Thank you for your interest in contributing to the Freer|Sackler blog! The blog is meant to represent the museums as a whole. Your work, expertise, and insights deserve to be shared with our online audiences. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing a post.
Topics and Titles
- Write about relevant topics that will interest a general audience.
- Lead with the most interesting aspects. Blog posts should resemble news articles or magazine features, not internal reports.
- All content should be accurate and reliable. If your information is unconfirmed or incomplete for any reason, let the reader know.
- Include a limited number of hyperlinks to support your statements and offer additional resources. Linking to the Freer|Sackler website is best, but outside sites can be referred to as well.
- Feel free to recommend an engaging headline for your post; otherwise, the editor will suggest one for you.
- We cannot talk politics, endorse outside entities, reveal personal or confidential information, etc. Review the Smithsonian social media policy (SD814) for the full list.
Tone and Length
- Per SD814, the tone of Smithsonian social media accounts should be professional, dignified, and respectful.
- But, a conversational and friendly tone is permissible and encouraged.
- Spelling and grammar should be correct. The tone should not be overly informal or use slang, jargon, profanity, or other language that is not in keeping with the dignity and reputation of the Smithsonian.
- Remember that an important purpose of social media activity is to add value to the name and reputation of the Smithsonian, and everything published on an official Smithsonian account reflects upon the Institution.
- The post can be as long or as short as you like, so long as it’s engaging. A typical blog post averages 200–600 words. Check out past posts for examples.
- Each blog post must have a key image as the header. This image must be high resolution (minimum 2555 × 1095 pixels).
- Consider including at least two additional compelling images. You can also take advantage of the blog’s many options for presenting media, including slideshows, embedded audio and video, and more. Our online collections, podcasts, and YouTube page and the Smithsonian collections are good resources for these materials.
- Make sure that we have the rights and permission to share any media not owned by you or the museums and not in the public domain.
- Please include captions and credits for all media. Follow the standard format for collection objects: Title/object name; artist name (life dates); country, region; period, dynasty, date; media; credit line; gallery, accession number
- Also provide a headshot (minimum 300 × 300 pixels) and a one-sentence bio for your author box.
- Draft your post in a Microsoft Word document, following the guidelines above. (Additional writing resources are available in K:\PUB\PUB PUBLIC\Style Guide.) Find media that you want to include, ensuring that we have the rights to share it online.
- Fill out a blog post request form on Zoku. Once you submit the form, PUB and DMT will be notified.
- You will also receive an email confirmation with a link to a Dropbox folder, where you can save your draft post, media, captions and credits, and headshot and bio. Please upload these materials ASAP. Be sure to use explanatory file names and indicate where media should be placed within your post.
- An editor will email you once your draft has been edited. The turnaround time depends on the length of the post, but usually will be within two weeks. You will then have a chance to review the edits and provide feedback.
- Once you and the editor have finalized the post, the text and media will be laid out in WordPress. You will have a chance to review and make any necessary changes before the post is published.
Here are a few of our top-visited posts. They give a sense of topics that draw readers in: new technology/innovation, big-name artists and exhibitions, and community events.
- Hokusai: Making Waves
- Why is the Smithsonian Covered in Yarn?!
- Open F|S: Digital Zero
- Anime and Manga Summer Camp
Another measurement of success is how long people spent looking at a post. Ignoring outliers (where only one or two people spent a long time on the page), these posts have held readers’ attention the longest. People likely keep the page open when there’s embedded content to explore.