Better Blog Writing Overview: In case you missed our Staff Dev. Day session

First, thanks for everyone who came to our Better Blog Writing session during Staff Dev. Day. Good turnout and good questions!

Bill Ludwig and I are already looking at our schedules and figuring out when we can teach this again and what we can do better next time.

What bloggers need to know for posting to

EE screen grabIf you have access to the staff site, you have access to Expression Engine, the tool we use to upload content to our Digital Branch Library.If you would like instructions for using Expression Engine, you can find them on the L Drive>Sharing>Digital Branch. It's called How_To_Use_Expression_Engine.pdf. I have included a link here too.

Our library is fairly unique in that librarians are content-contributors and producers. That content comes in the form of blog posts, and sometimes video and photos. Some of you may be required to blog as part of your job. Turn to your peers if you are having trouble getting started or ask myself or Bill. David King also can support you.

Better Blog Writing Handout pdfI cannot emphasize these next two points enough (the image on the right links to the handout provided on Staff Dev. Day):

1. Write about library stuff. Every blog post on our Digital Branch should tie to the library somehow, whether it's a reference to a book or a tie to an actual librarian. "Connections you seek" is part of our mission statement. Make sure that mission carries over to the web by making a connection to the reader in your blog posts. Link to stuff inside our extensive website to keep readers on longer.

2. Keep it conversational. You should write a blog similar to how you talk to customers face-to-face. Academic style writing – as valuable as it is – doesn't fly with blog readers. Leave your opinion and encourage readers' opinions. Try ending your blog with a question for the readers and encourage them to leave their comments.

Third-party sites, like YouTube and Flickr, can be helpful in producing more dynamic content. These sites, along with several others, auto-generate code that allows you to use on If you need access to these, contact David King. After you have uploaded, find the embed code and copy and paste it into the source code. Instructions on the last page of these directions.

Also, once you posted, make sure you check your work on the live site. Words that you have not italicized should not be italicized, pictures and video shouldn't be overlapping copy, and in general your post should look consistent in style (font, size, etc.) to other posts.

Helpful Hints:

Make headlines 40 characters or less for better results in Google Reader and other programs like that. And capitalize every word in the headline except articles (the, an, a).

Also, blog posts average around 400-500 words, but can be longer or shorter as necessary. (This is how much space a 471-word blog takes up – a fairly long chunk of text that can be intimidating or take too much of an investment of time for the reader. Yay, for you folks who made it all the way down here.)

Make sure to include paragraph breaks, and remember online sometimes one sentence is a paragraph. Basically, every new idea or thought is a paragraph (very different from academic writing).

Have questions? Give me a holla. And keep up the good blogging!

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