Style Guide

Overview

This content style guide is for blog contributors to the Stop Abuse Campaign. This guide provides insight into the principles of the Stop Abuse Campaign’s content, the audience for whom it should be written, and guidelines for the structure of content.

Writing Goals and Principles

The Stop Abuse Campaign prevents childhood trauma, we call it Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). All Stop Abuse Campaign content should be created around one core principle. The content should help the Stop Abuse Campaign stop and prevent ACEs. There are a number of ways in which content can help achieve this goal, including, but not limited to:

  • Educating the public about childhood trauma
  • Lobbying for change
  • Encouraging healing
  • Driving donations
  • Driving membership

When creating your content ask, “how does this content help the Stop Abuse Campaign stop and prevent child abuse?”

Themes

To achieve the writing goals and principles of the Stop Abuse Campaign there are 2 central themes and messages that content should express:

Education

We want to change the way people view childhood trauma and its effect on individuals, their communities, and our culture by asserting that childhood trauma is a public health problem. Evidence based and research backed content are valuable tools to educate a general public unaware of the scale of the problem, or it’s impact on individuals and society. Content covering healing from trauma is welcome.

Change

We want states and municipalities to adopt public policy that prevents ACEs. We are focused on 3 primary campaigns but our blog will have a point of view on many more. For instance while we, today, don’t advocate for prison reform, having a family member incarcerated is an ACE. States may decide to publish an article in support of a prison reform bill [NB. All legislative decisions need to be approved by the central team to ensure consistency].

Our three primary  3 campaigns:

  • Statute of Limitations Reform, protecting children from sexual abuse.
  • Family Court Reform, protecting children in family courts.
  • Maternal Home Visiting, and our NY pilot programs, protecting our most vulnerable children.

Not all content will directly cover these themes but they should remain central pillars of our content.

Audience Groups

There are 3 main audience groups for Stop Abuse Campaign content. Content should directly target one or more of these audience groups.

The Public:

Mostly female (76%) aged 35 to 54 (50%).
Strongly biased toward mothers and in particular protective mothers who care passionately about fixing custody courts, domestic violence, and (to a lesser extent) preventing ACEs.
Survivors, and their supporters, who are likely to have high ACE scores and a passion to prevent them in others.

Donors.

Small donors represent the bulk of funding (“Public” audiences noted above).

Large funders. Primarily wealthy individuals with or without their own foundations (about 80% of charitable funds). Large charitable foundations (Ford Foundation, Gates, etc.).

Interested in what Stop Abuse is doing, the benefit it provides, the money needed, social ROI, and the strength of the board

Legislators.

Local and national, who have the ability to influence and propose or support critical policy changes. Interested in protecting children, but often with little understanding of what that means.

Voice and Tone

The voice and tone of your content should reflect the Stop Abuse Campaign voice.

The Stop Abuse Campaign voice is:

  • First person plural
  • Knowledgeable
  • Supportive

We adopt The Guardian’s style guide for grammatical and writing style.

Content Types

There are 2 main types of content on the Stop Abuse Campaign website, Evergreen content and Timely Content. Please indicate which kind of content you are creating and any continued maintenance that your content requires.

Evergreen Content – Evergreen content is content that will remain relevant over time. It has no expiration date and will remain helpful to the audience 1 year, 3 years, 5 years from now.

Examples are Survivor stories, or Resources. Content that can be packaged in a collection, or used in our permanent pages.

Timely Content – Timely content is content that has an expiration date. It is content that may be relevant at the time of writing, but that may not be relevant in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years etc.

Examples are News, Events or Legislation specific content without a shelf life.

Our blog content is displayed by news, events and featured content. Featured content is promoted on the home page and our social media channels.

Basic Content Structure

All blog posts on the Stop Abuse Campaign site should follow the basic content structure below. Unless otherwise agreed, Blog posts should be a total of at least 300 words and less than 2,000 words.

Title: The title should succinctly and clearly capture the message of the post without using “clickbait” strategies. Blog post titles should be less than 60 characters to fit with SEO best practices.

Introduction: The introduction should explain the main message behind the post and its relevance to one or more of the Stop Abuse Campaign audiences.

Body: The body of the blog post provides added detail around the post topic.

Conclusion: The conclusion of the post should restate the message as outlined in the introduction. Include a “call to action” in the conclusion of the post that tells the reader what they should do to act on the message of the post.

  • Call to action examples:
    Donate today to support the Stop Abuse Campaign
    Contact your local legislator
    Sign up for our newsletter

Additional Content Notes

All blog content should be “Written for the Web”, meaning it should be easily scanable. Formatting is key when writing for the web so use these formatting tips to keep content digestible:

  • Text should be broken up into easily readable chunks.
  • Use headings to break up content sections.
  • Use bullet points or lists to communicate ideas with multiple points
  • Keywords should always be included in:
    • Headline
    • Body text
    • Alt-text for images

Web Elements

Web Elements are important components of a blog post that help improve usability and if the appropriate metadata is applied to the web elements the visibility of a post by improving Search Engine Optimization.

Web elements that must be included in each post:

  • Use at least one related image in your post
    • Include alt-text for all images describing the image within the context of the post.
    • An alternative to images is to use block quotes or pull quotes to highlight text sections.
  • Use sub-headings when appropriate.
  • Cross-link to other relevant site content. When in doubt, look to other content within the same blog post category to find related content.
  • Calls to action in the form of a button, newsletter forms, or crosslink to other site content.

Conclusion

This content style guide is designed to provide support and guidelines for contributors to the Stop Abuse Campaign site. If you have any questions regarding these guidelines, please contact the Stop Abuse Campaign site administrator [[email protected]].

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