Blogging Guideline FAQs

Want the low-down on writing a blog post for CMI? Get the basics, or read on to get more detailed answers to our most common questions.

Does CMI accept pitches?

No. Our editorial team will review only a full draft of your post. While we are happy to provide quick feedback on ideas, what determines an article’s fit is its approach, its readability, and its value for content marketers. 

Can I co-author a post?

Yes, but we only allow one contributor bio, so the second author will be represented like this.

What is the editorial process like, and how long does it take?

We want to put our best foot forward – and yours, too. As mentioned, we get dozens of submissions per week, so we appreciate your patience as we evaluate every submission.

Our goals: Make your post shine; give you the best possible exposure for your time and effort; and make the process as easy for you as possible. Each published post goes through a three-step review process to make sure your points are clear and everything is accurate.

You will receive a confirmation email within a couple of business days when we receive your post. After that, your post goes into our editorial queue where our team reviews each post. For posts being considered, average turnaround time for review is 2 – 4 weeks, though the timeline may be shorter, or longer, depending on the current volume of submissions under review.

If your post is accepted, we will reach out to let you know next steps. If your post is not accepted, we will let you know that too. We promise we won’t leave you hanging!

Please note:

  • If you need to know whether your post is accepted within a certain timeframe, please let us know, and we will do our best to accommodate you.
  • While we cannot always honor publication date requests, please let us know if you have a date to meet and the reason why.
  • Due to the volume of submissions, we do not respond to guest post inquiries that include a request for a link exchange. These posts are not accepted.

What’s in it for me?

Sharing your expertise with an engaged audience of content marketing professionals is a great way to improve your industry profile (but, as a content marketer, you already know that). (See more: “Whom exactly should I write for?”.) Some of our bloggers have told us they can directly trace new business to their posts on CMI – even posts they wrote more than a year ago! Here are just a few of the comments we have received:

From Carlijn Postma on guest blogging for CMI: “I think it got me on #27 of the international list of influencers on the discussion about content marketing.”

From Aaron Orendorff on guest blogging: “Thanks again for the awesome posting opportunity! I just got an invite to do a podcast based on it.”

From Jessica Lee on guest blogging for CMI: I’m getting great exposure from the piece, actually. I have already been interviewed twice as a result!”

Additionally, sometimes people contact us looking for work or asking to get involved in Content Marketing World. The best way to work with us is to become an active blogger who contributes solid, detailed posts. This is the pool of people we look to when we have opportunities.

Posts on CMI are widely shared.  How widely? See “WHY should I write for the CMI blog?”

How does CMI promote my post?

CMI will promote all posts via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other relevant social platforms. All posts are also emailed to our 140,000 subscribers.

There are a few ways you can help us, too, so that your post gets maximum exposure:

  • Tweet it out to your network. Feel free to mention @CMIContent!
  • Share it on Facebook and Google+ and tag Content Marketing Institute.
  • Pin it on Pinterest.
  • Share an update on LinkedIn from your personal profile home page.
  • Share it in our CMI LinkedIn group. (We would love it if you joined the group if you haven’t already done so!)
  • Respond to all comments to create conversation around your post. If you do, you’ll gain some new fans, plus you’ll automatically get alerted for future comments.

I come from the content strategy or intelligent content world. What should I keep in mind?

The CMI blog now covers content strategy and intelligent content topics geared to content marketers. (Why? Read more here and here.)  If you have experience in content strategy or intelligent content, please consider writing for us.

Ultimately, we want to help brands make their content more intelligent (deliver the right content to the right person at the right time on the right device, etc.). In the meantime, many marketers need to understand the basics of content strategy first.

There are many great blogs about content strategy for content strategists; we think we can help the field by explaining these concepts to content marketers. It’s not our intent to turn them into content strategists; these are different skill sets. We want content marketers to understand the principles so they can think more strategically as well as partner with the right people (maybe you!) with a goal of improving their customers’ experiences.

If you can share strategy-related stories, concepts, or tools that are working well for you, we’d love to hear from you. If the content marketing audience is new to you (See more:“Whom exactly should I write for?”), we can work with you to help you frame your post so that it’s helpful to this audience.

WHOM exactly should I write for?

While we educate anyone who uses content marketing, our ideal readers are marketers at large and mid-sized B2B and B2C organizations. All our readers “do” some aspect of content marketing: planning or strategy, content creation (across various content types), distribution (a mix of paid, earned, and owned media), or measurement.

These are our audience’s typical challenges/needs/burning questions/pain points:

  • What content, or what strategies, will generate leads for them or convert prospects to the next level of engagement (subscribing or becoming a customer)?
  • There is far too much to do, and marketing is evolving quickly. How do they know what to try? What should they prioritize?
  • How do they get help from others in the enterprise when others have different needs and goals – and also too much to do?
  • They don’t know what they don’t know . . . how do they stay abreast of trends?
  • How do they measure success and prove ROI of all of this?
  • What is the evolution of their careers? How can they use what they are producing to help themselves get to the next level?
  • How can we make our content more scalable, reusable, personalized – in a word, intelligent – so that we treat content items as long-term strategic assets rather than one-and-done efforts?

If you want your post to be accepted, consider ways to connect your topic to these audience concerns.

What is the CMI voice?

Sound like yourself, not like “any ol’ marketer.” Aim for these characteristics:

  • Authoritative but not pompous
  • Approachable but not wandering
  • Informative but not academic
  • Quick-witted and relatable but not corny
  • Entertaining but not inappropriate

Avoid marketingspeak (“boil the ocean,” “move the needle,” etc.) in favor of plain English. In other words, don’t sound like this!

How can I increase the likelihood that my post will be accepted?

Provide at least one aha moment. Leave readers thinking something like this:

  • Now I get it.”
  • “That’s a new perspective I hadn’t considered  . . .  and it changes the way I think about this. “
  • “Oooh, here are five new things I want to try  . . . and I know exactly what to do.”

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Have a clear point that is woven throughout the piece.
  • Include specific step-by-step instructions on how to do something. (We don’t want our readers thinking, “That’s a great idea, but how do I do it?” Right there, you’ve lost most of them.)
  • Include screenshots and graphics to illustrate your points in a way that words don’t.
  • Include examples, metrics and their sources.
  • Re-read your intro. Can you cut a paragraph (or more) to get to the point more quickly?
  • Use subheadings, bulleted lists, and bold fonts to highlight key concepts and action items.
  • Tell good stories – stories that “go into people’s hearts,” as Jyske Bank’s Lasse Hoegledt says. “When you reach people’s hearts, then they will do the right things with the brain. If you tell a good story with real people, with real problems in real situations, then they will understand it.”

Want even more?

Learn how to win over any editor with these tips from John Hall. (See more: “WHAT makes a good CMI post?”) 

How can I DECREASE the likelihood that my post will be accepted?

Write a post with one or more of these characteristics:

  • It has been published elsewhere.
  • It is an infographic only and not part of an educational post.
  • The post lacks a clear tie to content marketing.
  • It’s too basic.
  • It’s a things-to-do overview with little detail on how to do those things.
  • It lacks a clear main point.
  • It leaves the reader wondering what to do with the info.
  • It was created as blatant link-bait with little original insight or practical discussion.
  • It’s an op-ed-style post that discusses why an issue is important without discussing what, specifically, content marketers can do.
  • It’s a white paper or other form of promotional content that is meant to tout the benefits of one specific product/service over others.
  • It gives only a general overview of complex topics.

What are some examples of posts that have done well for CMI?

Sometimes the best way to get ideas is to learn what has performed well. Here are some standout articles:

What makes a good post about tools and technologies?

CMI readers crave posts about tools and technologies that help with all aspects of content marketing. Our aim is to help our audience learn about tools that can help them do their jobs, including tool-roundup posts like these:

Posts can mention both free and paid tools under two conditions:

  • The author cannot work for the tool/technology company mentioned in the post. (But you can mention the tool in your bio.)
  • All affiliations must be clearly disclosed (for example: Are you a customer? Affiliate? Partner?)

It is not possible to include all tools from a category in each post. We will clarify that tools are suggested by the author and not endorsed by the CMI editorial team, and we will note for readers, “If you have a relevant tool to add, feel free to include it in the comments.”

We welcome detailed posts on how to use free tools, such as Google Analytics and Trello, that are popular with or especially valuable for content marketers.

Someone from CMI invited me to submit a post. Does this guarantee acceptance?

No. We see a lot of great ideas being shared via social channels and in conversations. When someone from the team reaches out to see if you want to submit a post, this means we love your idea. However, it’s the approach an article takes that makes all the difference, so we can’t decide until we see a full draft.

What are your republishing guidelines?

See our guidelines on republishing posts.

You made it to the end! We appreciate you taking the time.  Still have additional questions? Feel free to email Lisa Dougherty, who manages our blog: dougherty@contentinstitute.com.