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The Online-Megaphone: The How-To’s of Student Blogging

Katja Mayer 25.10.2012
Whether scientific papers, theses, dissertations, or term papers – students are faced with numerous academic papers throughout their student life. We already gave you tips on how you can profit through communication orposition yourself as an expert. 

Today we will go a step further and talk about blogging and why students should cultivate a writing habit and start blogging alongside their studies. The time and energy thus invested will pay off not only during the studies but also later during the job search – if you take up blogging seriously, i.e., and use it to consolidate your own online brand.

A consistently updated blog with good quality content will go a long way to create a sustainable online reputation. Paired with a good SEO-Strategy, this will not go unnoticed by potential employers either. In this way, a blog could aid your future job search.

Questions to ask yourself beforehand

Loftikantin Jana Latzel

This article is not about the benefits of blogging during your job search, but about its effects during your studies. Of course, if you’re pursuing an academic career, this could be viewed as a pleasant side-effect.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you want to actively take up blogging and reap all its benefits:

  • What is the purpose of my blog?
  • Is there a particular theme or topic in my field that I find interesting enough to usefully write about?
  • Am I willing to regularly devote time to a blog alongside my studies?
  • Am I knowledgeable enough in my area to be able to draw the interest of experts in the field?
  • Can I write passionately about the subject?
  • Am I ready to accept different forms of critique, respond positively and have constructive discussions with the people on my blog?
  • How much time can I and will I set aside for blogging?

This is not a complete list, but it includes the most important questions that you should ask yourself before you take up blogging.

Blogging

If you are an infrequent blogger (at least one blog entry per week), each individual article can be lengthy and elaborate. In the scientific-blog world, this is usually no problem, as the audience is accustomed to reading long papers.

The longer your article, the more careful you must be about your blog-layout and writing style. Paragraphs make a text easier to read. Don’t underestimate the power of pictures and graphs. They draw the reader into your text, fill in the gaps in your text and convey extra information in a simplified way. In your blog, you should focus on comprehensibility to ensure a wider audience.

Whether you host your own blog or use one of the many available platforms (BloggerWordPress or Tumblr) is completely up to you. But if you value a high ranking in the Google search results (as you should!), you must choose a unique URL. It is also of utmost importance that you spread the word about your blog amongst your friends, colleagues, in social networks and if possible on alumni- and student forums present at your university or school. This check-list (see picture or download the PDF) covers the most important points that you should keep in mind after writing an article.

The Benefits

Being a serious blogger significantly increases your workload. Why should you invest all this time and effort at all? Simply because it improves your chances during the future job search, and blogging teaches you a lot that your teachers won't.  One the one hand, you practice writing and have a platform to experiment with different writing styles. On the other hand, you must have a thorough understanding of your field to be able to explain it to a public audience.

If your colleagues are actively reading your blog, their comments and discussions could deliver new insights and impulses that could benefit your studies. A successful blog can earn you a valuable reputation in academic circles.

 Happy Blogging :-)

 Video: Watch this video by Chris McCann, an American blogger.