Blogging consistently for the past nine weeks has deepened my knowledge of what it takes to be a public research communicator. Through it, my writing and researching skills have improved as well as my ability to engage with my audience. A number of provided online features have been utilised throughout the semester in order to allow my online presence to reach its full potential. The two digital platforms I have focused on is my main WordPress page and my Twitter page. These two sites are kept in a professional manner and are limited to University work only. These two platforms reflect all my work throughout my degree, something which is highly considered every time new content is published. Other resources that have helped me enhance my writing is the provided feedback from the first assessment as well as the use of additional academic online journal articles. These aspects will be focused on during this reflection and their support in helping me write about media, audience and place.
Reader engagement is an extremely significant aspect when it comes to maintaining a blog. Fortunately, the website WordPress features a range of characteristics that allow users to better attract readers. Throughout the nine weeks of blogging I have experimented with and utilised majority of these attributes to help further improve my website. At the start of the semester I found it was best to completely re-customise my website. I started with changing the theme to one that is simple, appealing and overall efficient. For readers visiting the site, I arranged that my content is separated into categories and sub-categories making my posts easily accessible. These five categories are divided according to the University subject it is related to. These are BCM, DIGC, JRNL, MEDA and then of course Personal.
Another feature that is essential to every post is tagging. In order to help promote my writing I have increased the amount of tags used. Any relevant and trending hashtag that can be linked appropriately to my blog post is included. Hashtags are a great tool to use when trying to reach out to similar audience types. These tags are then connected through my Twitter, which is also embedded into my WordPress site. This characteristic helps link both my University media sites with one another making it even easier for fellow peers to review and possibly engage with my work. My aim using Twitter is to captivate readers by asking them questions or sharing my experiences. It allows an opportunity to promote my weekly topic in a condensed structure, outlining the major elements.
The combination of all these features has allowed my online presence to grow stronger and enables my audience to expand.
Through the feedback of my first assessment, writing in public part one, I was able to improve other necessary areas. Reviewing the comments provided, it was found that linking to additional sources and further audience engagement was needed. Sharing information to curious readers allows them to explore further and can be considered a key factor when attempting to attract a large audience. This criticism is something I have focused my attention on and have applied in the recent weekly blog posts. Obtaining a number of sources help support the message being conveyed in fewer sentences making it short, simple and straight to the point.
In order to really capture my readers and persuade them to engage with my content, I decided to rethink the way I was connecting with them. Writing a blog post and hoping individuals will read it just isn’t enough. In order to better establish an audience, I need to encourage them to share their opinions and experiences with me. An increase in tweeting, commenting, liking and asking questions is my solution to this. My aim in the future is to consistently post, tweet and acknowledge other blogs on a regular basis. By doing this not only is my own site and content being promoted but found ones as well. I’ll be able to gain a greater experience through the introduction and engagement with others increasing my online presence.
Other sources that helped me improve my writing and blogging skills were a range of academic online articles. One of these is an essay called, ‘The why, how and best practice of creating, editing and maintaining a professional blog’ written by Elizabeth Haas and published by the University of New Hampshire. This source explores the ways in which blogging has become an important aspect in this digital age. It provides helpful tips on how to make your website reach its full potential and the way in which to increase interaction with readers. These tips include interesting topics, unique perspectives, captivating headings, personal pages, consistent word count and the ability to encourage feedback from others.
Another source that was utilised throughout this subject was an article written by two professors, Tian Luo and Teresa Franklin called ‘Tweeting and blogging: moving toward education 2.0’. The paper explores a study that examines Twitter and WordPress and their ability to support student learning. It demonstrates how the use of social media gives people who are studying motivation and initiates self-exploration. The source lists a number of benefits when it comes to the use of social media throughout learning institutions such as Universities.
The use of these resources has helped me understand the importance of blogging while providing tips on how to get the best out of it.
Continually blogging for the past nine weeks has improved my research and writing skills and has deepened my understanding of what it takes to be a public research communicator. Twitter and WordPress are two digital platforms that have been used to display my University work in a professional manner. My aim for the future is to use the features these two websites offer to their full capacity in order to further develop my online presence. As well as this, feedback from the first assessment and additional resources have also accompanied the progress of my blog posts. These aspects have enhanced my skills in writing about media, audience and place for this topic.
Haas, E, 2016, ‘The why, how and best practice of creating, editing and maintaining a professional blog’, University of New Hampshire, pp. 1-12
Luo, T & Franklin, G, 2015, ‘Tweeting and blogging: moving toward education 2.0’, International JI, vol. 18, pp. 235-258