Thank you for your interest in writing a blog entry for TCEA's blog, TechNotes. Here are some general suggestions that other bloggers have developed. You may find them helpful in crafting your own blog entry.
Please be aware that the TCEA TechNotes Blog Editor reserves the final say about content editing and publishing, which is standard. We will do our best to ensure your work is well-received and represents you well.
If you want more specific, official guidelines, contact Susan Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
About the Blog Entry
- 300-500 words; you can type up it up in a Word document or GoogleDoc and send it to your TCEA Contact of choice:
- Keep your message positive while being unafraid to share how setbacks or challenges were overcome
- Be willing to use "I" and include yourself in the story while maintaining a professional demeanor
- Include a picture or two, for example, about your blog topic
- Organize your blog entry in paragraphs, with a header (Level 2) to segment the text
- Write a brief excerpt that captures the main idea of the blog, but teases readers into wanting to read it. It should be different from the opening paragraph and should not give everything away.
- Keep title short
- Promote your blog post (Twitter, Facebook, in your email signature, etc.) after it is posted.
- Include a short bio (1-3 sentences) that lets the reader know about you, what you do, and your twitter handle and, if you want to include it, your work email, web site, etc.
- Include a photo of yourself in a work setting if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Guest bloggers should be member(s) in good standing and an “expert” on the topic. The guest blog post will be filed under the name “Guest Blogger,” but should have the following in italics at the end of the post: This post was written by (name), a (position) in (school district) and an active TCEA member. Feel free to include the blogger’s Twitter account or own personal blog in the article (usually near the end).
Some Additional Suggestions
- Who are you writing for? Which of TCEA's member personas (e.g. CTOs, teachers, librarians) are you addressing?
Title & Content
- Catchy, short titles: 65-character limit (see Blog Topic Generator and this article).
- Keep length to 500 to 700 words. Split longer items into a blog series
- Lists are good! Bulleted lists are even better!
- Include a call to action or link to a webinar or other TCEA resource somewhere in the blog; the middle is best.
- Don’t be afraid to be personal, casual, and even funny sometimes. This helps to build a relationship with the readers. Share things you like or dislike. Be honest!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Keep URLs short
- Add a meta description that is sums up the blog or teases about the information contained in it. It should not be the same as the first paragraph of the blog.
- Include keyword tags that would allow the reader to find the article easily with a search. Ask yourself “What words or phrases would someone use to search for and find this particular information?” Those are your tags.
- Make sure that the focus keyword (what is used by Google for SEO) matches what you put as the Alt Text for every graphic used in the blog.
- Include a photograph or graphic (that is legal for us to use). Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
- Graphics do not always have to be right-justified. Depending on the graphic, it can be on the left or centered. (For example, if you are using a photo of a student or teacher in the body of the blog and that person is looking to the right, put the graphic on the left side of the screen so that the person is looking into the page and not away from it. Reader’s eyes follow where a graphic “points.”)
- Use the Preview function to see what it will look like. Does the main graphic by the title look right or is it too large or too small? Is the spacing correct? Does it draw the reader to want to ready more?
- No --. Use commas or parentheses instead.
- Always add a blank return at the end of the blog. This adds some much-needed white space between the words and the next graphic text box, making it easier to read.
- Limit the use of exclamation marks (no more than one per blog at most).
- The last paragraph of every blog post cannot start with “So…” or have a “Conclusion” subheading.
- Be consistent. If you start a list ending with a period, keep that same format throughout.
- Don’t use italics except for the titles of books.
- Only bold REALLY important things, usually not more than once per blog.
- Numbers under 10 are spelled out. Numbers above ten (like 55% or 27 teachers) are written as numbers unless they begin the sentence, when they are written as words.
- All links should be checked to “open in a new tab.”
- All links should be bolded.
- Links should be in standard blue, not underlined, and not in italics.
Sample Blog Entries
One of the best ways to get an idea for the style of the blog is to read it. Here are some writing types used in the blog:
Possible Blog Topics
About Your Work/Organization
- Write about an upcoming event or conference
- Did your organization just hold an event? Recap it
- Write about how your association or association chapter got started
- Have a great sponsor/partner? Write about them and how they've helped your organization
- Post little known facts about your organization or industry
- Offer a few tips on how to get the most out of your association's membership
- Have any recent organization success stories? Share them
- Share frequently asked questions about your organization or industry
- Post pictures of your office, an event, etc.
- List the benefits of attending an upcoming event
About Research and Information
- Do a roundup of some of your most popular blog posts.
- Do a roundup of industry-related news articles from the past week
- Review a book related to your association's industry
- Conduct a poll and post the results on your blog
- Turn an old white paper into a blog post
- Post a list of resources your members might find valuable
- Discuss recent changes that have taken place in your association's industry
- Are there any new research findings related to your association's industry? Write about them
- Write about a viral video or trend and how it relates to your organization or industry
- Feature a new member.
- Make a list of relevant industry leaders to follow on Twitter
- Do a profile of your newest employee
- Ask several association leaders about an industry issue and post their responses
- Interview the founder of your organization and post the Q&A
- Ask someone to write a guest post