How to Write a Compelling Blog Post (By: Traci Nigg, LMSW)
Oftentimes while you’re scrolling through your social media, or watching your favorite sports team in live action, or while busting out your cardio at the gym you’ll catch the tail end of a story line on the scrolling marquee and a thought will pop into your mind, “Man, if only they approached this situation from a social work perspective. I wonder if anyone has considered these interventions or how the system could be preventing some of these issues from occurring.” And then you think, “What can I do to get my voice out there and get the conversation started about this?”
WRITE A BLOG POST!
The Alliance of Social Workers in Sports has created a platform for social workers and other helping professionals to get discussions started on sports-related topics that affect sports culture and athlete well-being. Posts can discuss trending topics in professional sports, to ways to address mental health with collegiate athletes, to positive youth development and character development of youth athletes. If you’re passionate about a topic that you’ve recognized impacts an athlete’s overall well-being and social, emotional functioning and increases their vulnerability, then your perspective is worth being heard.
Motivated yet? Let’s get your brainstorming on paper.
First we need to create a plan. Once you know what you’re wanting to write about, start a rough draft and let your initial thoughts spill out on paper. Get all of that clouded emotional mess onto a format you can see. Then you can arrange the clutter into a digestible layout.
Whether you do this from the start or wait until the end, be sure to have an enticing Headline or Title. The goal here is to grab readers’ attention! This spark of brilliance may come to you at any time throughout your writing process, so be patient with yourself. And when it’s right, you’ll know it.
The lead paragraph should be one that captivates readers. This is where you pull on emotions, personal stories, reference a media story, use awareness months and connect to athletes or pull on the passions of social workers, athletes, coaches and fans. Draw your reader into your story and make it relatable.
From here you want to follow up with thought-provoking supporting information. You have drawn in the reader and they’re invested in your story, but now give them the “why” to care even more about what you have to say. Here is where you provide data and facts from citable sources. Avoid referencing Wikipedia. Reference empirically based research articles to support your data and interventions. Use reputable media sources to present an honest story. It is fair to admit that details may be left out and allow yourself a chance to share opposing perspectives, this can alleviate bias and backlash.
PRO-TIP: Do your research on your topic if you’re not doing a piece based on personal experience.
Also, adding pictures or snap shots from the web can enhance the appeal of a blog post!
To wrap up your passion and brilliance, take advantage of this opportunity to end with a compelling call to action!
In this section give action steps for social workers to take who want to get involved and support the presenting issues. Reference NASW Code of Ethics and Social Work Core Values to demonstrate how athletes represent a vulnerable population and how social workers can serve a vital role in sports culture. Many of us know the why and have bought into this, so tell us HOW to make a difference and what we can do!
Once you have completed your post, then it is time to proof read. Read through your draft and check for grammatical errors and appropriate APA format when citing sources. There are many citation automators online to use as tools to edit your formatting. Check for spelling errors, sentence structure, and word flow. Whether we like it or now, our professionalism is criticized by our writing abilities and how our voice is portrayed through written word. State your facts directly, share your opinions, be willing to throw in some humor, and be open to opposing viewpoints. This is how discussions are started on the issues we find so important.
It is highly recommended to have someone else read your blog post prior to submission. Fortunately, the ASWIS offers peer reviewing prior to posting your blog. Submit your blog post to Matt Moore, President of ASWIS, and he will send your post for peer editing and feedback. That feedback will be returned to you for review and edits prior to being finalized for posting to the website.
Once you blog post has completed these stages you will be notified that your long awaited, game-changing post has gone live on the website! Links to your blog will be posted on ASWIS social media outlets to draw more readers to engage in your topic. And you can rest now knowing you have done something. Put your voice into action. Started a conversation. You have taken your idea and put it into the minds of other like-minded, passionate helping professionals. This is how we form a movement. This is how we support Social Work in Sports.
We anxiously await your submissions! Let’s be game changers TOGETHER!