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How-to: Add an image

According to wishpond, posts with visual content receive “94% more page visits and engagement than those without.”

Adding a photo to your blog post immediately makes it more appealing. As a general best practice, use at least one photo in every blog post.

Using the Add Media function

Place your cursor where you want the image to appear. Then select the Add Media button above the tool bar.

The Add Media button is located above the tool bar

Using the Media Gallery

This brings up the Media Gallery.

If you need to upload a photo, select the Upload Files tab and drag-and-drop your image into the media space.

Once your photo’s uploaded, select it. Be sure to fill out the following information:

  • Enter the alt text. (These are the words that text-only readers scan, used by anyone who’s not able to view the images.)
  • Select the alignment. (As a general best practice, text is justified to the left and images are aligned to the right.)
  • Select the size. (For most files, medium or large is the best size choice. Use your discretion.)
  • Insert into post.

A view of the media library in WordPress

 

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How-to: Format your blog post

The WordPress interface looks a lot like a standard word processing interface, and it offers many options. Having so many choices can be daunting, though, even for experienced bloggers.

This post provides instructions on using some of the handiest features, including:

  • Headings
  • Bullet points
  • Hyperlinks

Using headings

Digital readers want to scan for interesting content and consume it quickly. Breaking your content into chunks and using headings to categorize information will help readers consume your content.

Generally speaking, you should choose Heading 2 for your main content divisions. Any subdivisions can be grouped under Heading 3. Subdivisions of Heading 3 content can then be grouped under Heading 4.

Select headings from the WordPress Format menu

 

Adding bullet points

Using bullet points makes your blog content easier to consume.

As a general best practice, consider using bullet points any time you find yourself separating items or ideas with a series of commas. Event details (such as date, time and location) present another great opportunity to use bullet points.

The bullet point icon is part of the WordPress toolbar and looks much like the icon for bullet points in MS Word.

Use bullet points to help readers quickly consume information

Including hyperlinks

Hyperlinks help your readers find additional information that’s related to the topic of your blog post. Use hyperlinks to help direct readers to another piece of information you would like them to consume.

The clickable text that points readers to a hyperlinked webpage is called anchor text. Using strong anchor text creates a better reading experience and also has search engine optimization benefits.

For example, if I were writing a blog post about one student’s great internship experience and wanted to point readers to other internships we offer, I might link to an internships page using the anchor text “internships.”

The hyperlink icon looks like a chain link. Highlight your desired anchor text, and then select the hyperlink icon.

Add New Post ‹ University Blogs — WordPress_8

You’ll then have the opportunity to paste the appropriate Web address in the “insert/edit link” field.

The insert/edit link field is used for adding hyperlinks.

Successful formatting

WordPress offers many other formatting options — some you’ll recognize immediately. Feel free to develop your own style; just try to be consistent so that readers can readily understand how to consume your information.

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How-to: Get your post started

Sometimes the first step is the hardest.

The WordPress blogging interface offers many choices, which can make it daunting. Once you’ve logged into your blog’s dashboard, follow these steps to get your post started.

Getting a post started

From the WordPress dashboard screen, select Posts.

The WordPress dashboard

 

This will lead you to the Posts view. From there, select Add New.

From the Posts view, select Add New

 

This will bring up the content portion of a new post, which is similar to a standard word processing interface. Enter your post’s title and begin typing the body content.

The title field and content field of the WordPress administrative interface

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October blogging inspiration: Getting inspired to fight blog block!

MayanovicWe know some of you struggle with blog block, but this month should be simple. In September, the latest edition of Mind’s Eye was published, and it can be your inspiration for this month’s blog post.

Mind’s Eye shares the breadth and depth of research of Missouri State’s amazing faculty. With a focus on including diverse interests from a variety of disciplines, we highlight the work these researchers do – without the jargon. This helps to show the reader just how much this research can impact the world. We want to give the reader a feel for who the researcher is, too, so we select quotes that give more personality to the subject – humanizing the researcher, and making them approachable. In addition to that, we try to tell the stories through photography that lets the reader feel like they are in the field, too.

How to write this month’s post

  1. Share – If your department has a faculty member included in the publication, repost their story, share their video or offer congratulations. Not everyone who reads your blog has seen the publication or website.
  2. Write – Find a faculty, staff or student that has a unique area of interest – and write about it in non-technical terms to make it accessible to your readers (or post a brief video about it).
  3. Show – Go on site with the person you want to profile and take pictures, then, let the pictures do the talking.

Talking ‘bout my inspirationTRAIN

Check out the marketing department’s blog! This post focuses on one student in an upbeat video, and it’s a great example of how you can quickly highlight unique stories from your area.

Mark your calendar

  • Homecoming! It’s this weekend – can you believe it? If your office, department, college or unit is doing something special to welcome back alumni, make sure to share it on your blog.
  • Public Affairs Convocation is Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. Encourage your students, faculty and staff to come and be inspired by Eric Greitens, author, humanitarian, veteran and founder of nonprofit The Mission Continues.
  • Stomp Out Hunger is going on right now – encourage everyone to donate shoes. It’s a great way to live the public affairs mission!
  • Veteran’s Day is Nov. 11, and Missouri State takes pride in honoring veterans on our campus through a number of events.

Points of pride

Across campus, there is great pride in the depth and breadth of research of faculty and students, and one way we highlight this incredible expertise is through Mind’s Eye. Take a look and get inspired – there are so many stories to tell!

Need assistance?Dr. Wenping Qiu

Consider joining us for Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World on Oct. 28. Uncover users’ expectations for your website, blog and social media and get tips for communicating throughout the Web. This interactive workshop focuses on strategies for creating and distributing content and will help you take your online communications to the next level.

You might also want to check out these tutorials to improve your blogging.

 

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How-to: Use photos ethically and effectively

People lining up to have their photos takenIt’s important to include visual content (such as photos and videos) in your blog posts, and doing so is the fastest way to amp up your blog’s engagement.

But there are stumbling blocks on the road to visual content bliss; a few of them are addressed below.

Where can I get good photos?

There are many sources where you can obtain photos and videos legally.

Free sources

Paid sources

Not a source

Never use an image you find through a basic Google image search or any other photo, video or song you don’t have written permission to use. (Someone somewhere owns that content.)

Which photos are the appropriate quality for my blog?

Professional photos aren’t necessary for your blog or social media accounts. Feel free to use images you took on your phone or tablet. Blog readers appreciate immediacy and authenticity, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.

One tip: Photos that feature engaged people or unusual details tend to be the most appealing for blog or social media distribution.

What about privacy? Do I need people’s permission to share pictures of them?

In most cases, yes. Obtain written permission to use the following:

  • Any image, voice, video or likeness containing identifiable human subjects (including students, University employees or non-University people)
  • Audio or video recordings of lectures or other presentations require written permission from the speakers
  • Images or video of someone else’s intellectual property such as artwork, writing, music, etc. require permission from the owner (more on intellectual property and copyright guidelines)

You don’t need written permission for someone’s likeness in a situation where that person wouldn’t have an expectation of privacy, such as:

  • When the photo or video is of a large group or crowd at an event or game
  • When the photo or video’s focal point is a building or non-human subject

When in doubt, obtain written permission. For convenience, the office of photographic services supplies a likeness release form.

For more on these guidelines, see the office of Web and new media’s policy.

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September blogging inspiration: Time to Go Maroon!

With the fall semester in full swing, it’s the perfect time to promote Missouri State’s environment and culture on your blog. Going maroon can mean participating in extracurricular events, sharing academic achievements, celebrating Missouri State’s public affairs mission or enjoying our beautiful campus.

5 ways your blog can Go Maroon

  1. Family weekend is Sept. 12 – Sept. 14. Does your program or unit have a unique resource or tradition you’d like students to share with their families? Use your blog to let them know about it.
  2. Public Affairs Week is Sept. 15 – Sept. 19, and it features an exciting schedule of events — all developed by and for students.Avenue of Flags in honor of Public Affairs Week Are any of your students involved? Consider soliciting a guest blog post from one, and take advantage of the Public Affairs Week social media kit to help promote this event.
  3. Showcase is Sept. 27. Prospective students will be on campus, and there’s a good chance that they will follow up by checking out your blog. It’s a great time to highlight students, faculty, alumni or opportunities that make your program stand out.
  4. This year’s Common Reader is The Heart and the Fist. Consider gathering a few reactions from students, faculty and staff who are reading it; share their quotes on your blog.
  5. Exciting updates have been completed on facilities throughout campus — from Plaster Student Union to Glass Hall and many other locations. Has your program or unit benefited from one of these improvements? Post about it on your blog; be sure to share photos!

 4 points of pride

  • The Football Bears get their first kick-off in the renovated Plaster Stadium this Saturday. This video will bring you up to speed on how to support them.

  • The new Center for Community Engagement, which will advance the University’s involvement in local, statewide and regional efforts, kicks off with the Conference on Civic Engagement, Sept. 17.
  • Bear Country at the Dickerson Park Zoo — now sponsored by the Missouri State Foundation, Alumni Association and Student Government Association — will be dedicated on Sept. 27.
  • Green Revolution, a Smithsonian traveling “eco-zibit” currently at the Discovery Center, is co-sponsored by MSU’s College of Natural and Applied Sciences. This hands-on learning experience focuses on waste, gardening and green engineering and runs from Sept. 9 – Jan. 4. Members of the Missouri State community will enjoy a free day on Oct. 1.

3 resources to help you Go Maroon

2 free training opportunities

  • Social Media 101 on Sept. 30 – Learn about the most popular social media platforms. Get demographic information and content considerations along with some best practice tips for all platforms. If you’re considering how to dive in to social media or wondering if you should add another platform to your communication strategy, you’ll enjoy this introductory-level information session.
  • Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World on Oct. 28 – Uncover users’ expectations for your website, blog and social media and get tips for communicating throughout the Web. This interactive workshop focuses on strategies for creating and distributing content and will help you take your online communications to the next level.

1 to watch: Missouri State Family Association

Research indicates that many of today’s students are very close to their parents, and the separation that can accompany college mayMissouri State students enjoying campus with their families prove challenging. The Missouri State Family Association helps families stay connected to their students. Its active blog and social media not only keep families updated, they provide new conversation topics for parents who’ve already exhausted, “How’re classes going?”

Like what the Family Association is doing? Remember that families might be following your blog as well, hoping for an inside look at the student experience. Reward that interest with frequent updates, and use your blog to celebrate student victories of all sizes.

Latest technical tips

Amp up your communication strategy by following blogging how-to tips like the ones below:

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How-to: Build an editorial calendar

At times, finding content to share on your social media accounts can feel like either Calendar feast or famine. An editorial calendar provides a mechanism for both spreading out your posts and coordinating event promotion across multiple accounts and weeks.

Benefits of an editorial calendar

Editorial calendars help you develop a content strategy for your social media platforms, email marketing, blogs and more. Using an editorial calendar will:

  • Save time by lessening how long you spend searching out new content each day
  • Help you discover new opportunities
  • Allow you to maximize content by repurposing it across platforms
  • Allow you to build upon current trends

Building an editorial calendar

There is no right or wrong way to format an editorial calendar. Spreadsheets are a great option when coordinating across multiple platforms potentially managed by different people. A tabular or calendar format is a more visual way to organize your posts and can be easily referenced. At other times, a simple text document with dates and times can be sufficient.

Regardless of how you format your calendar, here are some steps to get you started:

  • Account for how many times per day or week you will post
  • Account for all your platforms
  • Identify key “anchor” events in your area, including any ticket or registration deadlines
  • Work in national holidays, seasonal activities and more
  • Review the master calendar for major University events and activities
  • Note any relevant hashtags

Template editorial calendars

Get started today on building an editorial calendar for your social media platforms by using one of our templates:

Originally posted by Jessica Clements to the Web and new media blog

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August blogging inspiration: Welcome back, Bears!

students with boomerIt’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. Soon, students – new and old alike – will be arriving back on campus. Welcome them back to campus through a blog post featuring your student organizations, back-to-school events and more.

This month’s inspiration: Welcome Weekend

Welcome Weekend 2014 introduces new Bears to campus life and welcomes returning students back to campus. Highlights of the weekend include Friday night’s Playfair, Saturday night’s Bear Bash and Sunday’s afternoon lineup of New Student Convocation, Bear Path and New Student Festival.

In your back-to-school blog post, you can:

  • Highlight your area’s student organizations
  • Recommend a Welcome Weekend event to attend
  • Preview changes in your unit – construction updates, a new class, new faculty and more
  • Promote informational meetings in your area
  • Recommend campus resources to help new majors

Resources and tips: Be social

Thing to know: MSU Mobile

Missouri State’s mobile app includes a special section with a Welcome Weekend schedule of events, move-in map, packing details and more. Download MSU Mobile for iOS and Android to access these resources and more:

  • Campus map
  • Bear Line tracking
  • Class schedule
  • Calendar of events
  • Activity stream

Be inspired: The power of a first-person perspective

Explore how to develop a first-person perspective in your writing with Meet Content’s recent blog post.

Upcoming dates

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Summer blogging inspiration: Share the blog

FireworksIt’s summertime, and your blog can help you catch some of that search-engine sunshine! Right now is a great time to build a strategy for your blog and plan how to keep it updated and fresh all year long.

Invite a guest contributor

You’re going on vacation but you don’t want the blog to rest, do you? Schedule a post for while you’re gone, or ask a guest writer to contribute to your blog.

A new point of view might add an interesting perspective. Reach out to someone with a unique specialty. Send out a request for possible contributors – you may be surprised at the response.

Before handing over those reigns, give the contributor some tips about how you usually do things –

  • Do you use internal headings? How many?
  • What types of photos do you incorporate into your posts?
  • Include suggestions about using bullets and hyperlinks for greater clarity.
  • Point them to the Web and new media blogging site for more tips and tricks.

Having guest contributors can work year round; just consider what level of access each person should have to your blog. You can request changes to author and editor permissions by visiting the blogs site.

Teacher and student collaborating at computersTopics for summer

If you or the contributors are struggling for content in the summer, consider:

  • Introducing new faculty/staff/graduate assistants for the new academic year
  • Explaining some of the research/publication projects that have been keeping faculty busy
  • Asking for feedback on programs, facilities, specific course work and seeing if change is feasible
  • Talking about the impact of a recent alumni
  • Probing into how your subject area touches the community or the world

Blogging tip: Media resources

Adding great photos and videos to your blog posts can make your posts more visually appealing especially when viewing on handheld devices (no one likes reading heavy text on a small screen). Tell your stories through photos (cell phone shots work great on a blog). If you need a picture quick, visit the Marketing Toolkit.

Points of prideWriting on desk

Feel proud of all you do for the campus community! This summer, consider highlighting:

  • The number of students who are participating in an internship this summer
  • The percentage of recent graduates who have gone on to graduate work
  • The types of great jobs your recent graduates received

Upcoming dates

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How-to: Schedule a blog post

Make the most of your blogging time

Make blogging even easier by writing posts whenever you have time and scheduling them to publish at a later date. It’s easy, and here’s how you do it:

In the Publish box of the WordPress interface, click Edit (to the right of Publish immediately).

Schedule 1

An editable field for date and time will appear. Set it to the date and time you’d like to publish your post. Keep in mind that WordPress functions on a 24-hour clock (a.k.a. “military time”).

schedule 2

Once you click OK, the blue Publish button will become a Schedule button. Click the Schedule button to save your choice. This will set your post to publish at the time you selected.

Schedule 3

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