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We're getting ready to roll out Wordpress for administrators and faculty who are interested in having their own blogs. I'm in the process of coming up with some suggested guidelines, which generally refer back to our web policy. Blogs are for official discussions -- we're not offering personal blogs (figuring people can use wordpress.com or blogger.com, rather than university resources for that).

So I'm trying to come up with some best practices for higher ed folks. Deans and vice presidents and faculty will generally be the folks blogging, and their content should be relevant to their work/position at the university.

All that said, what suggestions would you make for best practices/advice to them in making the decision to start blogging? I've come up with a few:

1) make sure you have the time to commit to creating one new blog post every couple of weeks.

2) try to include pictures whenever possible -- it makes it more real

...what would *you* add?

Thanks a million for any thoughts you might be able to throw my way.

--Kerri Hicks
University of Rhode Island

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I grabbed these mainly from gillin.com to distribute to those that requested blogging tips... I am by no means taking credit for them!

1. Know Your Audience. Having an image of your target reader helps you craft your approach and limits wasted words. Read posts and comments on other bloggers sites, you need to learn about what they are interested in order to build a relationship with them. Identify your goals for the campaign/program before you start blogging.
2. Write Compelling Content. If all you write are "Tips & Tricks" and "How-To" posts, you're going to have a hard time getting beyond the "Great Post" and "Thanks for this info." comments.
3. Know What You Want to Say. “What’s the story about?” Drive-by blog readers have neither the time nor patience to unravel complex messages, so tell them at the top what they can expect to take away from their investing in your words. It’s a good practice to write a brief summary of the point or points you want to make and then fill in the details, keeping in mind that they should lead to the intended conclusion. Keep your major points in each blog entry to two, beyond that you’re into an essay, which requires a different approach to writing. For the purposes of a blog, short and simple usually works best.
4. Grab the reader’s attention. Your title and intro need to stop readers and make them want to find out more. If you can’t come up with something dramatic to say, simply tell people what you’re going to tell them.
5. Write Like You Speak. Not everyone is a talented writer, but nearly everyone is capable of writing clearly. One of the great characteristics of blogging is that it’s so personal.
6. Be brief. Be concise, but provide additional resources where readers can learn more, if appropriate
7. Answer Every Comment. Your response to a reader's comment is your opportunity to encourage a conversation.
8. Update your blog often. Blogs require regular attention over time. As with other social media platforms simply setting up a blog and entering a couple of posts is not enough. You need to have regular updates (once a week at minimum) to retain your followers and gain new ones.
9. Be patient. While some blogs are overnight successes, most are not. In fact many (most) blogs are never as successful as their owners would like. Be aware that blogs require a long-term approach.
10. Participate. Become part of other blogger communities and participate in the conversation (post comments).

Here are some sites that might be helpful too
http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/14/is-a-blog-right-for-you/
http://adsensetrack.blogspot.com/2007/09/5-tips-to-increase-comment...
http://gillin.com/blog/2009/12/five-tips-for-effective-blog-writing/
http://community.icontact.com/p/pgillin/newsletters/5fearlesspredic...

Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Annalisa
Something else to consider if you use Facebook as a vehicle of communication is the blog import tool inside Facebook. Using the import tool you can automagically have every blog post show up inside your Facebook account. Users can even like and comment it

http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/02/22/how-to-import-your-blog-in...

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