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AI Exchange Contributor Guidelines

Here’s how to come up with great content on AI Exchange, from article to Tech Talk.

January 28, 2022 · Last updated on May 25, 2022
Last updated on May 25, 2022
AI Exchange Contributor Guidelines

Content Ideation

Here’s how to come up with ideas that will get traffic—and get you noticed, whether it be a written article or Tech Talk.

Keep your idea short and sweet, and get right to the point. Focus on AI Exchange’s core mission: To deliver practical information that your peers—AI and ML professionals and practitioners—can use. And back up your idea with research to make sure you have a winner. Spending a few minutes up front refining your idea outline is key to building an audience with AI Exchange—and building your own personal brand.

You bring the idea, and your editor will work with you to develop it. Here are six steps to a successful pitch. Y

6 Steps to a Successful Idea

Research your idea. Do the research to find a good idea that fits into the core topic areas we cover. Keep up with papers and publications to see what topics are hot and where the pain points are. Look at what's trending and find an angle that advances the discussion. How can your article advance the knowledge or provide greater understanding of the issue? Look at news sites, social channels, such as LinkedIn (join groups) and Twitter (use hashtags and follow influencers), and frequent Quora, Slashdot and Reddit, where story ideas can commonly be found within discussions on daily topics. 

Vet your idea. Go to Google and do a few searches using a few related search terms and keyword phrases to discover what's been written already. What queries would people type who you want to find your story? Type them in, see what comes up, and find an angle. What makes your article unique, different or better that what’s already out there? Your story will do well if it increases understanding by clarifying, by prompting discussion by practitioners, or by presenting a contrarian or different view of, or approach to, the problem. By having a new angle that's relevant and either hasn't been covered before, is more comprehensive, or takes a fresh angle, your article has a better chance of owning that keyword and turning up in the top search results.

6 Elements of a Strong Idea

  1. Working headline: A great pitch starts with a compelling headline that grabs the reader’s attention, ensuring that they will want to read your article. Headlines that ask questions or that address a pain point or are designed to spark discussion can work well. 
  2. Summary: This is your elevator pitch, so get right to the point. What's the main assertion in the article and what are the key points/takeaways/issues you'll cover? Give us a quick outline.
  3. Who's the target audience? Tell us who you are addressing in the article. Think job titles. Is it software engineers? ML engineers? Stakeholders? If it's ML engineers, which ones (perhaps those working in ecommerce)? Facing what challenges? Understand what will be practical for the target audience so you can hone in and deliver clear takeaways for them. 
  4. Relevance: Answer the "so what?" question. Why will your target audience want to read this article? How will this story advance the discussion, create value, and benefit them? Describe the takeaways for the reader and include this in your summary.
  5. Sources: What expert sources will you cite for this article? If you are the expert and do not plan to quote or cite other sources, you can skip this step. However, it’s always good to back up your claims with links to related research, blog posts, or articles from other experts.
  6. Supporting research: What search queries do you want to lead to your article? Do a quick Web search on those to determine what's already been written about this subject on TechBeacon and around the web, and then think about how your story will be unique, different or better than what’s out there. There's no sense writing an article that's just like six others that show up in the top results of a Google search. Investing a little time upfront to make sure your article is relevant and will get the attention it deserves is the best way to build your audience and your personal brand. So...is your idea unique? Do you have a contrarian view? Do you have something to add that others missed? Or is what's out there far inferior to what you propose? Perhaps your story will be the best to date in terms of adding value or advancing understanding (tell us why)? Search example: Let's say you want to write an article called "10 proven tips for building a testing center of excellence." You might search on "how to build a testing center of excellence," and "tips for building a testing center of excellence."

Cite a few examples (with links) of what's out there, and think about/tell us why your article will be unique/different/better—and land on the top of the search results page.

Content / Writer Guidelines

Here are key tips for creating great content for AI Exchange.

The Importance of SEO. To grow your audience, it's important to optimize your content for search engines, as well as make it streamlined enough that it's easily shared in peoples' social networks. Below are some helpful hints to help you write compelling article that will get attention. 

Title. Create a title that is short, snappy and compelling and that highlights the main idea of your article. Doing so optimizes your article's placement in search engines and, as such, enhances your ability to reach a broader audience.

Article Body. Eight seconds is the average attention span of an adult online. That’s why it's crucial to grab the reader's attention in the first few sentences and convince them to stay. This is your “nut graph,” where you tell them what’s in it for them. Specificity is key to achieving this. Talking in broad statements rather than targeted issues that affect your audience is a quick way to turn off an audience. Know who you are writing for (role) and address the reader (“you”) directly. 

Keywords. Make sure keywords or keyword phrases are included in your story several times, including at least once in your lead paragraph.

Sentence structure: Online readers skim and scan. Keeping most of your sentences between 15-20 words will ensure optimal readability for the Web and mobile devices. Though feel free to throw in longer sentences occasionally to vary your structure and avoid repetitive rhythms.

Tone

Avoid using the editorial “we,” unless you are a recognized expert advocating speaking to your peers or practitioners who are at a lesser level of expertise. Otherwise, address the reader directly “you” (preferred) or use third-person “they.” Avoid chatty, or “bloggy” sentences. Be direct and to the point. 

Short, digestible paragraphs: Try to keep your paragraphs short - no more than 7 lines. The goal is to make your article more consumable by a broader audience—especially on mobile —and to enhance scannability. 

Sources: When quoting or referencing people in your article, include a link to their LinkedIn handle on first mention. 

Formatting

H1 Subheads: Break up your text: Use a subhead every few paragraphs. These help provide a better flow and allow your reader to scan the article. Subheadings should be creative and descriptive of the content in the paragraphs that follow.

H2 Subheads: Use these when a main section of a story has several subsections that fall under it.

Bullets: Use where appropriate highlight key points or lists of short items. They increase consumability and will improve your article's SEO performance.

Images: Images and figures should pertain to the discussion in the article. They should not contain any objectionable or copyrighted content. Each figure should include a title, a caption explaining the figure, and a source credit. If you are not the source, you’ll need to get permission to reprint it. While it’s OK to paste figures and images into your document, be sure to include the original source files when you send in the article. 

Editorial Process

After you submit your article, the editors will review it for consistent and quality tone, voice, structure, content, and sourcing. They will ensure your article is SEO-optimized, and is written in a way that is authoritative.

  • Note: Revisions are a natural part of any high-quality writing process. If your article has been returned for any revisions, we’ll send you an email. Your deadline will be automatically extended to allow you to make the necessary edits. If an article has been returned for revisions, you can send your revisions by email or through Slack in a Word document or provide a Google Doc link.
  • The life of your article in six stages:

1. Submit your proposal by contacting your editor. The editor will work with you to develop the idea. 

2. Submit your article for review. When you submit your article, an Editor will review it and work with you to improve it.

3. Publication of the article. When the Editor approves the article, you will receive an email informing you that the article has been published and will let you know the estimated publication date.

The time from when your article is accepted to when it actually goes live on the site depends on our editorial calendar, but is typically 1-2 weeks. 

Content Promotion

We encourage you to promote all of your articles and Tech Talks. Whenever you notice that your content has been approved, share the article or talk in your social networks, as well as liking and republishing promotional posts of your article on Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels. We will handle publication on the official Scale AI social media channels. 

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