Image source: Pixabay
I recently attended a workshop led by Sue Featherstone (Journalist and Principal Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University) on the secrets of blogging which was put on for the new student bloggers who are volunteer content managers. These students will capture news stories from across the courses within the Department of Media Arts and Communication and share them via the Department blog Capture | MAC set up by Lecturers Melvyn Ternan and Anne Doncaster.
Sue delivered an excellent session on the techniques of blogging drawing upon her vast experience as a journalist and writer. With her permission I share these below.
Let me tell you a secret… by Sue Featherstone
Blogging is not difficult
…It’s just another way of telling someone something he or she didn’t know before
Presenting new information
Offering a new way of seeing or thinking (opinion piece)
- Must be:
- Backed up with evidence
- Facts and quotes
Got to grab attention
People don’t read…
The inverted pyramid
There are three steps to follow in this order:
Always remember the six Ws
Who? What? Where? When? How and Why?
Who are you writing your blog about?
What has happened to him/her?
Where did it happen?
When did it happen?
How did it happen?
Why did it happen?
Prince Charming has announced his engagement to a penniless kitchen maid.
Online journalists or bloggers would write…
Kensington Palace has announced that Prince Charming is to marry Cinderella Hardup, the penniless kitchen maid who became his girlfriend after she gate-crashed the annual masked ball at Leodis Palace in July.
What comes next?
- Who is he marrying?
- How did they meet?
- Why a penniless kitchen maid?
- How did she become penniless?
- And so on and so on…
Charming, first in line to the throne, will marry in Leodis next spring and live in Middlesham, where he is serving with the Royal Navy.
“We are both very happy,” the prince said.
He proposed last week during a weekend visit to Hardup Towers, Ms Hardup’s family home, giving his fiancé his grandmother’s engagement ring.
The 19-year-old beauty said joining the Royal family was daunting.
“But hopefully I’ll take it in my stride.”
She became the subject of a nationwide search after she fled the summer ball without revealing her identity.
The only clue was a glass slipper, which was found on the palace steps.
Ms Hardup, only daughter of the late Baron Hardup, was eventually found working as a skivvy in the kitchen of Hardup Towers, where she was employed by her step-mother…
Think of your blog post as a series of related chunks
- Chunk 1: Your intro: must grab attention
Answers who? and what?
Who is the story about? What has happened to them?
- Chunk 2: Action – move the story on
What happens next? Who is doing it? Identify authority source and include a quote
Use indirect and direct quotes
- Chunk 3: Background
Fill in any gaps
- Chunk 4: Further action?
Anything else new to add?
- Chunk 5: Wrap it all up
Link the ending (outro) back to the intro
Indirect and direct quote to finish
- To add colour, opinion, authority…
- Best way to use quotes is a mix of indirect and direct quotes
Indirect quotes: summarise what someone has said
Direct quotes: use their EXACT words
Some basic rules
- Use key words
- Get to the point
- Be precise and factual
- Do not use colour words
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Like this.
- Aim for two sentences per par
- Use a quote in third or fourth par
- And every third or fourth par afterwards
- Double space between pars (chunks)
- Use active rather than passive voice
Active: The postman bit the dog
Passive: The dog was bitten by the postman
- Check punctuation and spelling
- High content words
Rain and wind rather than foul weather
Cars and lorries not vehicle
- Use sub-headings and bullet points
- Remember key words AND repeat them regularly
(helps SEO search engine optimisation)
- Keep headlines direct
And short: 6-8 words
- OK to paraphrase intro
Royal wedding: Prince Charming to marry Cinderella Hardup
- Remember key words (again SEO)
Almost every sentence that contains the words ‘I’ or ‘me’ or ‘we’ or ‘you can be re-written
Don’t use personal pronouns