by Scout Director, Network for LGBT Health Equity A project of The Fenway Institute in Boston, MA Reporting from Netroots Nation 2011 LGBT Preconference in Minneapolis, MN
Remember just last year when many state dept of health folk were blocked from Facebook, Twitter and other social media? Well, perhaps because the feds have set a standard of using social media for their routine promotion work, we all now realize that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter… all these are tools we will need to understand and use in order to ace health promotion work in this new era.
Well, despite the fact that you are reading this on a blog, don’t think we’re not as overwhelmed with all these new media as everyone else. We’re trying our hardest to learn how to use these new tools effectively. But boy it’s a lot.
Many of you know, lots of our LGBT print media has already gone out of business, some have switched to an all online format, some have just folded. This struggle is one of the reasons why the print media is really susceptible when folks like RJR Reynolds start pumping SNUS ads. Like happened in Minnesota, it’s often a real challenge to get the magazine or newspaper to refuse these ads in todays world. Face it, this is one of the main reasons why we have to struggle to raise awareness that we have health disparities like our crazy high smoking rate. It’s long past time for us to take some tips from major corporations and start being more savvy about how to get healthy messages integrated into LGBT media. But how do we do it with a fraction of their funding?
So, you know we’re at this Netroots LGBT Pre-Conf today… I’m listening avidly to all the many LGBT bloggers in the room. Let me share a bit of what I’ve learned about smart strategies for getting those healthy messages into LGBT online media.
First, what are the bigger LGBT blogs?
It’s a little hard to figure out exact readership, and some focus more on social versus serious messaging, but at least each of these LGBT blogs should be on our radar screens.
- Bilerico Project
- Pam’s House Blend
- The Daily Kos
- Equality Matters
- Americablog Gay
- The Blade
Tips for getting coverage in LGBT blogs
- Buy ads in them! Yes, the blogs are absolutely independent, but this is one way to start building a relationship which helps get your news noticed.
- Offer to write for a blog. One of the big ones, Bilerico.com is actively seeking new contributors now, go on, sign up, one way to get health covered is to write the posts ourselves.
- Repost their stories on Twitter/FB, comment on the stories online, just start engaging with them.
- Make a short list of the editors of each of those blogs and send them press releases whenever you think somethink is news. Don’t worry if it’s not national, local is ok too. Pics help too.
- Give bloggers scoops or first rights to breaking news, this is one fast way to build a relationship.
- Write op-eds about health issues and submit them to blogs (customize them for each submission). See some of the op-eds we put up on the IOM report to see a sample of style.
- Did I mention buy ads on them? This seems to be a seriously underutilized strategy. Yet some of the blogs above get 40k views/day… that’s a lot of eyeballs we’d like to have reading our health messages, right?
Many of these strategies will work for your local LGBT media as well. And many of them can be real smart strategies for health departments or hospitals to use as a way to demonstrate that your services are LGBT-friendly.
OK, now off I go to try to put some of these strategies into action!