Writing blog posts for IET EngX

Writing and submitting blogs posts for the Community Insights blog on EngX is an excellent way to share knowledge, experiences, and innovations with the engineering community. To help you create compelling and impactful blog posts, here are few handy hints and tips to get you started.

What is a blog post and what is the difference between creating posts for a blog and posting on social media?

Blog posts are long-form/magazine article style content of around 500 words minimum and written in a conversational style and tone, while social media posts are more of a short and concise way to connect with an audience. For example, the following post:

If you didn't get an opportunity to watch our event live you can now catch up and watch OnDemand and listen in to hear more from our speakers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUnFZUKx2Z8

…. is the right type of format for a social media post on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn but isn’t the type of content that is suitable for a blog post.

Plan your post

Tell an engaging story in 500 words or more

Some ideas:

  • Have you been working on an interesting engineering project (either for an employer or for your own personal interest) and would like to share your experiences?
  • What does a day in your working life look like?
  • Is there a common misconception about your work/project/industry that you’d like to dispel?
  • What is the greatest societal or engineering challenge that you think your industry can help tackle and how?
  • Are there opportunities for collaboration with your work/project/industry?
  • Case studies weaving pros and cons

Think about your audience and the information you’re sharing. Would they find it relevant or interesting? Remember, the EngX audience is public and global (and not just engineers, technologists and members of the IET) so pitch your engineering content for a public and global audience.

Make sure your blog post has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Capture the attention of your readers with a compelling title and introduction.

Include at least one key learning point for community members to discuss or take away.

Using ChatGPT

You may be tempted to use an AI language model such as ChatGPT to help you write your posts. This is fine as long as you don't rely solely on the text that it writes. ChatGPT generates content based on patterns it learns but it can sometimes produce inaccurate or nonsensical results. Treat it as a useful tool to assist you but not as a substitute for content written solely by you. Combine the text it writes with your words and in your writing style and remember to proofread and edit the content for clarity, accuracy, coherence, and grammar.  

There are many AI content detectors available online (https://writer.com/ai-content-detector/ and https://www.zerogpt.com/ are just two examples) so please do run your text through a detector to ensure that it passes the test before submitting to the Community Insights blog. Ideally aim for a score of 85 -100% human written content as search engines such as Google now use systems to detect AI written content and will lower the search rankings of any content it considers has been written solely by AI. The Admin team will also check any submissions they suspect to have been written by AI and will reject them as necessary.

If your text is scoring high on the AI generated scale here's some changes you can make before you submit your post

  • Use informal language such as contractions (don't rather than do not etc) colloquialisms and informal phrases. This can help to make your text feel more conversational and less formal.
  • Inject personality and emotion by adding personal anecdotes and opinions into your post.  Sharing your experiences and feelings can help to make your post sound more human and relatable.
  • Incorporate humour (when and where appropriate) and light-hearted language as it increases the 'conversational' tone and will make your post more enjoyable to read.
  • Avoid overly formal and technical language. Simplify complex concepts or technical terms to make them easier to understand by all audiences. 

Title and post image

The title of your blog post should capture the attention of potential readers and entice them to click into your post and read on. Choose an interesting and relevant image to use for your post image. It’s used as a thumbnail image in the list of blog posts in the blog and at the top of your post as a banner image. Again, a good image can encourage or entice someone to read your post.  Further guidance on choosing images can be found here:  Choosing an image for your blog post banner  

The introduction

The first paragraph of your post will either keep people reading the rest of your post or move on quickly to something else. Make sure it’s compelling enough to encourage visitors to read on. Try not to use links to external content in your intro text as this will immediately take readers away from your post before they start and don’t forget to use your main keywords in the introduction which will help with search engine optimisation (SEO)

The main event

Use sub headings to structure the main content of your post into scannable sections. They also help to break up long and tiring to read blocks of text.

Use other formatting such as bolditalicised, and underlined text to emphasise words or phrases and make them stand out. Be selective though as too much formatting can be too much!

Bullet points and numbered lists are also useful to separate out steps or specific points within a post and make them stand out.

Don’t forget to add related images and videos in your post too.

Expand on any abbreviations you use as not everyone reading your post will know what they mean. Always write out in full when you first use it. You can then use the abbreviated version throughout the rest of the post. For example ‘ The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) can then be referred to as just ‘The IET’ within the rest of a post.

Signing off

Make sure you give as much thought to the final paragraph of your post as you do to the introduction. Posts that end abruptly with no apparent conclusion can leave a reader feeling short changed. Remember to finish your post with a suitable call to action or an invitation to engage. Ask readers to leave their thoughts and opinions in the comments or perhaps pop in a short poll for readers to participate in.

Don’t forget tagging and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Remember to add technical topic tags to your post so anyone following those topics will see your post in their EngX newsfeed and digest emails. Only choose the tags that are most relevant to the topics covered in your post and make sure you’ve added your keywords for SEO.

Submit your post

When you submit your post, it’s added to the queue for the EngX team to review. We’ll review your post to make sure the content is the right style (i.e. is written as a blog post and not content that would be better suited as a social media post) and that the topic is relevant and appropriate for the EngX community. All posts published in the Community Insights blog must comply with our Community Rules and Guidelines If your blog post is accepted, it will be published, and you’ll receive a notification to let you know. If it’s not accepted, we will send you a message to tell you why and advise on any changes or edits that could be made. Sometimes it may be just a small edit such as a forgotten post image or missing tags and once updated, can be resubmitted for successful publication. If your post is not accepted and you'd like to appeal the admins decision, please reach out to the admin team at community-online@ietengx.org

Share your posts

Once published don’t forget to share and link to your blog posts via your own social media accounts to increase its audience and readership!

Don't 'post it and ghost it'

Continue to engage with your readers by responding to comments and feedback on your post in a timely manner. Acknowledge contributions and build your audience by participating in the comment section on your post.

Need some inspiration?

Here are a few examples of well written, engaging, and interesting blog posts from some of our volunteers and IET staff members:

Artificial Intelligence – good or bad?   

Renewables and net zero – are we ready, steady, go…?

What are the implications of the Retained EU Law for engineers?

What engineers and policy makers need to know about the ChatGPT revolution

From Pencil to Pixel: Why sketching still matters in modern design

IoT in Defence

Lift off at UK Students for Exploration and Discovery in Space Conference 

Ready to start blogging? Read our guide on Creating a Blog post to help with filling in the blog post template and if you have any questions or need further advice contact the EngX team at community-online@theiet.org

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