Blogging is an excellent way to share your research, reach new audiences and join new networks (see my previous blog post ‘The benefits of academic blogging – should you enter the blogosphere?‘). You can add your own posts to the BU Research Blog to promote your research internally and as the BU Research Blog is available externally then you get the added benefit of reaching external audiences too. Here are some top tips for contributing to the Blog:
1. Figure out what it is you want to blog about
You may be a researcher wanting to share your research findings, or you may want to raise your profile or find new collaborators. Maybe you’ve read something really exciting about HE policy or research in your discipline and want to share it? It may be that you may want to comment on one of the topical research discussions going on in the sector (such as open access). Whatever your reason for wanting to blog, think about who you want to reach with your writing – be it potential collaborators, potential employers, or people on the street.
2. Get access
If you don’t already have access to contribute to the Blog then contact Rhyannan Hurst in RKEO and she will set you up with an account.
3. Write good headlines
If you want people to read what you’ve written, you’ll have to make them want to. Don’t fall into the trap of typing up any old headline and hitting publish after spending ages polishing the blog post itself. Always ask yourself if you’d click on a link based solely on the headline (and be honest). If you wouldn’t, change it.
Descriptive headlines that tell a reader exactly what to expect often work well. You should think about getting key words in there, but don’t fret too much about search engine optimisation. It’s more important to make actual humans want to read your work.
Google Analytics shows us that the most popular posts on the BU Research Blog are those with interesting and sometimes bizarre headlines!
4. Use the internet properly
Remember to add links to sources, news articles and other people’s blog posts in your own. Use images or video when they are a better way to communicate than words.
And, thanks to the unlimited space online, you don’t have a word count. But as well as giving you the space to go in-depth when you want to, it means you can write short if the subject doesn’t need a dissertation-length exploration. Don’t write an essay just because you can.
5. Promote your blog post
After publishing your blog post then you should shout about it, ideally using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t be afraid to send the post directly to certain people who you think will be interested in it.