Tips for blogging about science

byLynne Smit
Jan 26, 2012 in Specialized Topics

For a science journalist, a blog can serve a number of purposes. It can be a way for you to publish some of the interesting information you have gathered for your story in a different way.

If you are a broadcast journalist, your personal blog may be a way to find your voice in another medium. A blog can be a way for you to build a community around your work or the issues that you feel passionate about. It can also enhance your reputation as a science journalist and drive traffic to your ‘day job' work. It is all about adding value and broadening the story.

Here are a few pointers for blogging.

  • The first rule of blogging is that it should be fun. If you are not enjoying it, then don't bother.

  • Keep it up! You need to post at least once a week to keep your blog active and your audience happy. Why not create a posting schedule, where you set aside a specific time for blog writing.

  • Know what you want to say. Have a brainstorm session and write down at least 25 blog ideas before you start.

  • Keep it short and sweet. Try to keep the posts at around 300 words long, and almost never more than 1000.

  • Make it accessible and easy to read. Use pictures and lists and bullet points to break up the text.

  • Links are important. Use links to explain complex terms or to point to other research or to broaden the story by pointing to other conversations on the same subject.

  • Keep it conversational and lighter in tone than you may use in your normal publication.

  • Keep it topical and relevant. If your blog is furthering your work as a science journalist, don't include details about your church camp or your latest squeeze.

  • Write posts in advance: This helps for when you are stuck for a topic or going on holiday or too busy. Most blog sites allow you to pre-schedule your posts.

  • Don't be shy. Tell everyone about your blog. Put the address on your email signature, on your business cards and if possible mention it in your stories.

  • Comment on other people's blogs: people will see your comments and click the link to find out more about you.

  • Link to other blogs: When other bloggers see you've linked to them, they'll check you out — and may link back.

  • Write a guest post, and invite others to write for you.

  • Write great content: nobody will want to read it if it is badly written or boring.

You can read more about science writing and social media in the online science journalism course of the World Federation of Science Journalists. All 10 lessons are available for free online in English, Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Turkish.