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Blog writing

This section provides information about best practices for writing blogs. It offers helpful tips and information about creating blog posts for City websites.

Blog planning tips

Keep in mind how your blog content advances the department’s mission and goals. Blogs should reinforce information that is already made public.

Remember that blog posts:

  • Are social.
  • Have personality and use more informal language.
  • Use tone that aligns with the department but that is always friendly and professional.
  • Are often get written in the first person.
  • Don’t serve to update existing site content (which should be updated on the website itself).

Before you start, you’ll need:

  • A snappy headline that makes the reader interested.

  • A purpose statement that includes the blog’s intended audience. Example: This blog will get parents of school-age children to visit our page about City summer camps and sign their children up.

  • A compelling image with appropriate attribution listing the source. Images should be a minimum of 1000px wide by 700px tall.

  • A call to action. Many blogs engage readers by asking them to do something (go to an event, click on a link to sign up to something, learn more about the topic).

  • Contact information. Make sure that you double-check your information for accuracy!

Formatting is important.

  • Length: 300–500 words. Blog posts should be short enough to read through easily.

  • Use headings and lists to break the content into easy-to-digest chunks.

  • Include a short description of your blog. This description will show up in search results. Descriptions are required and limited to 140 characters.

  • Write alt text for any image descriptions for accessibility.

A step-by-step process

  1. Identify your specific audience.

  2. Generate the idea.

  3. Focus the idea into a purpose statement.

  4. Develop a great headline.

  5. Come up with an outline.

  6. Work with your Public Information Officer (PIO) to vet your idea and get permission to post.

  7. Receive approval for blog concept.

  8. Write the text, making sure that you fully understand the information and that you present that information in a clear, effective manner. Remember that your readers aren’t experts, so you should explain unfamiliar terms or concepts. Example: a sprayground—a playground with sprinklers!

  9. Find compelling images.

  10. Proof for spelling and grammar. Use the content standards for punctuation, formatting and common usage.

  11. Check for plagiarism.

  12. FACT CHECK, FACT CHECK, FACT CHECK! Don’t assume that posted phone numbers are correct, name spellings are accurate, or dates and times provided are exact. Double-checking before the information is public is the best way to build authority and trust with our readers.

  13. Submit for final approval.

  14. If sharing on City social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), make sure that someone is monitoring the comments there. Please note that comments are turned OFF for all City blog posts.

Some common missteps to avoid:

  • Don’t make your blog too long: A wall of words is overwhelming. Readers will stop reading.

  • Don’t use jargon Do make sure you understand technical specifics of the department. Find a subject matter expert if you’re not sure about a topic, but then explain it in plain language that any reader will understand.

  • Don’t be all over the place! Keep it simple and focused on your purpose statement.

  • Don’t forget to spell out acronyms on first mention.

Here are some examples of effective blogs:

While the posts on this blog can be dense and a little long, the writers keep the focus on the reader and important issues they might need to know. They also break up the content with headings and use friendly language that fits with the personality of the organization.

This blog does what a blog is supposed to. It gives all kinds of visuals to guide the story, breaks up text under headings, and tries to always keep the information accessible to the reader.

We like this blog because it creates a sense of excitement, it has beautiful images, and it provides clear information in reader-friendly groupings.

This blog offers lots of helpful information presented through an easy-to-grasp list. It also provides contacts to more information.


Here are more helpful resources for creating great content.