Heather Mansfield in Social Media for Social Good mentioned that worldwide, there are almost 200 million blogs resulting in roughly 1 million blog posts daily. What this tells me is that blogging provides a powerful new platform for the field of Public Health. While reviewing these blogs, I started noticing a pattern. Within seconds of visiting a blog, I made snap judgements on whether or not I liked or didn’t like the blog. If my initial reaction was negative, I found that I quickly moved on to the next. If I did like it, well, I stayed around and read a few posts. As Public Health professionals it is imperative that we use key strategies when blogging to capture our audience’s attention to ensure that our entire message is conveyed to the reader. Otherwise, how effective is our blog if we are getting limited traffic? Will our message even be heard?
After visiting a handful of blogs, I kept thinking, what was it about the blogs that captured my attention? The initial key strategy that drew me in was organization and structure. I appreciated the ability to search and skim through posts. Strong posts had strong headlines that grabbed my attention, paired with strong clear messages. Not to mention they used photos and graphics to illustrate their message, bringing their story to life! Effective blogs used multiple forms of media, making it interactive and engaging for the reader. They not only had videos, but they had graphs, pictures, and pop-ups to help the reader navigate through the blog. I also noticed that I gravitated towards blogs that were also supported by facts from reputable sources. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hear someone’s story, but I also want facts to be presented, especially if the blogger is providing recommendations on one’s health and wellbeing.
While visiting the MPH@GW Blog they identify top health blogs worth connecting to. These blogs contained many of the characteristics that I mentioned. In addition, these blogs tended to have key public health professionals as authors and their posts were current and up-to-date. Many of these blogs were promoted through various media sources, which I am sure helped in drawing in readers from different walks of life.
In addition to looking up Public Health blogs, I also looked at Health and Wellness Blogs. One blog in particular that modeled the key components was called “Greatist.” Here they had inspirational quotes, a movement, top and latest stories, and trending topics. They included a plethora of visual aids that created an organized look. The organization and structure of the blog was not only effective in getting me to check out their posts, but it was also visually pleasing.
With this exciting, expansive new platform, blogging creates a stage in which Public Health professionals can disseminate information worldwide. Understanding the key components to effective blogging is imperative if you want it to be a powerful means to transmit key information concerning one’s health. So remember, create strong headlines, find a way to engage your readers, keep your information new and current be informative and know your audience.