TAOBlogging Guidelines, Tips, and FAQ

GETTING STARTED

In order to blog for The Arts Organization you must create an account and send an email to submissions@theartsorganization.com requesting that your account be upgraded to "Guest Blogger" status. (If you already have an account you still need to send an email as above.)  

General: All blog posts should be submitted as final copy, appearing as you would expect to see it published on the site, including proper paragraph breaks and formatting. Further instructions are below. If you have a non-editorial question or are having technical difficulties, please email submissions@theartsorganization.com and we'll get right back to you with assistance. Many thanks for your patience and for blogging at TAO blog.

 

HOW IT WORKS

  • Blog as infrequently as you'd like, or as frequently as once or twice a week
  • No need to "pitch" ideas before submitting posts. You can write about whatever you want, whenever you want and wherever you want.
  • 500 to 1000 word posts tend to perform best, and should be submitted as final copy, with the assumption that no editing will be necessary.
  • A conversational, informal style is ideal
  • Use hyperlinks whenever relevant, and especially for all sourcing and citations in a post
  • In our experience, news-driven, topical posts perform best on the site -- if you have a strong take on a news topic, it's better to post promptly, when your post will be fresher and more original
  • You retain all rights to your work and you can post it anywhere else you wish. However, by submitting a post (including text, videos, photographs or audio materials), you grant TAOBlog a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable license to the content, which TAOBlog may use and distribute (along with your name and identifying features) on its websites, applications, and other properties and those of its affiliates and business partners, as well as for marketing and promotional purposes, online or offline, in any medium and mode of delivery.
You don't get paid, but you get access to our highly engaged audience and a forum to share your views and express your opinions and ideas. You also get exposure, so promote yourself! You may link to any of your other works, and can list your Amazon publications at the end of your posts. Feel free to inform readers of your own social networking outlets, such as your Twitter or Facebook feeds.

A reminder: We reserve the right to decline or remove objectionable, inaccurate, or inflammatory material and, if necessary, cease publishing your posts or cancel your TAOblogger account. This also includes libelous statements, commercial or financial conflicts of interest, propagating conspiracy theories and blogging about behind-the-scenes housekeeping issues that are not of interest to the general public and should instead be dealt with by communicating directly with the TAOBlog editors. In addition, you should correct or retract factual inaccuracies within 24 hours of being alerted to the error.

Disclosure: In an effort to be as transparent with our readers as possible, TAObloggers should disclose any financial conflicts of interest related to the issue they are writing about. If a blogger receives payment or income from a company, organization, group, or individual with a financial stake in the issue he/she is weighing in on, that information should be disclosed at the bottom of the applicable blog post.

Corrections and Substantive Edits: If you make a substantive addition, deletion or correction of an error to a blog post after the post has been published, you should note this change at the bottom of your post. This guideline applies to all matters of fact, but not to issues of spelling, grammar, style, or minor editorial corrections you make to your post. In the interest of transparency, you should note to readers that in an earlier version of the post there was an error that has since been corrected.

Representation: As a TAOblogger, you must not identify yourself as a representative of TAOblog while attending or covering events.

 

STYLE GUIDELINES

This is the style guide we'll use when we edit your posts. Please feel free to follow this style guide yourself to help get your posts up faster.

Length

  • 500 to 1000 words
  • Our most effective posts fall in the 500 to 1000 range; greater length may be too long to hold a reader's attention.
  • If your post is especially long, it may take us longer than 24 hours to get to it, or we may tell you that it is not right for us.

Title

  • Capitalize the first letter of every word, except for articles and prepositions three letters or less (so "From" is capitalized, but "for" is not; "Is" always gets capitalized)
  • Clear, descriptive titles work better than cute or funny ones. What would you enter into Google if you were trying to find this article? That's usually the best way to start your title.
  • Please, no all-caps.

Long Quotes/Excerpts

It is standard blogging practice to "blockquote" excerpted passages of text or dialogue in your posts -- it makes it easy for the reader to differentiate between others' voices and yours, and it makes reading easier on the eyes by breaking up the text.

To blockquote:

  1. Highlight the portion of text that is quoted
  2. Click the button with the " quotation mark on it
  3. If your quote has multiple paragraphs, insert an additional line break between the first and second (it will look normal when you preview it)
  4. Make sure the <blockquote> tags are adjacent to the first and last words when you view Source, like this:

EXAMPLE:

<blockquote>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut.

Aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteursint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</blockquote>

BECOMES:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut.

Aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteursint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Italics vs. Quotes

  • Please Italicize: book titles / 
movie titles
 / newspaper titles / 
magazine titles / 
television show names / 
play titles
  • Please put in quotes: book chapters / 
newspaper articles
 / magazine articles / 
television episodes
 / poems

 

TECHNICAL HOW-TO

Creating a Post  

To create a post you must be logged in with your user account and that account must have "Guest Blogger" status. In the upper-left of your browser window you will see an Add Content button. Selecting that  will open a Create Guest Blog entry window. You must add a title and then create the body of your post. The body may be edited in WYSIWYG mode with the variety of buttons available (some are discussed below). The large "source" button will allow you to add and edit the HTML directly. You may preview and save your post using the two provided buttons.

Bold/Italics/Underline Formatting

To apply any of these formatting options to words or segments of text, simply highlight the text you want to format, and click the "B", "I", or "U" buttons above the entry box, which will wrap the proper code around the selected text and make it appear formatted as chosen when the post is published onto the site.

Creating Links

Link to other sites and pages the following way:

  • Highlight the text you want to be hyperlinked,
  • Select the Link button (globe with chain link),
  • That will open up a Link dialog box,
  • Type or paste the destination in the URL line,
  • Click on the Target button,
  • Select New Window as the Target,
  • Click OK.

To remove a link select the hypertext and click on the Unlink button (globe with broken chain link).

Embedding Videos

To embed a YouTube video, just copy the code from the Embed box on YouTube (you can find it in the About This Video box when you're watching the video). Once you've copied the code, just paste it into your blog only when viewing Source.

Adding Images

Images should be .jpg files, a maximum of 550 pixels wide, and must either be used under a Creative Commons license or be submitted by the blogger in good faith, with express permission from the proprietor of the image for it to be republished. To add an image follow these steps:

  1. Save the image to your desktop in a web-friendly resolution (i.e. mid-low resolution) as a .jpg file
  2. With your post in Edit mode click on the Image button.
  3. This will open up an Image Properties dialog box.
  4. Click on the Browse Server button.
  5. This will open up a another File Browser window (or tab).
  6. Click on the Upload button
  7. Choose the image you have saved to your desktop.
  8. Click Upload.
  9. Click on the image or select the Insert button.
  10. You will be redirected back to the Image Properties window where you may adjust the size, spacing and alignment of the image. 
  11. Click OK to insert the image.

Recommended image settings:

  • Generally keep images below 550 pixels in the longer dimension.
  • Use 8 for HSpace and 6 for VSpace
  • For text wrapping select Right of Left Alignment

Create and Add a Byline

Add a line or two about yourself at the end of the post. Italicize the byline and separate it from the main body of text by inserting a line. Here is an example:


As the Founder of The Arts Organization, TAO MetaversityCEE, Artist Studio Suite, Wendy Adams Mendenhall focuses on experiential education to (re)awaken the Artist in all of us.  With a background in graphic design, corporate communications, retail, and an ongoing "passion for observation," she works with teachers, authors and artists, to further the recognition and utilization of their art in the 21st century." She is committed to the union of teachers throughout the world, a global curriculum and global campuses. She is a Huffpost blogger,  lives in Salt Lake City, UT and is available for travel wherever and whenever the sun shines.

 

PUBLICIZING YOUR POSTS

We encourage contributors to promote their pieces and send them around -- many readers arrive at pieces on The Arts Organization via links passed on from friends and other sites. Here are a couple ideas:

•  Email lists: Send a short note with a link to your post to any lists you're on -- whether social organizations, extracurricular groups, or even just your typical family/friends list. Encourage them to comment! Our experience shows that often the more comments a post attracts, the better it does in generating clicks and more comments. Create a community around your post, and help it grow by starting with your own personal community. Encourage your friends to share it as well.

•  Facebook/Twitter: Share your post via Facebook or Twitter! Facebook makes it especially easy to share links through what they call "Posted Items." Click here: http://www.facebook.com/posted.php and paste your permalink into the box titled Post a Link. If all goes well, your profile will say that you've "shared a blog post" and should even include your TAOBlog headshot.

•  Blogs that cover the topic you're writing about: Most blogs will have a 'contact' email for their proprietor. If you've written something you think a specific blog might be interested in, send it their way with a brief, polite note explaining why you thought they might find it interesting (don't send them everything you write, and don't send to multiple blogs simultaneously, i.e., 'spam' them). It also doesn't hurt to reference individual posts that they've written in your posts, by linking to them.

•  Respond to Comments: Responding to comments on your own post helps the community grow around it.

•  Friends

 

TROUBLESHOOTING

I submitted my post over 24 hrs ago and it still hasn't been published.

Sometimes the volume of posts is especially high. We'll get your post published as soon as possible. When there's a delay, we're aware of it.

How do I know how many readers my blog got?

Unfortunately we don't keep stats on all of our pages. However, the number of comments a post receives is one possible indication of the traction of one's post, but is not necessarily a direct indication of views.

I see a typo or an error!

Please send an email to submissions@theartsorganization.com, with the subject line, "TYPO" and with a link to the blog post in the body of the email and an explanation of the typo or problem.

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