic, there is a significant grade which cannot be alleviated.” “People cycling north have to climb a hill.”
  • 19. Effective blogging Use the zombie rule to avoid passive voice “Why was the road crossed by zombies?” “Why did the zombie cross the road?”
  • 20. Effective blogging The best data analysis in the world is useless on a blog if nobody reads it. Be short, to the point, and talk like a real person.
  • 21. Effective blogging GGW always needs more posts, but only certain types of posts work for GGW. If you want your content to be published on GGW, follow these 9 guidelines…
  • 22. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 1. Pick topics with a practical impact to the smart growth mission. We rarely publish: ● Fantasies ● Information that’s too wonky for a broad audience ● Posts focusing on process ● Posts that function as ads
  • 23. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 2. Write the key takeaway in one concise introduction paragraph. - If I only read your first 2-3 sentences, will I get your main point? - Put less crucial details in the middle or bottom.
  • 24. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 3. Explain data, analysis, or news before giving opinions. - The best posts take a piece of news or data as a starting point, and use it to draw conclusions about something smart growth- related. - We’re less likely to run straight opinions. - Readers aren’t all experts already, so explain the context. Explain
  • 25. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 4. Use engaging prose. - Write with short sentences and short paragraphs.They hold readers’ attention better. - If you can say something in fewer words, use fewer words. Don’t try and sound smart with unnecessarily complicated language. - Use active verbs and avoid passive voice (“… by zombies”)
  • 26. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 5. Keep it short. - Blog posts aren’t academic papers. - A few hundred words is about right. 1,000 words is too long. 6. Include images. - Photos, graphs, charts, anything visual.
  • 27. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 7. Give GGW’s editors time to edit. - Submitting a post a few days prior to publication gives us a chance to fit it to our format. - Sending us a post after you’ve published it is like saying “take it or leave it.”We’re less likely to take it.
  • 28. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 8. For best results, learn GGW’s style guide. - If you want to contribute regularly, consider following GGW’s format from the get-go. - The style guide standardizes details like when to use capitalization or spell out numbers vs digits. - If you become an official GGW contributor, we’ll send it to you.
  • 29. Effective blogging 9 tips to get on GGW: 9. Submit tips for GGW’s breakfast links. - Every day, GGW links to a set of articles that (for whatever reason) aren’t right for GGW blog posts. - We’d rather have your posts run as posts, but you can always submit breakfast links tips to: greatergreaterwashington.org/tip/
  • 30. Remember Blogging is a means to an end. The end is to network with & educate people who are passionate about your subject. Good blogs make people want to join you.
  • 31. like GGW Dan Malouff BLOG Arlington County DOT Greater Greater Washington BeyondDC that‘s how you dmalouff@arlingtonva.us