The Digital.govt.nz Blog
The Digital.govt.nz Blog provides guidance, tips, and strategic advice on how the public sector can effectively use online channels. Digital.govt.nz is managed by Government Information Services (GIS) group at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). The Digital.govt.nz Blog aims to:
- highlight case studies, best practice, innovative and transformative trends, and project lessons particularly when these have an all-of-government (AoG) focus
- advocate for best practice across government
- communicate information with a wider, cross-government audience
- offer a go-to place for advice on how to provide government information online.
An essential element for success of the Blog is that posts are written in an authentic voice, with a personal and engaging tone. We want to avoid impersonal, public relations or media release styles, for example. Nothing wrong with those; this Blog just isn’t the place for it. And we reserve the right to edit or reject blog posts if they don’t meet these criteria.
The short version
These are the steps to follow once you’ve decided on a topic for your blog post:
- Set-up. If you’re not already set up as a guest blogger, let us know by email.
- Complete your profile by adding a short bio and a photo.
- Tell us when you’d like to publish your blog post. We’ll need at least a week to review, make suggestions, edit and approve. Plus we generally have a few posts in progress so we need some flexibility to fit your post into the schedule.
- Add your blog post to the Digital.govt.nz CMS. To log in, go to https://www.digital.govt.nz/admin.
- Edit your post using the detailed information below on style, accessibility and content logic.
- Let us know when you’re ready for your blog post to be reviewed. Until you tell us, we assume you’re still working on it.
- Work with us to make sure the content is accessible (eg alt-text for images), that your message is clear (eg plain language) and links are added where sensible.
- After publication. Keep an eye on any comments made about your post. Approve comments for publication, identify any that are spam, or respond to questions.
- Follow our Twitter handle @DigitalGovtNZ.
How does it work?
We want your view on whatever topic interests you: in your ‘voice’, tell us about lessons learned, triumphs, how you’ve adapted to new ways of working, inspiration or insights. We’ll set you up with Guest Author access. You can certainly write your draft in your preferred programme, but you'll have to paste it into the Digital.govt.nz content management system (CMS) as a blog post for us to review.
Blog posts should be:
- engaging and written in plain English
- between 500 - 800 words (if you’ve got a lot to say, split your words into a couple of posts)
- added to the Digital.govt.nz CMS
- peer reviewed by the Digital.govt.nz team before publication.
As a Guest Author, you won’t have publishing rights, but we'll work with you until everyone’s happy with the post and then publish.
The main audience for the Digital.govt.nz is the government web community and digitally-minded public sector communications teams, as well as vendors, web enthusiasts, and government employees in other jurisdictions who are interested in AoG projects.
If you're interested in being a Guest Author, send us an email to let us know. Once you're set up, you'll get an email with your username and password. To log in, go to https://www.digital.govt.nz/admin.
Your Digital.govt.nz profile
Your profile can be customized by clicking on your name in the top left corner of the CMS.
Biography and photo
Once you’ve logged in, add a short biography to your profile: what your day job is, how you fit into the government online space, the focus of your work, whatever you want to include. You can also change your password in Profile. We also require all Guest Authors to add a photo. It can be your favourite, non-work photo but not an avatar, cartoon character or a random image.
To start writing your post:
- click on Pages > Blog from the main menu, and then select Add new page here OR
- if the site tree is open when you log in, go straight to Blog and right-click the Blog title.
You will be presented with the blog post editor. At the top is a field for entering the post's title.
Writing your post
- Although you can type directly in the CMS, copying and pasting from other programmes is fine too.
- The first heading within your blog post's content should be a ‘Heading 2’, and all headings should be structured in hierarchical fashion.
- Headings must use sentence case: ie capitalising only the first letter of the heading and the first letter of every proper noun.
- If you upload or insert an image, you must provide an alt-text value. A Title is not a substitute and shouldn’t be used. Image captions are optional, but they must be different from the image's alternative text.
- Remember to save any changes (via the ‘Submit for review’ button) before logging out!
- If you have any questions about adding or editing content, please don't hesitate to ask us.
Adding tags and categories
Each post needs to have both tags and categories. Categories are high-level groupings of related content, while tags are more like keywords. Some tags and categories already exist, and you can select from these if they are appropriate. The default category is 'Uncategorised', which you should deselect. If you need to create new tags or categories, please consult with us first.
The public sector responsible for meeting New Zealand Government's Web Standards. We take this very seriously and we won't publish anything inaccessible. But you don't have to be an expert; we can help you with this. Actually we love explain how to meet Web Standards. So if you're thinking of using images or video, build in a little extra time and let us know as soon as possible so we can work with you. It is not as hard or daunting as you might think.
Review and publishing
Our Digital.govt.nz team reviews all posts before they get published. The focus is on content logic, making sure it’s written in plain English, and checking for Web Standards compliance. What we don’t do is change your ‘voice’, message or the intent of the post. We might make suggestions about clarity, links to relevant info or defining an acronym.
Also, note that the Digital.govt.nz has an AoG focus: we don’t use an agency lens (or approvals process) for blog posts. We treat the blog as a channel for sharing information across government.
After your post gets published
Once your blog post has been published, it will be up to you to approve and respond to comments. Whenever someone publishes a comment to your post, you will be notified by email.
Blog comments are held in moderation until you approve or reject them, so please try to address comments in a timely fashion. We try to keep an eye on comments and delete any spam, but if you’re not sure of how to handle a comment, don't hesitate to ask us. And of course we won’t publish anything rude or derogatory.
We'll also let people know about your blog post by mentioning it in social media like Yammer and Twitter. Our Digital.govt.nz Twitter handle is @DigitalGovtNZ if you'd like to follow us.
Chances are that you had to clear some time and space so you could write a blog post for us. We think that telling people what’s going on in the government online space is really important and want to say thanks for your contribution to the Digital.govt.nz.
If you have any questions, send us an email. If you have any more ideas for posts, give us a shout. We’re aiming to keep the conversation lively and we’re always keen to publish thought-provoking posts.
9 Mar 2018