Crafting Great Blog Posts

We don’t often discuss here on our blog about how we actually manage our blog, so we thought we’d – of course! – write a blog post about it to help other organizations that would like to start or enhancing their blogging practices.

At Volunteer Victoria we have five staff members that regularly write posts for this blog. On top of the posts that Lisa, Lori, Leanna, Lornna and I create (I’m lucky they let me help since my name doesn’t begin with ‘L’!), we also bring in volunteers from our programs as much as we can to help out and present a different voice and perspective. For example, I often ask at our professional development workshops if a participant wants to write a blog post on the workshop’s topic, and someone invariably takes me up on this offer. Leanna’s youth volunteers contribute posts from time to time based on their volunteering experiences and Lori’s communications volunteers do as well, doing things like going out and interviewing agencies about their great work and then writing about it. Overall, it takes a small village to keep up a good blog presence, and many hands do indeed make light work.

However, sometimes many hands makes work a bit complicated. We recently realized that with so many people contributing to the blog now that it made sense to create a document that could guide both staff and volunteers in how to craft great blog posts. We knew we couldn’t rely on people to “just get it”, especially people who have never blogged before and perhaps might not understand how this medium is different from say, academic essay writing or crafting PR documents.

I ended up creating a fun, visual representation of the best, most simple advice we could muster between ourselves about what great “Blogging at Volunteer Victoria” should look like. It’s included here at the top of this post – click on it and you’ll get a larger-sized version.

We’ll consider this the first draft of an image that is sure to change as fast as technology and blogging practices do!

We’d love to hear what you think about our guidelines based on your own experiences. Have we missed anything crucial? What have you found works for your organizations in managing blogs with multiple authors?


A portrait of two volunteers: Meet the Newsflash team

Katherine and Mariaye have been volunteering with the Youth Volunteer Connections Program here at Volunteer Victoria since September 2010. Between the two of them they write and illustrate the Newsflash.

What is the Newsflash, you say?

The Newsflash is our volunteer posting email that goes out to over 1500 youth and interested people once every two weeks. Mariaye finds cool, youth-friendly volunteer positions on our database and writes them up for the Newsflash. She summarizes the position to provide a potential volunteer with the important nuggets that they’ll need to know – what does the job look like, what time frame, what kind of commitment? Katherine takes the volunteer positions that Mariaye has written and lets her imagination fly. She highlights different volunteer positions with her original computer generated art.

What a remarkable team! Both Katherine and Mariaye are indispensable to getting our Newsflash out on time, and with relevant and interesting postings.

In an effort to get to know our Newsflash team a little better, I interviewed both over a cup of coffee.

Self portrait - Katherine Crane

Katherine

Graduated from Esquimalt Secondary in 2010

Website: http://tehartmonkey.deviantart.com/

How long have you been drawing?

For as long as I’ve been able to hold a pencil. But I’ve been drawing seriously since about 12 years old.

What inspires you?

Drawing is just sorta my life. When I’m working on the Newsflash I read over the postings and I get an image. I’ll draw that image.

What music do you listen to when you’re creating an image?

I listen to movie soundtracks, or something instrumental.

What do you love about volunteering?

It’s easy, not as stressful as a job. I get to do it in my own free time, and the people I get to work with are so nice.

If you could have a super power what would it be?

Invisibility…or Flying…or Flying invisibly.

Portrait of Mariaye by Katherine Crane

Mariaye

In Grade 10 at Oak Bay

How long have you been writing?

I made my first book at 4 years old. It was about an Alien named Morgana who had her own spaceship.

What inspires you?

Writing is limitless. Whatever you feel like drawing on you can!

What kind of music do you listen to when you’re writing?

I can’t listen to music when I work. Background instrumental music is okay…like Mozart or something.

What do you love about volunteering?

It’s an easy way to get the skills that you will need later on, and it helps to get your name out.

If you could have a conversation with anyone, who would you choose?

There are so many good people! Queen Elizabeth I, or Shakespeare…or Jane Austen…

A huge thank you goes out to both of these volunteers, without whom we would not be sending out our Newsflash with such style and flair!

To sign up to receive the Newsflash through your email, email Leanna at leanna@volunteervictoria.bc.ca and write “subscribe to Newsflash” in the subject line.





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