How to Submit a Guest Post
Get Rich Slowly welcomes compelling guest posts from all sorts of authors. These are a great way to share what you know about money with others so that they can improve their financial situations.
Some readers think guest posts are a way for the GRS staff to be lazy, to take time off. That’s not the case. We put as much work (or more) into guest posts as we do into writing our own stuff. It’s just a different type of work. And the guest posts are an important part of what makes Get Rich Slowly a great place to learn about money. Yes, this blog has been about J.D.'s financial journey, but it’s also about your financial journey.
Because we receive so many guest post submissions, we can't possibly publish them all. To maximize the chances that your Guest Post will appear at Get Rich Slowly:
- Write in a “bloggy” style and format. This isn't the Encyclopedia Britannica. Be conversational. Write like you're writing to your sister or brother. You don't have to be rude or hip, but don't be stilted and formal either. And don't submit one long, unbroken essay. Most people scan when they read blogs, so make your article as scannable as possible. Use headings to break posts into sections. Use numbered points or bullet points when you think it will help. Bold your important points. (But don't go overboard. Too much bold is worse than none at all.) Suggest photo ideas. Anything you can do to break up the page will make it easier to read.
- Be original. Reporters always want "new and unique ways to save money", etc. They want the unusual because the unusual sells. Well, personal finance doesn't work that way. In fact, if it's new and unusual, it's probably a problem. But that doesn't mean you should just re-hash the same old topics. There are only so many times we can post an article about how to save money at the grocery store. If you want your article about saving at the grocery store published at GRS, it's going to have to be original; it can't be yet another list of 20 tips like "shop the perimeter, clip coupons, buy in bulk". Find a unique spin.
- Tell a story. While we do publish news-y pieces from time to time (and should probably do more of that, actually), most readers want to hear stories. Don't just write up an article describing the different types of life insurance; tell us how you use life insurance, or how your father had the wrong kind when he died. Don't just give us ten tips on buying a used car, but explain which ones worked for you and which ones didn't. Remember to emphasize the personal in personal finance.
- Have a point. If you want to write about the recent changes to student loans, do it. But be darned sure you're explaining why GRS readers should care. Simply summarizing the news isn't enough. Instead, tell us why we should care about student-loan reform. What should we do with this information? If we can't do something with your story, why even share it? Tell us how to use the news to get rich slowly!
- Don't be spammy. Yes, you can include some links back to your site. That's a fair exchange for you giving me an article. But if the entire purpose of your post is to promote your product or to sneak in affiliate links to the latest Viagra substitute, we're not going to publish it. Save everyone trouble and don't even bother sending it in. (And yes, we will add links to relevant GRS articles, sometimes even replacing your links — though we try not to do the latter very often.)
- Cite your sources. If you make a claim, back it up. Don't just say, "Debt is out of control in America!" Give us a link to a study or story to support your claim. Give us stats. (And make sure your stats don't contradict each other; I edited an article today that had two different stats about how many vacation days Americans take.) Your article doesn't have to be filled with numbers, but try not to make claims you can't support.
- Leave the politics at home. As most of you are aware, we try to keep GRS as agnostic as possible. Sure, we have some strong opinions, but we try to keep those out of the blog. And we try to open GRS to other viewpoints. But unless the political slant is necessary to your article, we'll yank it out. It doesn't matter how much you hate government employees or how great you think President Obama is — that's not what this site is about. (For an example of how to handle politics correctly, take a look at Understanding the Federal Budget and The Truth About Taxes. Not really very political, is it?)
- Proofread. And proofread again. Most GRS articles are proofread five or six times (and even then there are plenty of mistakes that escape us). The more you proofread, the fewer stupid errors will creep through. Plus, you'll get a feel for which sentences and phrases work, and which don't. If we send an article back to you and tell you to polish the grammar, that's a flag. If you re-read your piece and aren't able to find the problems, then ask somebody you know (somebody who is a good writer) to look at it for you.
- Read your post aloud! This is an essential step. It is not optional. And don't rush through your reading. Read your article as if you were reading it to your sweetheart or to a kid. As you read, note anything you stumble over. Watch for repeated phrases or words. Try to imagine you're a stranger reading your story; does it make sense without further explanation.
- Think like a reader. When you re-read your stuff, pretend you're just learning about the topic and have no idea what it's about. Does your article still make sense? What would a new reader want to know? You need to be careful that this doesn't lead to over-explaining things (which is a trap), but with the web, you have shortcuts because you can link to other articles as supporting material for those who need it. Some writers just assume their readers know what they know, and this leads them to use a lot of jargon or leave out important bits of information. There's never a reason to use jargon!
- Use as much space as you need. There aren't any length requirements at GRS. Your story should be as long as it needs to be, but no longer. If it's 100 words, that's great. If it's 1000 words, that's fine too. But be sure every word counts.
- Be willing to take the heat. If you submit something that's a little controversial or out of the ordinary — about religion or about hiring a personal chef, for example — expect to take some flak. This blog has a large, diverse audience, and readers aren't afraid to share their viewpoints. If we come back to you and explicitly warn you that you're likely to stir up a hornet's nest, don't be surprised if you get stung when the article is published. If you're allergic to the bees (good grief, we're stretching this metaphor), we can work together to remove the parts of your article likely to provoke them. But don't whine to me later if we warned you in advance.
When you don't do these things, we have to do them. But while you're dealing with just one guest post, we're dealing with dozens. As frustrating as it may be to work so hard with one article, imagine what it's like to go through a stack of them. The easier you make things for us, the more likely your article is to appear on this site.
About once or twice a year, we let a crummy guest post through the system. Every time we do, it's a disaster. This has taught us that we can't go soft just to be nice to a colleague or a friend — quality is quality. When we put up a weak guest post, it's bad for everyone: Get Rich Slowly looks bad, the readers get cranky, and the guest author feels like a heel. Our goal is to make everyone happy, and the best way to do that is to make sure things are right from the start.
If you'd like to submit a guest post to Get Rich Slowly, here's how to do it...
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