annual blogging contest returns for a fourth year in April for those IT pros passionate about sharing thoughts and insights on various technology issues, and potentially win one of several great prizes.
The official star date for Blogging Idol 2011
is April 11. Participants can blog their hearts out across six weeks on a series of pre-defined topics relating to enterprise IT in addition to their own ideas. The contest closes on May 2,0 at which point a panel of judges will then choose a winner, who will be announced May 30.
A member of the judging panel this year is Maggie Fox, CEO and founder of Toronto-based Social Media Group
. Fox, who has been blogging for the past six years, shares some valuable advice for those new to blogging or who are intimidated by it.
Keep it short. Given that bloggers often have to keep up with a content production schedule that might mean two to three blog entries per week, it helps to keep blog posts nice and short. “You don’t need to blog more than a couple of hundred words to get your point across,” said Fox.
The open-ended question. If a topic is of interest, then summarize it in a blog entry and pose a question about it to readers. “It’s a great way to encourage discussion and engagement with the content,” said Fox.
Lists. A blogger may come across five to 10 things of interest, in the course of a week, that can be shared in a blog entry. It’s very acceptable to post a series of links accompanied by a few words about what the blogger thinks. “You don’t have to write a novel every time you write a blog post. And, in fact, it’s best if you don’t,” said Fox.
Rich media. Images and videos are a great way to spice up a blog entry, said Fox, especially because readers find that sort of content very engaging and it increases the stickiness of the site.
Also on the judging panel this year is Chris Lau, winner of Blogging Idol 2010, who took home the top $1,000 cash prize. Lau, who entered Blogging Idol every year since the contest’s inception, praised the other bloggers in his acceptance speech last year.
“The competition was really heavy this year,” said Lau. “It was really impressive and you had to work hard.”
Dave Webb, editor of ComputerWorld Canada, will also be a judge at this year’s contest.