Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Blogging Best Practices

The CSAE Marketing & Communications group was privileged to receive some great advice and words of wisdom from local blogger and social media advisor Sue Murphy (@suzemuse) at a recent session.  As a result, here are 10 Steps to a Better Blog:

  1. Define your purpose, your audience and your competition.  Understand your focus and know your business goal.  If you create good content, people and search engines will love you.
  2. Set a realistic schedule that readers can rely on.  How often?  At least two posts per week.  It’s about balance and experimentation.  Try different days to determine variances of engagement.  Create content in batches.  Write several posts at a time.
  3. Mix it up.  Different lengths, multimedia, timely and timeless posts, top 10 lists.  Variety is key.
  4. Move beyond the written word.  Use visual elements: photos, checklists, videos, slideshare, info graphics, etc., but still keep dialogue around it.  Consider a Creative Commons photo license.
  5. Size matters.  How long?  Long enough to make a point but not bore those who skim articles.  Average 300-600 words.  If longer consider a two part series.
  6. Write killer headlines and subheads.  This is the most important part of your post.  Pique curiosity of skimmers and scanners.  Consider search engines and key words and phrases.  Be descriptive – headlines should tell you a story/paint a picture.  Compelling headlines stand out.
  7. Design is important.  Reflect your organization’s personality, style and brand.  Must include:  subscription buttons – RSS or email, contact info – name/email/twitter, search box, archive of posts (by category, title, dates), social media share buttons and links to your social media sites or direct feed widgets.
  8. Create momentum.  Have a clear call to action.  Drive traffic to more info on your website.  Ask people to subscribe, donate.  Ask a question at the end to encourage people to comment or respond.
  9. To moderate or not?  Shouldn’t turn off or edit comments.  Only use to remove inappropriate or off topic comments.  Use anti-spam tools.  Post a terms of engagement to let people know what will be tolerated.  The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association shared a sample of their Community Terms of Engagement (http://www.cdha.ca/pdfs/community/online_community_code_of_conduct.pdf) Make sure someone is tasked to moderate and monitor the blog closely.
  10. Use categories and tags to help search engines find you.  It also helps people to search by interest.  Come up with identified categories ahead of time and unique hashtags.

Some additional tips and tricks:

  • Think of yourself as a storyteller
  • Think of your website as a digital storefront and a blog as your digital magazine full of articles
  • Be Google friendly
  • Less formal, more personality
  • Be patient
  • Cross promotion on social media and your website is important

Happy Blogging!

This post was written by Angie D’Aoust, Director of Marketing & Communications with the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA).  


  1. Really worth to read all info, thanks allot. I already bookmarked this great website.

  2. I am so happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that's at the other blogs. Thanks for sharing this.

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  4. Blogging is a big part of our business. I think that if anyone needs to be competitive in the market right now, they need to have a steady amount of new blogs with fresh, unique content, rolling in and being posted as frequently as possible