How to make a successful Blog for Education.

The following information contains guidelines for developing a successful blog. I use examples from the education context and examples from my own personal blog to enrich understanding of each of the guidelines presented.

Guiding Principles for the Blog (Tee, 2007).

Guideline 1 – Establish your target audience

In 2010, within Australia, there were 6,743 government schools (71%), 1,708 Catholic schools (18%), and 1,017 Independent schools (11%).  The total numbers of student and
teachers in Australian school can be seen in Table 1.0.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

The target market for my blog is therefore as follows:

  1. School IT Staff – There will be approximately 15,000 School IT staff in Australia.
  2. The secondary IT teacher – There are approximately 30,000 Secondary IT Teachers, in Australia.
  3. The secondary IT learner – Including both teacher and students in this category the potential number of blog viewers could be around 50,000.

Guiding Principle 2 – Research what problems your potential users have.

In 2009, with the aid of Kevin Rudd’s 1:1 funding, students across Australia
will have access to an extra  822,000 computers. This increase in access will lead to a demand for school focused IT information, education and services. It is hoped that feedback left on my blog will further lead to an understanding of informational needs of the readers. initially the scope of blog topics, included in my blog is found below.

Guiding Principle 3 – Successful Blogs Attract Readers with a Strong Purpose

MISSION STATEMENT for my blog:

  • help schools move to an Enterprise 2.0 model of operation. This can only be done through educating key school stakeholders. Each school should have a strong understanding of the Enterprise 2.0 implementation framework, and what each of its elements mean.
  •  provide administrators, teachers and students with the information they need to master some aspect of IT within their school.
  • to aid stakeholders within the school in developing good IT practices across a broad range of topics. This range of topics can be found in the figure below.
  • to reduce learning anxiety of IT.
  • To ultimately produce a better quality of education for students.

Scope of potential content that I will provide in my blog.

Guiding Principle 4 – Successful Blogs Connect & Inspire the Readers

What are the things and topics that you can hook your reader with. What will make them come back again?

The current branding for my blog looks like the following. To be honest – not ‘earth shattering’.

Screenshot – Before and After branding of my blog

I have rebranded my blog with a prominent catch phrase “Be an IT legend and build inspirational experiences for your students”. This is my ‘hook”. The purpose of this catch phrase is to entice the viewer into the website with the notion that they will find something useful for them that will lead to a personal positive experience. It is hoped that this will decrease learning anxiety and motivate people to keep revisiting my blog. I will need to ensure that each blog reinforces my blog branding.

Guiding Principle 5 – The content of the blog should appeal to a variety of senses.

Create blogs that contain relevant and well written information. Where possible use diagrams, tables, videos and widgets to support your blog. For each blog integrate elements from Slates Paradigm.

Slates paradigm

Guiding Principle 6 – Blog often

Fantastic… You have a blog: now you have to maintain it. Set yourself a timetable to ensure that the work that is needed to keep updating your social media tools is sustainable. I created the following maintenance timetable, based on all of my other commitments.

Maintenance schedule for my Social Media Tools

Guiding Principle 7 – Market your Blog

There are many ways to market your blog. Here are just a few YouTube videos that will help you explore some ideas. I also use a number of Personal Branding Enhancement tools to support my blog. These tools are ‘cross-fertilised’.

Social Media Tools supporting my Blog

Other than using slates paradigm, within each blog, to increase “Google Juice”, I have devised the following cunning activities to increase traffic to my social networking sites.

  1. Create a Youtube Video about Social Computing – make it viral worthy, and reference the video back to my blog.
  2. I receive and send about 80 emails a day on average. I have added my social media contact details to my email footer as is shown in the figure below.

Good luck with your endeavours in creating a successful blog.

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About whellmuth

Working with the education software industry to build software with standard arhitectures that allows schools to have extensible and well integrated technologies. Member of Software QLD. Member of Microsoft advisory board on cloud computing. My doctorate specialises in Software Architecture in the Education environment. My Master Research specialised in IT change management.
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