Not everyone is familiar with advocacy, but in reality you’re most probably doing it everyday! Here is the definition we will use as we want to make changes that improve the lives of persons with disabilities and involve persons with a disability
1 Instructional – Instructional posts tell people how to do something. i.e How to prepare to be a VSO volunteer 2 Informational – This is one of the more common blog post types where you simply give information on a topic. It could be a definition post or a longer explanation of some aspect of the niche that you’re writing on. I.e the background to the disability rights movement. 3 Reviews – Another highly searched for term on the web is ‘review’ – I know every time I’m considering buying a new product that I head to Google and search for a review on it first. Reviews come in all shapes and sizes and on virtually every product or service you can think of. Give your fair and insightful opinion and ask readers for their opinion – reviews can be highly powerful posts that have a great longevity. 4 Lists – One of the easiest ways to write a post is to make a list. Posts with content like ‘The Top Ten ways to….’, ’7 Reasons why….’ ‘ 5 Favourite ….’, ’53 mistakes that bloggers make when….’ are not only easy to write but are usually very popular with readers and with getting links from other bloggers you start with a brief list (each point as a phrase or sentence) and then develop each one into a paragraph or two you might just end up with a series of posts that lasts you a few days. 5 Interviews – Sometimes when you’ve run out of insightful things to say it might be a good idea to let someone else do the talking in an interview (or a guest post). This is a great way to not only give your readers a relevant expert’s opinion but to perhaps even learn something about the topic you’re writing yourself. One of two good questions are more likely to get you a response than a long list of poorly thought through ones. 6 Case Studies – 7 Profiles – Profile posts are similar to case studies but focus in on a particular person. Pick an interesting personality in your niche and do a little research on them to present to your readers. 8 Link Posts or reblog a blog you like - The good old ‘link post’ is a favourite of many bloggers and is simply a matter of finding a quality post on another site or blog and linking up to it either with an explanation of why you’re linking up, a comment on your take on the topic and/or a quote from the post. Of course adding your own comments makes these posts more original and useful to your readers. The more original content the better but don’t be afraid to bounce off others in this way. 9‘Problem’ Posts – I can’t remember where I picked this statistic up but another term that is often searched for in Google in conjunction with product names is the word ‘problems’. This is similar to a review post (above) but focusses more upon the negatives of a product or service. Don’t write these pieces just for the sake of them – but if you find a genuine problem with something problem posts can work for you. • Contrasting two options – Life is full of decisions between two or more options. Write a post contrasting two products, services or approaches that outlines the positives and negatives of each choice. In a sense these are review posts but are a little wider in focus. I find that these posts do very well on some of my product blogs where people actually search for ‘X Product comparison to Y Product’ quite a bit. • Rant – get passionate, stir yourself up, say what’s on your mind and tell it like it is. Rants are great for starting discussion and causing a little controversy – they can also be quite fun if you do it in the right spirit. Just be aware that they can also be the beginnings of a flaming comment thread and often it’s in the heat of the moment when we say things that we later regret and that can impact our reputation the most. • Inspirational - On the flip side to the angry rant (and not all rants have to be angry) are inspirational and motivational pieces. Tell a story of success or paint a picture of ‘what could be’. People like to hear good news stories in their niche as it motivates them to persist with what they are doing. Find examples of success in your own experience or that of others and spread the word. • Research – In the early days I wrote quite a few research oriented posts – looking at different aspects of blogging – often doing mind numbing counting jobs. I remember once surfing through 500 blogs over a few days to look at a number of different features. Research posts can take a lot of time but they can also be well worth it if you come up with interesting conclusions that inspire people to link up to you. • Collation Posts – These are a strange combination of research and link posts. In them you pick a topic that you think your readers will find helpful and then research what others have said about it. Once you’ve found their opinion you bring together everyone’s ideas (often with short quotes) and tie them together with a few of your own comments to draw out the common themes that you see. • Prediction and Review Posts – We see a lot of these at the end and start of the year where people do their ‘year in review’ posts and look at the year ahead and predict what developments might happen in their niche in the coming months. • Critique Posts – ‘Attack posts’ have always been a part of blogging (I’ve done a few in my time) but these days I tend to prefer to critique rather than attack. Perhaps it’s a fine line but unless I get really worked up I generally like to find positives in what others do and to suggest some constructive alternatives to the things that I don’t like about what they do. I don’t really see the point in attacking others for the sake of it, but as I’ve said before this more a reflection of my own personality than much else I suspect and some people make a name for themselves very well by attacking others. • Debate – I used to love a good debate in high school – there was something about preparing a case either for or against something that I quite enjoyed. Debates do well on blogs and can either in an organised fashion between two people, between a blogger and ‘all comers’ or even between a blogger and… themselves (try it – argue both for and against a topic in one post – you can end up with a pretty balanced post). • Hypothetical Posts – I haven’t done one of these for a while but a ‘what if’ or hypothetical post can be quite fun. Pick a something that ‘could’ happen down the track in your industry and begin to unpack what the implications of it would be. ‘What if….Google and Yahoo merged?’ ‘What if …’ • Satirical – One of the reasons I got into blogging was that I stumbled across a couple of bloggers who were writing in a satirical form and taking pot shots at politicians (I can’t seem to find the blog to link to). Well written satire or parody can be incredibly powerful and is brilliant for generating links for your blog. • Memes and Projects - write a post that somehow involves your readers and gets them to replicate it in someway. Start a poll, an award, ask your readers to submit a post/link or run a survey or quiz.
GCE is the global campaign that is trying to improve education around the world. On 3 December 2013, International Day of Persons with a Disability, they launched their report on education and disability. They used hashtags and shortened URLs to link to the report Driving traffic to website and report whilst also sharing news Helped them have a presence in the day and raise awareness
A list is included which present some suggested people to follow. Twitter will automatically suggest people based on your interests
Blogging and social media
29 May 2014
VSO development advocates will be able to amplify their
voice and influence for advocacy purposes through social
The workshop will ensure that participants
•have a good understanding of what blogging is
•understand how blogs can be used for advocacy
•how to maximize the reach of their blogs
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is a set of organised activities designed to
influence the policies and actions of others to achieve
positive changes for lives of people based on the
experience and knowledge of working directly with the
people involved, their families and communities.
What is a blog?
• A blog is a discussion or informational site
published on the internet consisting of
discrete entries ("posts”) - the most recent
post appears first.
• Either single contributor or multiple
• Majority are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even
message each other - blogging can be seen as a form of social networking
• Bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also build
social relations with their readers and other bloggers.
• A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages,
and other media related to its topic.
• The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an
important contribution to the popularity of many blogs.
• Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject - feature your news
and opinion pieces. Forum to provide insight and analysis
• 150 million active blogs; 350 million people globally read blogs
• Relies on regular updating and promotion on other social media channels.
The average blog reader stays
a blog for 96 seconds
Only 16% of people read websites word for word.
The average person only comprehends 60% of
what they read.
•Make sure what you say is
•Make sure what you write is
easy to read
•Make sure your blog is
tagged and categorised
•Make sure you think about
•Make sure you publish often
•Make sure you uses links and
connect up with other blogs
•Make sure people can find it
•Make sure you’ve written
•Make sure that you are clear
that your views do not reflect
those of VSO
•Make sure you have a good
title and headlines
Some ideas: writing about development and being a
• Reacting to new announcements?
–0.7% gross national income funding directed towards international
–New law on gender equal funding from DFID
–Select Committee inquiry into disability and development
–Manifestos ahead of the 2015 General Election
•Dispelling myths about developing countries
•Profile another VSO volunteer
•Why did you volunteer?
•Promote National Volunteering Week
•Top 10 things you’ve learnt (about development) as a volunteer
•Profile someone you work with
•Post 2015 Millennium Development Goals Framework
•Human Rights – women, children, disability
•International awareness days - http://www.un.org/en/events/observances/days.shtml
Make your blog easy on the eye
•Lists – bullet point lists get read ALOT more than
similar length posts written in of an essay style.
•Formatting – Use bold, CAPITALS, italics,
underlining to emphasize points but don’t go
•Headings and Sub Headings – headings act as
visual cues which draw readers further into
•Space – don’t feel you have to fill up every inch of
your screen – create spaces
•Length – if your post is particularly long, think
about separating it into two posts.
•Pictures – Always include a featured picture for
each post as well as other pics with captions.
•Paragraphs – should be 8 to 10 lines. No more!
•Justification – ALWAYS stick with left
•Design – Keep your blog design clear and simple,
without a cluttered or patterned background.
Blockquotes – use
around quotes and
Pictures and captions draw in the eye
Breaking up the text with a list in a colour box
(uploaded as picture)
•Get to the point – newsworthy stuff first.
•Don’t bury your points –
make your key point up front and
you can expand upon it later.
•Find creative ways to reinforce your main point throughout
your post such as pictures and videos.
•Don’t introduce too many new ideas in
one post – avoid overwhelming readers
with information all at once. If you want to
cover many ideas that relate to one
another consider a series of posts that
link to each other.
•Check that you’ve got all the relevant info
•Preview your posts – check they look ok.
•Check your spelling and grammar.
•Check the title – no typos please!
•Check names – have you spelt them right?
•Check your facts – make sure you don’t undermine your
argument with incorrect information! And hyperlink to any
references or external websites using this feature in your
•Check that your photos have captions.
•Don’t use too many !!!! Or …..
•Don’t publish immediately. Have a good night’s sleep and
review your draft the next day. Word blindness can mean you
miss obvious typos and you can sense check the content.
Nuts and Bolts
• Use appropriate tags - attach
appropriate categories and tags to
your entries and people may find
your blog through those. Be careful
not to use too many tags though —
less than 15 tags (or categories or
both) is a good number.
• Make your content visible to search engines - If you want your
post to be indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing, you
should set your blog privacy settings to make your blog visible to all
search engines. The internet is full of theories as to how you can
raise your post’s visibility in search rankings: none will contest that
good quality original content with a few well-chosen tags is the best
way to get started.
• Link your google+ profile to your
blog as it will feature at the bottom
of each post
Promoting your blog
•Read and comment on other blogs –
start a discussion, create relationships
•Encourage friends and family to read your blog: Get them to sign
up for updates using the Follow Blog Widget.
•Link to other blogs or reblog other people’s posts – sometimes
other people will say it better than you!
•Use a blogroll widget and show which blogs you follow – its likely
that another blogger who follows you will do the same.
•List your blog on sites such as Technorati, Daypop and Popdex.
•Put a link to your blog in your personal email address signature.
•Use the Wordpress publicise function to
automatically link your blog to your facebook
account, twitter and google+. Feature your blog
address in your social media profiles.
A quick introduction to twitter
• Twitter is an online social networking and
microblogging service that enables users to send
and read "tweets", which are text messages limited
to 140 characters.
• Similar to a SMS text message but it is on the
internet and can be read by anyone. Registered
users can read and post tweets.
• It is instant - works in ‘real-time’
• Use hashtags # to group messages together
• You can “follow” or be “followed”
• Your profile starts with @. For example:
@kateturner45 and you can ‘mention’ people in
What should you use twitter for?
• Use it to broadcast your
opinion, news or links
other websites such as
news articles, videos
and YOUR BLOG!
• Tweet a link to your blog
and feature @VSOUK or
@VSO_Intl so they can
• Keep up to date with
news and discussion on
Who to follow?
•Friends and family
•Influential people with an interest in development
•International agencies: @UNDP, @WFP
•INGOs and NGOs:@Beyond2015, @GCE,
•Donors: @VSOUK, @VSO_Intl
•UK Government, ministers and politicians @DFID_UK
•Local, international and UK Media: @GuardianAfrica,
Add a short introduction to
your blog posts when you put
them on social media such as
Google+ and Facebook
Being safe on your blog
• Sharing personal details, such as information
about your location, can compromise security of
both you and others (in countries where there is a
risk of theft or kidnap).
• In countries where there is a high level of political
sensitivity, blog posts must be avoided that could
be considered critical of government or other
institutions or national laws.
• Be culturally sensitive and aware of different
attitudes to sexuality, politics, religion, etc.
Protecting your reputation
• As social media is participatory, you can receive
comments; some can be positive, others negative.
• You can use the opportunity to respond to criticism and
provide evidence about a certain situation.
• You also need to be aware of the content that you post
– you should avoid any inflammatory, derisive, negative
or confidential content that may derail your advocacy
goals and affect your reputation.
• Use common sense, if you wouldn’t say something to
someone face to face, then don’t post it online!
• Getting More Views and Traffic
•Polish Up Your Soapbox: How to Rant Without Being a Big Stupid Jerk
•A free video course will show you how you can improve your on-page SEO (search
engine optimization – how google will find you!)
•Promote Your Blog
•Connect to your Google+ profile
•Need a daily dose of inspiration? Visit the Daily Post:
•Signing up to Technorati (a blog search engine)