Pop musician Bruce Hornsby used to sing in his 1986 hit single that “some things will never change—that’s just the way it is.” Incredibly, that seems to be true of the basics of blog writing (at least in the short term).
With information and communications technology evolving at lightning speed these days, one might expect that the art of blogging would have morphed dramatically. But I’ve been teaching blogging 101 for six years now at the college level, and the basics have remained the same. Indeed, my assignment rubric has barely changed since 2012.
My first-year Advertising and Marketing Communications students at St. Lawrence College here in Kingston, Ontario, Canada will soon write their first blog posts for their Writing for Marketing Class to prepare them for this skill that they’ll likely need in the workforce when they graduate.
The assignment will introduce them to the bare essentials of crafting a blog that looks good and reads well. I’ll start the lesson by showing a short video that outlines some of the crucial features of an effectively crafted blog:
- Have a compelling title.
- Use a concise, relevant lead paragraph that summarizes the post.
- Insert prominently an eye-catching, relevant image (use licence-free images).
- Add personal experiences or personal images.
- Make the body scannable with headings and bulleted lists.
- Make the prose digestible with short paragraphs and sentences.
- Keep posts short (300 to 500 words).
- Provide internal and external sources with hyperlinks.
- End with a discussion question or call to action to encourage comments.
I’ll also focus on helping students to write with clarity by illustrating their points and to use cited (hyperlinked) evidence, and I’ll show them how to find and embed licence-free images as well as how to increase their blog’s SEO.
It’ll be a short lesson, as it always is. If you have any questions about any of the above blogging features, or if I’m wrong about the enduring features of the stalwart blog, please drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.
Meanwhile, I’ll let you know here how the lesson goes.