Successful Academic Blogging – or how to pitch and be published on the EERA Blog

Successful Academic Blogging – or how to pitch and be published on the EERA Blog

If you’ve got an idea for a blog post, but you are new to academic blogging, we’d like to help. We have collected some tips to help you successfully pitch and publish a post on the EERA blog. Some of these tips are specific to the EERA blog but others will help you pitch to other academic blogs. 

When we started the EERA blog, one of the goals was to encourage educational researchers to share their work. As Professor Oksana Zabolotna put it, there is a wealth of insightful educational research stuck on ‘dusty bookshelves’. We wanted to throw open the doors of the libraries and free the ideas of researchers from across the EERA family. Some of our contributors are established academic bloggers but many others are contributing to a blog for the first time. And changing format is more difficult than it might seem. Writing for an academic blog isn’t the same as writing an academic paper. 

Whether you are pitching to the EERA blog, or to another publication, start by reading the submission and editorial guidelines. You’ll find information on the types of content accepted, and advice on writing style, alongside instructions on how to pitch. Every publication has a specific tone and it can help to read some of the published posts to find out, e.g., how formal your writing should be.

You can find our Submission Guidelines and Editorial Guidelines here. 

Hook your readers from the start

You only have a few moments to convince the reader that they should keep reading. The (not too long!) headline and first paragraph should present a concise overview of your argument.  

Your reader might know nothing about the topic you are presenting to them. They need to see the big picture before they can zoom in on the brush strokes. If you jump right into the topic, you risk losing them because they don’t understand the context. Remember, the EERA blog is aimed at anyone who is interested in educational research, but not all of our readers are academics. So they might need concepts explained that you think of as self-explanatory. If the reader needs background information to understand the context, add a quick explainer or provide links to other sources. 

Another great way to grab the reader’s attention is to start your blog post with an anecdote. Relate to the reader’s lives in some way. Make them feel that this blog post is relevant to them, their work, or their family. You can (and should!) back up this anecdote with data but starting with a story helps readers relate to the topic.

What do we mean by ‘friendly academic’ tone?

I know I mention this a lot, but it’s important to us that blog posts are what we call ‘friendly academic’. We don’t want you to feel like you have to dumb down your writing, as that could be patronising to our intelligent, informed readers. But not all of our readers are in academia or the field of education.

The EERA blog is targeted at everyone who is interested in education, whether as a researcher, teacher, student, parent, or policymaker. Blog posts that are overly academic in tone can be intimidating or confusing for those who aren’t used to sentence constructions such as ‘In this article, we will demonstrate…’.

A good tip is to imagine explaining your work to a friend or family member who isn’t in the educational research world. You wouldn’t start that conversation by explaining what you were doing to demonstrate, would you?

Engage critically with your topic

Your blog should do more than summarise facts and describe key points. Don’t just scratch the surface of the topic. Go deep. 

We want blog posts that engage critically with the topic. We are not compiling a glossary of educational concepts. As a blog about educational research, we want to challenge readers and make them think about the content of the blog post. We want to leave an impression.

Ideally, our readers should spend the rest of their day thinking about what they read, considering their position on the issue, and formulating a response – even if they only share it with their friends and not with us!  

Does your blog post do this? Do you raise questions in your reader’s mind? Do you make your reader reconsider their previously held opinion?

Be concise and confident

Ok, so we are a bit contradictory here because we are asking you to be concise but also to go into detail and provide depth. And do all of this within the framework of 700 – 1000 words! But you’d be amazed how many words and sentences you can cut out from your blog post.

As an academic, you are used to using ‘hedging language’ (also known as cautious language or vague language) but when blogging for a more general audience, this can come across as lacking in confidence. Think carefully about when to use this kind of language.

There will be times when your readers will want to see that you are happy to stand by your ideas and statements; too much hedging will only make it seem as if you are writing without any conviction. And why should they have any belief in what you write if it appears that you do not?

Hedging language is a topic that is worth a whole other blog post. I interviewed our Editorial Board and heard a range of views on the use of cautious language, but generally, we do appreciate it when an author takes a position. 

Another way of cutting your word count is to get rid of ‘stuffing’, as Katherine Firth calls these extra words or phrases that aren’t necessary. Katherine also offers these excellent 10 tips for more concise writing, such as using the active voice rather than the passive. 

Offer readers insight, not advertising

The EERA blog isn’t a space for researchers to promote or advertise their work directly. Of course, we all know that getting your blog post in front of readers who are interested in educational research will be beneficial. But we don’t want the blog to be a mere vehicle for academics to promote their papers. And we think you’ll agree that you wouldn’t want to read such a blog.

Yes, present your work, but in a way that gives the reader insight into the topic. Think about these questions:

    • Why should the reader care about this topic or issue?
    • What will they learn from your blog post?
    • What new insight will they gain that they wouldn’t get elsewhere?
    • Where can they go next if they want to learn more?
    • What do you hope people will do/think after reading your post?

 Focus on the content and research you are presenting and provide a link to your publications as a ‘bonus’. If you’ve presented your research in an interesting and informative way, then readers will want to know more about your work. 

What’s next?

We appreciate that it can be daunting to pitch a blog post, especially if English isn’t your first language. That’s why we have a robust editorial process to guide you through, from pitch to published post. We provide helpful feedback, both from our Editorial Team on the content of your post, and from me as your editor, on writing style, grammar, and how the post is structured. 

We hope this will help you start academic blogging with confidence. If you have any questions, reach out to us. We are passionate about encouraging researchers to share their work, particularly early career researchers, and look forward to receiving your pitch.

Lynn Nothegger

Lynn Nothegger

EERA Blog Editor

Lynn is a writer and blogger, with experience living and working in several European countries. Currently based in Germany, she is responsible for managing the EERA blog, processing blog submissions, and liaising with the Editorial Team. 

Contributing to the EERA Blog

Contributing to the EERA Blog

What is EERA?

EERA stands for the European Educational Research Association, which is made up of more than 35 national and regional Educational Research Associations. 

The organisation was founded in 1994 to foster the exchange of ideas between European researchers, to promote collaboration in research, improve research quality and offer independent advice on educational research to European policy-makers, administrators and practitioners.

Why does EERA need a blog?

Alongside the goal of encouraging collaboration amongst educational researchers in Europe, the strategy of EERA is to promote communication between educational researchers and international governmental organisations, such as the EU, Council of Europe, OECD, IEA and UNESCO. Further, EERA aims to disseminate the findings of educational research and highlight their contribution to policy and practice.

One excellent way to inform the research community, policymakers and other interested parties about advances in educational research is to reach out directly to them in a blog. Find out more about the reasons for starting the EERA Blog from our President, Professor Joe O’Hara.

Who is the blog for?

For anyone who is interested in education! That includes (naturally) our members, but also educators and policymakers around Europe, and of course parents. We intend the blog to be accessible to all.

Why should I contribute to the EERA blog?

Casey Fiesler wrote this excellent article on why (and how) academics should blog their papers but here is a quick summary:

  • tell your own story without the filter of a journalist
  • enable journalists to grasp the key results of your research in accessible language
  • reach interested parties who might not dive deep into  academic papers (or even have access to them)
  • summarise your work for your peers and attract their interest
  • include reflections beyond your actual research
  • the more your work is shared, the more it impacts society – and making it available in an easy-to-digest format makes it more shareable

Remember that our target audience is both academic and non-academics and adapt your writing to suit these readers.  Casey Fiedler suggests:

Think about what some of your non-academic friends would find interesting about this research. How does it relate to their lives or to society as a whole? Take the “why do we care” question that’s so important to research and extend it beyond just the narrow research community.

You can find more about our writing style in our Editorial and Style Guidelines.


How do I contribute to the EERA Blog?

Anyone who is active in EERA (EERA Networks, the Emerging Researchers’ Group, ECER, the EERA Summer Schools, Network Season Schools, Workshops, EERA Publications, EERA member associations and their work etc) and in general colleagues engaged in educational research and willing to share their ideas are invited to contribute to the EERA Blog.

Please see our Submission Guidelines for more information on the submission process and get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you.