To see an example of a well-formatted automotive article, click here.
To see an example of a well-formatted location article, click here.
To see an example of a well-formatted digital/branding article, click here.
To see an example of a well-formatted legal article, click here.
To see an example of a well-formatted how-to article for a client that provides a service, click here.
For ALL 450-word articles, please follow these instructions, even if they are missing from the Instruction section: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rlinZVhxOVyBWFmQ459NItuGcZBBsA6o8WBl1OV1PHQ/edit?usp=sharing
Location-Based Articles for Car Dealerships. You must do a specific and relevant tie-in for a product the client sells somewhere in the article: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xRXnNiFbz_Q5TbiRK1Y-VawlG2nWyDuQBSSc1UsBBDk/edit?usp=sharing
General Style Guidelines:
⬜ Is AP capitalization used for all headings/subheadings? Use https://titlecaseconverter.com/ to confirm.
⬜ Is H2 (Heading 2) used for all headings? Is H3 (Heading 3) used for all subheadings? Is H4 (Heading 4) used for all sub-subheadings?
⬜ If the main heading has a #, have you made that the first main heading after the introduction,, replacing the # with the correct number of items you have chosen to discuss? For each listed item you discuss, have you made an H3 style subheading?
⬜ For location-based articles, have you included a maximum of 3-5 locations per article? Here is a great example of a location-based article.
👉 Location-Based Article Research Tips: Double check the addresses of places you’re writing about and use Google Maps to be sure it’s within 10 miles* (see below) from the target city.
If you have done all of the above and cannot find places to review, please alert us and send the piece back to the pool. Do not write the piece using locations that do not fit, are too far away, or are inaccurate.
⬜ Have you remembered to put NO heading of any sort before the introduction?
⬜ Have you remembered to put NO links/hyperlinks in headings?
⬜ Are all the keywords being used one to two times per 500 words unless specifically told otherwise?
⬜ Are ALL the keywords being used both in the first paragraph and also in a heading?
⬜ If a client asks for keyword links, have you provided a link to a good site that is NOT Wikipedia. NOT a Google search results page, and NOT just a link to the client’s own site?
⬜ Did you use the bulleted list option on the toolbar in our system to create any bulleted lists instead of bullet-like characters or your own word processing program’s bullet tool?
⬜ Are there periods at the end of bulleted list items? There should not be.
⬜ Is only the first letter of bulleted list items capitalized?
⬜ Do you have bulky bullet lists of sentence length? They must be changed. Bullet list items should be just a few words, not full sentences. Long, bulky bullet lists should be formed as paragraphs with an (H3) subheading or (H34) sub-subheading instead.
⬜ Is a call to action using the client’s correct name–taken from their website, never the campaign name at the top of our page–included in the conclusion? (Skip this if the instructions/outline specifically tell you no call to action)
⬜ Did you remember to NOT speak in the third person about your client? (“They” have…”)
⬜ If the client instructions ask you to include a warning if alcohol is mentioned, do you do it well? See question 3.m here for more on how to do this well.
⬜ Did you research the client and include any pertinent information in the article?
⬜ Did you note and follow any client-specific instructions? (See question 3.t here for where to find instructions and why they can appear in more than one place).
⬜ Did avoid saying anything even remotely negative about the client, the client’s product, industry, location, or any previous iterations of the client’s product?
⬜ Did you keep your paragraphs short–no more than 80 words per paragraph?
⬜ Did you keep your sections short–no more than two paragraphs beneath each heading/subheading, and no more than one paragraph in the intro and conclusion? Conclusions may have no more than one paragraph no matter how long the piece.
⬜ Did you do a final read-through, focusing on grammar and spelling? Have you followed our style guideline conventions, like:
- Using the Oxford comma
- Always hyphenating multi-word adjectives
- Putting all punctuation inside quotation marks
- Always using double quotation marks (“) and never single (‘)
Always question the grammar/spell check, and do not take all suggestions as truth. Passive voice is fine. Learn more about our style by reviewing question 4.j of our FAQ document and noting the key differences between American and British English.
⬜ Did you use “we” instead of “I,” as if you’re speaking from the client’s point of view as an organization? Did you avoid first person singular pronouns throughout? (I/me/my/mine)
⬜ Did you use only one space after sentences?
⬜ If the article asks you to discuss specific articles or services for sale, have you included links so the reader can purchase? (If the client does not sell the items themselves, use Amazon links, please).
⬜ Have you quoted from Amazon or any other review site? REMOVE THESE QUOTES. For legal reasons, you may not quote from anywhere.
⬜ Have you “self-plagiarized” by recycling phrases and sentences that you’ve written in previous articles? You cannot do this–every client pays for a fresh, unique article.
⬜ Did you include one space between the end of a paragraph and the next paragraph or heading? Note that there should not be a space between a heading and the paragraph below it.
⬜ Are you writing multiple articles on the same topic? You may do this, but remember:
- You may not plagiarize yourself, including the intro and conclusion. Make sure each client has a 100% uniquely worded article.
- If the client has requested keyword links, you may not use the same link for each piece on the same topic.
- If you are writing about day trips, then you must choose locations that are farther away. By definition, day trips are to places someone would not normally visit because they are not very close, but not so far away that they can’t get there, enjoy it, and come back in a single day. Follow the same guidance when asked to write about state or national parks, and you can even go further away, up to a whole day’s drive for parks. Just use your common sense: if the topic is “X state parks near City, ST,” then choose the closest parks. Don’t write about one 350 miles away when there’s one 100 miles away.
- If you are writing about outdoor activities, then you may choose places up to 20 miles away, as people are far more willing to drive a bit for an outdoor activity than for dinner or coffee.
- If you are writing about wedding locations, you can go up to 30 miles afield, or even a bit more IF you can see from the website that the venue is a locally popular destination. So, if they obviously have a full calendar of weddings booked, go for it. If it’s just the Schrute Family Farm hoping to entice some naive couple to get their photos done there, avoid it. 🙂