We love hearing more about your research and the exciting activities you attend. However, we realise that writing a blog may seem a little daunting or unfamiliar. Below is some guidance we have put together to help you in thinking about how to go about writing a blog for the HSA website. Please note that you need to be a member of the HSA to publish a blog on our website – this is just one of the many benefits of membership.
To date our blogs have fallen into one of these categories:
- A taster of a piece of research which may or may not include data analysis
- Reflections on events such as seminars or conferences
- Think pieces about current events or research interests
- Co-blogs – jointly written blogs between an early career researcher and a more established researcher.
- Book or network launches
In terms of a word count, aim for around 800 words. However more recently we have also been trialling ‘long-reads’ which allow for more in-depth discussions. Typically, these long-reads can be up to 1200 words and we are happy to consider them if there is a good justification for it.
When sending us a blog:
- Provide a good eye-catching title
- Make sure to also send us a sentence or two about who you are and the research you do. If there is more than one author then please send these details for each person.
- Include your Twitter handle if you have one.
- If you would like to send a photo of yourself or one that represents your research, please feel free. This may also catch the reader’s eye more. Just make sure you have permission to use the photo.
- Get to the point – start with the latest events, what we learned, implications or conclusions. Don’t write chronologically, starting at the beginning and only getting to what’s new in the penultimate paragraph.
- Battle for the reader’s attention, from the opening sentence. It is said that a writer loses 10% of their audience with every paragraph. Why should they read on? Make sure the important elements are included early on and make every word count.
- Use plain English. Get a feel for the informal – how you might explain the topic to a non-specialist friend in the pub, rather than apply for a loan from the bank manager.
- Make sure your piece answers more questions than it poses to the reader: the key questions of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and sometimes How.
- The reader does not know the subject like you do. Explain (or avoid) technical terms. Don’t assume the reader understands abstract or complex concepts, but that they will once they are explained to them.
- Look at previous examples from HSA for a guide, or other blog sites such as the Conversation
If would like to write a blog for the HSA website, we are always looking for new additions. We welcome blogs from any of our members, including those working across academia, policy and/or practice. Additionally, we are also keen to trial other types of blogs so please let us know if you have any other suggestions for blog categories. If you have any questions or are eager to get started on a blog post please get in touch with our Communications Officer and/or our Communications Assistant. You should check the committee page to find out who currently holds these roles. We look forward to hearing from you!