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Tips for Academics: Monetizing Your Blog

Besides being used to express views and opinions, academics can also supplement their income through a blog. Because of their duty to remain neutral, they must, however, be creative when monetizing their blog. This article will teach you how to generate revenue in a subtle way that does not compromise your professional integrity.

Building your blog

The first thing that we recommend is that you invest in a professional looking blog. You can use off-the-shelf website creating tools or, if you lack the technical abilities, hire a web designer to build a blog for you. They can build it for $600 and, for less than a hundred more, they can even create your own logo.

Secondly, leverage your authority by creating the blog around your research: there are thousands of blogs on the internet, the ones that succeed are the ones that stand out.

Once you found your niche, create unique and interesting content. You will obviously post articles on subjects related to your research. However, you can make your blog even more interesting if you also have more personal content like pictures and articles describing your typical workday, posts about professional challenges, videos of experiments and field studies, or profiles of your assistants and students. Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Monetizing Your Blog”

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Tips for Academics: Doing an Interview on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything

AMAs are an opportunity to participate in a conversation with ‘a raging community of people with boundless curiosity’ (Neil deGrasse Tyson)

What is a Reddit Ask Me Anything

Reddit, commonly called the front page of the internet, is an extremely popular and informative social news site. It is place where users comment on links, texts, videos and images posted by their peers.

With 15 million subscribers, Reddit’s most popular feature is the Ask Me Anything (AMA) subreddit. It is a place where experts and people who accomplished something of significance are interviewed by users for an hour. The interviewee begins the process by publishing a post describing who they are and what they do. Jane Goodall, the famous ecologist, started her AMA with “I am Dr. Jane Goodall, a scientist, conservationist, peacemaker, and mentor. AMA”. Users then leave their questions in the comment section; the best ones are upvoted to the top. Once posted, interviewees can respond to any question that they like in any way that they choose.

AMAs are such a popular feature because of the quality of the interviewees and of the questions. Although high-profile individuals garner the most attention, academics do well because having a niche interest is enough to have a successful AMA. Remember that AMA is a friendly community and users will flag and remove abusive or harassing comments.

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Tips for Academics: Why and How to Guest Blog

Guest blogging is way to expand your following by publishing articles on third party blogs. This practice introduces people, who would otherwise have no exposure to your work, to what you do. It can also supplement your income since most sites pay guest writers.

By regularly guest blogging, you will build a reputation as an expert in your field. This reputation could lead to more lucrative assignments such as writing for magazines, doing television interviews or getting published.

Where to guest blog

Before even exploring guest blogging, you must already have high quality articles. This is essential because host sites will review your work before accepting your offer. They look for the quality of your writing, the frequency of typos, the number of likes, comments and shares that you receive, and whether you are indeed a subject matter expert who generates original ideas. Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Why and How to Guest Blog”

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Tips for Administrators: Broadcast Weekly Live Stream Shows

All you need is a reliable internet connection, a remote lapel microphone and a smartphone.

The advantages of live streaming

Live streaming is a new marketing tool that allows institutions to publish videos of live events. Even universities, like Harvard, now schedule regular live streaming sessions.  It is becoming so popular because it is inexpensive. Unlike a highly crafted video, high production values are not expected for live events, making it possible to stream with a minimal investment.

All you need is a reliable internet connection, a remote lapel microphone and a smartphone. We recommend smartphones over professional cameras because, with a phone app, all you need is to push a button to go live.

Another advantage of regularly streaming is to build a community. Your website will be a place where alumni, students and prospective students congregate and interact with each other on a regular basis.

What to broadcast

To attract a large audience, we suggest copying Harvard University’s model and have a page dedicated to live stream. On that page, post a schedule of future events. They can include:

  • Announcements: Broadcast press conferences announcing major donations or lectures from professors who have recently won a prestigious award.
  • Art: Art programs are traditionally underfunded. Raise their visibility among the donor community by broadcasting concerts or plays.

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Tips for Administrators: The Advantage of Regular Twitter Chats

What is Twitter chat

A Twitter chat happens when a group of users meet at a pre-determined time to discuss a topic, using the designated hashtag (#) in each tweet. The chat starts when the host posts a question to prompt responses from participants.

It is an effective way to build a community around your institution. Your regular Twitter chats will be a place where alumni, students and prospective students congregate and interact with each other on a regular basis.

How to host a Twitter chat

Hosting a Twitter chat involves more than coming up with a clever hashtag. There is a great deal of planning that goes into successful Twitter chats:

  • Hashtag: Make it short and easy to relate back to your institution. Google the hashtag to make sure that it is unique and search for its meaning on urban dictionary to make sure that it is proper. It is important to have a good hashtag because you will use the same one for all your Twitter chats.
  • Schedule: It is essential to schedule your chat ahead of time. When picking a day, consider where your audience is located and when they are most likely to be online; it is perfectly fine to query them if you are not sure. To avoid any confusion, in the invitation include your time zone (i.e. 12PM EST).

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Tips for Academics: Creating a Facebook Fan Page

The goal of having a Facebook fan page is to create a community around your blog.

With its over 1 billion daily users, Facebook is the perfect place to build a community around your blog without investing too much time. At a minimum, you can copy and paste links to new posts with a brief summary.

If you are planning to use Facebook, we highly recommend that you set up a Facebook fan page instead of using your personal account. That way, your followers will not receive your personal posts.

Other advantages of having a fan page are that there is no cap to the number of friends that can follow you. Facebook sets that limit for personal accounts at 5,000. You will also have access to data that help you fine-tune your content to speak to your readers.

What to share on Facebook

The goal of having a Facebook fan page is to create a community around your blog. The time that you spend building that community will determine the size of your fan base. To help you come up with ideas on how to build your community, we wrote a good article on what to post on social media; it includes:

  • Interactions with followers (i.e. photo contests, question and answer features…)
  • Recommendations (i.e. books, equipment, methods…)
  • Links (i.e. other blogs, breaking news…)
  • Behind the scenes (pictures and videos of experiments)
  • Miscellaneous (i.e. quotes, infographics…)

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Tips for Academics: Why Use Instagram

“The medium lands so well to science that some of the most popular Instagram accounts are of museum and universities”

What is Instagram

Most scientific disciplines, and some in the humanities, land themselves very well to visual media. People love to see chemists work in their labs, the discoveries that archeologist make in far away lands, the world under a biologist’s microscope, or the marvels seen through a physicist’s telescope.

Instagram is a social media platform that lets users share these photos and videos. If you want science to be more accessible, we highly recommend that you maintain an account. It will give you the opportunity to interact with people who would other never be expose to your blogs, papers or discoveries. You can also answer their questions.

Maintaining an Instagram account is very manageable since it only requires posting pictures, and not writing long blog posts. To save time, we encourage you to use services like Buffer to schedule posts (aim for two per day). Posting daily can be too much for busy academics. With these services you can dedicate half an hour one day per week to choose what and when to post for that week.

What to Share on Instagram

Like with other social media platforms, the goal of Instagram is to build a community around your blog. The time that you spend building that community will determine the size of your fan base. To help you come up with ideas on how to build your community, we wrote a good article on what to post on social media; it includes:

Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Why Use Instagram”

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Tips for Academics: Managing Trolls

Harassment is a major problem online, especially for women. It manifests itself when people, referred to as trolls, attack or harass individuals and businesses. Their attacks tend to be cruel, relentless and very personal. If poorly managed, they can hijack your account, destroy the good vibes in your community or escalate to physical threats.

How to manage trolls

Although it can be emotionally tolling, we hope that trolls will not deter you from building a community of science lovers. Here are a few tips that you can use to manage online trolls:

24 hours rule

Gini Dietrich explains that “online trolls want the attention. They crave the defensiveness. They want you to get upset. Don’t give them that pleasure”. Instead, our most important suggestion is immediately writing a respectful response to each comment. But send that response 24 hours later, after reviewing it. This delay will allow emotions to simmer since your first reaction will probably be an emotional and incorrect one. It will also discourage trolls who typically look for instant gratification. Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Managing Trolls”

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Tips for Academics: Why It’s a Bad Idea to Purchase Followers

Thankfully as an academic, your work and not your following determines your worth

Users consider the number of followers when deciding whether to subscribe to an account. As a result, it is common for individuals to buy thousands of followers in the hopes of attracting real users. In fact, countless celebrities, politicians and companies have been caught buying fake followers.

Account holders can purchase inactive followers or, for a premium, there are services where these fake followers will occasionally comment and like posts. With a market rate of about $3 for every 1,000 inactive followers or $100 for 1,000 “active” followers, purchasing followers can be quite affordable.

Although it may be tempting, we highly recommend avoiding these services and building your community organically. Thankfully as an academic, your work and not your following determines your worth. Unlike celebrities and politicians you can build a strong community by regularly posting interesting fact based articles or even pictures of your experiments. Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Why It’s a Bad Idea to Purchase Followers”

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Tips for Academics: Why Use Twitter

“Twitter is popular among academics because it removes the gate keepers and lets them communicate directly with the world of science”

Why Use Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging platform where users send and receive short posts of 140 characters called Tweets, as well as videos and pictures. It is popular among academics because it removes the gate keepers (i.e. administration, peer reviewers, journalists…) and lets them communicate directly with the world of science. It is also an incredibly efficient way to share information. Every one of your post is seen by your network of followers, who can subsequently re-post it to their own network.

For this reason, Twitter has become the platform of choice for academics, policymakers and politicians. It is also very popular with the public, including students and science lovers. Twitter allows researchers to:

  • Promote their research by posting links to their blog posts, journal articles, or related news items;
  • Demonstrate expertise in their field;
  • Build cross-disciplinary relationships and follow work from other experts;

Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Why Use Twitter”