Write a Blog That’s Timely

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October 14, 2015 by Kathryn Kuttis


Helen and Ada fly United flight from Eugene to Denver to NYC.

One of the best ways to grab attention in the blogosphere is to write about something that’s timely.

For most people, that means stuff that’s happening right now. Readers tend to prioritize anything that’s relevant or new. With so much to read, who wants to spend time looking at last week’s information?

Communications people are notorious for wanting to know things first. That’s why public relations professionals and reporters use Twitter more than anyone else. It’s about what’s happening right now.  You can draw readers to your blog with headlines that connect to trends or stories in the news.

Let’s say I want to write a blog post about air travel. To drive interest in my post, I could mention a recent article that appeared in the NYTs business section titled, United’s Chief Says Airline Must Improve. This article appeared in Sunday’s paper and has people talking about why the company is viewed by travelers with such distain. Newspapers across the country are writing about United’s new CEO and his attempts to fix air travel. It helps to link your blog post to a relevant conversation that is already taking place on the national media stage. Readers can intuit context and build associations that deepen the meaning of what you are trying to tell them. And don’t forget to include an appropriately cute photo of your kids (pets work too).

Media relations professionals use news trends to earn coverage for clients all the time. In fact, they even coined a term for it: news jacking. Like most writing, it’s an art form. The trick is to be authentic. Don’t suggest a connection where there isn’t one. Use research to find news stories and create associations that enhance your storytelling and engage your reader. As a blogger, you can build your audience by curating the massive amounts of news and data available on the internet into relevant and logical blog posts.

As students in J452 blog their way through the term, I’ll compile a list of links (or news kernels) that pull trends and issues from news headlines. Students will need to incorporate at least one of these into their blog post for the week. For more information about the course and a full description of the blogging assignment look here.

Here are the media kernels for this week:

Infographic: Emojis Are Becoming a Preferred Communication Tool Across Demographics (AdWeek) How are these simple images changing the way we communicate? (credit to Kelli Matthews for finding this article).

Jennifer Lawrence Speaks Out On Making Less Than Male Co-Stars (Forbes) Are celebrities at the forefront of social change or is it their PR team?

Mark Bittman’s Departure from the Times Puts Food Writing into Perspective(ajc.com) Bittman argues that the culture has undergone a fundamental shift when it comes to food. He says that what we eat is not simply a matter of taste, but a reflection of the social and economic choices available.

USC’s Pat Haden vows to do better in wake of Steve Sarkisian’s firing (LATimes) Could this have been handled differently? How does a sports franchise take care of its own and protect its reputation?

Technology may help improve Indiana’s weak civic engagement (nwitimes.com) Can game-based communication help drive enthusiasm for voting and civic participation?

VW Plans to Recover From Its Scandal by Going Electric (Wired) How well is VW doing with strategic communication efforts to address allegations and regain trust?

Fifa crisis: Prince Ali says do not delay presidential election (BBC) If you’re going to blog about this story, don’t miss an opportunity to link with John Oliver’s coverage on ThisWeekTonight. Reader’s (like students) love to see video coverage.

The Biggest Festivals In America, by US State (Digitalmusicnews)  How did they become big business? Which festivals reign supreme and how do they hold on to their success in an increasingly congested market?

NHL, college hockey are back and bringing big names with them (ESPN) Is this a good time to be a hockey fan? How does this reporter gain credibility with the audience? What are #TwitterBagSkate queries? Where does he see opportunity for the NHL where the NFL is failing?

Michelle Obama: Fortune’s Most Powerful Women show what educated women can do (Fortune) What are the key messages used in Michelle’s speech? How will he initiatives impact education in the US? Why do you think Fortune magazine sponsored this conference?

Singapore Airlines to Revive ‘World’s Longest Flight’ in 2018(cntraveler.com) Do you reserve flights for their scenic value of to get from place to place? How are airlines communicating with their audiences? What do travelers expect from these companies and how will they deliver innovation in the future?


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If you share an interest in public relations, media and visual design, this might be a good place for you to hang out. I started this blog to exchange ideas with my students at the University of Oregon. They keep me (and maybe you too) at the forefront of social media, visual communication and career development. Here you'll find our best ideas, links and learning as we write, create and blog our way through a course on Strategic PR Communication.

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