Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seven steps to an effective post.

Are you a blogger/teacher that has an idea that just comes and then you write a post and publish it?

Or are you a blogger/teacher that takes some time to think about how your post can be a really effective one?

If you come in the first category then you are like me, a little harried as a teacher and just to get a post published is an achievement!  However like myself you may want to fall more and more into the second category.  Er.... and as a teacher wouldn't you just love to see effective posts from your students on a very regular basis.  I have listed some steps that I want to incorporate into my posts to make them more effective.

Decide on your audience.
We teach our students in their writing to name their audience.  We need to know who we are writing it for as well.  This could be:  
                                              Other Teachers
                                              The Wider Community

Know the Purpose of Your Post.
Once you have decided on your audience, you are then going to need to make sure you write your post so that the people you write for are either enriched, entertained, or shown how to do something. Then again it might be you are giving them the opportunity to share in an experience that you have had, which may touch them or that they can connect with in some way.  Possibly they may strongly agree or disagree with you.  If you manage to have them disagree with you then that may open up a whole new dialogue. 

As teachers I would like you to know that for many of us we spend much time alone in the classroom and we don't see what other teachers are doing.  So there you have a purpose straight away, there are nosey teachers like me who want to see a little into your experience. It inspires and teaches and possibly you didn't even set out to do that, but it does! 
Have Something Worth Sharing.
If you value what you want to post about, then it is highly likely in my opinion, that it is worth sharing.  For example on a classroom blog it may be to share something that you know parents will enjoy seeing or will learn from.  From the recent blogs that I have visited some teachers are very generous and share their ideas and resources.  As part of the teacher blogging challenge I visited many blogs that had so much to share.  Here is one, a relief teacher, willing to share his ideas and resources.

Let Your Personal Voice Come Through.
Do you love a piece of writing where you really get to hear the personal voice of the writer?  I can forgive a post that might fail in some of the other areas, but I just love a post with personal voice. I have a student in my class and her posts ooze personal voice.  Each one of us is unique, we each have a perspective that no one else has.  When we express it, healthily and respectfully, we enrich others.  Go for personal voice.  Your reader will connect with you.  Here is a story I connected to with my heart, just yesterday, as I perused posts from the teacher blogging challenge.

Put Some Thought into Layout.
A bunch of text all squashed together is going to put your audience off.  So taking some time to think about how it will be easier for your reader to follow is important.  Included in layout is the heading.  Put some time into a heading that will draw your audience in.  Use bold text for sub-headings. Perhaps a little colour.  Make sure though, if you use colour, use one that is easy to read!  Before you publish take some time to re-read!  Yes out loud!! Take the time to push the preview button.  Yes, teachers need to do that too!

Include a Visual.
A lot of text can be off putting.  I like to include a photo or clip-art when I post where possible.  If you are using someone else's art or photo, just make sure you have the right to do that and show attribution if it is available for your use.  The other thing you can do is include a video.  Perhaps the video is the post. That can be hugely effective in itself.  Here is a post that I find highly effective, its about how to leave quality comments.  Thanks to Mrs Yollis' class, my class and I were able to learn from this very informative post.

Draw your reader into dialogue.
Recognise that your reader will have viewpoints, reactions, questions...... so encourage them in some way to express them in the comments, so that the post can become enriched by them.  One way to do this is to respond to readers comments, that they have taken the time to leave. 

Lastly a question I leave to you my reader.  Do you think there is a place for a teacher post that has the 'self' as audience?  I didn't include that in my list of possible audiences, is there a place for the post that has 'myself' as audience.  Leaving aside of course the fact often many of us only have the self for audience!


  1. I definitely think there is a place for a teacher whose audience is the "self." Especially if the blog is a place for reflecting on their own practices. I know I mix posts like this in at times, but I do not think my entire blog is like that. But who knows? Ultimately, are we not writing because we think we have something to share?

  2. Janelle,
    Thank you for your comment. I tend to believe there is a place for a teacher to have the intended audience as themselves. Take this post, teachers are my intended audience. However I am a teacher and every bit is for me. I actually have just re-read this post in the light of morning and picked up a few errors!
    However a blog is public, if we have it open to the public, so I think we need to have that in mind as we write. We would need to feel comfortable with absolutely anyone reading it.

  3. Thanks so much for your post! I spent 20 years teaching college students how to write, and your post summarizes much of what I tried to teach them. I too wrote about voice and how it is so important to blogging. If a blog has a blah voice, I am just not going to spend the time to read it.

    You can see what I had to say for this activity at http://www.bookfrontiers.com/library-wanderings/can-you-hear-me-voice-in-effective-blogs

  4. Lydia
    Thank you for your comment. Yes voice is so important. Possibly it is more important to some people than others. I tend to be a person who likes a lot of personal voice in other people's blogs.

  5. Two things. First, love your wordle image. I agree that it is so important to know your audience. I always say this for other writng formats and I can not believe I forgot to mention this in my steps to effective posts. But next time I have my students blog I will quote you, Thank-YOU!

  6. Mr Carson
    The funny thing is, while you must have been on my blog I had been on your blog and left you a comment, saying I was going to link to you when I discuss with my students about effective posts. So I think that must be synchronicity at work.

  7. My favourite is "Let your personal voice shine through". The world is so much more interesting for the differences each individual brings.

    Keep blogging.

  8. All your steps make for effective blogs. I like the "draw your reader into the dialogue" as it is conversations that lead to connections, sharing of knowledge and richer solutions to issues, problems etc.
    A blog is many things, and I think there are times when the post can be just for the blogger eg reflections, journal entries, maintaining records of some nature etc However, the category or tags should show that this was meant to be a personal post. I have four or five blogs, but struggle to maintain more than two or three, so have tended to make my teacher blog all embrasive.

  9. I really enjoyed your seven steps to an effective post K. Most of my writing , in the beginning, was only read by me. And that is OK, because it helps me to clarify my thinking, improves my writing and keeps me in the habit of regular posts. But then again, it is always nice to get positive feedback!

  10. Thank you for this well thought out post. I have cited you on my blog as a great place to go to think about your blog posts. One question for you: How do you find topics for your posts? Where do you go to find new topics?

  11. Maylyn
    Thank you for highlighting that for me. Sometimes I don't even notice what I write.!

    Thank you. And thank you for adding to the conversation about whether you can count yourself as audience. I think from a couple of comments now I have firmed up my ideas on that. I like your comment on tags, so that is what I am going to do, add a personal tag to ones that are possibly for for me than others.

    Mrs Gow
    I am with you entirely. Thanks for adding to and clarifying my thoughts on that. Yes and comments do help you to know you are being heard.
    When I first began this blog I found a teacher blog that I left comments on regularly, she had no one else comment, but eventually I gave up as she never replied to the comments. It must have been totally personal reflection for her.

    Thank you, you have boosted my spirit. Thank you for the question about Topics. As I haven't blogged that much on my teacher blog I am scrambling on that one, however I think it is important and I am going to spend some time with it. I have been reading about writer's notebook and I guess that if I am going to consider myself a writer I am going to need to take topics seriously.


  12. Weird! We both made tagxedos of apples! I posted mine with the first challenge. Is that not the most fun tool? Anyway, I agree that having something worth sharing is essential.

  13. I liked how you said that your voice needs to come out in your blog! I agree with that completely. Also, I like the apple tagxedo you used. I've never used the website before, only wordle. I will definitely have to check it out! Thanks for sharing!
    --jee young


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