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  • 2. Blogs are content rich, so they often show up on the first page of search results. Notice that Commander Submarine Group Ten’s blog shows up as the first two results when searching for the command. Having a blog increases your share of voice online about your command. Let’s find out how Commander, Submarine Group Ten does it!
  • 3. 1. What’s the goal of your blog?
    Commander Submarine Group Ten’s Blog is intended to inform and educate readers while providing a medium for intellectual discussion and debate about important issues involving the U.S. Navy in today’s environment. 
  • 4. Your blog should have a very clear goal and overarching theme that is appealing to your target audience and relates back to your command’s mission
    Consider why you want to have a blog and how that helps your command better achieve its mission
    Some blog concepts/goals you may consider:
    Provide a human/personal perspective on the official daily duties
    Share an insider’s look into your command
    Provide clarity around complex issues your command faces
    Highlight specific careers/jobs within your command
    Share the history of your command
    Update the public on current events related to your command
    Provide helpful tips for Sailors and/or the Navy family on a particular topic
    Provide support for the Navy family
  • 5. 2. What is the tone?
    Commander Submarine Group Ten’s blog is informative, friendly, and official
    Smiling staff photo sets a friendly and approachable tone.
    Complete sentences written in relatively formal manner with references to official titles denote a professional and official tone.
  • 6. Setting the tone
    There are so many angles you can take with your command’s blog and it’s important to set the tone upfront, especially if you are planning on having more than one blogger author your blog
    Think about your target audience when setting the tone.
    Choose your angle and writing style and try to maintain that style in each post to provide consistency for your readers
    Your blog could have any one of the following tones or a combination: official
  • 7. 3. What do you write about?
    • Policy related to your command
    • 8. Safety issues and news updates
    • 9. Kudos and recognition of personnel
    • 10. Current events and milestones
    • 11. Local news relevant to your community
  • Content
    Every blog should have an editorial calendar that plans out at least a rough schedule of topics to blog about over the next 6 months to a year.
    Blog topics can be story ideas, potential interviewees, resources to feature, etc.
    The editorial calendar should also outline who is responsible for writing, editing, and approving posts before they are published.
    Before going live, have 3-5 blog posts already written. You can use those to get started or keep them as a back-up for when you are really in a crunch for time.
    Coordinate your calendar to link up to important Navy events and milestones.
  • 12. 4. What platform do you use?
    COMSUBGRU10 uses WordPress to host their blog.
    WordPress has a built-in content management system so you can easily publish content, monitor comments and track activity of readers (# of views, top rated content, # of comments, etc.).
    WordPress has set themes so you do not have to design and code the blog yourself.
    WordPress is free!
    WordPress has hundreds of widgets you can add in to customize your blog with calendars, Facebook plug-in, Twitter plug-in, and even polls like the one at the right to increase engagement with readers.
  • 13. Blog hosting platforms
    There are several open source tools you can use such as WordPressand Blogger
    When using these tools, it’s important to note you are agreeing to their terms of service and privacy policies, unlike a blog on a “.mil” site
    You may also use the DoDLive.mil platform to start your blog by filling out the Blog Request Form available from CHINFO
  • 14. 5. What policies do you take into consideration?
    COMSUBGRU10 has a disclaimer that doubles as their comment policy.
    On the front of their blog, there is also a privacy statement in keeping with the Privacy Act.
    Privacy statement
    Comment policy
  • 15. Policies
    Whether you use an open source platform or DoDLive.mil, the standard Navy disclaimer and comment policy should be clearly posted on your blog
    For additional guidance on where to find the disclaimer and how to post, please contact CHINFO.
  • 16. 6. What does your blog look like?
    COMSUBGRU10 has chosen a simple WordPress theme and added their own photo to the header to customize the look of the blog. They have kept the colors simple, making the blog easy to read!
  • 17. Aesthetics
    As much as the standard templates allow, your command should adhere to Navy.mil branding guidelines when designing your blog
    In general, white background with a dark colored text is the easiest to read—especially if you expect your blog posts to be relatively lengthy
    Use your command’s official photos, seals, and logos when possible
    If you are using the DoDLive.mil platform, they have a few standard templates you may choose from.
  • 18. 7. How do you get people to read it?
    COMSUBGRU10started blogging in July 2009
    Initial outreach:
    • Sent an email out to local commands announcing the blog
    • 19. Posted to the command Facebook page
    • 20. Placed an announcement in the local newspaper
    After a few months and ~50 readers, they decided to expand readership:
    • Reached out to related industry bloggers (The Stupid Shall be Punished, Navy Submarine League, DoD Live) and asked to be placed on their “blogroll.” Result—they not only were listed on those blogrolls, but a few bloggers wrote a post about the COMSUBGRU10 blog!
    The next step—engaging on a hot topic:
    • COMSUBGRU10 used the blog as a key tool in communicating RADM Bruner’s point of view on women serving on submarines
    • 21. Media and interested parties were directed to the blog for answers to questions about the lifted ban. Result—traffic picked up and many quotes from RADM Bruner in the media came directly from the blog!
    Ongoing engagement:
    • Command personnel provide guest blogs from time to time (e.g. a CMC in Iraq)
    • 22. Regional safety information is pushed out in timely manner (e.g. hurricane season safety tips)
    • 23. Every new blog posts also gets posted to command Facebook page
  • Reaching your target audience
    Consider how you currently reach out to your target audience, online and offline
    Do you have existing channels you can use to notify your target audience that you now have a blog?
    Consider sending them an email and adding a link to the blog to your email signature and other collateral distributed regularly
    Connect your blog to other online spaces your command is present, such as your Facebook fan page, Twitter account, website, etc.
    Be sure to submit your blog to the Navy.mil Social Media Directory so CHINFO can help you promote your blog as well
  • 24. 8. How do you know if you are successful?
    • 13,200 views all time
    • 25. On their busiest day the blog received 551 views
    • 26. 52 total posts so far
    • 27. 82 total comments
    • 28. 81 subscribers via RSS feed
    COMSUBGRU10 has several ways readers can interact with the blog—reading and commenting directly, subscribing to email updates, subscribing to an RSS feed of posts and comments, and taking a poll.
  • 29. Measuring success
    The key to measuring your success is defining clear goals and measurable objectives before you start blogging
    Some metrics to consider are:
    Number of visits to your blog
    Number of comments on blog
    Inbound links (number of other websites linking to your blog)
  • 30. Commander, Submarine Group Ten’s lessons learned in blogging
    Add photos--they drive traffic!
    Blog more often, but only if you have content relevant and critical to the command to discuss. When we blog more regularly, we get more traffic.
    Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry and DoD bloggers discussing topics related to your command.
    Speak to your local community as well as Sailors and their family members. They are an important stakeholder.
    Use a 3rd party platform, like WordPress, so you can easily track metrics.
  • 31. Blogs are a great tool to…
    Provide an individual perspective on Navy topics
    Tell the story behind Navy.mil articles
    Discuss topics that matter to your command, personnel, and families
    Elaborate on a topic too in-depth for Facebook and Twitter
    Enhances Rhumb Lines
    Is a more “controlled” form of social media in which comments are approved or deleted before appearing to the public (unlike Facebook)
  • 32. General blogging tips
    Blog posts should be
    One complete thought/opinion on a specific topic
    Personal & Engaging (providing individual perspective on a topic; telling the human side of a Navy story; making a Navy.mil story relevant to the general public)
    Interactive (we want readers to comment and authors should read and respond to comments)
    Blog posts should NOT be:
    Navy.mil story
    Maritime Strategy, Naval Operating Concept (NOC), or your command’s mission statement
    General guidelines:
    Tie to timely Navy issue (topic must have been in news within past 5 days)
    Keep posts to around 500 words in length (best practice is 300-500 words per post)
    Include multimedia (engaging photo, video, etc.)
    Write in plain language (visit http://www.plainlanguage.gov/ or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtXSCwphuzg for guidance)
  • 33. REVIEW: Checklist of things to consider before you begin a blog
    • What’s the goal of your blog?
    • 34. What will the tone be?
    • 35. What will you write about?
    • 36. What platform will we use?
    • 37. What policies do we need to consider?
    • 38. What should my blog look like?
    • 39. How do we get people to read it?
    • 40. How do we know if we are successful?
  • Other blogging guidance
    USA.gov’s Guide to Blogging, Things to Consider: http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/technology/blogs.shtml
    The Blogging Revolution by IBM Center for The Business of Government: http://www.businessofgovernment.org/pdfs/WyldReportBlog.pdf
    Blogs as a Public Forum for Agency Policy Making by the Brookings Institute: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/papers/2009/08_blogs_mahler_regan/08_blogs_mahler_regan.pdf
    Comparison of Blogging Software: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/images/blog_software_comparison.cfm
    List of Government Blogs: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Reference_Shelf/News/blog.shtml