Nairobi ILRI-WLE: Blogging for Impact


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Blogging for Impact - learn how to blog for impact using examples from WLE's Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog, advise on blog content from Susan MacMillan of ILRI and on using social media to promote blog posts from Tezira Lore of ILRI.

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  • How many people in this room have written a blog post before?Why do you think blogging is important?How many people think blogs are useful? SPECTRUMWhy am I here?How we can use blogs to achieve impactIntroduce the platform we’ve builtInvite you to join…
  • Backgruond about myself – I got roped into the Blog-sphere working with WLE…WLE is about changes in behavior and the way we see agricultural production within landscapes and ecosystems. It is not just about sustainable intensification but asks what are the impacts of sustainable intensification on wider landscapes? What effects are investments having on ecosystems?So we developed a blog that could serve as a platform for us to discuss some of these questions…
  • We created our blog as part of our communications strategy to move from one way messaging to engagement on multiple levels. We’re focusing on creating a dialogue….This picture above shows this shift from moving from a linear mode of communication –sender to receiver – to a more inter-connected, iterative and networked approach where the focus is on two-way communication, engagement and dialogue
  • Started as a platform for discussionThe blog aims to spark debate on global issues related to WLE – introduce new ideas, help draw attention to new interesting research, Grown to over 50,000 visitors and over 100,000 pageviewsGenerated over 1,000 commentsSo we have built up this platformWLE has 4 focal regions – 2 of which are in Africa. So we are looking to increase our reach in Africa this year. To cast a wider net, involve more of our existing partners and hear from partners that we may not yet be engaging with. **HIGHLIGHT LINKEDIN Traffic
  • An example of how WLE blogs for impact…October 2012 we published a blog post reviewing a journal article published by IWMI researchers. The article discussed the inner workings of the MRC and so made for a good paper to review and generate response. Open Access from journal for 30 daysWe saw an enormous increase in publication downloads from the blog post.**HIGHLIGHT USE OF LINKEDIN
  • An example of how CIFOR has used blogs/social media for impact**IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Does anyone else in the audience want to share success stories?Paul presents on Jo Caldihun’s blog:
  • We’re working to create a community through meetings, trainings, field visits, -involving partners in our blog. Now that we’ve built the platform, we want to involve other voices, partnersWhy are we here?Improve engagement with partners – have you heard of WLE? Does your organization work on agriculture/development? Are you interested in engaging in critical thinking on agricultural development in Africa? What’s in it for you:Reach wider audience, increase publication downloads/traffic to website, discussion and feedback, writing opportunitiesExpand reach:What medium does our readership base have access to? (Blogs, Facebook, Twitter?)What information do readers to see on a blog?
  • We want to hear from YOUWhat are the big issues you want to read on the blog? Land grabbing? Investments? Sustainable irrigation? Wastewater reuse?What is your organization doing? Why is it working/not working? Are you willing to take a critical stance and share your opinions?If any of these themed months coincide with events that your organization has planned, please let us knowWe’re also interested in receiving stories from you on these topics so please feel free to submit – you can let me know which months you have specific interests in so that we keep you in the loop
  • Not all blog posts are the same, categorize them in different ways, here’s how these three are different – pull up 3 different onesSee sheet on table that provides more in depth tips on how to write a blog postOpinion Piece – Do you have an opinion about a current event, global affair, etc? This is the space to share your thoughts – it can be a very personal piece, controversial, challenging status quo, or just an idea that you want feedback on…Critical reflection/analysis from events – we invite event participants to write blog post based on their reflections from conferences, field visits, meetings, etc. Was there a topic or a discussion that sparked some ideas/reactions/thoughts that you’d like to share. Examples from Tracy and RobynReviews – like Terry’s review of Scalar disconnect. Important if you are the reviewer to have a solid understanding of the topic that you’re reviewing. We find blog posts that are reviews are best when a personal angle is added – give your opinions, share your experiences that back your critiques/praise, etc.
  • Write down 3 main points (no more) that you want to make in your blog post – helps organize thoughts, makes sure you stay on track as you write, gives purpose to your postIntro Paragraph:Lede ideas: big fact, ask a question, link to a current event, personal anecdote, something controversial, Evidence:Do your researchTalk to experts, provide evidence for and against your argument, bring in a voice of reasonUse quotes – quotes of people stating facts are much less powerful than quotes of people stating opinions, talking of experience, etc.Personal narratives
  • Develop your materials with all platforms in mind.Test your materials on all platforms.Improve the experience across the entire network
  • Curate, curate, curatePost, post, postThis is a CAMPAIGNWork as hard and as long in shepherding your content through social media as you do in creating it in the first place.
  • Read following 2 slidesWhat do you notice?What elements do you find make a good introductory paragraph?
  • You have 3 minutes to write an introductory paragraph
  • Nairobi ILRI-WLE: Blogging for Impact

    1. 1. Blogging for Impact
    2. 2. Why Blog? “A new paradigm of research communications has grown up – one that de-emphasizes the traditional journals route, and re-prioritizes faster, real-time academic communication in which blogs play a critical intermediate role. They link to research reports and articles on the one hand, and they are linked to from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ news-streams and communities. So in research terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now” -London School of Economics Blog
    3. 3. Water Land and Ecosystem Vision: A world in which agriculture thrives within vibrant ecosystems, where communities have higher incomes, improved food security and the ability to continuously improve their lives
    4. 4. • Screen shot of WLE Blog
    5. 5. Blogs create a dialogue
    6. 6. AgEco Blog • Discussion • Knowledge sharing • Partnership engagement
    7. 7. “Scalar Disconnect” Paper Downloads 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Downloads Before Blog 680 After Blog
    8. 8. Why blog?
    9. 9. Testimonials From Bloggers 3,479 people from 67 countries have visited my blog. The AgEco blog has brought in a lot of new voices that you would not have had in IWMI if you were just talking to yourself. The blog by Stephen Carr has had more than 800 views in just one week! – Aditi Mukherji, ICIMOD “If I put my research on the Agriculture and Ecosystems blog, I am contacted more often by people interested in my research” - IWMI India From a commenter: If I were not a professor here at ISU I would come and work for you - I just read the Ag and Ecosystems Blog you posted and went on to send it to students in my class on Resources of Developing Countries.
    10. 10. Creating a Community WLE Partners Local NGOs & research orgs Universities Ministries Journalist/ Media Who: Writing workshops Field visits Blog Themed Months Thru:
    11. 11. Theme Months • Past: – Ecosystem Services – Landscapes • This year: – Resilience (May) – Family Farming (June) – Rural/Urban Myths (Sept) – RRR (Oct) • Suggest a theme!
    12. 12. Types of Blog Posts • Opinion pieces • Critical reflections/analysis from events/fieldwork • Reviews of recently published journal articles or books
    13. 13. How to write a good blog post • 3 Main Points • Introductory Paragraph • Short sentences/paragraphs • Evidence • Limit scientific jargon
    14. 14. How to design, and extend, great content experience: A culinary, somewhat cautionary, tale Water, Lands and Ecosystems-ILRI Blogging Workshop ILRI Nairobi 21 March 2014 Susan MacMillan  ILRI Public Awareness
    15. 15. Prepare 6 ingredients • Branding • Appetizing • Digestible • Nourishing • Mobile • Lasting
    16. 16. Branding
    17. 17. Make it BRANDED • Colour • Pictures • Style guide • Blog guidelines • Categories/tags • Workflows
    18. 18. Appetizing
    19. 19. Make it APPETIZING • Pretty setting • Tasty nibbles • Pithy headlines • Arresting pictures • Engaging captions • Punchy quotes • „Display text‟ • Spot colour
    20. 20. Digestible
    21. 21. Make it DIGESTIBLE • Arresting facts • Memorable quotes • Trenchant summaries • Embedded videos • Witty remarks • (Parenthetical remarks) • Symmetries / Poetries • Jargon/acronym free
    22. 22. Nourishing
    23. 23. Make it NOURISHING • Tell stories • State facts • Read others • Link others • Quote others • Credit others • Make it personal • Make it new • End it well
    24. 24. Mobile
    25. 25. Make it MOBILE • Email • iPads / Tablets • iPhones • Smart phones • Dumb phones • Websites • Radio / TV
    26. 26. Lasting
    27. 27. Make it LASTING • Twitter • Tumblr • LinkedIn • Facebook • Google+ • Website • Enews • Storify • RebelMouse
    28. 28. Acknowledgments • ILRI KMIS / Angela Nekessa, Ben Hack • ILRI bloggers / Paul Karaimu • CGIAR, WLE / Abby Waldorf
    29. 29. THANK YOU
    30. 30. The presentation has a Creative Commons licence. You are free to re-use or distribute this work, provided credit is given to ILRI. better lives through livestock
    31. 31. Exercise: Intro Paragraph • Saturday March 22nd is World Water Day on Water and Energy Key Kenya Facts • More than 75% of Kenya is dryland • Energy comes from Uganda which comes from the Nile
    32. 32. Using social media to promote blog posts Tezira Lore
    33. 33. As a reader: Use sharing buttons
    34. 34. Connect your blog to social networking sites In Wordpress, go to Settings >> Sharing
    35. 35. Impact Wider reach Can engage with different audiences Ripple effect (content goes "viral")
    36. 36. Discussion • When you visit a blog, what information are you looking for? • How do you cope in areas with poor internet connectivity? • What do you think about creating a section of the blog on Africa?
    37. 37. Contact Us ILRI Clippings/ILRI News: Susan Macmillan Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog: Abby Waldorf