Welcome to the final step in our free self-paced course to help you set up your own personal or professional educator blog!
The aim of this step is to go through four things you can do to share and market your blog. We will look at:
- Making posts ‘shareable’
- Using social media
- Using email subscriptions
- Being an audience
Why Sharing And Marketing Your Blog Applies To Everyone
There are many benefits to blogging just for yourself. Blogging is a fantastic way to reflect and develop your thinking.
As Clive Thompson stated in Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better,
Professional writers have long described the way that the act of writing forces them to distill their vague notions into clear ideas. By putting half-formed thoughts on the page, we externalize them and are able to evaluate them much more objectively. This is why writers often find that it’s only when they start writing that they figure out what they want to say.
Despite this being the case, you can really amplify the benefits of blogging by building an audience.
Clive Thompson explains,
…studies have found that particularly when it comes to analytic or critical thought, the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to think more precisely, make deeper connections, and learn more.
Building an audience also means expanding your PLN; there are countless benefits to building a strong network as we explore in our PLN Teacher Challenge course.
So we know there are benefits to having an audience for your blog, but building an audience does take work and it requires you to share and market your posts.
With the rise of the ‘edupreneur’ some teachers are using blogging for financial benefit, however, we’ll be focusing on sharing and marketing for the non-professional teacher blogger who’s interesting in connecting and learning with others.
You might have put together a fantastic blog post and felt satisfied as you hit the publish button, but your job is not done. People won’t know about your post if you don’t share it.
Standing out in a blogosphere populated by millions of people can take work.
Fortunately, there are some simple strategies to help ensure your blog post gets an audience.
Blogging is not like writing a high school essay. A long chunk of text on a page is just not going to appeal to your potential audience. They’ll move on.
The first thing you need to do is look at your styling and post layout because let’s face it; people aren’t going to share your post if the content was too difficult to even read.
Our post 10 Tips For Making Your Blog Posts Easier To Read will help.
The Power Of Visuals
We know how powerful visuals are! A Hubspot article tells us,
Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.
Studies have shown that visitors to your blog will probably only read about 20% of your post. People generally scroll through and skim posts. Images give people a reason to stop scrolling.
Through an image, people may be more likely to take in your content and share it with others.
What Sort Of Visuals Can You Make For Blog Posts?
Let’s explore three popular additions to blog posts — social media graphics, infographics, and quotes.
Bloggers often create a graphic to accompany their blog post which makes a social media post stand out. It’s generally just the title of the blog post with an image and the blog URL — perhaps with blogger’s name or social media handle too.
Whenever we create a new post on The Edublogger, we create a simple graphic to go with it. For example:
There are certain size dimensions that are ideal for different social media platforms as outlined here by Louise M. (Don’t worry, the tools we’re going to show you generate the correct size automatically).
An infographic can be a great way to summarize information or data and make posts more shareable. The 10 Ways To Make You Blog Posts Easier To Read visual above is an example of an infographic that acts like a ‘cheat sheet’.
Here is another example we prepared for International Dot Day. This sort of thing can really help the time-poor reader.
Quotes can be powerful additions to blog posts. They can offer a burst of insightful learning and back up your own thoughts.
In our post on The Edublogger about quotes, we outlined different ways you can use quotes and make your quotes into shareable graphics.
You wouldn’t want to make every quote into a graphic but it can certainly give your readers something else to focus on and share.
A quote graphic might display the words over an image, pattern, or a block color.
There are many different ways you can make the sorts of visuals we described above.
There are a number of offline tools available, such as Adobe Photoshop or Indesign, however, online tools are more popular than ever. A lot of these tools are based on templates, so you don’t even need design skills.
Just some online tools for making visuals include:
- Canva (solid free plan with paid options — see below)
- Adobe Spark (free for teachers and students)
- Stencil (free plan allows for 10 creations per month)
- Snappa (free plan allows for 5 creations per month)
- Pablo (free tool from Buffer)
- Piktochart (free for basic plan with watermark)
Canva tips and information
Canva is certainly one of the most popular tools for bloggers.
- The free plan allows you to make unlimited creations and download them in high quality without watermarks.
- The paid plan just gives you access to more templates, images, and icons etc. It also allows you to resize your design without starting again.
- Check out Canva’s Quick Start Guide for more information.
- There are some handy tips in Canva’s article on creating graphics for your teacher blog.
- Canva uses a drag and drop interface which is very simple to use but like all tools, does require a little bit of playing around to develop fluency. It’s worth the investment in time!
Get an idea on how to use Canva in less than two minutes in this video.
2) Use Social Media
A lot of people who might be interested in your blog posts are hanging out on social media. You want to strategically share your content on social media and make it easy for others to share as well.
There are a few things to keep in mind when sharing your own blog posts on social media
Consider your platform(s)
Teachers are active on different platforms — Twitter has traditionally been very popular with teachers (if you’re new to Twitter you can find out more information here). There are also a large number of teachers active on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn etc.
You don’t have to be sharing on every platform. Using one or two social media platforms well can be a more successful approach than spreading yourself thin across different networks.
Tailor your message
If you are going to share your posts across various social media platforms, tailor your message to cater to the different audiences and the different ways the platforms are used.
For example, Instagram and Twitter use hashtags more than Facebook. Pinterest tends to center around larger ‘shareable’ images. Twitter has a 280 character limit whereas Facebook allows you to write lengthier posts.
Keep these sorts of details in mind if you’re going to cross-promote your posts. Copying and pasting may not be the best approach.
Repeat, but don’t overdo it
Just because you post something on social media, doesn’t mean it will be widely seen. You might need to post a variation of the message a number of times.
Repeating the same message without variation is not a good idea and is against the rules with some social media channels. On Twitter posting ‘duplicative or substantially similar content’ is not allowed.
Make your posts stand out!
We know that each social media platform has its own best practices for formatting updates. Let’s focus on Twitter for a moment and take a look at the sorts of tweets that are more likely to stand out.
You can just share the title of your post and the link but is this really going to be noticed in a busy stream of tweets?
Compare these two tweets about the same post and consider which one would stand out more…
Images, emojis, quotes, summaries of information, GIFs, videos etc. can all help to make a tweet stand out and encourage others to read it, share it, and/or click on the link to the post.
It’s ideal if people who are reading your posts share it with others. This can be a great way to find new audience members.
AddThis is a handy plugin for your blog that adds a social share button to every post and page.
You can add a range of buttons above and/or below your posts that readers can click on to share in a variety of ways.
You can choose to display these buttons in different ways.
You can also add the Social Share widget to your blog sidebar so visitors can share your blog with others.
Check out our help guide for more instructions on setting up AddThis.
Jetpack is a powerful plugin that adds several different features and tools to your blog, some of these make it easier for others to share your posts.
Once you’ve activated Jetpack, you might like to activate:
- Publicize: Makes it easy to share your posts on social networks automatically when you publish a new post. Learn more.
- Sharing: Enables you to add sharing buttons to your posts so that your readers can easily share your content on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks. Learn more.
Check out our help guide for more instructions on setting up Jetpack.
3) Use Email Subscriptions
Traditionally, people would subscribe to get email notifications of new posts on blogs they enjoy reading. This is still the case, however, things have changed a little.
When we did a quick poll of our Edublogs community in July 2018, 61% of respondents indicated that their favorite way to keep up to date with the blogs they like to read is via social media.
People are getting more emails than ever before so perhaps are becoming more selective with what subscriptions they sign up for. Other than that, perhaps individuals are becoming more satisfied with consuming information serendipitously (there are no guarantees they’ll see posts on social media).
This is all speculation so do tell us what you think in a comment!
How To Make An Email Subscription
It’s definitely a good idea to have some sort of option available for readers who would like to subscribe to your blog via email.
This might be via a simple email subscription widget on the sidebar of your blog. In this case, subscribers receive an email automatically to alert them to new posts.
Find out how to activate the email subscription widget here.
The alternative which is becoming increasingly common for bloggers is to use an email service provider.
There are many email service providers out there and many are free to use until you reach a certain number of subscribers. If you’re interested in comparing different email service providers, check out this guide from ProBlogger.
When you use an email service provider, you can either:
- Automatically send out emails to people on your list when a new post is published.
- Create a personal email to your email list telling them about your new post(s). Generally, you might give an introduction to the post and ask them to click to visit your blog and read your post. You might send this out every time you publish a new post or at regular intervals (weekly, monthly etc.).
MailChimp Tips And Information
One of the most popular email service providers is MailChimp.
- It is free to use up to 2000 subscribers.
- MailChimp uses a simple drag and drop editor and offers a range of different templates for the design of your newsletter.
- There are also different options for creating sign-up forms. You’ll probably want a sign-up form on the sidebar of your blog but you might also include it at the bottom of your blog posts, in a page on your blog, or as a ‘landing page’ that you can share on social media.
Check out the Getting Started With MailChimp guide for more information.
4) Be An Audience
Our final tip is a simple one that’s often overlooked: If you want to have an audience you need to be an audience as well.
This might involve:
- Subscribing to some blogs you like via email or RSS (e.g. Feedly). Or, following bloggers on social media
- Sharing blog posts that resonate with you on social media; support other bloggers
- Leave comments on posts that you enjoyed, leave you curious, or challenge your thinking
Rather than being a passive reader, try to find a way to be active in your approach to really support others in your community (e.g. sharing, commenting, connecting).
Follow this approach in an authentic way and show genuine interest in others. Apart from learning a lot and building your PLN, you might find your audience begins to build naturally as well.
Conclusion: Blogging Is Worth It!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Teacher Challenge Course on personal blogging. Building your own personal blog takes patience and a commitment to stick with it. Remember, the rewards will be worth it!
As George Couros said as he reflected on his 8 years of blogging,
Blogging has helped my learning grow significantly because I have done it consistently for myself, not necessarily for an audience. Knowing an audience is there though, has made me think a lot deeper about what I share though, and it helps me create a “360 Degree View” of my learning; I do my best to focus on all angles of what I am sharing before I share it.
Dean Shareski has also boldly stated,
I’ve yet to hear anyone who has stuck with blogging suggest it’s been anything less than essential to their growth and improvement. I’ve no “data” to prove this but I’m willing to bet my golf clubs that teachers who blog are our best teachers.
We think so too.
Choose one or more of these tasks to complete the final step in this course.
1. Leave a comment on this post about your blogging journey so far or future goals. Or, if you prefer, you can write a blog post and leave the link so we can take a look.
- Think about where you are on your blogging journey, what you’ve learned, and where you’d like to go.
- You might like to write down a short-term goal (what you’d like to work on next) and a long-term goal (what you’d like to work on eventually).
2. Try out one or more of the methods we’ve described above to share and market your blog. Maybe you’ll set up an email subscription, be an audience for someone else, try making visuals for your posts etc. Leave a comment to tell us about what you did. If you prefer, you can write a blog post and leave the link so we can take a look.
Personal Blogging Course Certificate
Have you completed each of the 10 steps in this course AND left a comment on each post? Maybe you’d like a certificate to show that you’ve completed the Personal Blogging Teacher Challenge course!
Fill out the form below to receive your certificate via email. Alternatively, click here to open the form in a new tab.
If you don’t receive your certificate, please look in your junk/spam folder.
Claim Your Badge!
If you’ve completed the Personal Blogging challenge, feel free to proudly display this badge on the sidebar of your blog. Alternatively, you might like to add it to your About page to demonstrate your professional learning.
Simply right click on the image and save it to your computer. Then add it to your sidebar by following these instructions.
We’re so happy to have you as part of our Teacher Challenge community!