How to Choose Your Subject and Write for Silent Reef

Writing for Silent Reef brings many benefits. We publish original stories from any author with useful advice to share. In this article you find out how to choose your subject and get your story published.

Environment campaigners are quick learners.

We have to be given how often we are thrown in the deep end –

We need you to organise a rally for next weekend.

and asked to perform tasks for which large corporations employ dedicated staff –

You’ll need to arrange high-profile speakers and get lots of media coverage.

But to learn quickly we need reliable information. And who better to provide that information than other campaigners?

So if you are grateful for the how-to campaign information on Silent Reef how about adding your own knowledge to the mix?

Writing for Silent Reef brings many benefits:

  • Raises your profile as an environment campaigner
  • Helps other campaigners run more effective campaigns
  • Helps establish your position as a thought leader in the nonprofit sector
  • Raises local and global awareness of your campaign
  • Spreads SEO powerful links to improve your website’s position in search results (e.g. Google; Bing; Yahoo)

To have your article considered for publication it must be an original work that helps our readers run effective environment campaigns.

Note – You don’t have to be a campaigner to write for Silent Reef. We love to hear from lawyers, accountants, designers, SEOs and anyone else with useful advice to share.

For advice on writing your article and to submit your article idea for consideration before writing see our write for Silent Reef page.

This article helps you choose a subject to write about, starting with our top tip:

Write about what you know

Here’s our top tip for choosing your subject:

Write from your personal experience and knowledge.

Subjects you know well are easy to explain in simple terms.

Further, writing from your personal experience and knowledge allows you to add your own insights, tips and examples to make your article stand out from others on the same subject.

But this does not mean you must be an experienced campaigner to write for us.

We don’t mind if you are new to campaigning (imagine how inspiring your story will be to other new campaigners) provided you have something useful to share that our readers can use in their campaigns.

What does this look like in practice? It means we would publish an article titled:

5 Things I Learnt In My First Week as an Environment Campaigner (and tips for surviving your first week)

This is the difference between having personal experience of a campaign subject and being an experienced campaigner.

Check other articles on the same subject

We don’t believe everything about a subject can be crammed in to one article. Environment campaigns are far too complex for this. So you will find multiple articles for each subject on Silent Reef.

However, read those articles and you will see that each one provides something different – a fresh insight, a new technology, a different approach to achieve the same outcome. You will even find articles arguing that campaigners should never do something ten other articles say they should.

So it doesn’t matter if your chosen subject has already been extensively written about. What matters is that you have something new to add.

Finding out what has already been written about a subject on Silent Reef is easy. Simply type the subject in any search box on the site to see everything already published on that subject through our blog and Campaign Library (free membership).

You can also use this method to identify gaps in the Silent Reef knowledge bank. Then write an article to fill one of these gaps.

Tip – Short, simple search phrases give the best results, such as ‘petitions’ or ‘targets’.

Subject suggestions

Following are suggestions for subjects to write about. Note however that these are only suggestions – feel free to come up with your own ideas.

Also note that we do not expect you to cover an entire category in one article. For example, your article could be about using ’emotion’ in campaign communications rather than about ‘Campaign Communications’ as a whole.

Most of the following are core subjects in Silent Reef’s Run Effective Environment Campaigns online training program.

Campaign Planning

How to write environment campaign plans, from investigating the issue and learning about (and from) stakeholders to developing solutions people will support:

Campaign Communications

How to create campaign communications that motivate action and change behaviours:

  • Developing effective campaign messages, including the use of values, stories and emotions
  • Communication approaches to avoid
  • Conducting campaign audience research
  • Writing effective calls to action
  • Changing behaviours that damage the environment
  • Removing the barriers that stifle action
  • Overcoming misinformation
Online Activism

How to build campaign support and pressure targets online:

  • Developing and managing campaign websites
  • Blogging for campaigners
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) for nonprofits
  • Using email and e-newsletters to communicate with supporters
  • Social media activism
Actions and Events

How to organise and run campaign actions and events that get results:

  • Raising awareness of environment issues and environment solutions
  • Running advocacy campaign tactics (e.g. petitions; rallies; marches)
  • Pressuring targets and other decision makers
  • Delivering presentations and running training workshops
  • Gaining media coverage (newspapers, radio, TV and magazines)
  • Using direct action, including nonviolent civil disobedience
Environment Issues and Solutions

Information about environments at risk, environment issue impacts and campaign solution impacts:

  • Reasons for protecting the environment, including environment values and ecosystem services
  • Understanding the environment, social and economic impacts of environment issues and campaign solutions
  • Recognising effective solutions to environment issues and solutions that do not work
Nonprofit Management and Careers

How to manage campaign organisations, including advice for registered organisations (e.g. nonprofit organisations; not for profit organisations (NFPs); nongovernment organisations (NGOs); charities) and campaigns operating independent of a registered organisation. Includes career advice for working in the nonprofit sector:

  • Establishing, managing and running campaign organisations
  • Capacity building and partnership building
  • Recruiting, managing and retaining staff and volunteers
  • Fundraising
  • Monitoring organisation health, including staff, volunteers and finances
  • Campaigning and the law
  • Nonprofit career advice

Wow, that’s quite a list. No wonder running environment campaigns is so challenging and yet so rewarding!

And yet this list is far from exhaustive (even if reading it is exhausting). So go ahead and write on any environment campaign subject of your choice, just check it with us first.

Conclusion

You don’t need to be an experienced campaigner to write for us and it’s OK if your chosen subject has been explored in other articles. All you need to do to get published on Silent Reef is write an original article that adds something new and helps our readers be more effective campaigners. Check our write for Silent Reef page before writing your article.

About the Author

David Roe

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Dave is Silent Reef founder and course author.

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