Slyde contributors are invited by the editorial team only.
Slyde accepts contributions from anyone who writes well and has a great story to tell or knowledge of the topic they are talking about.
Expert Contributors commit to a recurring publishing date either monthly, every other month, or quarterly. Ad hoc slots are granted on a case-by-case basis and these columns run when there is an opening on the editorial schedule.
Posts Must Be 100% Original to Slyde
Columns accepted for publication must be exclusive to Slyde and 100% original. This means:
No plagiarism! We use CopyScape and it is at the Executive Editor’s decision whether the offense warrants a warning or removal from the Contributing Experts roster.
No self-plagiarism: You can’t “borrow” sentences from your own prior published content, or from company blog posts (or other written materials). If you’re going to use someone else’s words/thoughts, it must be properly attributed.
What to Write About
There are two ways to claim a topic for your next submission:
- Pitch the Managing Editor
Slyde is a resource for ocean people give in-depth, expert advice and educational content. Always try to go beyond the basics/obvious.
The most successful articles tend to be:
- Lists (e.g., examples, tips, tools, tactics).
- How-to articles/guides.
- Explainer posts (e.g., what is…/why x matters).
- Expert roundups.
- Ocean Stories
Always provide actionable tips and practical advice.
Share your own experiences. Don’t rely heavily on quoting influencers, experts, or authorities from other sites.
Be the expert!
Treat writing like a conversation
No one likes being on the receiving end of a self-centered lecture. People enjoy learning from other people, especially through personal conversations. Write the way you talk, and avoid language that implies your audience “should have known better.”
Assume your reader is fairly new to your topic, but is intelligent overall. That way you won’t patronize or accidentally speak down to anyone. As an added benefit, this will help you avoid the curse of knowledge, a common cause of bad writing that usually appears as acronyms and jargon, non-obvious references, and prose more concerned with being clever than being clear.
Posts Must Be Pitch Free
You aren’t writing to sell a product or recommend a particular product or service.
You’re writing to share your expertise, information, insights, and ideas with our audience.
Our audience can smell a sales pitch or gratuitous client mention a mile away.
If you have a relationship with a company or someone mentioned in your post, you must disclose it. Some examples of disclosures:
Citing original data/research from your company: “(Disclosure: I work for [insert company name here])”
- “My case study features the Cleveland Zoo, a client of mine.”
- “My business partner, Genevieve Focker, wrote the case study below.”
Experiences involving a client or business partner should be approved in advance by your Managing Editor and must contain a disclosure of the relationship in the article. Please note that client, company and colleague mentions will be removed if it does not serve the purpose of adding value for our readers.
How long should your post be?
- Our minimum post length for Contributing Experts is 1,000 words.
- Most posts that appear on Slyde are between 1,500 and 2,000 words.
- If you want to write an in-depth post that is 3,000 words, 4,000 words, or even longer, please ask for approval from your Slyde Editor first!
Note: Longer posts tend to get more pageviews, time on page, and social love. However, they also burn you out a lot quicker. Remember, you could probably turn that monster post into 3 or 4 more targeted posts instead!
The best posts are clear, concise and only as long as they need to be. After all, our readers are busy. Tell them what they need to know and get out.
Try to be concise.
Always try to keep your paragraphs short.
One sentence is fine.
Two sentences is typically OK. But no more than three sentences. Please.
Short paragraphs are easier to understand and digest (particularly on mobile), help drive your point across, and encourage reading in this age of information overload and short attention spans.
Write deliberately for the web
It pays to remember distractions are always just a click away. Writing for the web means combining substantive material with approachable formatting.
Effective writing pleases at a glance but rewards careful study. Make strategic use of worthwhile breaks in the text with bullet point lists, informative callouts, eye-catching visuals, and compelling subheadings.
Do include thoughtful formatting choices to highlight and strengthen your article’s most important ideas.
Don’t pollute your article with chaotic styling; all of your formatting choices should add, not detract, from the value of the piece.
SEO Best Practices
Our keyword guidelines
- The main keyword should have a search volume of 100 and more and keyword difficulty should not be higher than 75 based on SEMRush data.
- Use the main keyword in the title of the article, at least one heading, and a few times in the body of the text.
- Also, sprinkle longtail, semantically appropriate keywords to support the main keyword in headings and throughout the text.
Your headline should be interesting enough to entice people to click on it. It should be optimized for search and social media and have a character count of 70 characters maximum.
You can edit your URLs (Permalink). Use this to highlight important keywords.
- Captions are optional.
- Always add Alternative Text. This can be the post title or a succinct description of the photo that fits the post’s topic.
- Optimize your image file names. IMG_123454646572.png or screenshot3.png is bad.
SEM RUSH SEO
We love SEMRUSH SEO. It will highlight potential SEO and readability problems and areas for improvement.
What you need to worry about for your post:
SEO Title: Make sure this matches your headline.
Slug: This is the same as your URL/Permalink.
Meta Description: Optimize for search and give readers a reason to click in 1-2 concise sentences (around 20-27 words).
Focus keyword: What search query do you want to rank for?
Typically, you will choose “Tutorials.”
Please add an excerpt (maximum: 25 words) for every post. It can be similar to your meta description.
This is the description that appears on the Slyde website when it publishes. If your excerpt exceeds 25 words, it will end with a …
A/B Testing of Titles
We A/B test headlines – your main headline and two alternates. Alternate headlines must be less than 70 characters.
Links to third-party authoritative sources tell the reader that you are incorporating third-party perspectives and evidence in support of your argument. Otherwise, all you’ve got is a theory without substantiation.
Having said that, our editorial team is always on the lookout for links that appear promotional. We’re marketing to marketers, so if we don’t sleuth it out, our very savvy community eventually will.
Our editorial team looks for links to clients, friends, or appear self-serving in some way. In some cases, the promotion may be unintentional, but it will still have the same effect.
- No links to people’s home pages for their companies for quotes or cited sources. Linking to sources’ Twitter handles, LinkedIn profile, or another type of bio page is OK.
- No self-promotional calls to action (“Our new blog post covers this topic in detail. Click here to read!”).
- No linking to gated content.
- Any links that appear promotional or superfluous will be removed by editorial staff.
- We reserve the right to add rel=”nofollow” to any link or remove a link at any time, before or after an article is published.
- No links to websites in these areas: pills/RX, porn, gambling, and payday loans.
Buying, trading, or selling links is strictly prohibited. If someone approaches you to buy links in your articles, we’d appreciate you tipping us off (anonymously) via steve (@) slydehandboards.com
We only allow guest writers to create links directed back to credible, recent, and trustworthy sources with a DA higher than 30. NEVER include links to our competitors and avoid citing their content or resources.
Use recent, relevant stats that support the authority and expertise of your piece. (Never use stats older than 5 years – it’s most likely outdated!)
Link to the original source only (i.e., study, survey, etc.). Stats roundup posts or third-party infographics don’t count as valid sources.
No unattributed stats. If you can’t find the original source, don’t use it.
Use the statistic itself (eg.: 46%) as anchor text, not the surrounding text.
Formatting & Grammar Tips
- Use H2 headings for your subheadings.
- Use H3 headings for sections within your subheadings. If you need to go another level deeper, it should be bold (not H4).
- No span tags.
- No div tags.
- Avoid bolding within sentences.
- No filler/font formatting that affects content appearance.
- Write out single numbers “one..nine.” 10 and up are written as digits. Percentages are written as digits.
- For Pete’s sake: one space after punctuation. Please.
- Example URLs (e.g. http://example.com) need to be plain text (not hyperlinked).
- Title Case: Use this nifty tool to easily convert to AP-Style Title Case! For grammar nerds, here’s “coordinating conjunction” words that do NOT get capitalized in titles:
JPG only, please.
Required: Upload a featured image (found on the right sidebar) that is 1600 pixels wide and 677 pixels tall. Please preview your post before submitting it to make sure your featured image is formatted correctly.
To use a ADOBE stock photo, please email your chosen photo’s link to Steve: Steve [at] slydehandboards.com. He will download it for you. (Note: Follow the same process if you want to use ADOBE for any in-post images.)
- All in-post photos must be center-aligned, unless they are aligned with text.
- You can use images from Unsplash (free) or Adobe Images only. We will no longer accept images from other stock photo sites unless the author provides proof or license via email.
- You can also use images that you created or photographs you took. Your own screenshots are great. (Just avoid including possibly copyrighted images in your screenshots!)
- No promotional images: Images cannot have a company logo or brand.
- No external links on images.
- No memes and GIFs. While we love them, and there is debate on whether they fall under ‘fair usage‘, we have paid too many Getty copyright violation penalties. No memes and GIFs pleeze.
- Embedding stuff from Instagram? You need to get permission from the account holder first. Otherwise, we can’t include it. (No screenshots either to get around this due to copyright issues.)
- The Slyde editorial team reserves the right to replace or remove images they deem irrelevant to the post or has negative connotation without prior notice.
- All images must have proper attribution at the bottom of your post:
Featured Image: DepositPhotos.com
In-post Photo: Pixabay.com
Screenshot taken by author, May 2020
Republishing Content Guidelines
In order to avoid duplicate content issues with Google, we permit content to be republished 14 days after publishing on Slyde. You MUST use a canonical link.
Editorial Review and Corrections
- If we find out authors aren’t writing their own posts, we reserve the right to reject or delete the post, as well as prohibit the author from writing for Slyde going forward.
- We may add a disclaimer at the end of any article to disclose any relationships (or lack thereof) that either Slyde Handboards or the author may have with organizations mentioned in the article.
- In the instance of corrections to byline, facts, or updates to published articles, Slyde reserves the right to edit any post at any time. Post changes may be noted with a note from the editor about the change and the reasoning for the update or change, if applicable.
Our Publishing Process
Contributors on the writing schedule: Posts are due 2 business days before your next publishing day.
Ad hoc contributors: Our goal is ~2 weeks turnaround from the time you submit your post draft to publication.
So, what happens when you’ve finished an awesome post
Place all your writing in word document including where you want the images placed and send them to steve [@] slydehandboards.com and we will review your work before posting.
Head to “Edit My Profile”.
Make sure to fill out your Biographical Info.
Upload a color Profile Photo – use a headshot so people can clearly see your face.
Add links to your personal Social Profiles:
Add your Company Details:
- Your company.
- Your position.
- Your company’s URL.
Note: You are eligible to get a followed link from your SEJ profile page if you meet some basic criteria:
- You must have written at least 5 SEJ articles.
- You are on the SEJ writing schedule (or contribute articles on an ad hoc basis somewhat regularly – minimum 1-2 a year).
- You agree not to abuse your link. Or you will lose it.
If you meet these criteria, and haven’t yet received your followed link, please let us know!
If you’re going to miss your deadline, please give us a heads up.
We know you’re busy. Stuff comes up.
Just let us know. It only takes a couple of minutes to send us an email or private message.
If you miss 2 deadlines in a row, we’ll contact you to make sure you want to continue on as an SEJ Contributor.
If you miss 3 deadlines in a row, and fail to respond to communications from us, you will lose your status as an SEJ Contributor.