To be a great writer for PubLoft, you need to be great at four things:
This style guide will break down all three sections, starting with being a great writer. Expect us to edit this document weekly as we realize we forgot things. Bonus points if you have ideas to contribute!
For context, we ask clients to rate every post they receive, on a scale of 1–3 stars. If you write a ★★★ post, you get paid a bonus! 🙊 Got it? Good.
How to be a great writer
Being a great PubLoft writer comes down to two elements: flow and grammar.
Every post should flow. When we say flow, we mean that the reader should be able to understand what you're trying to say in an elegant manner. Reading your post should not be a painful struggle. It should be the exact opposite. The sentences shouldn't be choppy and every sentence should use the minimum words necessary to fill up space. Here are a few resources to help you develop your flow.
This is an easy one. Make sure your grammar is flawless in every post. The easiest way to do this is to run your posts through Grammarly before you submit them to us-but remember that even Grammarly doesn't always catch mistakes or understand context, so feel free to overrule it with your evolved human brain.
Additionally, after writing a post, step away from it for at least a few hours and give yourself a chance to reread it out loud before you send it to us. You might catch errors, rewrite sections, and often trim unnecessary language.
"If I'd had more time, I would have written a shorter letter." - Unknown
This is important to note, since we require a minimum 1,000 words per post. If our editors find themselves trimming a lot of unnecessary content out of your posts (such as 'fluff' phrases that don't add value), we reserve the right to dock your score for the post. Think about it-now the editor must fill the gaps, taking more time to ensure the post is high quality. So, review your posts before sending them, and make sure every word is placed with intent.
How to be a great researcher
People tend to think that doing research is a difficult or arduous process, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, some of the best sources are found by keeping this process as simple as possible. Everyone has their own research style and tricks-here are a few that have worked for writers in the past.
For the purpose of this explanation, let's use the topic "Industry 4.0" as an example. The blog post title you're researching for is "How Industry 4.0 Can Be Leveraged in Supply Chain Management." The topic itself is a fairly difficult concept to grasp on its own, especially if you also don't know anything about supply chain management. This can seem like an intimidating post to write, but fear not! It's not as bad as it seems. Here's why.
You don't need to spend weeks researching and becoming an expert on all things Industry 4.0 and supply chains. Instead, you'll probably research about this topic for about an hour or two. To do this effectively, we'd recommend doing 3 things:
Search phrases that best relate to the things you need to know. It sounds simple, but in this case, you'd research things like what is supply chain management, what is industry 4.0 or how does industry 4.0 help supply chain management. Phrases like these can help you learn a lot about this space quite quickly, and Google has powerful search tricks to help you find exactly what you want.
Make a resource list.
As you find resources that you think are really helpful for the purpose of your post, copy and paste them into a single place that you can easily find and refer to. Coincidentally, reading blog posts about these topics can help you get all the necessary information you need to know to start writing. That's why we often include some sources to help you get started.
Diversify your research.
Sometimes, you might find blog posts help you learn more than videos, or vice versa. Get creative with how you get resources. If you find that infographics help you, either Google for infographics or get on Pinterest and start searching! Just remember to check the credibility of the source.
Rephrase content from other sources.
It's okay to come across a mind-blowing statement and want to use it in your post-just don't use it word-for-word. That's plagiarism, which leads to immediate termination with PubLoft. Use synonyms, and play with the sentence structure (for example, "Cloud-based solutions go even further than simply allowing for easier access to information" becomes "Easily-accessible information is not the only benefit of cloud-based solutions"). Following this process helps with comprehension in two ways: it helps you better understand what you're learning, and remember it longer. And it teaches you to simplify complex industry-specific language into easily understandable content that can appeal to a wider range of readers.
Things to keep in mind during this process:
If you're going to write for this client again, you'll quickly improve on their specific industry and topics. It's always difficult the first time you write about something new, but it'll get easier over time. Eventually, you might not even have to do much research at all-though we always recommend staying current-after all, you don't know what you don't know. 😉
Feel free to ask for help throughout this process. If you're confused about a particular topic, we can typically help clear things up. If you need tips on writing styles or want to run a draft by us really quick, don't hesitate to reach out. Becoming a good writer takes a little work, but you've got PubLoft here to help you.
Let us know how you feel about the topic. If you finish writing a post on a topic you didn't like, let us know so that we avoid assigning you similar topics in the future. It'll make for a much happier team.
How to Format
We ask that you include certain numbers of pictures, hyperlinks, and words, and follow a basic typographic hierarchy in Google Docs. Here are the different formatting rules to follow:
Be deliberate about your point of view. Typically, third person is used, however some clients’ writing voices will require first person. There may even be times when it’s more appropriate to use second person, though we haven't run across it yet.
Always try to keep paragraphs under 6 lines. Ideally, paragraphs are 3–4 lines each. Keep them shorter rather than longer. White space is good.
Headers and Sub-headers
Headers and sub-headers help break up the text and are good for SEO. The goal is to make the post as readable as possible.
Your articles should be between 1,000 words and 1,200 words (never more). Remember: this is after you have self-edited to remove fluff.
When citing certain nouns, include a hyperlink when you first mention that noun. This nearly always applies when mentioning:
- Other articles
Aim to include at least 3–5 hyperlinks per post. Don't force them in, but if there's an opening to add a few, take full advantage.
Include at least 3 relevant images whenever possible. Use common sense. Leverage sources like Pixabay, Unsplash, StockSnap, and Flickr, as well as Google Images-but ONLY when usage rights are set to "labeled for reuse." That's super important, if you can't tell by our emphasis. See below.
If using Google Images, always use images “labeled for reuse” by their owners.
Submit your posts as Google Docs
You have the freedom to write wherever you want! When you're ready to submit, you will paste your words and images into the Google Doc that has been provided to you, and format it properly before submitting it.
Example customer posts:
Here are customer posts that we wrote that are now published. Use these as examples. Notice the format of each post, how we use headers and sub-headers. Also note how each post has a somewhat different voice.
Oden Technologies: How Big Data Improves Manufacturing
WebiNerds: 6 Web Development Stacks To Use In 2017
Ready to start?
That's it, folks! If you are generally a good writer, understand how to research new topics, and know how to follow our post format, you're going to have fun with us. If you're lacking in any of those three areas, we may be willing to help you improve. You can email@example.com with any questions, and don't be shy! We hope to hear from you soon.