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Empowering youth globally to create sustainable solutions

SDSN YOUTH BLOG GUIDE

 

Starting your post

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Please write your blog in a Google Docs file and share it with the Communications team member you are speaking with.

This allows us to edit and make comments, suggestions & questions about specific parts of your piece.

Please note that the Communications Team may edit more than just grammar or spelling in order to better the flow or coherency of your piece if necessary.

If you do not have a Communications contact yet, please set your sharing settings on.

On - Anyone with the link
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Attach any images separately

It is not possible to retrieve images from Docs, and screenshotting them will compromise their quality, so please attach any images separately in an email in a Google Drive folder.

If you want the images to be placed in a specific part of the blog piece, please feel free to add these to your Doc but please attach them separately as well.

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Tip: Name the image files numerically (1, 2, 3...) and just insert the number in the document where you want the image to appear.

On the SDSN Youth website, we insert the corresponding image

Name the images numerically

 

Format

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Title and excerpt

Titles are extremely important to the success of the blog post as it is the first thing (and sometimes the only thing) your audience will see. You should have a catchy headline that is punchy and powerful. Think click-bait, but not as misleading.

You also have the option to send in an excerpt. This can be taken from the first paragraph or the most compelling paragraph within the article - whatever you think would grab people's attention. If you do not supply an excerpt, we will pick the paragraph we think is the best suit.

Blog post previews with titles and excerpts sdsnyouth.org/blog 

Blog post previews with titles and excerpts
sdsnyouth.org/blog 

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Content

There is no word limit and you are free to write about whatever you like, so long as it is relevant to either:

  • sustainable development,
  • the role and responsibilities youth play in moving the world forward,
  • any of the Sustainable Development Goals, or
  • UNSDSN/SDSN Youth.

Your content must also:

  • Not be overly political.
    You may discuss politics but it can not demonstrate an obvious bias toward a particular political stance.
  • Must have appropriate language.
    The language should be politically correct and culturally sensitive.

The Communications Team may use their discretion to reject any submissions that violate these guidelines.

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Tip: If you are writing about an event or organization, we recommend framing the piece about your experiences, overarching lessons learned (personal or topics discussed in with attendees), or about why the organization/event is important to the youth (e.g. It’s important for the youth to discuss topic xyz because innovative solutions are needed...).

We may ask you to edit your story to follow one of these suggestions if we find that your piece merely describes an event/organization without context or further discussion.

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Context and references

Don't assume your audience know what you are talking about. The SDSN Youth blog is not a regional specific platform, keep in mind that English is not everybody's first language and your audience may or may not have extensive knowledge on your topic. Try not to use too much jargon, however, if you must, either explain in your blog post or link to a relevant article.

Footnotes are useful, but we would prefer if you use hyperlinks within the text when referring to external sources. This encourages your audience to learn more, rather than potentially skipping your footnotes all together immediately after they finish reading.

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Imagery, graphs, data, etc

A picture is worth a thousand words! Try to use imagery wherever you can. Ideally max. 4 per paragraph, but otherwise it gets distracting.

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Author image and biography

We include a short biography at the end of each blog piece, so remember to also submit a photo of yourself (and of any co-authors), and a short biography (less than 150 words).

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Tip: Please try and send in a photo that relatively professional and not cropped. We crop images to a circle, so keep that in mind when picking a photo.


 Extra tips

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Are there any tools I can use for editing?

For grammar and spelling, we suggest Grammarly.
We also recommend the Hemingway App to check if your writing is easily understood by a broad audience.

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I have a topic I want to write about, but I don't know how to start!

It’s very common to get stuck if writing blogs is not something you do often. This usually happens when we’ve started writing without a plan. We recommend:

  1. Thinking about the points that excite you, fascinate you or motivate you, and write those down first. Use them as a base to engage your audience.
  2. Writing down the key points of what you want to discuss, starting from a high-level description and gradually adding more and more detail.
  3. When expanding your points, it is helpful to start writing down what you would say as if you were having a conversation with a friend about it.
  4. Proof-reading at the end of each draft, not in between. 

These tips will help you improve the flow of your piece and make it engaging, so the reader can take something away from it after they have finished reading. It’s important to think of this blog piece as more than just a way to share your story, but also provide value to your audience.