SettlementAtWork:Blog

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This is an outline of the proposed strategy to implement the upcoming blog section on the Settlement At Work website.

What is a blog?

A blog is a type of website maintained to provide new content on a topic that is more interactive than contemporary sites. They are typically open to comments, and cross-link with other websites, as well as embedding various forms of media.

Aim

The purpose of the blog is to drive up engagement by providing new content regularly on a topic supporting the core objective of the Settlement At Work site: building capacity in the settlement sector of Ontario. This content aims to inform readers, initiate discussion, drive conversation, highlight developments and engage the audience on capacity building.

Regular content serves to stimulate discussion about capacity building in the settlement sector, either a review of past project (summary of a successful event, reflection of an implemented legislation), a perspective of something current (an update about a current project, impact of current changes), or on something upcoming (anticipated changes, new initiatives). The author need not be from OCASI, or the topic

Many benefits are realizable from the wiki. The blog could:

  • help to solicit input for OCASI projects;
  • help to solicit input on projects from its partners (member agencies, partners in Government or research);
  • continue discussions on important topics relating to capacity building affecting the settlement sector;
  • stimulate discussion on new topics by facilitators, researchers and leaders in the sector;
  • solicit input and review on prospective or upcoming projects;
  • highlight content being gathered and developed on the wiki.

Themes

The theme of capacity building is suitable for the blog, both in its breadth and focus. The breadth allows for a wide range of themes on the topic, but the focus narrows the discussion to capacity building, namely in improving the "capabilities, knowledge and resources that [settlement agencies] need in order to be effective."<ref>From a PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada Foundation discussion paper on strengthening the dialogue between the not-for-profit and corporate sectors. Read it here:File:Capacity-building-2011-05-en.pdf</ref>

Possible capacity building sub-themes: Possible titles
  • Settlement projects that build capacity (from OCASI or other organisations);
  • Defining / towards a common dialogue;
  • Perspectives: different approaches to capacity building;
  • Measuring change;
  • Challenges to capacity building;
  • Case study: Capacity building success & benefits.
  • Common skills and knowledge of a settlement worker
  • Emerging areas of concern, trends, best practices on effective immigrant integration,
  • toward a 101 course for settlement workers
  • top 10 things to know about working with refugees;
  • top concerns of an executive director in the settlement sector;
  • introspection of our top priorities in the settlement sector

It may be worthwhile to schedule the themes in one-month blocks, to have more than one sequential posting on the same topic by different authors. Other possibilities include partnering with other blogs in the sector, to post on the same theme and even include cross-links that is common among blogs.

The blog posts can also help form the basis for

Blog posts

Length
500-1500 words (average: 750);
Author
Rotated. Desired: 40% OCASI, 30% Individuals/practitioners/republished, 30% other organisations
Themes
Either cover a range of different themes over time, or regular posts on a certain topic for a month.

Implementation

Develop a backlog of 6 postings. Initial postings are bi-weekly.

1 out of 2 or 3 postings come from OCASI, either highlighting a capacity project (recent developments, or the proposal of a new project).

Schedule

  • First 2 months: bi-weekly (4 postings)
  • After 2 months: weekly.

Timeline

Week Description
-3 (Round 0) Send out blog post submission requests. Aim to have 6 posts.
-2 Answer questions, inquiries. Readied posts are reviewed by manager of the capacity team (Jolanta).
-1 Receive blog posts, develop backlog, solicit more & other blog posts
0 Blog launch (Round 1) Initial post announcing the blog, openly solicit other submissions
1 Postings are submitted by Round 1 authors. Publish a posting from Round 0
2 Round 1 postings are reviewed by Jolanta for suitability. Comments or edits returned, otherwise goes in queue.
3 Published on the blog. Publish another posting from Round 0. Repeat.

Outline

Blog posts are best if they are <ref>http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/04/05/the-secret-to-a-successful-blog-post/</ref>:

  • Saying something new; a new perspective or a new idea;
  • Clear to the point, and sticks to the point (no rambling);
  • Solicits a response: feedback, reflection, other resources, or involvement at a discussion or event;
  • Not too short, but not too long. Not too short that it's vacuous, but not too long that it rambles. If there's more information, maybe create a resource page on the wiki and link to it;
  • Includes an image or a photo that is in line with the theme;
  • Refers to content on the wiki for added information, or refer to the wiki as "next steps" from the discussion.

Authors:

  • Target: 4 regular authors, each writing a 750 word-post 1x per month;
    • Result: 1 new post per week.

Marketing

The latest blog entry will be highlighted in the following ways:

  • in the bi-weekly newsletter;
  • in caption form on the front page of the listings website;
  • by the author themselves;
  • by partners.

Measures

Several indicators are possible to measure success of the blog.

Specific to the blog:

  • views;
  • comments on blog posts;
  • mentions on other sites (twitter, blogs, websites);
  • engagement on associated articles on the wiki (edits, views);

General to Settlement At Work

  • increased signups to the bi-weekly newsletter;

Implementation

WordPress platform

The blog will be a section of the Settlement AtWork Listings site, which is built using WordPress.

WordPress supports Publishing workflow, that allows for multiple users to have levels of permissions for publishing content at various stages: draft, submit, publish, with other functionalities to highlight/post on the front page, restrict comments, archive and more tapping into WordPress' range of added functionalities. As such, administrators can create limited user accounts for prospective and existing collaborators (internal and external to OCASI), providing authors with added control over their drafting and submission of content and administrators (or editors) retaining control of publishing and promotion of content.

Roll-out

At first there is no mention of the blog (maybe grayed out in the navigation bar or not mentioned at all).

The blog will be implemented one month after the launch of the Listings site.

Relation to the wiki

The blog balances the wiki well. Where the wiki lacks in structure and authoritative content, the blog takes up with authoritative content and quality content. Where the blog lacks in collaborative approach and broader engagement, the wiki picks in user-generated content and access to a repository of resources.

The following table summarises some of the comparisons.

  Blog Wiki
Authorship Closed (need approval to add content) Open (anyone can add content, but privileges can be revoked)
Accountability Vertical (OCASI) Horizontal (shared)
Schedule Weekly/Bi-Weekly Updated as needed/no schedule
Content Published Forever in draft form
Dissemination approach Distributed widely Search, Front-page, user-shared

See also

References

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