Online readers have more choices in places to find content today than ever before. Because of this, it’s helpful for websites that publish contributor articles to utilize a style guide and set of rules to format all articles across their platform. To become a blog contributor and write for us, several expectations and guest article submission guidelines should undergo review before submitting articles.
Contributor guidelines help structure and streamline the guest article submission process. Contributors use these recommendations and guidance to format their article before turning it into a website or blog. These guidelines help writers shape the tone, formatting, and citations used in their submissions. By following the directions carefully, contributors ensure their work undergoes review in a timely matter and increases the chances for publication.
You and I know the difference between an excellent blog and a bad one just by reading them. Many publications we read every day from news outlets and popular blog sites feature contributor guidelines for guest article submissions. These rules help to organize a wide variety of writers under one section. Before we review what the instructions at Direct Knowledge are, I want to go over why you should have guidelines in the first place.
Why Have Contributor Guidelines?
Guidelines help to organize essential aspects of an article’s format. Article elements like length, citations, and references, and page formatting hold their uniformity across all articles on a website when using a checklist. Both the quality of content and copyright rights explain why we use contributor guidelines for those who write for us.
The quality of content
Blog contributor guidelines work to offer clear expectations for a high-quality article. This measure helps to ensure that content is meaningful and engaging even before an article reaches publishing. Likewise, things like formatting ensure uniformity for all articles across a channel. The diverse subject matter of articles varies the written content, but all articles should look the same in terms of structure, page formatting, and style.
Another goal of offering these instructions is to minimize the time spent editing and revising submissions. Contributors wish to see their work published in a timely matter. Likewise, editors and site managers look to push content to readers at a consistent rate. By cutting down on time spent adding things like page breaks, punctuation, and citation formats, all parties involved experience a faster process. On top of the visual and stylistic elements of an article, submission guidelines also ensure proper handling of the legal aspect of content, most notably in copyright rights.
Copyright rights included in contributor guidelines.
Copyright rights determine who owns the content under review for submission and publication. In most cases, the expectations of a publisher in terms of copyright is that the material becomes their property. With this ownership, they can share on social media and rerun the article as needed. This fact is why most publishers ask that any submitted writing does not show up on another publication or blog. This precaution is to ensure two entities do not believe they hold copyright rights over one article.
Copyright rights do not mean that the author loses their namesake on the article unless agreed upon by both parties. Many contributor guidelines include an author bio and photograph to attribute the work to that writer. Likewise, regulations ensure that any information used in the article is factual to protect the credibility of both the publisher and the author. Next, let’s review what guidelines exist to become a contributor to someone’s website or blog.
Blog Contributor Guidelines
Guidelines ensure all articles on Direct Knowledge stay in a similar tone and style. Our goal for readers is to help students and professionals increase their understanding of the world’s most vital subjects and fields of work. I think content objectives and approved topics help to keep all articles on Direct Knowledge relevant for our readers.
Content objectives for contributor guidelines
The guest article submission guidelines on Direct Knowledge explain what all articles should offer readers. By providing professionals with this information, we can help you best structure your content for publishing. There are several content objectives to consider for this website.
Firstly, we look for contributors to provide actionable advice and insight into their given field of work. This element can help students and other professionals gain a stronger hold on what the job entails and involves. Likewise, your content should link to other credible, authoritative resources in the field. I find the best content is often reliable and informative on its own but also links to other reputable sources. Contributor guidelines aim to uphold values of expertise and trustworthiness, and that includes the sources you cite in your work.
Content should also strive to be precise and condensed. Long paragraphs are difficult for readers to follow. Plus, the more words you find yourself using, the more likely it is that you’re rambling or including unnecessary information. During our review process, I always look for contributors to write for us who know how to tackle a subject in a concise yet informative matter accurately.
Finally, everything from headlines to paragraphs included in your article should be high quality and remarkable. I don’t think readers want to read about the black and white facts about a subject. Instead, our approved topics feature nuances and niches that we want you to explore in your content. For more on authorized content at Direct Knowledge, here are the types of content we host on the site.
Approved topics in the contributor guidelines
Every blog and website stays within a specific range of subject matter to accomplish content objectives. On the Direct Knowledge home page, you can browse approved subject matter across the humanities, sciences, and applied sciences. Likewise, we accept submissions for topics on other professional careers like nursing, accounting, and others.
4 Steps to Becoming a Contributor
Writing and following guidelines for a blog or website as a contributor can help to bolster your professional career. There are several opportunities for you to take on this site and others to become a guest writer. I want to bring the best and brightest minds to the website to write content for our readers. To ensure everyone who contributes to the site is qualified, knowledgeable, and providing the sorts of information we look for here, it is essential to follow these steps. Once you earn credentials and self-promote on social media, you can begin to write useful and helpful content readers will love.
1. Earn credentials
Any authority on a subject or field of work should hold credentials in that topic. A common type of credential expected of writers is a college degree. Degrees can come from universities or trade schools. These qualifications help notify others that you completed extensive work and learning in a topic to build an understanding of its matter. Credentials help to develop your ability to serve as an informative and helpful writer. If you write for us, then we will expect you to have credentials in your field of work.
It is also helpful to earn certifications and hold experience in the field. Working in a career can make your experience far beyond merely sitting in a classroom. For those who wish to provide us with guest article submissions, our guidelines include the fact that you have experience in the topic about which you write.
The top authors online who contribute guest articles are not just college graduates. These are people who extensively worked in the field about which they write and discuss. Likewise, it’s crucial that you also take the time to self-promote yourself on social channels. This way, you can develop an audience and brand for your content. Then, you can share contributions to Direct Knowledge with that audience and gain new readers too.
2. Promote yourself
Professionals who lead the way in guest blogging constantly self-promote to build a brand and audience. How can your writing and thoughts be a brand? Overall, a contributor brand is something that readers can associate with your articles. For example, a physicist who writes about metaphysics and space can share their work on social media to build a following. Readers then start to follow their social media accounts if they are interested in the topics on which they write. From here, more and more readers share content with others on social platforms to continue increasing the writer’s influence and audience.
The key to promoting yourself is always to share what you write on social media. Then, the work is far from over. Inviting readers to comment or answer questions raised in your article can build engagement. Engagement tells social media platforms that you contribute useful content to their channel. Then, with this following, you can pitch ideas to sites like this one and prove to readers that you are a thought-leader in the subject. Of course, you’ll also have to ensure you provide sites with excellent content that is both useful, engaging, and helpful.
3. Write excellent and helpful content
General ideas and non-substantial writing will not land you a guest contributor spot on a blog or website. The internet is full of content that aims to overview the basics and entertain readers. The two keys to a great piece of content are for it to be an excellent experience for readers and for the material to be helpful.
Unique content is not just something that comes from knowing the subject matter. Even if you don’t have many publications online, you can still earn guest article submissions when following contributor guidelines. The key is to write meaningful and original content. A great article that I would love to see is going to feature a few key elements. Firstly, an excellent article must have information in it that does not include fluff or cluttered language. As mentioned above, precise language and arguments make an article poignant and engaging.
Likewise, content should invite critical thinking, provide answers, and raise new questions in the reader. An audience reads articles to learn something, but they also want to be challenged. You can ensure readers find your articles meaningful by including questions for them to consider. Hopefully, your article can leave room for them to think about the content even after they finish reading.
Submissions must also be helpful to be an excellent resource for students and professionals. A useful article should inform the reader and also allow them to take away new knowledge on the subject. Rather than provide the reader with just definitions, help them to better understand the topic with examples, case studies, and applications of the matter.
4. Submit your work
Finally, after following the blog contributor guidelines, you can submit your work. At Direct Knowledge, find can find more information on our Contact Page. This page helps show you where to send your article, as well as provide more information on the importance of Direct Knowledge and its goals. Be sure to take the time to review the contributor guidelines one final time before sending the article to us. This way, you can ensure everything is up to our requests.
Write for Us
Now that I explained what we look for at Direct Knowledge, you might want to consider writing for us. Contributors help build the body of work we look for to serve our readers best. Many readers are students who desire supplemental help in their coursework. Other audiences we find reading our content include professionals who want to learn more about a subject or those looking for a career change. With several benefits to becoming a contributor, what might help determine if you should write for us? It’s not necessarily as simple as writing an article and seeing your work published on the website. There are some best uses you can master to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.
In short, once your work is submitted, you can expect an editor or team of editors to review your work. I think this process is usually a stressful time for writers, but it shouldn’t be. If you have followed blog contributor guidelines given to you, then you should be in good shape. Editors look for fundamental elements like your writing skills, the quality of your content, and the technical side of your article. Some sites feature peer review programs to help writers learn from each other while other websites use staff editors for the website itself. Ensure you’re abiding by all deadlines and requirements asked of you before submitting it. Excessive mistakes and faults in your content could lead publishers to decline your material.
Contributor guidelines that editors love to see
Editors appreciate when content is free of plagiarism and overly used phrases and words. A great way to check this before submitting content is to use a tool like Grammarly to track your grammar and possible overused phrases. If the tool finds anything under plagiarism, then be sure to fix that before submitting it. Taking this step can impress editors who see you already thought of these aspects. Editors do sometimes change content to fit a better structure overall. Editors will take the time to make notes to you on changes they would like for big picture ideas, but often fix grammatical errors themselves. Removing these issues goes a long way in expediting the editing process.
Editors also prefer to see full pieces of work as opposed to pitches for an idea or concept. If you submit an outline, then editors can only give feedback on the draft. If you submit a full-fledged article, then the input will be much more meaningful and substantial.
Using contributor guidelines – what happens after submission?
Once submitted, an editor will look at the article and determine if it fits the site. If so, the editorial team will collect feedback, return the material to you for review, and recheck it upon re-submission. Other things like style and flow can alter after this point, and then when complete, a date for publication becomes the final point before launch. To improve your chances for success, here are the ideal format and structure of an article. These items are often broadly influential in whether or not an article is published. While blog contributor guidelines vary, the elements of the article’s format and structure are universal.
Format and Structure of an Article
The format and structure are vastly important. Both elements aim to make the final draft ideal for both the readers and the editors. For any guest article submission guidelines, the structure of the article matters just as much as the content. Following these formatting instructions help ensure you get work published.
First, make sure you are aware of which type of article you are writing. Read here on the various types. Each type of article has a specific set of requirements.
An article opening grabs the reader’s attention and overviews the subject matter of the piece. Every article opening must feature three paragraphs, each with their role to play in introducing the content.
The first paragraph should grab not only the reader’s attention but also start a conversation. It’s ideal to use some attention getter like a critical fact or question to catch the reader’s interest. From here, you can start a dialogue. How can you have a conversation with a reader? Well, one way that helps connect you to the audience is by using the words “you” and “I.” These words show that you expect this article to be less like a lecture and more like a conversation.
Next, the second paragraph is a direct address of the topic at hand and its technical definition. In the entire article, this second paragraph is one of the most critical points in the piece. This section is where you address the solution to the problem or topic introduced in the first paragraph. The remainder of the paper addresses and supports what you say in this section, so be precise and clear. Also, avoid “you” and “I” language to ensure you’re focusing all attention on the topic.
The final paragraph allows you to rejoin the conversation and preview what content is to come in the article. Be sure to utilize a call to action before jumping into article headlines.
You may or may not be required to provide a Featured Image. A featured image should be a high-quality jpeg at least 2048 pixels wide. If so, you will include the appropriate alt text for the image.
It’s crucial and essential to structure your paper clearly for readers to follow the content. A successful way to do this is to include a different level of article headings. Article headings show up at the top of each section of your piece. Blog contributor guidelines across several websites suggest using descriptive and thought-provoking headers. If you write for us, then this will also apply to your submission.
An article heading should show up at a variety of levels in the paper’s outline. For that reason, make sure to utilize different levels, including H1, H2, H3, and H4 headings. Anything below that, like an H5 and H6, can clutter the article, so avoid anything below an H4. Headers can be a great way to guide your readers through the material, so they know what to expect. Audiences love easy to read articles, and headers help point them in the right direction.
In any set of guest article submission guidelines, you will often find a writing style guide. A style guide ensures uniformity in tone and format occurs across all authors and pieces of content. This element is vital to building a style across an entire blog or website that readers can expect to find in each article.
One crucial element of a contributor guidelines expectations is to keep things conversation. A reader wants to feel like they are talking to a friend and not hearing a professor reading notes. If your background is in academia, then write as if you’re explaining your research to a friend who doesn’t work in academia. Don’t feel like you can’t address the reader directly, either. Using the words “you” and “I” builds a report with the audience you can build on throughout your submissions.
Additionally, make sure to use short paragraphs. If a reader sees a large section of content, then they might be too intimidated or lack stamina to read. Overall, readers like short paragraphs with a handful of sentences. It’s more manageable on the eyes and keeps the flow of the article smooth and easy to follow. Another great way to actively engage with your audience is to include a frequently asked questions section.
Frequently asked questions section should exist in most articles. This section is not written conversationally and contains topics that often develop out of inquiries on the subject. A great way to get inspiration for this section is to look at what questions pop up on search engines. Typing in the subject matter and looking for issues related to the topic can help you brainstorm some meaningful FAQs. You should include at least four frequently asked questions in your submission.
Each should feature a question, followed by three to four sentences answering the inquiry. All answer sections should be between 50 and 60 words. This range provides an adequate amount of explanation for a response. At the same time, keeping the count within this range limits excessive information and rambling.
Make sure this section is to the point, much like the second paragraph in the article opening. Don’t use “you” or “I,” and ensure that answers are complete and concise.
Similar to the article opening, an article closing should follow a specific format to wrap up the article. According to guest article submission guidelines, no conclusion should be more than 200 words. About half of the end section should adequately summarize your main points. Maybe this is an excellent time to offer one piece of info you haven’t included up until now as well. Lastly, be sure to leave room to ask three critical questions.
The three questions format invites comments on the article from readers. Each question is bolded to draw the eye of the audience. After each item, insert the start of an answer or a thought-provoking fact related to the issue. This format helps to drive engagement with your article. Each question and follow-up should be around 30-35 words. Be sure to ask critical questions that invite readers to engage with your content.
SEO, or search engine optimization, ensures that search engines and other sites recommend your article to users. A few vital elements of SEO can help your content reach the maximum number of eyes. To start, choose a key phrase that is central to your piece. A key phrase can be 1-4 words that are the fundamental concepts on which you are writing. Plus, be sure to include a captivating title in your article. A title should consist of the key phrase on which you’d like to focus. Likewise, the critical phrase should show up in your article several times. Usually, including a vital phrase 5-6 times per 1,000 words. Making sure to manage the number of times a key phrase shows up avoids stuffing or the process of overloading an article to trick a search engine.
Another critical area to focus on is linking other sites to your article. Internal links are the type that sends readers back to the website on which they are reading the content. Outbound links submit readers to a new site that is reputable and credible in the subject. Both types of linkage enrich the reader’s experience and understanding of the issue.
Lastly, make sure to structure your article in a highly readable way. Some elements in this category include avoiding a passive tone of voice and long paragraphs. Likewise, be sure to use plenty of transition words and vary your sentence length. As a rule of thumb, don’t use too many sentences over 20 words or more.
Every article should include an excerpt. These sections summarize the article in full and only use about 55 to 65 words. This passage should be descriptive and overview of the main topics and features of the content without giving too much detail. Wordplay and excessive adjectives can distract from the purpose of this section, so be clear and concise. Likewise, don’t write the excerpt before finishing the article. Once the entire piece is complete, then you should go back and write this section. This portion is where readers can best understand the contents of the article if they choose to read.
Utilize a tool like Grammarly to check your entire article for grammar and spelling errors. Grammarly can make suggestions as to what changes should occur and different insights into flow and syntax. There are some cases in which Grammarly may suggest something incorrectly, so be sure to review each suggestion. Do not click yes to every change and assume the content still makes sense. The entire article, including meta description and excerpt, should undergo Grammarly’s review. Likewise, be sure to check the article’s content for plagiarism. Even if the ideas you wrote are yours, you may be using overused phrases found in other sources. Grammarly alerts you to changes you should make before submitting the article.
FAQ for Contributor Guidelines
There are several more areas of focus you might want to review if you are interested in becoming a contributor. Here are some great ways to continue learning more about contributor guidelines.
What are contributor guidelines?
Contributor guidelines layout the detail with which guest writers work to create articles for someone else’s website. The instructions help to format the article and ensure a timely and successful editorial process. Guidelines for contributors help to keep all articles on a blog or website similar in structure and formatting.
Are these guidelines or are they required?
Contributor guidelines help authors improve their chances of publication. In most cases, instructions detail the things editors look for in an article they wish to publish. Without adequately following the directions, contributors hold a slighter chance at making it through acceptance. For that reason, writers should follow all instructions to ensure they make it onto the website or blog.
How do I become a contributor?
To become a contributor, individuals should earn credentials in a subject or field of work. Then, aspiring contributors should aim to promote their work on social media and build a following or audience. From this point, writers can submit their work to blogs and websites, and in the end, earn publications.
What credentials are required to be a contributor?
A contributor should hold significant credentials in a topic to write for a blog or website. In some cases, this might include a college degree from a university or trade school. In other instances, significant time spent working in the field is helpful to ensure the author holds authority and trustworthiness in the subject.
Guest article contributor guidelines for a blog or website ensure content is useful, engaging, and meaningful. In many cases, a guest article might require specific submission guidelines to ensure the website’s audience benefits fully from the content. In other instances, blog contributor guidelines provide structure and style guides to the collection of articles hosted on a website. Either way, instructions are an essential concept to master if you want to become a contributor. Without them, writers and editors would lose the control needed to captivate readers and share information. At Direct Knowledge, our contributor guidelines set you up for success and smooth the process of earning publications.
Why do contributor guidelines make a difference in articles? The key to great content is following a variety of steps.
How can contributors learn the best ways to format their submissions? Guidelines are a lifeline for writers looking to earn more publications. What might help introduce writers to the practice of following these instructions?
How can contributors increase their chances of earning a publication? What sorts of style tips and formatting instructions matter most when it comes to getting your content onto someone’s blog or website?