Blogs are an increasingly popular way for teachers and administrators to share ideas and strategies with each other. But what do educator-bloggers need to know in order to succeed? We asked top bloggers (the writers of some of Education World’s Top 25 Blogs for Educators) for advice.
Here’s what they said.
When you are just starting out, the blogosphere can be mystifying. How do you attract readers? What are the keys to writing effective blog posts? This is where a blogging mentor can help. He or she can guide you through the challenging world of blogging.
“Partner up with someone who has been blogging longer than you have that can help show you the ropes. Get involved with other bloggers and build community with them. The world of blogging has many great teachers out there who are more than happy to help you along the way and are very supportive,” said Lori Vines, who writes Conversations in Literacy.
Charity Preston of The Organized Classroom Blog agreed. “Most bloggers I know almost always respond to emails and offer help for basic questions (within reason). From there on out, focus on what your readers want to hear. It should be about your audience, because without them, you are basically just writing an online diary,” she said.
This piece of advice can’t be said enough: you need to be your authentic self in your blogs. Though it’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in the world of blogs, being unique is key. So be you, and be proud.
“Be yourself! Don't try to copy someone else's style or ideas. Be true to what you believe in and talk about real experiences and techniques that have worked for you in your own classroom,” said Adria ("Addie") of Addie Education Teacher Talk.
Meghan G. Graham, Jill Perry and Karen S. Head, the voices behind All4mychild.com, agreed, while noting that feedback can be hard to come by. “It’s important to be open, honest and vulnerable. It’s also important to know that you don’t always get immediate feedback, or feedback that you necessarily wanted, which can be challenging. However, an mail, or a message on Facebook that lets you know how helpful your blog was to them really means a lot and inspires you to keep writing,” they explained.
A proven track record, anecdotes about how something has worked and even photos and video won’t be enough to sway some people to some ideas. The fact is that some people will disagree with you. And that’s okay, but don’t take it to heart.
“The most important thing every new education blogger should know is that everyone may not agree with you or even approve of your blog. Blog about what you know and are passionate about, ask for support either from peers or those in the blogging world, and be prepared to learn a lot along the way,” said Heidi Befort, who blogs at Globicate.