Statement of Purpose Public health blogs are a cost-effective way to increase evidence-based research and information available to practitioner, researcher, and public audiences globally. In 2016, the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center launched a monthly blog to feature our injury and violence prevention (IVP) research, share our news, and highlight our partners and students/alumni.
Methods/Approach Blog ideas were formulated through our center leadership team and executive committee, and blog posts were written by our center communications specialist. The blog primarily used a journalistic style with quotes or a question/answer format and included visuals, resource links, and clear titles for Google searches. We collaborated with blog material contributors from first draft reviews through finalization and disseminated the blog through organic social media posts and center listservs. Strategies to achieve greater reach included promoting posts during IVP-related national awareness months, using relevant Twitter hashtags, and interviewing practice partners with different audiences. During the first year of COVID-19, half of our blog posts highlighted IVP issues during the pandemic.
Results Over the last five years, our blog posts covered around 25 IVP topics and featured around 45 practice/research partners and 20 students/alumni. Our blog subscribers grew slowly, but our blog posts were viewed more on social media. Our blog Tweet impressions and engagements grew 36% and 92% respectively from 2019–20 (pre-pandemic) to 2020–21. Our blog posts have led to our research being featured in news stories, resource hubs, university highlights, and in an AARP bulletin. Challenges included narrow subscriber IVP interest and time limitations of researchers to share their work more widely.
Significance The blog has helped us gain media coverage, promote our expertise, increase IVP awareness during COVID-19, and strengthen partnerships. Future strategies could include surveying subscribers, collecting interview material via Zoom, and adding firsthand personal stories.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
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