Tips and Best Practices for Blogging: Outreach and Education

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Tips and best practices for blogging specifically for outreach and education. This presentation is an agency update for Urban FCS agents with Texas AgriLife Extension

Tips and best practices for blogging specifically for outreach and education. This presentation is an agency update for Urban FCS agents with Texas AgriLife Extension

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  • Most people haven’t had the chance to understand that the web itself is going through changes very rapidly. It’s not just changing on having better graphics, or faster speed. The content itself is changing, and continues to change. Blogging would be considered a Web. 2.0 concept – user generated content. The time in which users could create and author their own websites with full control of the content.
  • Some terminology often connected to user generated content
  • The rise of user generated content led to millions of self authored pages.
  • When thinking about if a blog will meet your needs, consider some of the reasons you want to or don’t want to start on this endeavor. Blogging is a great way to store and organize content that can be utilized over and over. Unlike social sites (like Facebook) your content can be archived by it’s date so that users can find it again easily. The use of tags on content increases the ability to find similar posts on your blog.
  • No matter where you place content on the web, there are some pretty standard best practices. These not only help your content perform well, but make your content sharable should a user want to share them through their social networks.
  • The ideal thing for content intended to be in the spirit of outreach and education is that it takes your users somewhere or leads them to some action. Ideally to a richer or more in depth learning experience on that topic. That could be further reading, it could be to interact directly with you.
  • These are two different examples of blogging that have very different outcomes. The field lab is more like a personal Facebook, while Crafts by Amanda is intended to be a multi-platform experience (see all the icons of places you can find “crafts by Amanda”).
  • A content calendar can be arranged by month, or by topic, or by person. This is a way for you to “schedule” your blog. Scheduling your posts can help you create a blog that tells a story, or is organized for your workday. There are several good content calendar examples online. Look for one that suits you. Often times we come across content that we’d like to blog about, it just might not be the right time. Store those ideas and thoughts into a content calendar so that you have ideas, links, additional resources and ideas.

Transcript

  • 1. Update on Social Media Things to Know – Texas A&M AgriLife Urban FCS Training  This presentation contains some items of note for social media outreach and education relevant to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Items include changes for August 2012 – August 2013.  Audience: Urban FCS Agents  Intended use: Best practices for Blogging specifically for outreach and education related to agencies  Notes: Slides include notes
  • 2. Blog, blogging, blogfest, blog-o-rama Blogging as if it was your last day on Earth
  • 3. 3 Web 1.0 - static Web 2.0 – user generated Web 3.0 - simulate Web 4.0 - ?
  • 4. User Generated Content The ability for a user to manage their own content via online tools and services that enable them to post directly to the Internet Mommy Blogging Drudge Report Blog Circles
  • 5. I think, therefore I am
  • 6. To Blog or Not to Blog  Blog if:  Need the ability to archive (or organize) your posts  Need to produce timely information  Need to tell a story  Lean towards more personal communication  Make your single posting available in multiple formats (work smarter not harder)  Don’t Blog  Plan to be boring  Update better presented by email  Plan on not using best web writing practices
  • 7. Web Writing Best Practices Title: Descriptive with key words. Opening paragraph informative and descriptive. Capture interest Photo – yes please! High value for most users. Sharability to other social networks much higher with photo Facebook Pinterest
  • 8. External linking – link to credible resources. Don’t type see this article here as the hyperlink Do type how to cook meat safely from Texas AgriLife Extension as the link
  • 9. Action Oriented  Blog posts should have information in them so that people can perform an ACTION  Go to a website  Share your article  Comment back to you  Come to a meeting  Call your phone  Send you an email  Click on a tag to see additional content
  • 10. Two Interesting Blog Examples
  • 11. Making a Content Calendar A content calendar can help you plan your content year round.  Content calendars can be simple spread sheets with each sheet being a month  You can plan which months you will talk about which subjects  As you come across good material, you add it to the appropriate month and then in that month you blog about the material, or the topic  Example: January is car safety month – your content calendar might include links you’ve found to research about car safety, links to pictures showing good/bad, consumer resources, workshops or safety check days  Works good with group planning. Who will do what in each month or for each topic
  • 12. How to Promote Your Blog  Blog sites are not often visited as a users regular routine (like email, or social network sites). Instead, they are usually visited by prompting:  Advertised on your other social channels “just posted about the value of organic gardening http://myblog.com”  Pinned to boards in Pinterest  Tweeted out by a user to other users  Email notification Part of your blog planning should include the methods in which you will promote EACH post (as well as your blog in general). Set up a methodology.
  • 13. Blog post Post to social networks with link to post Pin on Pinterest Email to users Post notice on main website
  • 14. Final suggestions  Include ways for users to connect with you on your blog (subscribe by email, connect to you in G+, Twitter)  Use tagging to organize you posts  Follow other blogs to get ideas  Promote partners in your blogs  Be informative, but don’t forget to be fun!
  • 15. Amy E. Hays Emerging Technologies Program Specialist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Institute of Renewable Natural Resources ahays@tamu.edu ahays@extension.org