After Cristina Rigutto’s informative seminar on post-publication digital engagement, we asked for her advice about blogging and how to increase our visibility online. Cristina reminded us that a key element of an academic’s profile is their digital footprint (including blogposts, Twitter feed, Instagram and webpages) – but to be effective in communicating your research online, you need people to find and follow you. We’ve all spent time trying to track people down online, sifting through a myriad of content – so how can you raise your profile to let people know you’re out there beavering away?
- You need to be found on Google, the best way to do this is to create a Google Scholar profile. The profile can include all your output, not just peer reviewed content.
- Put your presentations on Slideshare (one of the 10 most viewed sites in the world) it connects to Microsoft and LinkedIn.
- Set up a YouTube channel in your name.
- Wikipedia. – whilst Wikipedia is notoriously difficult to add content to you can easily insert a reference to your paper/ presentation into an existing page about your topic.
- WordPress – put all the information about yourself in one place that then links out to your Twitter profile, Instagram account, blog etc.
It may not be practical to utilise all of these but any one will bump you up the list and help people connect with you.
Tips for academic blogging
An increasing number of academics are using blogs to reach a wider audience and share their research in a more comprehensible way. However, a staggering 81% of people will only read your first paragraph (71% the second, 63% the third and 32% the fourth, you get the idea if you’ve read this far…).
So the opening paragraph needs to contain your key message and words (detail can follow in subsequent paragraphs):
- Keep to 300-750 words.
- Repeat key words and their synonyms.
- Use links inside the post including internal links to other posts.
- Use lists as often as possible (see what we did there!) – a search engine reads html tags and will place your post higher on the results page.
- Tweet a lot about the post – most people only catch a snapshot of the content on their twitter feeds, give your post a chance by shouting about it frequently!
- Send as a Direct Message to anyone who may be interested – you don’t need to ask them to share it, you can just ask their opinion and often they will share your content anyway.
So there you have it, once you’ve set up your digital presence it is relatively easy and not too time consuming to maintain, build it into the everyday activities you carry out as an academic!
Jane Wooster and Kate Turton