Build Better Blogs
Are you an expert blogger? Are you sure??? Whether you consider yourself a veteran or fledgling, review these important blogging do’s and don’t’s compiled from the seasoned bloggers in the Collaboration Team. As I am just a small step past beginner, feel free to point out how I’m breaking my own “rules”. It’s fun to color outside the lines, and I guarantee I have done so a bit here.
Before sharing guidelines on SCN blogs, it is important to have a shared definition of “blog”. According to Dictionary.com ( http://dictionary.reference.com/), blog (noun) is a web site containing the writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites.
Typically, blogs should contain compelling content that quickly captures the reader’s attention, and keeps it long enough for the information to be consumed. Not only that, but a truly successful blog demonstrates the writer’s knowledge of the topic, and is thought provoking enough to encourage readers to post comments. These comments, both negative and positive, are posted to share additional opinions, from which everyone can learn.
Here are some Do’s and Don’t’s of blog writing in SCN.
Define the goal: Do you want to introduce yourself, promote an event or share an interesting site? Establish your goal and keep it in mind throughout the blog. In fact, it’s a good idea to include the goal in the short Description. Ask a colleague to read the Main Text of the blog when you finish writing it and check it against your stated goal. Did you achieve what you set out to do?
Be Transparent About Your Relationship to the Topic: If you have any financial relationship to the product, solution, or service you are blogging about, you need to disclose those relationships in the context of the blog. This is an issue beyond SCN – it is a topic the Federal Trade Commission is taking interest in with potentially serious consequences. Here is a recent article by Andy Sernovitz from the Huffington Post that covers the topic and the issues.
Target audience: It is absolutely critical to determine your target audience. It influences the topic you choose to share and the way in which you present it. When blogging for a highly technical audience, use technical language for technical topics. When blogging for an end user, use business or process language. Ask a member of the defined audience to pre-read and give you some feedback.
Blog Categories: In order to target your blog to the right audience, choose your blog categories wisely based on the content and the intended audience. Do not overload your blog with too many categories – this will only annoy people who have subscribed to categories that your blog does not cover. Many blogs have only one category, but if the topic applies to multiple categories, remember, 5 is the limit.
Add Keywords: This is extremely important for all published electronic content. If you want people to find your blog, tag it with appropriate related terms. Consider how the audience might expect to find it. Search the internet for the topic and see what related words are typically associated.
Give an Appropriate Title: Make the title interesting and keyword rich so that it jumps out in search results and when alongside other blogs. Also, make sure that it clearly conveys what the blog is about.
Provide a Description: The purpose of the short Description field in SCN is to convey to readers why the blog is relevant to them. Make sure that it includes the goal of the blog, so that they know what they are getting before drilling into it.
Build the Main Text: This field in SCN is the body of your blog. This is the meat of what you have to say and how you have to say it. Keep the tone of the blog conversational – remember blogs reflect the writer’s opinions as well as useful information. Shoot for around 500 words in a blog, however there is not a hard and fast rule. However, if you do go over 500 words, you start impacting the time a reader will spend with your blog.References: We encourage you to link readers to additional related posts – and include the links in the context of your blog text. Just remember that good blogs include a healthy portion of the author’s own knowledge and opinion – so don’t make your blog only about what others are saying.
Invite Comments: Encourage posted comments and feedback to your blog. Whether positive or negative, the comments are meant to expand the ideas and share knowledge. Make sure you watch for comments coming in to your blog and respond promptly as a means of ongoing communication with the audience. Nothing is more frustrating for readers and damaging to a blogger’s reputation as having comments pile up without the author’s acknowledgement or reply.
Run Spell Check: It’s a simple step that authors sometimes forget, but misspelled words don’t impress anyone.
Write a “How To” Guide: Instructional posts are typically handled in a wiki.
Advertise: SCN is for SAP users who want to get help and collaborate. If you have a product you want to market, you should consider other locations such as a personal blog for that.
Post a Blog That Only Contains Links: While it is a good practice to include links in the context of your blog, it’s preferred not to post a blog that is only a mass of links. Members prefer some of your personal knowledge to go with references to other content – comments or opinion that helps put the links in context. Blogs that are compilations of many links without the author’s knowledge-haring tend to get negative responses.
Commit Plagiarism: SCN does not tolerate plagiarism. The SCN team and moderators monitor content for plagiarism and when detected, remove it, notify the author, and record the associated user ID. SCN may contact a repeat offender’s employer and guestify the user’s ID (delete ID and related points permanently).
Not only is plagiarism unethical, if a copyright is violated, it is illegal. There are many posts on the internet about avoiding this issue. I found this short post at Mrs. Trefz’s 5th Grade Blog. Are you smarter than a 5th grader?
Getting Started With Blogs – How to Guide in a wiki.
Blogging 101 in SDN and BPX – Similar to this blog, but with the Marilyn Pratt spin.
St. David Slays the Wiki-Weblog Dragon – Humorous, but excellent explanation of the differences between a blog and a wiki, and when to use each. Provided by David Branan.