How to write a blog post

Are you interested in writing a blog post for the HEPEX website? If so, read on to find out how to contribute, and our top tips for writing an engaging post to share with the HEPEX community.

To get your blog post published on this website, you can email us with an idea you want to discuss, or send your contribution straight to this email address: blog@hepex.org 

The HEPEX editors will then find the next free slot (posts are typically published once a week, on Wednesdays) and take care of publishing your blog post on this website!

Our editors’ top tips & FAQs for writing an engaging blog post:

In summary: Keep it short (~500 words / ~1 page), with one idea to convey and 1-2 nice illustrations. Keep it informal – write as if you were talking to a friend rather than writing a research paper, and prompt the community to discuss your point through the blog.

What can I write about?

This is the easiest part: if it’s related to hydrological / hydro-meteorological ensemble prediction, you can write about it! Speak honestly and openly about a subject you are passionate about and that matters to you. Identify a goal that you want to achieve with the post before you start writing it. Think about your audience: who will want to read your blog post and why? Define what you have to say and how you will say it: the main idea you want to convey, illustrative facts, achievements, needs and challenges for the community.

A post in HEPEX could be about:

  • a flood or a drought event (check these, for instance)
  • a pre- or an operational system you’re working with (see, for instance here)
  • an interesting forecast you had to deal with,
  • an opinion on some aspect of the forecasting enterprise, community or science,
  • the dissemination of a project related to HEPEX topics (see examples here)
  • something interesting you heard in the news related to the HEPEX topics,
  • a literature review (for instance, that Introduction chapter of your PhD thesis that you can hardly publish in a per-reviewed journal),
  • a recent presentation you gave in a conference (see here for an example),
  • a recent paper you have published and want to discuss further with the community (check here, for an example)
  • an overview of a workshop or seminar you attended and want to share with HEPEX (see this post, for instance)
  • an interview, etc.

How should I write it?

Should I use figures, photos, tables? How long should it be?

Your writing style is just as important as the content of your post. Our top tips are:

  • be concise, focus on one idea (one topic per post, as a general rule): do not put too many ideas in one post – if needed, you could even write a series of posts, just email us to discuss your idea! (email: blog@hepex.org)
  • write informally and clearly, as if you were talking to a friend – try to use an active voice and casual writing in short paragraphs. Remember, you’re not writing a technical report or scientific paper, a blog post is a conversation!
  • remember you are writing to a large and varied audience, interested in meteorology, hydrology and water resources, who are operational forecasters, forecast users, scientists, young researchers, modelers, decision-makers & more! Try to avoid the use of unnecessary jargon and write for your whole audience.
  • pick a short and catchy title for your article that captures the essence of its content,
  • start your post with a nice paragraph summarising what you intend to say – first impressions matter, and your opening line is the one that will draw people in to reading further and engage your audience!
  • develop the rest of the text by adding depth to your point or calling for action on a HEPEX-related topic. Use sub-titles in bold to separate sections and break up the text.

Also:

  • your blog posts can include links to cite an original source or to provide additional information beyond the scope of your post. You can use links to external webpages, other HEPEX blogs, your institution, etc.
  • add 2-3 illustrations, photos, figure or tables, where pertinent. The images you use should enhance your blog post and provide a visual relief from text heavy articles.

A blog post in HEPEX usually has 500-800 words (~1 word page), and should be written in English. It can have one or multiple authors.

I have written a nice post, but how do I get it published online?

HEPEX publishes a new blog post once a week, on Wednesday mornings, with a few exceptions when announcements or other important matters need to be communicated. The HEPEX blog runs all year around, with a short break at the end/beginning of the year.

To get your post published, send your contribution to blog@hepex.org, or if you want to email and discuss an idea first, that’s fine too!

You can send your text in (preferably) word document format, with its associated figures or photos, and the editors will do the formatting and any minor editing (e.g., English misspellings, external hyperlinks). If any changes are made, the final text will be submitted to you for final approval before it is scheduled for publication online.

Note that, normally, between your submission and the publication of the post, some 2-4 weeks may be needed, with this ‘waiting line’ being variable according to the period of the year.

Once your post is published, it will also be shared automatically via the HEPEX twitter account (@hepexorg), facebook and mailing list.

Once it is published, is there anything else I should do?

Once your post is published, we advise you to check every now and then for any comments left by your readers and respond to them. Besides showing you value their comments, this also helps in building the sense of community. Take time to dialogue! The side bar on the right hand side of the HEPEX website allows you to quickly check for recent comments.

You can also update your published text whenever you want/need using the comment box, or by contacting the HEPEX website administrators.

The more you promote your article, the more people will read what you have to say, like it, and provide you feedback. People will learn what you are currently working with and can contact you directly in case they have projects that may interest you. You can give a high ‘usefulness’ impact factor to your blog post. You can add the links to your posts in your email signature, CV, personal webpage, institutional newsletters, cite them in your other articles and presentations, and forward them to your students and colleagues.

Important Information:

  • everything on the HEPEX blog is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 unless marked otherwise;
  • be careful not to violate copyrights, or be accused of plagiarism or stealing content from another blog or website. If what you want to discuss is already in a paper or on another website, make sure you provide appropriate links that refer to the original sources;
  • editors reserve the right not to publish any posts that are confidential, rude, in any way unprofessional, or that contain personal information about other people.

Finally, come to the blogosphere and join the HEPEX contributors!

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