Instructions for Writers

Thank you for your interest in writing for Groove and our clients. As we are a content marketing agency, there are several things you need to understand about working with us, and on this page, we’ll walk you through each of them.

About Our Clients

Please familiarize yourself with our buyer personas. Every article you write will be aimed towards one of our buyer personas, and it is imperative that you understand the reader. Please keep your buyer persona in mind as you write, writing as though you were speaking to this individual.

About Us

We are an inbound marketing agency.

The Role of Blogging in Our Marketing

Blogging meets the prospect at their need for information; they find an article after asking a question of Google (or they see it shared on social media etc). After helping the prospect and answering their questions on our blog, we will promote a “premium content offer” that will go into much greater detail about the given subject.

The goal is to catch the potential prospect in a receptive state of mind immediately after we’ve answered their question and as painlessly as possible, get them to take the next step (fill out a web form in exchange for that premium content offer).

What We Offer Our Clients

We offer to our clients a means to turn their website visitors into engaged leads and eventually customers. This includes their website, premium content offers, and back end automation to make it all work (we call this the “engine”).

To drive traffic to our clients’ websites (provide “fuel” for the engine), we create ongoing blog content for our clients. Content is our greatest asset, and we very much value quality content and good writers.

This process relies heavily on Hubspot, where we can measure the results of our work.

Our clients work with us in the following way:

  1. We provide them with a blueprint for their engine and the first few months of fuel.
  2. We build out the engine and the first few months of content. Each month consists of one complete content marketing campaign.
  3. We continue to build out content a month at a time on a retainer basis. Again, each month consists of one complete content marketing campaign.

Our Posts Are All Part of Pre-Planned Content Marketing Campaigns

Every post that we publish is always part of a series of posts (usually 8 or more) that are related to one piece of premium content. As you can see in the screenshot below, the first month’s 8 blog posts are all part of one campaign. This means that each blog post is designed to promote one of our pieces of premium content.

Blog-Topics

25_Must_Haves_3d_ebook-450px-wideFor example, one of our current premium content offerings is an eBook called, “25 Website ‘Must Haves’ For Driving Traffic, Leads and Sales”.

The topic of the post will be closely related to the topic of the ebook. At the bottom of each post, there will be a call-to-action (CTA) that will take the reader to this landing page. (For your reference, you can download this ebook here. If you would like access to the premium content offering for your specific blog post, we are happy to provide it.)

Your goal in writing will be to create a compelling desire to act on the CTA. Your post will explain WHAT or WHY to do something, or give an overview of HOW to do it. The premium content will give the reader much more detail – for instance, detailed information on HOW to do something, step by step.

When writing a post, please keep in mind that the primary goal of each post is to instill the desire to download the free eBook because that is how we, and our clients, capture leads from our websites.

Editorial Criteria

Please carefully review the editorial criteria before writing for us.

Title

If we ask you to provide a title suggestion please run your suggestions through the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. All suggestions must have a rating of at least 70 and should not exceed 70 characters.

Style Guide

The ‘voice’ of our posts are fairly casual, without sacrificing intelligence. We target an intermediate reading level (6th-8th grade). You can check your reading level by following the instructions here.

We follow Hubspot’s Sept 2012 Style Guide, with the following exceptions and additions:

  • Cardinal numbers do not need to be spelled out below 10; numerals are acceptable.
    Acceptable: Top five reasons..
    Acceptable: Top 5 reasons..
  • Use terminal commas in lists.
    Acceptable: I like eggs, cheese, and ham.
    Not Acceptable: I like eggs, cheese and ham.
  • Use spaces between paragraphs.
  • Use spaces around hyphens.
    Acceptable: He liked people – all people.
    Not Acceptable: He liked people-all people.
  • Periods, spaces, brackets, etc are not included in hyperlinks unless the hyperlink extends beyond them.
    Acceptable: (For your reference, you can download this ebook here.)
    Acceptable (but prefer the above version): (For your reference, you can download this ebook here.)
    Not Acceptable: (For your reference, you can download this ebook here.)
    Not Acceptable: For your reference, you can download this ebook (here).

Please familiarize yourself with our style guide.

Structure of an Effective Post

The general post structure is as follows:

  1. A strong opening paragraph with questions
  2. Additional background
  3. Body of the post (following the detailed outline provided)
  4. Conclusion and questions

We’ll walk through the general structure using this post as an example (italicized quotes below were taken directly from this post).

1. A Strong Opening Paragraph

A strong opening paragraph will begin with 2-3 questions that set the stage for the post, and help begin to outline WHAT the topic is or WHY it’s important. The strongest opening paragraphs will tell a story as well.

Are you looking for ways to achieve success with content marketing? Do you struggle to come up with ideas for things to write about? Would it be helpful to have a content marketing strategy?

The reason for opening questions is that when a reader starts saying “yes” in their head, you have created engagement right from the start. This is key!

2. Additional Background

In most cases, the short opening paragraph is not enough to make sure the reader is completely sold on WHY the topic is important to them. Add more compelling information in one or more additional paragraphs to help engage the reader and compel them to read the rest of the post.

For many new content creators, figuring out what to write about can be quite a challenge.

There are several reasons for this.

First, they don’t really understand their audience and what their audience is interested in.

3. Body of the Post

We will provide a more detailed outline for each post. If you do not feel the outline is clear enough, please ask for clarification before you begin writing. We are happy to give feedback early in the writing process, as this results in the most efficient use of our and your time.

4. Conclusion and Questions

To conclude the post:

  • Wrap up with a conclusion that summarizes the post. In most cases this will be a sentence or two, and then bullet points reiterating the key takeaways.
  • Lead into the CTA (in this case, the post was repurposed; the original CTA was to purchase the book)

There is one last point to consider about teaching. The best way to become an expert in anything, is to write about it and teach it to others – just as I’m doing in this post. I also wrote a book on digital marketing and it taught me more than I could have imagined.

5. Social Share Worthy

For each post, please Please point out a minimum of 5 and up to 9 pieces of content that you feel are are ‘Tweet’ worthy. Just notate them directly in the content with [Tweet].

You MUST Consider The Look and Feel of the Post

The visual appearance of the post is critically important. People who read blogs tend to quickly scan the article first, to see if it is something they want to read. As a result, large blocks of text do not do well as blog posts.

Instead, to visually break up a post, you will need to make use of:

  1. Short paragraphs
  2. Headings and subheadings
  3. Bullet points and numbered lists
  4. Images
  5. Bold or italicized text
  6. Quotes

1. Short Paragraphs

Paragraphs can be as short as 1-2 sentences, and should be no more than 3 sentences long. This breaks up the text and makes it easy to read online or on a mobile device.

2. Make Frequent Use of Headings and Subheadings

When reading online, most people begin by scanning the headings to see if the article will be of interest. You MUST use a series of headings that give the reader a sense, at a high level, of what the post covers.

Use a heading or subheading after a maximum of 3 paragraphs. Headings should be clear and compelling.

3. Bullet Points and Numbered Lists

Where possible, make use of bulleted or numbered lists to get your point across. You can expand on the lists later, if needed.

Eavesdropping

What’s that? Have a great idea for an image?

4. Images

Images in the post to make it easier to read, as well as more interesting. The more appealing the images, the better. As a writer, you may only be providing written content and not images. However, bonus points for suggesting a compelling image to break up your text as well as to help you make your point. <<suggest image of eavesdropping here>>

5. Bold and Italicized Text

Putting key points in bold or italics emphasizes your point as well as provides visual interest.

6. Quotes

Quotes not only help visually break up your text, they also lend additional credibility to the post.

Which leads us to…

You Must Ensure Your Content is Relevant and Trustworthy

Link to credible sources of information in your post. When stating a fact, be sure to link to the source of the research used. Hubspot has compiled marketing statistics, as well as statistics that support inbound marketing here:

All submissions must past CopyScape and must also provide additional value and be significantly different from any resource post(s) we provide.  We expect that our writers are conscientious and strive to provide quality, original content. If we find or receive a report that a post has been plagiarized we will remove you from our writer resource pool.

Post Length

Unless otherwise indicated, the length of your post should be 600-800 words. If you must go above 800 words and this increases the post cost, please contact us for approval.

Bonus Points

Want to become one of our very favorite writers? Here are a few ways you can go above and beyond:

  • Choose specific images, or make suggestions for the type of image that would work well in at a given part of your post.
  • Create internal links to other posts on the same site. If you are a regular writer, you may have written or seen some other posts for the same campaign, or same client. Links to these posts are great ways to keep a reader engaged and on the site.
  • Suggest areas of improvement. We welcome any and all suggestions for what we can do better.

An Example of a Great Post

To see an example of what we consider to be a ‘perfect post’, please see this one. This is exactly the type of post that we are looking for.

Conclusion

As an approved writer, you can expect to get a LOT of work from Groove. As we attract more clients, every single one of them will need at least 8 blog posts + one piece of premium content per month.

If you have questions, please contact us.