SMT's Blogging Guide: What We Want to See
So you want to be a contributor.
Thank you for your interest in writing for Social Media Today, an online forum where contributors like you can share their knowledge about social business, online communities, advertising, and a host of other topics. We're lucky enough to have dozens of new posts to choose from on a daily basis, but this unfortunately means that we can publish only a fraction of the articles that are submitted. And while we can't respond to individual requests for feedback, we'd like to share some tips that will help raise your chances of being published.
1. Your article must relate to one of the four main topics listed in our navigation bar: Social Networks, Marketing, Technology & Data, or Social Business. Please check the subheadings under each topic if you want more specifics.
2. Your article must be authored by you. In other words, no guest posts under your profile name.
3. Your article should be thoroughly copyedited for grammar, spelling, and usage. While the substance of our content may be global, the preferred standard for grammar/spelling is American English. Refer to the AP Stylebook for guidance. We reserve the right to edit titles for clarity, style, or SEO purposes, and we may also make minimal edits to the body of your post for brevity or clarity.
4. Posts may have been previously published on other websites, but if you submit it to us, please make sure that you have the right to republish it on our site.
5. If your post is marked "Exclusive," it should not appear anywhere else on the Internet. After a two-week period has passed from the publication date, you may republish the article elsewhere, but our link should remain the canonical URL and you should include attribution to our site.
6. Plagiarism is not tolerated, and will result in an immediate and permanent ban.
7. No promotional or commercial articles will be accepted for publication.
8. No drop links. High-quality links in general are fine, and even encouraged, but any links that aren't informational in nature will be removed without notice. (Please remember that you can always link to your company or website within your bio, and that link will appear at the bottom of every post.)
9. Posts should ideally be between 500 and 800 words.
10. Posts should include at least one high-quality graphic or photo. Please make sure you have permission to use it and include any attribution at the bottom of your post.
If your posts adhere to all of the above guidelines but you're still not getting published, consider these additional tips.
WE HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR POSTS THAT:
1. Are original and exclusive to Social Media Today.
2. Take a different angle on current topics. We're always on the lookout for new points of view and fresh insights.
3. Present ideas that are relevant to experienced social media marketers. We get a lot of "Social Media 101"-level content, but our readership skews toward the social media professional.
4. Use great graphics or embedded video, including all appropriate attribution and credit, of course. (We assume you have permission to use any media you include; if that's challenged, we'll need to remove the content in question, or even your entire post.)
5. Are timely and topical, and respond to the latest tech news or news in general.
6. Include interviews with experts, or information from a new study or research (with links).
7. Hook readers at the top of the post. Are you addressing a conflict? Are you providing the answer to a question? Are you taking an unconventional approach to a classic strategy? Are you providing new information? Put the most important or interesting insight or piece of news at the top of your post.
8. Have a snappy headline.
9. Are written with some verve and personality while still delivering value to readers.
10. Employ relevant alt-tags for the images (there's a space for it when you're uploading the images). No keyword-stuffing, please.
AVOID THESE MODERATOR PET PEEVES:
1. Your article begins with a variation of the following: "In today's world, social media isn't a choice for businesses; it's a necessity. [Insert vague, overly generalized filler material about how social media is a necessity for businesses.]" If you're publishing on our site, there's a good chance your reader already knows the importance of social and digital for businesses. But beyond being unnecessary, an intro like this is not an attention-grabber. A nice strong opening for your articles will increase the probability that the reader will stick around to get to the meat of your post.
2. Your sentences contain two spaces after each period. We know there's some debate over this, but we're moving on from typewriter-era formatting. Only one space after each sentence, please!
3. Punctuation that's placed outside of quotation marks. Example: "With apologies to our British contributors," the moderators stated firmly, "we greatly prefer punctuation - commas, periods, and so forth - to be placed within the quotation marks." There are exceptions, of course, but please follow the conventions of the other articles on our site.
4. Randomly capitalized words. There is a temptation to capitalize words that are important, but please don't capitalize words that aren't proper nouns. As much as we love social media, it is not a proper noun. Titles, on the other hand, should contain capitalized nouns and verbs, and lower-case articles and prepositions. (Try using www.TitleCapitalization.com to doublecheck your titles.)
5. Poor formatting. After uploading your post, take the opportunity to preview how it will look on our site and edit as necessary. Please make sure your headers are in place and consistently formatted, bullet points are well organized, and spacing between paragraphs is consistent.
6. Ampersands galore. With very few exceptions -- e.g., companies like "AT&T" or titles/subheadings like "Technology & Data" -- we prefer you type out "and."
7. Mixing up "that" and "which." Take a look at this helpful grammar guide to determine which word you should be using.
Thank you again for your interest in writing for Social Media Today. We hope our suggestions are useful and that they will help you become a regular contributor to our site.
blogging tips / shutterstock
pet peeves / shutterstock
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