Previously this week, AID was invited to a discussion with Feministing.com blogger Ann Friedman, who provided some fundamental information on how to utilize blogging as a tool for advocacy. For anyone who is interested in guest posting on our blog, or starting your own social justice or advocacy blog, don’t be daunted! Though some of it may seem a bit self-evident, here are some basic ideas and tips Ann had for creating an interesting and relevant blog to engage supporters and advocates:

-Keep track of your “internet diet” (using tools like Google Bookmarks or Delicious) to see what pages you frequent. This can give you great fodder for a blog post or two!

-Set up Google Alerts for certain items or issues you are interested in. Then follow links from these items to other related pages. As Ann said, sometimes “going in the weeds” can lead to a great new perspective or idea on a blog post.

-Rely on other people/news sources for some of your information (if they are credible!). It’s okay to use big block quotes from others to set-up the background to an issue. You don’t have to be the expert this way, and it gives you more space to include more of your own (or your organization’s) opinion.

-Reiteration is important. Sometimes when you look back over old posts you may find that many of the posts have very similar titles or similar themes. No problem. You shouldn’t expect that people check your blog every day (or even every few days), so reiterating some information from an earlier post is acceptable, and even necessary at times.

-Tone is important. You don’t always have to have a strong analysis or opinion of everything you write about. A quicker post is not a bad thing and keeps your blog up to the minute.

-Twitter can be a great medium for increasing blog readership. Within each “tweet” or feed you can provide a tinyURL and share the information with your followers.

Types of Blog Posts:
-Video blogging can be really useful. It gives the reader/viewer a more personal sense of who the people behind the blog are. Furthermore, posting the video blog to YouTube and then linking it to your page can help increase traffic

-Action alerts:
-Reader-provided action alerts (promote information provided to you by a reader)
-Blogger-generated action alerts
(It’s great to provide lots of links in these pages for your readers to easily engage in the action alert!)

-First-person post: these are usually anecdotal pieces (like our Rachel’s piece on returning from the Middle East). These often generate a lot of comments because people are more comfortable relating to personal experiencing than they are to political news/opinions on which they may not have authority

-Aggregating posts: these are frequently just a list format, like a weekly round-up of interesting links/articles for their readers to peruse (Feministing.com provides this weekly to readers).

-Undercover issues: these are things that don’t usually make the mainstream news, but are pertinent to the organization. They can be interesting as well as useful, because the post may one of the first things to pop up in a search-engine regarding the issue.

-(Reaction to) Breaking news/All over the news posts: there is no reason to give background on these issues, but instead these posts can be good for making a strong point or opinion

All of the above to say, don’t be intimidated by blogging! There are a lot of ways to go about utilizing this unique advocacy tool, and we would love for more of you to become involved as guest-bloggers, or to begin your own blogs. As recent news events have shown (in Iran particularly), new media is one of the most accessible and successful advocacy tools out there! Happy Blogging!

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