The Network

for LGBT Tobacco Control

Tips for how to get health promotion messages into LGBT blogs

By Scout
Network for LGBT Health Equity
A project of The Fenway Institute, Boston, MA
Reporting from Netroots Nation LGBT Pre-Conference, Minneapolis, MN

It's a packed room of bloggers and LGBT orgs at the Netroots LGBT Pre-Conf

We all have to build new skills

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.

Tips for getting coverage in LGBT blogs

  1. 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.
  2. Offer to write for a blog. One of the big ones, is actively seeking new contributors now, go on, sign up, one way to get health covered is to write the posts ourselves.
  3. Repost their stories on Twitter/FB, comment on the stories online, just start engaging with them.
  4. 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.
  5. Give bloggers scoops or first rights to breaking news, this is one fast way to build a relationship.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 just as well 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!


June 15, 2011 Posted by | Action Alerts, APHA, Blogs en español, Break Free Alliance, CPPW, Creating Change, Creating Change 2010, Creating Change 2011, Minnesota, National Coalition for LGBT Health, NatNet, Presentations, Puerto Rico, Resources, Scholarship Opportunity, social media, Steering Committee, Tobacco Policy, two_spirit_wellness, Uncategorized, USSF, USSF_mlp, webinar | , , , | Leave a comment

APHA Field Reports: Opening Plenary – The Church of Cornel West

By Jaime Delavan
Reporting for the 2010 American Public Health Association Meeting in Denver Colorado

The opening for the 138th annual American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting and expo, focusing on social justice and public health, provided an impressive line-up. I mean no disrespect but I am not going to list them all. There were impassioned statements about health care reform, the number of people without health insurance and the need for a public option. There were strong words around changing our sick care system to a health care system. There was a challenge to collectively find our public health voice. There were thoughts shared about the lack of health care available for the people (a large number who are immigrants) who put food on our table, sweep our floors, and help keep us safe. There was talk of available funding for things (and people) “we” are comfortable with.  And a group shout of the word “racism”. A resounding acknowledgement of it’s existence in America, and not just among Euro-Americans. There was reflective mention of Tuskegee and the hurt and distrust that formed from that bad (really bad) moment in public health history. And how that bad helped shape the world of community-based participatory research that we see today. A world where the IRB process which, while it can be worrisome and time consuming, is present to protect individuals and communities from exploitation. It was a call to be mindful in our work. More on this later in the piece on co-opting.

But there is nothing like the church of Cornel West. I was fortunate to hear him last January in Boise when he was the keynote for the MLK human rights celebration. He was no less impressive this day. You may be familiar with him through his influential book, “Race Matters”. If not, pick it up. It’s a worthwhile read and has been credited with changing the discourse on race. Or maybe you are more familiar with him from the movie the “Matrix”. I’ve read that he had a hand in the development of the storyline as well as a recurring role in the film. I must confess, I haven’t seen the movie.

West, referencing Curtis Mayfield, Billie Holiday, Sly Stone, John Coltrane, Bootsy Collins, and Curtis Mayfield while talking about social justice, had everyone clapping and shouting. It was like church without the fans. “Social justice, it’s like the blues”, he declared. “It’s personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.” It sheds light on “Everyday People”, and “Strange Fruit”. It is “Love Supreme”. But in America, we like to deodorize the discourse. We like to focus on success and ignore “the basement”. It’s time to stop deodorizing and focus on the “funk”.  Cornell West challenged the audience to think socratically. To ask the tough questions and challenge modes of thought. West shared the story of telling President Obama that he will be a socratic supporter. He will ask the tough questions. And again advised us to ask the tough questions and not get discouraged but “Keep pushing on”.

West asked, “So if the banks are too big to fail does that mean the poor are too small to help?”. Interesting socratic question. It was a perfect kick-off to a few days of social justice and public health conversation.

You can make a living or make a life. You can live the good life or live a life of good. Many of us are wounded healers, working with passion and compassion. The time has come when we need to put the accent on courage. Too many people are used to injustice. The wretched of the earth, their humanity is just as important as anyone else’s. It’s time to invest in human health and spirit – Cornell West

Also, check out a video of Cornel’s talk below!

November 9, 2010 Posted by | APHA | 1 Comment


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