Blog Contributor Guidelines

What is the mission of the FIRST Inspire blog? The mission of the FIRST Inspire Blog is to be the definitive resource for parents, educators, and mentors in helping them to develop the next generation of innovative problem solvers who need skills in science and technology - while being able to think critically and creatively, and communicate effectively - in order to solve the world’s biggest challenges. 

Who is our audience? Primarily educators, parents, and mentors who work with young people and may benefit from the resources and experience FIRST has to offer. While the intended readership will include people already a part of the FIRST community, the primary focus is to provide information of interest to people who may not be familiar with the organization but will benefit from our experience, expertise, and point of view. 

What is the objective of Inspire content? Blog content should inspire and educate adults who work with young people by sharing the experiences and wisdom of the FIRST community.  Our objective is that these individuals will want to learn more about FIRST and become involved with the organization.

  • Content should not overtly sell FIRST; rather, the intent is to provide educational and inspirational content by covering topics related to the FIRST mission. 
  • Posts do not necessarily need to mention FIRST; for example a post about “True Education” by Dr. Woodie Flowers simply makes mention of “programs like FIRST”.
  • Content should be positive, fun, uplifting, at times edgy and controversial, but always in a positive way.

Who will write for Inspire? Posts will be written by FIRST leaders and staff; members of the FIRST community, including youth participants, parents, alumni, volunteers, donors, and corporate partners; and industry, technology, and education thought leaders.

Editorial Process:

  • Writers are encouraged to run their topics by the FIRST Inspire team.
  • FIRST will review all content and provided feedback as needed. Please allow a week for the review process, prior to the publish date. Please be open to suggestions regarding style, formatting and headlines.
  • When relevant, please provide a photo/graphic to accompany your post. First-time writers should provide a short bio and appropriate bio photo.  If relevant, the bio should mention your role in the FIRST community (Alumni, Mentor, Volunteer, Participant, Board Member, etc.). Bios will be posted on a page within and linked to your blog post.
  • You will be notified before your blog is posted. We encourage you to promote your post via appropriate social channels operated by you/your organization.

What type of posts are we looking for? Inspire posts can be on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Ways to help young people become critical thinkers, better citizens, and the next generation of innovators and leaders, equipped to solve the world’s most pressing problems.
  • Inspiring stories from FIRST participants, Alumni, Mentors, Volunteers, parents, and supporters.
  • Views on education best practices in STEM, innovation, entrepreneurism, 21st century skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, and non-cognitive skills, such as motivation, grit, perseverance, and self-efficacy.
  • Ideas and practices on ways to ensure all people, regardless of their background, are able to reach their full potential by having equitable access to education and programs such as FIRST.
  • Important and relevant ideas from the greatest thinkers and leaders in fields such as education, technology, business, behavioral economics, psychology, and sociology, and others.

How long should posts be? Posts can be of any length, from a few hundred to 2,000+ words. Tip: Blog content reads best with short sentence, and large blocks of text broken up with bold headings.

Tips for Inspire writers: When writing for Inspire, keep in mind the following seven words: creative, authentic, connected, dedicated, honorable, positive, smart, and provocative. Strive to hit as many as you can in any post you write.

  • Creative: Does the post say something new, or use examples from the FIRST community to provide a new spin on an old topic?
  • Authentic:  Does the post stay true to who you are and what you believe? Does it share your personal views and experiences on the topic?
  • Connected: Does it tie into the bigger picture of what FIRST is about? Does it cite reliable external resources and data, if relevant to the post?
  • Honorable: Is the post truthful and correct? Does it reflect our core values of Gracious Professionalism?
  • Positive: Does it take a positive tone even if the topic isn’t necessarily a positive topic?
  • Smart: Did you truly learn something while writing it? Did we learn something while reading it? Does it solve a problem that our audience actually has?
  • Provocative: Does it step outside the comfort zone and challenge the status quo of what others are writing about the topic?

Re-posting. Guest writers are encouraged to share their Inspire Blog post on their own blogs/channels via a direct link to the Inspire Blog.

Linking. If relevant to the content of the post, writers may link back to their own website as long as the linked paged is not selling or advertising a product or service – rather, the link should direct readers to a homepage or similar page that is informational only.