Commissioning blog posts

Requirements for blog authors

  • Please include the name and affiliations of the author(s), including their link to the NIHR
  • Please aim for approximately 400-600 words
  • Please provide a head and shoulder photo of the author(s) for use with the blog (minimum size 300x300 dpi) plus any other images that may help to illustrate your blog
  • Please note we may suggest edits to the piece before publication

Tips for blog authors

  • First of all, don’t overthink it. You know the topic and we want to read what you know, or selected information about what you know to add context or take a different angle on something readers will have come across elsewhere.

Before you start:

  • Think about what you want the reader to take away before you start writing. This may be one key message or three but drill down your thoughts in advance. It’s best to structure the blog around three or four key subheadings.
  • Less is more - leaving out certain information gives what you include all the more space to breathe.
  • What unique perspective can you bring? If you’re writing about research you have done, blogging offers an opportunity for your insights that the paper does not. Can you provide context or an angle that may not otherwise be given?
  • Think like your audience – who are your readers and what value can your blog can provide to them?
  • Write in a conversational tone and share personal views – effective blogs have a viewpoint and a voice. Your blog is an extension of your professional voice but can be a more relaxed tone than in the literature or presentations.
  • Tell stories, give colourful detail. Not only does this help keep your reader interested, they'll likely retain what they've read. Analogies can break down complexity and are a powerful tool to explain your work.
  • Make your blog interesting and relevant to readers. Avoid too much jargon where possible, using passive tense and long sentences. Don’t hesitate to show some personality.
  • Provide value through experience - as an expert in a particular area, you have a unique set of experiences that the reader can learn from. Share your views and don’t worry about providing evidence every time - it is more about a unique perspective.
  • Round out the story in the last paragraph, can you leave the reader with a strong image or quote, or refer back to the lede?
  • You don't need to include references like in academic writing. Hyperlinks to the source from the appropriate word or phrase in the blog text is better etiquette, saves words, and looks tidier.
  • Include images - is there a visual that you can provide? Do you have the rights for that image? Sites like Pixabay have copyright free images you can use.
  • Provide an opportunity to engage - Ask your readers to connect on Twitter, LinkedIn or provide an opportunity to engage with your project.

Finally:

  • Blog posts should not look like short white papers or regurgitated press releases.

Editing and review

Once you receive a first draft blog post from the author, please edit it for sense, length and so that the role of the NIHR is clear. Please also ensure the text conforms with NIHR writing principles, tone of voice guidance and style guide.

Don’t forget to make sure your text includes:

  • An introductory paragraph at the start of the piece summarising the content and introducing the author
  • Full details of the author and their affiliation
  • Subheads
  • Where possible, a call to action at the end to direct users to other pages on the NIHR website that may be of interest to them.

Return this edited second draft from the author to seek their sign off. Once sign off has been achieved, you can proceed to publishing your blog post.

Read on for the blogs publication and promotion process.

Related pages

External links