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Tips and Resources

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Using Social Media: Blogs

Use blog posts to add insights and a personal perspective into Communities Talk activities and news. Blog posts can be written and posted as frequently as you wish, but they should maintain a somewhat regular schedule so that they continue to be useful. After you write a post, remember to tag it with keywords or topics—including #CommunitiesTalk—so that readers can find posts that are relevant and important to them.

Blogging to Promote Your Communities Talk Activity

You can use blog posts to promote your Communities Talk activity in two ways. First, if your organization has its own blog, create content by asking staff or organization members to post the reasons why preventing underage drinking and other substance use is important to them. Weave in content like underage drinking prevention news, research, and trending topics. Second, create posts to promote your activity that include who, what, when, where, and why. Highlight the speakers as well as details that will help people participate, including the technology you'll be using for virtual events and links to any registrations that you have. If you don't have a blog and would like to create one, you can use a free service, like WordPress or Tumblr.

Also, look for opportunities to contribute as a guest to prominent local community blogs that are related to healthy youth development. Examples of these could be from PTA groups, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, or athletic boosters. The Blog Search Engine and Google Blog Search are free tools to find blogs. Once you have identified a good blog opportunity, ask if you can write a guest post about the consequences of underage drinking and other substance use. Highlight your activity or event as a way the community can engage in prevention and help protect and promote its health and future.

Blogging Tips

  • Know your audience, and make sure your message matches their interests. For example, if your audience is mainly PTA members or college students and administrators, link underage drinking and other substance misuse to school safety issues or low academic performance.
  • Write a captivating introduction to grab the audience's attention and keep it. After opening up with your attention-getter, specifically state what readers will gain from the blog post to encourage them to continue reading.
  • If you have a lot of content, find a way to organize it. Break content into multiple paragraphs—perhaps even with subheads—and integrate lists and other formatting to keep readers interested.
  • Provide a clear call to action at the end of your blog post. For example, you could send your readers to an additional resource related to the blog post or ask them to comment on your blog post or share something with their online community.
  • Consider search engine optimization by adding a set of keywords related to your blog post. This strategy will increase the probability that your blog post will show up in search engines. You can search for keywords using Google Trends.
  • Always include a relevant visual in your blog post. Internet users continue to become more and more drawn to visual content, as shown through their engagement activity on various social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. To illustrate your points in the post, use your own photos or videos, low-cost stock photos, or photos from Flickr's Creative Commons.
  • Use the #CommunitiesTalk hashtag throughout your blog post and in your posts on social media. This will encourage your readers to search for and use the hashtag in their own content.

Blogging Tools

  • Headline Analyzer—Gives a quick, free assessment of a headline's structure, grammar, and readability.
  • Hemingway—Highlights long or hard to read sentences.
  • Grammarly—Catches common grammatical mistakes often overlooked by Microsoft Word.
  • Canva—Creates images and graphics for your blog posts to give them dimension and visual interest.
  • Blog Title Generator—Stumped for content? Enter keywords for blog post content and title suggestions.
  • Crello—Creates images and graphics for your blog posts.
  • Lumen5—Creates impactful, engaging videos from your existing content.
  • Airtable—Organizes workflow and editorial calendars for blog content.