• Social Media Training Guides: Growing a Blog Presence

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    December 11, 2013

    In 2013, NACE introduced a series of "train the trainer" guides for career services practitioners to use to help college students use different social media effectively in their job searches. Following is an excerpt of the "Career Counselor's Guide to Blogging ,” by Kevin Grubb, an assistant director at the career center of Villanova University; Shannon Kelly, associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania; and Megan Wolleben, assistant director at the Bucknell University Career Development Center. The "Career Counselor's Guides to Social Media in the Job Search" are available at www.naceweb.org/knowledge/social-media/career-counselors-guide.aspx.

    When done strategically, blogging can offer students a unique way to network and connect with others. Most blogging platforms (Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr) have easy ways to interact, which can prove useful in making connections and building one’s network. Blogs allow students the opportunity to follow professionals and professional blogs, and build connections by reblogging, liking, and commenting on others’ content.

    Your Own Blog
    To grow their blog presence, students should encourage interaction, make commenting and following easy, and get social.

    • Encouraging interaction—Within posts, students should encourage interaction and get people talking on their blog. Students can ask readers to add their comments, feedback, or responses to various posts. It would be good to suggest that they respond to people's contributions to help build a community.
    • Commenting—Students will want to make sure that they are writing about things that get people talking and that it is easy for others to comment. Students should also comment on blog posts or articles of others when relevant to their interests or personal blog topics. Most of all, advise students to be positive online with their comments. There is often heavy criticism and sometimes negativity in blog comments, and it’s best not to go far down that path.
    • Following—Make sure students provide an easy way for people to follow their blog, even if it's just links to the RSS feed. And most importantly, remind them to add in other social media so that readers could follow them on other social media, too.
    • Getting social—Connecting posts with other social media will amplify the reach of each post and draw in new followers, making for potential new connections. Remind students to test everything first and make sure they know how the automatic updates and tweets will look so they are happy with the way things are being posted.
    • Link to other, credible sources—Encourage students to link to other, credible sources and blogs when they write posts. The authors of those posts will notice this link, and may be more inclined to comment or connect with the student.

    Guest Posting and Contributing
    If students are unsure whether blogging on their own is feasible, encourage them to seek out guest post opportunities. Guest posting on other blogs can also help grow a network and help one be seen as an expert without the full commitment of a blog. This is a great way for a student to try out blogging and see if it is right for them. It also offers opportunities to network with those who comment, like, or repost the contribution.

    To find guest posting opportunities, students should check their LinkedIn groups for posted opportunities or approach someone they know who has a blog. Does a favorite professor blog? Perhaps a mentor or family friend blogs, too. Students can also check Twitter for posted opportunities. Many sites, such as The Daily Muse and The Huffington Post, are populated by guest bloggers or regular contributors. Students may be surprised that websites and blogs they read often welcome contributions from guests.

    If students have blogs of their own, it may be valuable for them to ask for guest posts of their own. Bringing in a new author may also bring in new readers. The author of the guest post will likely spread the word about the blog once it is posted. For some students, especially those in a close-knit group of friends, another option to consider is a group blog with numerous authors. If the group can create a shared vision and manage the posting schedule as not to overlap, that could be an excellent way to get started blogging and boost each other’s visibility.

    Do you want to grow your own blog presence? Do so by sharing your insight and ideas on the NACE Blog by contacting Claudia Allen at callen@naceweb.org.