Blog Writing 101

By Cathryn McEachern, Communications Intern at Ryerson International (4th year student at TRSM)

Writing a blog is beneficial for many reasons – whether it’s to personally reflect on your experiences or professionally develop your writing skills. They’re also a lot of fun to write, especially when it comes to travel blogs! However, figuring out what to write about and where to start can be pretty difficult. Below are some guidelines on how to do just that!

Why should you write a blog post?

  • It’s a great way to express yourself, reflect on your experiences and share information with others
  • Practice your writing skills and get valuable feedback
  • Add it to your portfolio

What we’re looking for:

  • Compelling, informative blog posts from inbound & outbound global learning participants who have a story to tell, or advice to share with the Ryerson community
  • A submission should be around 500-1000 words, with some pictures to go along with it

Start by choosing a topic:

  • Keep in mind that it should have a main idea that is specific and has a purpose. Make sure it’s consistent and relevant throughout the entire post.
  • We have three ‘categories’ of topics, under which you would decide on a more specific main idea:
    • Tips/Tricks
      • Under this category, examples of topics would be “How To Budget For Exchange” or “Time Management While Studying Abroad”
    • Personal Experiences 
      • This would be where you can talk about a specific challenge, perspective-changing event, language barriers, academic differences, how you made friends, how you dealt with culture shock, etc.
    • Cultural experiences 
      • Did you attend a local festival? Or learn something unique about a new culture? Try new food? Experience a holiday you don’t personally celebrate? This most closely resembles that travel blog ‘style’
  • If you have an idea for a topic that doesn’t fall under these categories or need help choosing one that’s right for you, just send us an email (rihelp@ryerson.ca) or;
  • Let us know if you would rather be interviewed and we’ll write a blog about you!

Tips for writing a great blog post:

  • Think about who your audience is. What do they want to read? What would they find useful? A good rule of thumb is always remembering the readers’ perspective. What’s in it for them?
  • Write like you talk, but remember to write clearly. With this style of writing, it’s easy to ramble on. Remember that each sentence should only have one idea in it. Don’t make your readers have to work to understand you.
  • Keep it relevant. The word count is just a guideline. If you think your post is too short, don’t add extra ‘fluff’ just to make it longer – it will likely get off topic and seem unorganized. Quality over quantity! If you find yourself trying to incorporate multiple topics into one post, consider writing separate posts. We welcome multiple submissions as long as each topic is unique and informative.
  • Challenge your readers. Try using your experience to clear up some of the doubts/answer questions they may have. Challenge them to go out and do something with what they’ve learned from you!
  • If your post mentions travel items you can’t live without or an amazing excursion you went on, adding a hyperlink to the product, app, or company would be greatly appreciated by the readers!

Things you must include in your writing:

  • The name of the institution you attended or organization you worked with
  • Length of your time abroad
  • Type of program (exchange, research, faculty-led)
  • Basic background info (e.g. Where are you from? Have you travelled before?)

Links to great blog posts to use as an example:

Submission process:

  1. Send an email to rihelp@ryerson.ca for approval of your topic
    • In your email, please include the following information:
      • First and last name
      • Program, year and faculty (outbound students)
      • Home university, Ryerson program you attended (inbound students)
      • Topic for approval
  2. First Draft
  3. Feedback
    • We will read over your submission and give you feedback regarding grammar, writing style, and overall clarity
  4. Second draft
    • Review our suggestions and notify us when you are ready to proceed
  5. Photos
    • Either in the Google Doc or in an email to us, include a few photos to include on the page along with a signed image consent form
    • Please include a few words under each photo (country, city, context)
  6. Post
    • That’s it! We’ll let you know when your post is live
    • Don’t forget to share it with your friends and family, and add it to your portfolio!

Happy writing!

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