So what is a blog? A blog (also called a weblog or web log) is a website consisting of entries (= posts) appearing in reverse chronological order with the most recent entry appearing first (like a diary). Early uses of this word were recorded from 1998 and it is now commonly accepted that when you write a blog, you are a blogger blogging in the blogosphere.
This is a 2008 map of the blogosphere. It was drawn linking any directional connection between blogs
While internet’s early days were all about one-sided websites providing a service or information, the second generation in the early 2000s was much more social and became Web 2.0. People were no longer satisfied being talked at, instead, they wanted to join the conversation and have a say in the World Wide Web. So, began the evolution towards user-generated content such as wikipedia, myspace, forums, online chats and made way for blogs and social networks we all love and hate with equal measure namely facebook. It has been estimated that 173 million of blogs exist worldwide, whether active or not it’s difficult to know but if you judge by the number of posts written per day, the number is well over 2 million. So why, as a company, is blogging important? According to this infographic I found on a blog QuickSprout, 61% of consumers, based in the US, make a purchase based on a blog post that is talking about it. Sixty percent feel positive about a company after reading their blog, 82% enjoy reading relevant content from company blogs and importantly 70% learn about a company through their blog.
So yes blogging started a while ago but it is not dead yet, in fact anything that is shared, rehashed, rewritten on the web originally comes from a blog article, whether famous or original. Let’s see if you recognize some of these, and through them we can identify different types of blog: Diary types Belle de Jour was anonymously written by a research scientist and depicts the life of a London call girl, was later turned into a TV series with Billie Piper as lead role My boyfriend is a twat was turned into book deals
Some blogs are political and influential The guardian Huffington Post
Some are purely for entertainment Buzzfeed
For information Guardian Science blog network NHS Choice Blog for patient information
Or for both I fucking Love Science
Even big pharmas are at it!
And agencies! This one is Hive’s website where information and articles are arranged in a mosaic type of layout. It is very similar to Langland’s website.
This blog is from Oliver Caporn, creative director at CDM.
This one I helped kick-start, it is the Pan’s employees blog. Articles are also arranged in a mosaic, this was done to avoid the diary style which would have shown that they are not writing on a regular basis.
This next one is from Sense about Science, a charity that started with the objective of sharing science with the public, debugging myths such as detox diet plan. I started my own science blog after watching the founder give a talk on it at a conference. I was inspired, I spent the rest of day and talks drafting my content!
And what I came up with is this: Science is So Sexy, a science communication platform for the lay audience where normal and cool people can ask me anything they would like to know about science. I got requests from friends, I then also started mini-series, and talked about awareness days, etc..
So, since we are about to kick-start our own blog here, I thought I would go through some basic info on how to create articles, because believe it or not blogging is hard work when we don’t know where to start and we don’t know how to use that platform of communication efficiently!
First one is to decide on what to write. To answer this question is to realise there are two types of bloggers: People who want to have a blog but haven’t decided what to write about People who want to write and self-publish!
The first population is usually people who think they can make money easily by just blogging. The second population is usually the passionate bunch, passionate about writing or about something they want to share with the world because it is much easier to blog about what we know.
In choosing to write about what we are expert in: We’re more likely to put time and effort We’re less likely to abandon We’re less likely to run out of ideas Passion shows through our writing, this fact alone will help to grow an audience, a following that will in turn push us to keep on writing
A lot of blogs out there are about simple things such as blogging, book reviews, technology, beauty, cartoons, photography, science, sport, politics. You can also have a bit of cross over between types of blogger (e.g. Perez Hilton celebrity gossip blog)
But no matter how original you think your blog is or will be, there will be a million of similar blogs. So the next point is about how do we differentiate our blog within our niche?
Here are some examples of three similar blogs among my blogging community. They are similar but each brings something different:
* Just Julie is a beauty blog, she writes reviews on new beauty products
* Sugarpuffish is a blogger from the US who has suffered from eczema her whole life and has really struggled to find creams, shampoos and emollient to appease her skin so now she blogs about it, she shares her experiences. She guest posted on SSS about her experience, I was providing the medical bit, she was providing the emotional impact of being a long term eczema sufferer
* Lab muffin is a young scientist from Australia, she started blogging about nails and nail art then mixed her posts with science questions such as ‘Is mineral oil really bad for your skin?’ or ‘How does miscellar water work in cleaning your skin?’
All of them receive products from companies for free in exchange of reviews on that product and a link to their company’s website.
For my blog as well, it’s very competitive. Even titles can be very similar!
We want to develop content that is attractive, so how do we make readers stay and read?
Well, good writing of course: * Being able to express your ideas in a precise and concise way that will make your reader…. read… be lost in your writing and not think about what he’s reading
* Short sentences, no bulgy paragraphs, simplicity of words are the easiest way to write. It sounds easy to do but as someone who just started in the business of professional copywriting, I now fully realise it is not easy
* Good grammar, of course, although, if you are passionate about something and that translates into your writing, it usually doesn’t matter if you hyphenated en suite, put a comma before and, and spelled organization with a z, people will enjoy reading your content and may even be propelled to leave you a comment - which is the golden coins of the blogosphere
Of course once the article is done, we want to give it a good title. That is why I’m apologizing for my deck title: I wrote numeral 8 - I think Flic’s heart did a somersault - but it is something that is quite common in the blogosphere, it catches the reader’s eye. Formulating your content into bullet point also entices the reader to maybe not read the entirety of the article but at least flick through the numbers to see if there is something interesting in there.
All this to ensure that visitors are staying for longer than the statistically essential first 30 seconds!
This is illustrated quite nicely by my latest Science is So Sexy report from Google analytics. I haven’t been a very good blogger recently, my average time per view hasn’t passed the critical 30sec with new visitors staying only 23sec and only 6.5% of returning visitors stayed an average of 1min39.
Here are some examples of irresistible titles. One is for Andy, one for Anton, one for Hills, one for the men, one for the women and one for the parents among us!
So you know what you want to write about and how you are going to develop it.
There is one element I left out of the previous slide, it is the tone of voice. I think tone of voice is particularly important for blogging: Unless you are writing your personal diary, a blogger writes his posts for people ‘out there’ as if he was talking to someone. Therefore, a general rule in blogging is to write in a conversational tone. Bear in mind that the tone of voice will be different depending on your audience and what you want to provide them (give them info, entertainment, or both).
In these two examples of science blog, the way articles are written are very different, first one is for scientists with a minor audience of non-scientists, second one is a diary type and is only addressed to lab scientists.
On Science is So Sexy, I greet visitors with ‘My dear sexy readers’ and write about science in a light way as if it was nothing complicated. This is precisely the message that I want to get across: science is sexy and can be understood by anyone, scientists and non scientists.
But this way of writing may not be appropriate for other types of dumbed down science blogs (e.g. a science teacher providing classroom materials).
Because blogging is done on a conversational tone, the best way to engage with readers is by asking questions! If they have reached the end of the article, it would be sad not to keep them on a little while longer.
Interacting with them by inviting them to share their stories. People are expert in their own life and love talking about themselves!
Once someone’s left a comment, it’s good blogging practice to reply even if it’s just to say thank you for dropping by, it is also a good way to start a conversation and turn a reader into a follower.
A post is more attractive and easier on the eye if there are images breaking the text.
We all know that but relevant images can also, and this will introduce the next tip, serve as a promotional tool.
There are two main social networks based on photos and images, Instagram and Pinterest.
Pinterest was launched in 2010 and became the fastest growing social network with 70 million users worldwide.
All self-respecting blogs will now have a Pin it button on their images so readers can pin them onto their Pinterest boards. Images can either be pretty pictures, diagrams, infographics, relevant photos or even an image like this one just showing the title of the blog. Other people can find the pin and be redirected towards the blog.
So when it comes to getting people to read your articles, it would be foolish to think that, because you’ve written something on your blog, the whole blogosphere is going to know about it!
And we know this in our line of work, it doesn’t matter if there is a wonder drug coming onto the market, if we don’t advertise for it, no doctor will be keen to change behaviour and routine to prescribe it.
Currently, the main social networks that allow you to access people from all over the world are: Facebook: you can promote your posts on your personal page or create a dedicated FB page for your blog, so your friends and followers on FB will know about your updates Google +: same as FB but different crowd, you might reach strangers more easily Twitter: you need to make sure you are timing your tweets at the right time otherwise they will be lost very quickly LinkedIn: if what you are writing is relevant to a professional audience - and I think that in our case it would be Pinterest and Instagram: are popular but wouldn’t be suitable for us for example
And of course, the understanding is that if another blogger comes to your blog and leaves you a comment, you return the favour
This 2012 world map shows where all Science So Sexy were from.
You can always do a bit of self promotion. For example, CDM’s CD sends tweets on his Twitter profiles when he’s got a new blog post up, and CDM promotes it as well. By doing so, they are effectively reaching out a lot more people. This is something that we can easily do.
Another example of self promotion is targeting text that you think people will want to tweet about. You create ‘Calls to action!’ within your content. For example, I highlighted a bit of info here, and I added the call to action ‘Click here to tweet this’
When someone does, he is redirected to his twitter profile. Once sent, it will appear with a shortened link to the article, a # and a mention of my own twitter profile.
A blog can become a regular read, like a book, if the person knows there will be something new on a regular basis. Without some sort of updated content, there is little reason to visit a website more than once. Each post should be as entertaining as the next to eventually prompt the reader to subscribe to the blog and get updates through emails, until that reader decides your updates are spams and unsubscribe to them. And when you take a break, it’s good practice as well to let your followers know about it, like I did 3 years ago when Nuno was born!
Et voila, once you have established a following, congratulations, you are officially part of the blogosphere!
8 motivational tips for an enjoyable blogging experience
A quick guide to the blogosphere
8 motivational tips for an enjoyable
By @esmeraldave from www.ScienceSoSexy.com
What is a blog?
A blog (web log) is a website consisting of entries
(= posts) appearing in reverse chronological order
with the most recent entry appearing first (like a
I am a blogger blogging in the blogosphere
Web 2.0 = the social web
People want to join the
● Personal websites, forums
and online chats
● Blogs, social networking
173 million of blogs
How blogging can benefit your brand
Oliver Caporn’s blog
Pan employees’ blog
What inspired me
Science is So Sexy…
8 motivational tips for an enjoyable blogging
1. I’m an expert in…
What kind of blogger are you?
● Easy money seeker
● Passionate about writing or about a subject
It is easier to blog about what you know
● More likely to put time and effort
● Less likely to abandon
● Less likely to run out of ideas
● Passion shows through your writing
- It helps grow an audience which in turn will push you to keep on
The passionate bunch
Bringing something different welcomes you into a
2. And my blog is different…
Science is So Sexy is different…
The first 30 seconds count
3. Please stay and read my blog…
From Science is So Sexy
Write short sentences
Be clearBe specific
Blogging is a conversation between you and your
4. I write for you… out there!
I’m a scientist but I speak like you
Adding questions helps a reader feel involved
5. What do you think?
Replying to comments prompts interaction
5. What do you think?
6. My posts are pretty
A post is easier to read if there are images breaking
Thanks to Pinterest, relevant images also serve as a
7. Come and have a look
Advertising your new article via social networks allows
you to reach people from all over the world
Example of self promotion
Example of self promotion
Example of self promotion
8. I’ll update my blog soon
Updating regularly and consistently leads to visitors
For an enjoyable blogging experience
Write about what you know
Differentiate yourself within your niche
Use the correct tone of voice for your audience
Interact with readers through comments
Add relevant images
Promote your post via social networks
Update regularly and consistently