How to write a blog

The College of Social Sciences Blog gives academics from across the College a platform to provide expert commentary to everyday social issues and current affairs, linking to their research.

The Communications team are always seeking out content, contacting academics directly and issuing a weekly call for content via email (if you do not receive this, please contact the team). However, we actively look for new content and new voices for our platform.

Why write a blog?

Our blog has seen great success since its implementation. We routinely see over 2,500 reads per month, and many of our authors have been picked up in the press as experts from this additional visibility, leading to being quoted in articles, invited for interview, and authoring articles for other outlets.

It is also a great way to engage a lay audience who may not always find research accessible or may not even come by it in the first place.

Pitching an article

The types of articles we’re looking for are ones that explain, or have a different take on, news and current affairs, present interesting new research, or offer analysis of matters in the public interest. If you are interested in contributing a blog, please send the team a pitch in advance of a full article. This allows us to ensure the blog fits our style and, more importantly, we can explore further afield opportunities such as press outlets. Here are our top tips for a good pitch:

  • Focus on what you are planning to write about, including the overall crux of the story as well as key points you want to cover
  • Stick to under 200 words – this allows us to guide the story, narrow the focus, and make sure it suits the blog audience
  • Think about how you want the piece to be read; would it work as a list-style article? Do you want the team to consider the piece as a long-form article?
  • If you are interested in sharing with press outlets, please do let us know and we can explore this further

Sending us a completed piece in advance of drafting may lead to the piece not being published, as it may be too similar to content we already have or unfitting for our audience. We appreciate how busy you are and do not want to create additional work or disappoint if your piece is not published.

Guidance for writing a blog

Once you have spoken with a member of the Communications team and your piece is given the go-ahead, it’s time to work on a first draft. Think about what you would want to read to learn about something new. Thought leadership pieces do particularly well when they are responding to current affairs, discussing interesting ideas, exploring new questions, challenging convention, settling age-old debate, or are a little niche and quirky!

  • Always think about the audience. Our blogs are for a lay audience, so imagine you are writing for someone who doesn’t know anything about your work and has a basic understanding of the topic
  • Use the title to capture interest. Your title is a great way to engage your potential readers straight away – choose something short and snappy that summarises your blog. A question is a great way to create intrigue and provoke interest
  • Maximum of 800 words, although we will consider long-reads up to 1,200 if they are pitched as such
  • Write in plain English and avoid jargon, clearly explaining complex ideas
  • Use your first paragraph to introduce the topic to the audience
  • Be concise, engaging and specific, citing examples that will help the audience to relate
  • Write in your own voice – we want your blog to create further interest in your research and getting your personality across can help with this
  • Make sure to conclude your piece. Your last paragraph is a great place to leave a lasting impression on the reader, so think about what you want them to remember the most
  • The Conversation offers a good example of tone and style

Putting it Simply

We’ve launched a new blogging series called ‘Putting it Simply’ – taking convoluted but frequently discussed issues and explaining them in plain and simple terms. This can be anything from ‘what is intersectional feminism?’ to ‘what is a recession?’. A blog in this format should be formulated in response to a question and should be responding to something that is commonly searched, or something that people want to know more about but are reluctant to ask. Blogs for this series should be 500-600 words.

Submitting your blog

Please send any pitches to where a member of the team will pick up your email. From here, you will be assigned someone who will support in the editing, publication, and promotion of your blog.

Advertising your blog

Blogs will always be promoted through the College social media channels and newsletter and will be shared with the University social media accounts who will be able to support where appropriate. For maximum reach and engagement, we would also encourage you to share these on your own social media accounts.

We do receive a high volume of blogs, so sometimes we may need to schedule publication for a later date if there is another piece that is more time-sensitive, but we will inform you if this is the case. If your piece is time-sensitive, please do let us know so that we can promote accordingly.

If there are any stakeholders (such as charities, potentials funders, community groups) that you would like us to target, please let us know when submitting your blog so we can include this in our communications plan.

*Please note as we often receive several responses to our more popular requests, we cannot guarantee that your article will be published.