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Writing Guideline FAQs

Want the low-down on writing an article for CMI? Get the basics, or read on to get more detailed answers to common questions.

What is the review process?

Each published post goes through a three-step review process to make sure the article is a good fit for the CMI platform.

Within a couple of business days of sending your submission, you will receive a receipt confirmation email. The CMI editorial team reviews submissions at least biweekly and within the following week, the author is notified by email of the team’s decision.

Please note:

  • CMI works well in advance of publication dates. If your content is time-sensitive, please note that and explain why in your submission.
  • Inquiries or submissions requesting a link exchange are not accepted.

Does CMI accept pitches?

No. Our editorial team only reviews completed articles.

Can I co-author a post?

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

Can I submit an article if I used generative-AI tools to create it?

While we don’t require you to disclose if you used AI to support your research or writing process, you are responsible for guaranteeing that any work submitted is original and includes reliable sources that are properly cited and fact-checked. Errors in facts and lack of appropriate citation (linking to and crediting original source) will lead to article rejection.

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 writer who contributes solid, detailed articles. This is the pool of people we look to when we have opportunities.

Articles on CMI are widely shared:

  • 200,000 subscribers
  • 480,000-plus social media followers

Can I include backlinks?

We will include ungated links to articles and blogs that illustrate a point in your article (keep in mind that more than one or two links to pieces you’ve written or on your company’s blog may cause us to consider the piece self-promotional). CMI does not allow links to gated content.

Contributing sources (those who submit a quote or tip to an article) will be credited with a link to an online professional bio page (i.e, LinkedIn profile, speaker bio, blog author bio). Links to corporate websites or other social channels won’t be included.

How does CMI promote my article?

CMI will promote all articles via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other relevant social platforms. All articles are also emailed to the 200,000 people who subscribe to our daily and weekly newsletters.

You can help your article get maximum exposure too:

  • Tweet it out to your network. Feel free to mention @CMIContent!
  • Share it on Facebook 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.
  • 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.

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 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?

If you want your article 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 marketing-speak (“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 article 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. 

What could lead to my submission being rejected?

Write an article with one or more of these characteristics:

  • It has been published elsewhere.
  • It only includes examples from your clients or is otherwise self-promotional.
  • It is an infographic only and not part of an educational article.
  • The article 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 article that discusses why an issue is important without discussing what, specifically, content marketers can do.
  • It’s a white paper or another 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 articles 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 article about tools and technologies?

CMI readers crave articles 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-roundups like these:

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

  • If you work for one of the tools/technology companies mentioned in the article, make sure that it’s just one of many tools mentioned.
  • 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 article. 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 articles 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 an article. 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 an article, 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 articles.

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: [email protected].