Share your voice!

Express yourself @ TeensHaveChoices.org!Guidelines for Guest Bloggers

Everyone has a story, and the most compelling ones come from our own community. We hope you will share yours! At Teens Have Choices, we’re always looking for relevant and original articles, essays, photos, videos, art, and more, so if you have a something to contribute, we’d love to see it. In addition to parents, teen parents, community members and youth service providers, we’re eager for guest blogger contributions from young people ages 13-19. Just email us your item —it can be on any topic relevant to teenagers or to parents of teenagers.

Before you click “send,” here are a few guidelines for anyone who submits items to Teens Have Choices:

  1. Your item must be 100% original content. By submitting your item, you give us the right to use it, with your preferred attribution, wherever we please. That means Teens Have Choices (the Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition) might use your material on our website or somewhere else (like in one of our publications, on social media sites, etc).
  2. While we prefer that you email your item to us, we’ll certainly consider submissions that we receive in hard copy form. We want to make this easy for you.
  3. Unless you ask to be anonymous, your name may be attached to anything you write for us. For teens, we’ll use your first name and last initial unless you ask to be anonymous or to have your full name used.
  4. Just as we respect your wishes about how you wish to be identified, we ask that you avoid using anyone else’s name in your essay unless that person is already a public figure.
  5. Tell us a little about yourself: your age, grade, and school (if you’re a teen), where you live, what you do (or plan to do), whether you’re a parent, etc. Include your photo, if you wish. We’ll share this information when we post your item. If posting anonymously, please tell us some non-identifying information about yourself that you’re comfortable sharing. We also need your contact information, which we will not share, so that we can discuss your item with you as necessary.
  6. If we post your story, we might edit your words—that doesn’t mean we’ll change the meaning of your story. We’ll just clean up the grammar, fix any misspellings, and make sure the content flows and makes sense.
  7. Provide links (URLs) to any statistics or quotes included in your material. This helps us with fact checking and also provides us with a link we can share with our readers.
  8. We can’t pay you for the items you share with us and we may not use everything that is sent to us. There’s also a chance that similar stories will be submitted to Teens Have Choices or that we’ll write similar content in the future, even if we didn’t use yours.
  9. Once your submitted item is on our website, we can’t control who sees it or reposts it—that means that others might link to it, Tweet about it, post it on their Facebook pages, or generally publicize your work. Once it’s on our site, that stuff is out of our control.
  10. If we post your item, we want you to help us publicize it—that means we hope you’ll link to it on your Facebook page, Tweet about it, tell all your friends about it, and generally make sure everyone knows that your work has been published. If you don’t use social media tools or don’t feel comfortable telling your friends, that’s ok too. We just want you to know that you’re allowed (and encouraged!) to.
  11. NEW as of April 19, 2012: Student bloggers in Washington County may qualify for Student Service Learning (SSL) hours. If you wish to be considered for SSL hours, please contact us before submitting any material for publication.

Finally, keep in mind that stories should usually run between 300-900 words and include a title, although we can work with items of any length and we may need to edit the title. Also make sure you let us know how you want your name to appear or whether you wish to remain anonymous. If we post your story on Teens Have Choices, we’ll send you an email with the link when it’s live on the site. If you have any questions, email us!

[Our guidelines were adapted with permission from StayTeen.org]. The image is courtesy of morgueFile.com.