How to blog on TrainingZone: Come on in, the water’s lovely!

karynr
Director
Learning Anorak Ltd
Blogger
Share this content

There are probably as many different reasons for blogging as there are bloggers. Blogs range from deeply personal revelations to fiction writing to, well, you name it, really! But for the purposes of this article, I am going to assume that you’re thinking of blogging about some aspect of learning and development. Here are my tips to getting started.

Naming your blog

Here are a couple of things to consider:

1. Relevance

While it might be tempting to come up with something that sounds snappy, you’re probably best advised to come up with a name that gives an indication of what people can expect to find when they visit.

2. Breadth

As with anything else, it’s probably best to have a rough idea of where you plan to take this thing. Bear in mind that what is a hot topic today, might not always be a hot topic, so avoid choosing a title that will turn you into a one-trick pony.

Creating your profile

As with most social media, you will have the opportunity to create a personal profile for your blog. Have a look at some of the profiles on the blogs listed in my ‘Top 20’ list and use these as a yardstick for how much or how little to share about yourself. Of course, you may choose to remain anonymous, but bear in mind that anonymity is not usually seen in a positive light when it comes to assessing the reliability of a blog.

NB Karyn’s recommended top 20 blogs all appear in the Learn Tech blogs to watch section on the Learning Technologies page of TrainingZone.

"Remember to share the link-love"

Getting down to writing

Now that that’s out of the way, you can start writing. What you write about, how long your posts are and how often you post, are all entirely up to you. Be guided by what you would like to read. Some people have a rule of writing a single post a day. Others blog as and when something crops up that they think might interest their readers. I would suggest that you aim to post at least a few times a week in order to provide continuity.

Use your own individual style

A quick word about style. Trying to emulate someone else’s writing style will probably just end up sounding contrived… and be difficult to sustain. Choose a writing style that works for you. You are free to adopt a formal style of writing if you prefer, but it is more common for bloggers to be informal. There are some writers whose style is so unique that I feel as if I know them as people simply from reading their blogs for the past few years. I probably fall into this category myself, but there is no pressure on you to follow suit.

Use a spellcheck!

On the subject of the actual writing, two obvious points:

1. take the trouble to proofread your posts, to make sure that they say what you wanted them to say, and

2. …use a spell checker!

I choose not to use profanity in my blog, but there are many bloggers who swear like troopers. The choice is yours.

Images

You might like to include images in your posts to better illustrate your point. Make sure that you don’t breach copyright. There is so much Creative Commons material available on Flickr, Photobucket and Morguefile with unrestricted rights, that there is no need to use images that are subject to restrictions. Don’t forget to credit the photographer/artist. It may not be a requirement, but it is good etiquette.

Adding video

Find the video you want to attach to your blog. The TrainingZone platform will support videos from YouTube, Blip.tv, Brightcove, Dailymotion, Google, GUBA, IMEEM, JumpCut, Last.fm, Live Video, MetaCafe, MySpace, Revver, Sevenload, Spike TV, Tudou, Veoh, Vimeo and Custom URL – links to all the supported sites are provided under the video field.

Associated with the video that you want to copy, there will be an embed code – on YouTube this is to the right of the video, on Blip.tv it is accessed via a symbol menu at the bottom right of the video screen. Copy this code and paste it into the video field in your blog.

Building a readership

There are very few of us in what is known as the edublogosphere (populated by learning professionals from a range of sectors) who ‘chase the numbers’ (push for an ever higher readership at all costs) but neither may you want a blog that is like the Zen tree, falling unremarked in the forest. So how do you let people know you have a blog at all? Bear in mind that blogging, like all social media, is about conversation, which is a two-way thing. Make sure that you make an effort to read what other bloggers are writing, and participate in the conversation. Contribute your 2p worth in a comment on a post you have found interesting or helpful. And do the same when you think a blogger is talking utter hogwash (but be polite – it’s a knowledge sharing pool, not the WWE!).

"There are very few of us in what is known as the edublogosphere (populated by learning professionals from a range of sectors) who ‘chase the numbers’ (push for an ever higher readership at all costs) but neither may you want a blog that is like the Zen tree, falling unremarked in the forest."

When you leave a comment, it will become possible for other readers to follow the trail back to your own blog. If your reaction to a blogger’s post is so strong as to warrant a post on your own blog, rather than a comment on theirs, take care to link to the original post, stating the name of the blogger. This will appear as a ‘trackback’ allowing the original author and his/her readers to follow the paperless trail to your post. Bear in mind that your readers may not read all the blogs you do. So remember to ‘share the link-love’ by writing a short post to say how helpful (or otherwise) you found such and such a post, and include a link to that post, driving your readership there.

Of course, blogging on TrainingZone means that you have a ready made audience, which is great if you've never blogged before.

Most of all

Remember that social media are great levellers. Your viewpoint is as valid as anyone else’s… so come and share it!

If you do decide to start a blog, drop me a line at [email protected], citing this article and giving me the details of your blog, and I will give you a shout out on Karyn’s erratic learning journey and on Twitter (what do you mean, you don’t use Twitter? Oh dear, perhaps we ought to look at that next...)

Karyn Romeis has 20 years experience in the field of learning and development and makes extensive use of social media. She operates an independent consultancy called Learning Anorak Ltd and can be reached via her website or on 07789786878.  Her own blog is incredibly personal, often revealing, and always remarkable.

Starting a blog on TrainingZone

It's as easy as one, two, three!

First set up an account and profile – registration is entirely free.

Second click the button which says ‘start blogging’ in your profile box, and follow the prompts - give your blog a name eg Trevor’s training trials, and a description, eg The trials & tribulations of an NHS training manager. When you’re happy, press submit.

Third click on ‘make a blog post’, and enter your first blog. Give it a title eg When you’re just having one of those days....and blog away in the Entry box.

NB. The ‘select blog’ drop-down menu is for anyone interested in managing multiple blogs, so you can choose which one to post to. Easy! It really is incredibly simple, and will only take a few minutes to set up, but should you have any questions, then do please get in touch.

Associated with the video that you want to copy, there will be an embed code – on YouTube this is to the right of the video, on Blip.tv it is accessed via a symbol menu at the bottom right of the video screen. Copy this code and paste it into the video field in your blog.

About karynr

About karynr
Twenty years in the field of L&D in a wide range of roles, working with and for organisations in of all sizes and sectors. Passionate about learning. Passionate about learners.

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.