Writing a Blog Post
Communicating a message in written form is an important skill to develop. Throughout our lives and education we all develop our own distinct writing style. It is essential that we are mindful of the medium we intend to communicate through. The language we use in a text message and social media post has, in part, largely been shaped by the format of the technology itself, using abbreviations, emojis and hashtags. The same applies to newspaper articles; given their format, the content will usually have a low word limit and headings/sub-headings need to be taken into consideration. This article gives suggestions on ways to write and format blog posts and can be used as a reference for your own ambassador blog posts.
Similar to writing a news article, there are multiple aspects to consider when composing a blog post. Before you start any writing, think about your audience and who will view your post – this will help inform you about that formal/informal language you can use. The length of your post will always vary, but to keep people engaged you may want to set a 1500 – 2000 word limit, this will also force you to write more concisely. In order to easily navigate this article, I’ve broken it down into areas to think about when writing a blog post in the context of the Diversity & Wellbeing Ambassador Blog.
If you do wish to submit a post to the programme blog, you can do so by completing the following form.
The Diversity & Wellbeing Ambassador Blog audience is primarily other programme ambassadors, however it is also used and promoted to other students, staff around the university and the general public. There are different sections on the blog that you should be aware of before composing a post:
Events – This section can be used to promote any of your Diversity & Wellbeing Ambassador Programme events and activities.
Student Voice – Here you can submit opinion articles and responses to diversity and wellbeing issues within society and at a Higher Education level.
Get involved – If you have an idea for an activity you want to run as part of the programme then you can promote it here.
Depending on the section your post will relate to, you will need to adapt your structure and style of writing to suit the audience you are targeting. As a rule of thumb, for the ‘Events’ (which will be uploaded and activated on Eventbrite) and the ‘Get involved’ posts, you are targeting other students, therefore keep the posts as concise as possible and remember you are promoting your opportunity/event: don’t be boring!
Structure is important in any aspect of writing. Formatting a text in a specific way impacts the message communicated and has a direct impact to a readers engagement. When it comes to paragraphs, I always like to keep mine as short as possible. A reader might often be reluctant to read the whole of a post if the paragraphs go on for miles. It’s often better to break them up into more digestible chunks of information, making your message easier to process. That being said, sometimes a longer paragraph is needed when making a complex argument.
When structuring a post that is promoting an opportunity, ensure that key information is in bold and clearly visible. You’ll want to keep the description and background to the event condensed, try limiting it to 1 or 2 short paragraphs. You also want to capture your readers attention and immediately inform them what the event is about with a sentence, so place this near the top of your post.
The first encounter of your post will be it’s title. If you want to engage readers then try making the title as clear, clever and catchy as possible. There’s nothing worse than a long boring title like “An investigation into the damaging effects of neoliberalism on Higher Education in the United Kingdom and suggestions on how students and staff can combat this within their own institutions through collective action and radical pedagogical approaches”.
Paragraphs are good ways to break up your posts, but don’t be afraid to embed subheadings and experiment with punctuation such as bullet points, as these can help structure your own message and argument.
I think what’s essential to remember when considering the type of language to use in a post is that you should always try and allow your personal voice and writing style to come to the forefront. This sets out an interesting and distinguishable tone that is engaging and personal, providing you with the autonomy to develop your own writing skills.
Whilst we encourage you to be creative and individualistic in you blog posts, it is also important that you are mindful of the direct relationship between the programme and the university. Publishing work on a university platform means that you are also representing the university as a student, therefore it’s crucial that your tone and language are appropriate.
If you are submitting a post to the ‘Student voice’ section of the blog and expressing an opinion on a certain diversity or wellbeing issue, you don’t have to write an essay and academic styled article. This is often a very formal way of writing and can effect the accessibility and appeal of your post. Feel free to write in a slightly more informal manner (no swearing or abbreviations) and in a manner that allows you personal voice to come through.
You can view the universities own institutional guidelines on written word and use this as a helpful guide.
I’d always encourage the use of imagery in a blog post as it makes your message more visual and appealing and helps to break up the text. When submitting imagery to embed in a post it’s important to take a couple of things into consideration:
- Ensure that the image relates to the actual blog, not just something randomly pulled out of the google imagery abyss that looks like a Clip Art icon somebody would have used in 2003.
- Make sure that the image is of a good quality. To ensure that your image isn’t blurry, make sure that it’s around 150 – 300 dpi.
- In WordPress you can set a featured image. This means that the image will appear in the link thumbnail to the post and at the top of the post, so state clearly what image you want the featured image to be.
- If you want to add imagery into the body of the text, please outline in-between which paragraphs you want it to be embedded.
For more useful tips on how to write a blog post, please click here.
And remember, if you do wish to submit a post to the programme blog, you can do so by completing the following form.