Getting Started: The ABCs of Blogging
These days, congregations, clergy, and congregants alike maintain blogs related to the Jewish world, whether to share divrei Torah (Biblical commentaries), to clue members into synagogue goings-on, or to postulate on the state of the Jewish world. (For a great list of Jewish blogs to get you started, take a look at our blogroll on the right-hand side of this page.)
But writing can be tough work – what should you say, how should you say it? Fret not: Blogging is a lot more fun than any day-to-day writing you’re used to! Blog posts are meant to convince, mobilize, energize, inform, and persuade, and unlike professional publications, casual language and tone is often totally acceptable – and even encouraged! – in blogging. Here are some basic tips to get you started, from A to Z.
- Tell readers how to take action: e-petitions, online campaigns, action alerts, etc.
- Use bullet points to translate complex ideas into a digestible format.
- Keep it as current as possible, writing about an event happening in the now.
- Discover & embrace your own distinctive writing style.
- Encourage friends and family to read & comment on the blog.
- People love factoids and stats, especially when they’re unique, startling or shocking.
- Watch your grammar, but can forget that musty old “no contractions” rule.
- Be honest. Never make up a story or statistics just to sound more interesting.
- Give enough background information that your readers feel in the loop.
- Include the Jewish perspective – why does this matter to the Reform Movement?
- Curtail your kvetching. No one likes a whiner! If you must complain, do so with style.
- Use literary devices like metaphors, similes and analogies to capture readers’ attention.
- Make mention of the RAC & what we’re doing on the issue that you’re writing about.
- Never forget to include links to relevant news articles & websites.
- Submit your post on time if you’ve set up a deadline.
- Be persuasive. Convince readers they should care!
- Ask a rhetorical question to create curiosity & get the reader thinking.
- Tell a story. It ties everything together & keeps it interesting
- Give your post a snappy title that also connotes the subject of your post.
- Don’t be afraid to be unconventional. Write a poem, include a slideshow or blog in haiku!
- Be vigilant. Keep an ear out for interesting blog topics.
- Keep your word count at around 300 – 800, which is not too short or too long.
- Limit your usage of x-clamation points!!!
- Find your voice. The more “you” your posts sound, the more enjoyable they’ll be for readers.
- Zero excuses. Just blog!
Looking for more in-depth blogging guidance? URJ congregations can sign up for Darim Online’s Social Media Boot Camp, a free one-year webinar series. All webinars are archived online after they take place, so even if you miss them live, you can tune in at your convenience.. Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive access to the archives, where you can check out April’s Blogging 101 webinar for further insight into navigating the so-called blogosphere. Happy blogging!