Enhance Your Posting
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One of the best ways your County Center can reach out to people that are interested in your programs and events is with a News Post. They are an efficient and effective way of disseminating information to the general public. While they are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, you can waste a lot of hard work if you don’t use them properly. Here are a few ways to ensure your posts are effective and professional.
Grammar and voice are important. Ensure that your tone matches your audience and the information you are trying to convey. Ensure your posts aimed at agricultural webinars have a serious tone and focus only on the What, When and Where. Regarding 4-H and other children’s program posts, feel free to add some excitement. Tools like Grammarly have built-in tone detectors that can analyze your writing and give you feedback on tone. Writing your copy with the Grammarly app installed will not only ensure that you are not making any major grammatical mistakes, but it will also help you formulate your thoughts into a coherent, tonally correct piece. Hemmingway Editor is another great tool for post creation. You can copy a post into the editor, and it will highlight structural issues with the post. It will find sentences that may be confusing or have simpler alternatives outside of grammar. There are lots of good tools out there that make your job easier, use them.
Images and Formatting
Images are meant to enhance the content, not to replace it. You may have spent a lot of time in Canva creating the perfect post for your program, but once it is uploaded to the web, the content becomes completely inaccessible to a portion of the user base. Those with vision issues that rely on scaling text and e-readers can’t properly interact with images. To resolve these accessibility issues, I recommend two things.
First, always include a description of the image in the image’s alt-text. To access this, click the photo in your post and the pencil icon in the context menu. The modal that pops up will have an alt-text field where you can describe the image. Ensure that the alt-text is in sentence form and not just a series of keywords.
Second, if your image tells the Who, What, When and Where of your program or event, include that information in the post’s body, either tailor your copy to include that information or recreate a text version of the image in the body. Feel free to include that text at the bottom of the post if you’d like. Including both the image and a text version of the same content ensures that everyone who opens the post can interact with it. Keep in mind that the inclusion of Alt-text isn’t just recommended; it is required.
Make sure you are following guidelines when it comes to branding. There are a few must-dos when posting information about N.C. Cooperative Extension, your county center and even Extension Master Gardeners. If you have questions about how to format each, you will see a list of potential issues in your post’s QA tools. Each of those issues includes a link to a page containing the information you need to ensure your branding is up to date. The most common issue is how to refer to your County Center. In all circumstances, you should be referring to it as N.C. Cooperative Extension, **** County Center. That is to say, do not refer to it as **** County Extension or NCCE **** County. It does tend to be a bit of an eyeful to see the whole name, but it is required to stay on brand. Also, include the service mark (℠) behind Extension Master Gardener℠ program of **** County. You can easily insert the service mark into any post by clicking on the Ω symbol in your post’s toolbar. Note also that it is Master Gardener℠ and not **** County Master Gardener.
If you ever have any questions on posting, post formatting, or content, please do not hesitate to contact me.