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How to write effective roundup posts

Getting quotes from an interview subject

Sometimes, you need a quick and easy way to come up with a post for your blog. While writing listicles fits that bill, there are times when you want to do something more. Or, at least, something different.

Enter the roundup post.

Roundup posts are a way of curating news and information. You collect a bunch of blog posts — whether your own or someone else’s — summarize them, then link back to the originals

They’re similar to listicles, but roundup posts go a bit further than listicles. While they take a bit more work to produce than listicles, I think they’re the more effective type of blog post.

Let’s take a look at how to write effective roundup posts.

Why write roundup posts?

There are two main ways you can use roundup posts. First, use them to showcase your own writing. You can, for example, write a post rounding up the top articles you’ve published on your blog over the last month.

Second, use roundup posts to curate blog posts that others have written and which you think your readers will find interesting and useful. You do that by writing a summary and then linking out. More on this in a moment.

Focus your posts

While it’s tempting to round up a bunch of your favourite posts from around the web, a good roundup post covers a single topic. That topic, obviously, should match the topic of your blog.

For example, if your blog covers writing then round up posts about writing. You can focus your roundup posts even more by covering a specific sub topic — like rounding up posts on improving your copywriting skills.

Keep them short

It’s easy to go overboard with a roundup post. Don’t.

Instead, limit the post to between four and six items. For each item, write one to two paragraph summaries. When I prepare roundup posts, for example, I usually write two short paragraphs per item.

Summarize the key points

The items in a roundup post are like a synopsis of the blog posts you’ve collected. You want to give your readers the gist of what those posts are about. You want make curious enough to read those other posts.

On the other hand, you don’t want to (and shouldn’t, for obvious reasons) repeat the posts word-for-word. Instead, read those posts. Analyze them. Pluck out one or two key points, then summarize the post based on those points.

Feel free to quote from the post, and make sure that you point out what your writing is a quote. I usually use italics or quotation marks to indicate what I’m quoting. I also write something like As (writer’s name) points out … before what I’m quoting.

Link back to the original post

That’s a given, but it can be easy to forget. You can include a link somewhere in the body of what you’re writing. Or, you can add a link at the end of each item that reads something like Read the full post here.

Wherever possible, try to include the name of the person who wrote the post or the name of their blog. Or both. For example, … writes (author’s name) or … in this post.

An example

I write regular news roundup posts for Opensource.com. Those posts, if you haven’t already guessed, cover the news from the world of open source. Below is an excerpt from one of the posts I wrote, which should give you an idea of what an item in a roundup post looks like:

Open data key to Africa’s development agenda

That, according to Tanzania’s president Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. Speaking at the recent African Open Data Conference, Kiwete said that open data allows “the people know what is going on, they can hold their government accountable, and the government has the urge to deliver”.

Since 2013, Tanzania has been a leader in open data on the continent, and other countries in the region have begun to adopt its Open Data Readiness Assessment methodology. Kiwete pointed out that all over the world “open government and open data have had a transformative impact on economic growth, job creation, and the way citizens interact with their government.” And it could have the same impact in the rest of Africa.

Roundup posts are a great way of curating and sharing content — either your content or content written by other bloggers. They take a bit more time to write than listicles, but roundup posts can be much more useful to your readers. You never know what you’ll learn when you’re researching and writing a roundup post.

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