We have already written about what a “blog” is and how blogging can be used for social change.
But what makes a blog effective?
Whether it is a blog about politics, economics, leadership or management, there are several principles to follow when running a blog.
Publishing two to three blog posts a week is a good way to retain an existing audience and attract new readership.
The blog is dynamic
This principle builds on the difference between a website and a blog. The website has the function to present and inform about the activities of a certain organization or company. Therefore, websites are not often updated with new content, because they do not require regular communication and interaction with visitors.
The blog, on the other hand, is a dynamic resource. Its mission is to involve visitors in discussing various topics. It is not uncommon for a blog post to spark debate, and the topic covered in that post to be “picked up” by other media and covered from different angles.
Posting new blog posts and content is a key element of a blog.
Most blogs have a similar structure
It is best to have a clear distinction between the header of the blog and the content, i.e. the blog posts themselves. Blog posts are published chronologically – the latest blog post comes up at the top of the page.
Stick to a calendar of publishing new blog posts. That way, readers will know when to expect something new from you.
Contact information, links to social media and other resources or additional materials related to the topic of the blog are usually listed at the bottom of the page.
Blogs list the names of the authors
Blogs that do not mention the names of the authors of the posts do not enjoy much public authority. Such blogs seem unprofessional and the public gets the impression that the texts are “commissioned” or that the authors are afraid to publicly express their views for fear of criticism or public confrontation with opposing opinions and arguments.
Because of this, high-quality blogs publish the names of the authors under each blog post, for the whole public to see. Some blogs also publish a list of all the authors who have contributed with their blog posts. At Res Publica, this list is published in “Bloggers” tab. A short biography has been published for each of the bloggers, which usually lists the educational and professional backgrounds of everyone who has contributed with their blog.
Blog posts have a catchy headline
Coming up with a headline for a blog post is an art in itself. A catchy headline attracts clicks. The more clicks, the more likely it is for the blog post to create more traffic. Consequently, there is more potential of that blog to make an impact.
On the other hand, headlines that are too long and contain too much “bureaucratic” jargon deter the reader from clicking on the particular post. That is why it is important to pay attention to coming up with a creative and catchy headline (tips for creating effective titles can be found here).
The most effective blog posts contain several hyperlinks that lead to various documents, research and other sources that will provide an opportunity for additional information for the reader.
Every blog post should contain evidence-supported arguments
If you are writing a blog post related to a public policy, try to substantiate each of your claims with evidence. That way, each argument becomes heftier. Additionally, the reader can be assured of the reliability of the information you provide in the blog by following the links that you insert in the text.
Some blogs also have an editorial board that reviews all texts before they are published. In that case, the author receives feedback on how to improve the text to have a greater effect on readers.
Take part in the discussion with fans on social media. It will help build a community with your readers and strengthen your authority.
The blog should spark debate
Any platform on which you can create a blog (e.g. WordPress) allows you to open a comments section under each blog post.
Comments are not a common component of articles published on traditional websites. However, on blog posts, it is a component that is crucial to encouraging debate between readers and the author.
Of course, this leaves room for defamatory comments and hate speech. But the blog moderator’s task is to determine whether the comments are intended to improve and enrich the discussion, or to send out a personal insult.
Blogs contain relevant topics
A political blog, in addition to offering well-supported content, is recommended to contain pertinent topics that are current to the environment at that time.
Blogs focused on socio-political topics should inform and educate on current topics. However, they should also serve as a source of information for citizens when they have no other place from which to get informed on issues of public interest.
Presence on social media = greater effect of blogs
Although it isn’t rocket science, it should be noted that every blog should have its own Facebook and Twitter account. The reasons for this are well known: sharing blog posts on social media stimulates discussion with people who may not have access to the blog itself, but are informed about the daily political developments by their friends and what they share on social media.
Therefore, it is advisable to immediately share each new blog post on social media, to encourage as much discussion as possible, making your blog more visible, which increases its chances of making an impact on the public.