This is the final installment of a four-part series on blogging. The full set includes:
- Why Blog about your Fulbright Experiences?
- Choosing and Adapting to your Blog Platform
- Finding your Blogging Niche
- Publicizing your Fulbright Blog
Fulbright’s sponsors encourage the students and scholars who receive Fulbright grants to blog about their experiences. They want to publicize the Fulbright program, the work we (their Fulbrights) are doing, and the cultural nuances we are discovering. They want us to share who we are and what we learn. Why not generate as much good publicity as we can?
If you’ve gotten your Fulbright blog up and running, you are ready to publicize your work. (If, on the other hand, you haven’t gotten started blogging because you’re still feeling overwhelmed by technical issues, you may want to check out Daniel Piechnick’s Website Setup Guide 2013: The Dummies’ Guide to Setting Up a Website.)
Based on past blog tips I’ve posted, you may have determined what level of privacy you desire. This matters because everyone in the world will be able to see what you post on a public blog site.
You may have shied away from being very open or very public about events in your life, but even if you don’t want to be highly public about everything you do, you will probably want to your friends and family know about your blog. In one fell swoop, you can notify them of the blog’s existence and invite them to receive automatic emails of everything you post. (If you are using WordPress, you can find the tools on your Dashboard — just look for the “users” button and then “invite new.”)
If you’re feeling ambitious, you may want to invite everyone in your contacts list.
And if you’ve decided to “go for the gold,” and to use your blogging efforts to full affect, you can generate a wide audience. The following tips can help:
- Register with Google, Bing, and other search engines so you show up when people use them to search the web (WikiHow can help, as can the WordPress “Publicize” page).
- Sign up to receive automatic mailings of your own postings (in other words, invite yourself to be a “user” so that the system will automatically email you a copy of each post). This is a good way to keep records for your files. Doing so can help when you go to compile formal Fulbright grant reports.
- Once you receive an email about a post that mentions a person, organization, or business, forward a copy of it to those people. Doing so helps people know they’re appreciated and it increases interest in your site.
- Forward a copy to other people you think would be interested.
- Set your blog platform to automatically load notification of each blog post to Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and the like. (I’ve chosen to upload to Facebook manually, because I want the option to select which photo Facebook posts.)
You can load notifications to your personal page in Facebook, or you can set up a Fan page for your blog. You’ll need the Fan page if you want to enable visitors (to a WordPress blog) to click “like.” Keep in mind that only people who have “liked” your page will see posts you stream to that Facebook page. As a result, I chose to stream posts to my own personal Facebook page which has far more “friends.” (And, thus, I’ve not yet made good use of my Fan page.)
Jonathan Kennedy (the spouse of a Fulbright) clued me into the value of using Facebook “likes” to tag businesses and organizations you want to become more involved with in your new Fulbright home. I subsequently realized that I could increase interest in my blog by posting links on the Facebook pages of those businesses and organizations when I mention them in a post.
There are many good sources of help on line. For instance, WikiHow has a post about using social media to create interest in your blog. It recommends (and explains how) to:
- Interact with other blogs.
- Cross blog! (As in, posts links to your past blogs in your new blogs, which I frequently do.)
- Submit your posts and links to your blog on tools like forums, discovery engines, peer-sourced news feeds and social networking sites.
- Write great headlines and subject lines.
- Step back and analyze your blog as objectively as possible.
- Stay consistent. (As in, post frequently.)
Regarding search engine optimization, WikiHow discusses:
- Research “Search Engine Optimization” which is also known as SEO.
- Consider manipulating your content to include more key words.
- Link to popular blogs you like and websites relevant to your topic.
In signing out, I’ll mention one last, critical point about Fulbright blogging:
It goes without saying that in everything you do as a Fulbright, and particularly on the on the Internet, you’re a cultural envoy. Your job as a Fulbright is to facilitate and grow cultural understanding and respect. That means, of course, that you need to consider what you post from multiple perspectives and stay positive in what you post about your hosts.