Guidelines for Blog Posts & Social Media

Blog Guidelines

Disclaimer: These guidelines are not meant to be a barrier to contribution! If you don’t know how to follow any of the guidelines or need help with anything, let one of the team members know! We are happy to help and we can look after the technicalities if needed.

Content (ALL Contributors)

Ask yourself these basic questions:

  • Who: Who is the audience of this specific post?

  • What: What does the audience get out of it?

  • How: How will it leave the audience feel?

  • Why: Why are you writing this? What is your aim?

  • When: What’s relevant/related to other posts/in the news right now?

  • Where: Where will this be shared? (Groups/Sites)

There’s a lot of misinformation around autism out there, so let’s not add to it.

  • Whenever possible use multiple reliable sources to back up your claims

     

  • Link to sources available online

  • If you don’t have sources for a claim, state that it is an opinion, an idea, a belief, a hypothesis, etc.

We have a lot of negative feelings we need to let out, but we still want to keep it a positive space for Autistics (not: toxic positivity)

Please consider the following people when you write your post:

  • Vulnerable people:  Vulnerable people will read this post, so if you can, try not to leave them disheartened

     

  • Other AutLoud Bloggers: It’s okay to submit anonymously, but remember that other volunteers might have to deal with any backlash. Some of us are also easy to find on Social Media and therefore potential targets of backlash.

     

  • Your Target Audience: Attacking the target audience is not always the most effective way to advocate. People won’t take it in if they feel defensive; they won’t share it if it makes them look horrible.

     

  • Aim: What can/needs to be done about the issue? People might not take it in/share it if they don’t know what you want them to do.
  • Autism Negativity: We should have a space to rant/vent about our struggles, but the world is full of negative portrayals of Autistic traits, so some balance would be good. Let’s ask ourselves: 
    • Is my problem caused solely by my Autistic traits themselves or (partially/fully) by people/systems around me? 
    • What positive aspects are there to my Autistic traits? 
    • What can I do to cope? 
    • What should other people/institutions do to help?
  • Start your post with a content warning + specification, for example: Content Warning: Domestic violence

  • End your post with a link to services people can contact if they need to talk

  • Some topics might not be a problem for you, but might be for others – be sensitive towards other identities, including disability, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity

Legalities/Ethics (ALL Contributors)

These are important to protect ourselves, contributors, readers, the website owner, and the blog

If you need to correct information on a blog that has already been published, don’t just change it. It might be seen as covering up mistakes.

  • Add a disclaimer like [Edited/Correction + Date + Change] at the top/bottom
  • This applies to false/confusing information, not cosmetic corrections like typos/formatting 
  • Always check the different types of licenses for creative commons

  • Credit creators whenever possible to value their work, even if not mandatory

  • Mark quotes as such. Don’t quote extensive passages of text without permission

  • Err on the side of caution. If you’re not sure, assume that you CANNOT use the material. Get permission in writing if you use other people’s work
  • Always punch up, never punch down or sideways

  • Be careful if you compare us to other marginalised groups – don’t assume they have it better

  • Don’t make any assumptions about marginalised groups you are not part of – just ask them for input

  • See this list of ableist language to avoid

We might want to criticise service providers, employers, organisations, professionals etc. We need to be careful because we don’t want to be sued for libel, even if the claims can’t hold up in court. We are all volunteers, so let’s avoid getting in trouble. (This is not legal advice.)

  • Use opinion language (state that it is your opinion or someone else’s)

  • Always keep documentation for the claims you make, even if you don’t publish it

  • Avoid targeting individuals – they don’t have to be named, they could just be identifiable from context  (e.g. If you write about your GP and you post your name and the name of your village, it might be obvious who you are talking about)

  • If it’s not an individual account but an article with a collection of opinions, be unbiased by trying to portray both sides, (e.g. if you quote people making allegations against a service provider, reach out to the service provider to get their side. If they don’t want to engage, mention that they refused to comment in the post.)

If you are or used to be affiliated with or sponsored by the services, people, or products you blog about in any way, mention that as a disclaimer on the blog post.

Advanced information (Editors, Regulars)

  • Author assigned (Don’t publish as admin account)

  • 1-2 Categories assigned (Don’t use the ‘Autism’ category, it’s just the default)

  • Tags assigned

  • Featured image set

  • Meta Description/Excerpt filled in

  • Titles + Alt text for images 

  • All links are working
    • External links to open in new tab
    • Internal links to open in the same tab

  • Formatting looks okay on Desktop/Mobile (Open preview)

  • Publish immediately or schedule post

Headlines are important! Spend some time thinking about them but don’t sweat it!

  • Search-engine friendly: use keywords (What words would you type into Google to find information on your topic?)

  • Reader-friendly: 4 U: unique, useful, ultraspecific, urgent

  • Avoid clickbait titles (What happened next will surprise you… 10 things about… You’ll never guess number 8)

  • You can use a colon to separate ‘search engine language’ from ‘playful language’: [keyword phrase : engaging headline], for example: 10 Autism Myths Debunked: “You don’t look Autistic” and more

  • Frontload keywords if possible

  • The ideal title length is around 60 characters.

  • Use Title Case for Main Heading + sentence case for subheadings: Title Case tool  
  • Set a featured image (it shows on the site + social media links)

  • There is a standard blog image in the gallery you can use

  • You can use a free stock image – see copyright section below

  • Use reverse image search to check submitted images for copyright issues
  • Decide what kind of image description you need  
    • For common use templates such as our ‘blog feature photo’ template you can click on one of the similar photos in the gallery and copy the image description and adjust as needed

  • Use strong contrast between text and background

  • Keep paragraphs short – avoid walls of text

  • Use scannable subheadings to break up the text and guide the reader

Ideally every post has a call to action to encourage readers to

  • comment by asking a question

  • contact us by adding a link to contact page 

  • take some action in their lives

  • follow us or subscribe to newsletter if we have one

Social Media (Moderators/Creators)

Let’s use similar colours/fonts as on the blog to create  brand recognition

  • There’s a brand kit colour palette in our team folder on Canva

  • The fonts used are Cabin Sketch bold, Cabin Regular

  • The main colours are #944282 and #D1FA8A  

  • The other colours in the palette are only there to tag each category in a different colour, so we can change them if needed

  • If you create a template, share it in the AutLoud Canva Folder
  • Let’s capitalise the word Autistic the way Disabled, Deaf etc is capitalised to signify that it’s an identity

 

  • Stay calm and engage constructively

  • Mind your spoons – step away or ask someone else for help

  • Social Media isn’t the best platform to change someone’s mind
     
  • Don’t allow harassment/bullying of commenters, contributors, moderators

  • Ban people who don’t want to engage constructively

  • If questions/feedback are aimed at you personally, you can use the official account to answer and sign with your blog name

  • If you want to get into a personal argument, use your own social media account, not the official AutLoud one – we want to keep a professional face
Accordion Content
Accordion Content
Accordion Content

If you don’t know how to do any of these things, that’s no problem! Just ask anyone on the Messenger Group Chat (for regular contributors), Social Media, or send us an email!

Resources