Publishing blog articles at ILRI


We use blogs hosted on WordPress to publish stories about ILRI and the work being done across ILRI (and beyond). See list of ILRI blogs.

Our blogs should contain:
  • original stories
  • interviews or profile of people (or projects)
  • updates on projects, people, products, events
  • opinion pieces by ilri-associated people

When blogging, please follow these steps:

Writing

  1. Follow ILRI's style guide.
  2. Read the posts on ILRI's two main corporate blogs---News and Clippings---to get a sense of ILRI's blog style.
  3. Write simply and clearly to interest, engage and be understood by non-ILRI, non-scientific and non-livestock oriented audiences, many of whom have another first language.
  4. Use words and language most 14-year-olds would understand.
  5. Use active (not passive) verbs: 'The dog bit the man' (not 'the man was bitten by the dog').
  6. Avoid jargon and specialist vocabulary ('participatory research').
  7. Avoid cliches ('a picture is worth a thousand words') unless you use them knowingly (with wit, etc.).
  8. Avoid acronyms; if absolutely necessary to use an acronym, always spell it out in full on first use.
  9. Always spell out 'ILRI' in full on first use.
  10. Tell a story wherever possible.
  11. Or: find an interesting angle/approach: seek controversy, looking back at an old issue from a new lens, debate between perspectives, interview someone knowledgeable, interview someone with a candid view, write in a cross-cutting/lateral way (using curated content), make predictions for the future, seek stories about peoples' epiphanies, make a commentary on an otherwise rather 'dry' publication or output...
  12. If making a statement that is your opinion but not evidence-based, make that clear.
  13. Provide depth and background---most blog articles will be at least 400-500 words long.
  14. Carefully proofread your article before posting it to ensure it has no spelling or grammatical errors, no typos or missing words, and is complete. Ensure, at all times, that at least one other pair of eyes reviews your post before publishing.
  15. Embed relevant presentations, pictures etc. (using embed functionalities from Slideshare, FlickR etc.). NEVER upload them on the blog (by posting them to fickr or elsewhere they become available for wider use). See more about this below ('Pictures and videos').
  16. Once you've published the blog post, promote it on relevant personal and institutional social media and conversation spaces (all ILRI blog posts are automatically disseminated across ILRI social media channels and ILRI website/ilrinet/yammer).
  17. Liven up your article with quotes from staff and partners and others; format the quotes as 'display quotes' to break up the text.
  18. Write and post regularly (once a week at a minimum) so that your readers have something new to read at least weekly.

Headlines

Pay particular attention to your headline (think about what will be short and interesting enough for Twitter), try and provide context in the title (e.g. 'Africa RISING West Africa review and planning meeting creates surprise about partnership agreements' not 'Bamako meeting creates surprise'), picture caption, introductory sentence and paragraph and closing paragraph. Remember, your headlines 'have a life of their own' on the internet. They often/usually appear out of context. Most users will come across them NOT on your blog or website.

Excerpts

In wordpress, create an 'excerpt' for each story - this is normally the first paragraph introducing the blog post. In wordpress, this excerpt text is taken into the feed, online posts etc. and it avoids for instance the photo caption becoming the text that is posted/shared automatically.

Categories and tags

For each blog article, tick all relevant categories and insert key words as tags (see ilri tagging guidelines here). Choice of categories is VERY important as this is the basis for aggregation on ILRI website and elsewhere.

Pictures and videos

  1. Enhance your article with an interesting (and sharp) image; search among ILRI's Flickr 'galleries' (and give credit to other photographers) as well as 'sets'.
  2. Don't use the same photo again and again on the same blog.
  3. Make a blog post for each audio/video interview made.
  4. NEVER upload a file or image into a blog. Documents should be on cgspace or the internet; images on flickr; videos on youtube.

Links

Your blog post should never be a 'dead end.' It should send visitors to other interesting/related resources and links. Always set the link to 'open in a new page'.

Before publishing your blog

Send all drafts to be published on blogs (except for the ILRI News blog) to Paul Karaimu for editing and proofreading and style checks. Blogs for the ILRI News blog can be shared with Susan MacMillan for review.

Resources on blogging