Global Development Institute Blog

Blogging Guidelines

The Global Development Institute blog is a quick, flexible and widely read part of our online presence. It’s regularly updated and we use it to highlight paper calls, events, videos, podcasts – as well as the usual comment pieces. While it generally has a research focus, we also use it to highlight interesting or innovative teaching approaches or perspectives.

The GDI blog received over 40,000 views in 2019 and an average post achieves at least 200 views. The majority of articles we highlight in the GDI e-newsletter are taken from the blog and it’s closely linked with our output on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

We are happy to receive submissions/pitches to the GDI blog from any GDI academic or student. We would recommend emailing someone in the communications team before you write your blog with a short outline of what you want to cover. This gives us a chance to talk through your idea, which should make the writing process easier.

We may also think an idea has the potential to be pitched to the media, which requires a slightly different approach. Some ideas also turn into podcasts, webinars or social media content.

When to write a blog

GDI blogs cover a wide variety of issues. The list below highlights different types of blog and links to a good example that we’ve published previously. It’s not a conclusive list so if you are unsure if your idea fits then drop us an email and we can discuss it further.


The Global Development Institute blog audience is primarily made up of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, students (past, present and future), as well as the general public. Our readers tend to have a good understanding of current affairs but may not be experts in development studies. Different blog posts can have different target audiences – and will be promoted accordingly.

Structure and style

  • Most posts should be around 600-800 words long, reaching 1000+ words only very rarely when a particular topic warrants it.
  • Paragraphs should be short (3 to 4 sentences) so that the text is broken up – this makes people more willing to read your work on screen (especially mobiles).
  • Don’t bury your argument. Structure your blog like a newspaper article with the main argument up front. Limit the preamble and get straight to the core of your blog.
  • Use subheadings to help break up your blog into different sections and make it easier to read.
  • Blogs should have a much more conversational style than your typical piece of academic writing. Write engagingly from a personal perspective if you want people to read and share it.
  • Avoid overusing academic terms/specific terminology which might not be understood outside your field. If you are using acronyms make sure you spell them out the first time.
  • Instead of references or footnotes please link to relevant material (e.g. blogs, websites or articles). If you have a choice, open access articles are preferable as it allows readers outside academia to delve into a topic further.
  • If you have graphs or diagrams then make sure to include them. You can either send us the image (as high res as possible) or the excel spreadsheet including the charts which we can then input into the blog.
  • Pictures are another great way of showcasing the topic you are discussing. If you have relevant images which you took then please send them through. If you don’t have one then don’t worry – we will find one.
  • If you have a suggested title then please include it.


  1. Let someone in the comms team know you are planning to write a blog post so we can steer you in the right direction and plan for its publication and promotion.
  2. Someone in the comms team will give your blog a light copy edit.
  3. You approve the final version we put online.
  4. Once it’s on the website, we will send you the link to check everything is presented correctly before we start to promote it via social media etc.
  5. If we receive any feedback, we’ll let you know (and please do the same for us!)

Creative Commons

We like our blog posts to have a Creative Commons licence. It is a great way for your article to reach a wider audience as it encourages reblogging on other websites. The license means those reblogging it cannot change the content in any way; will fully credit you; and will include a link to the original post. We will check with you before adding a Creative Commons licence to your post.


If you have any questions or need any advice on how to draft a blog post, please contact Emma Kelly, Digital Communications Officer.