What We’re Trying to Accomplish
As the telos institute continues to grow, we are looking for ever more ways to share our story, communicate our value, and increase our reach. One way to do that is to develop unique content. These can be articles, mini-presentations on a subject, blog posts, infographics, videos and so on.
As we look to create more content that prospective and existing clients can interact with, we need to pull from a broad pool of talent, as well as a chorus of diverse voices. That talent pool, that chorus is you – our consultants and partners.
Many of you have compelling stories. You all have unique perspectives on leadership and other competencies critical to success. We’d like to tap those experiences, skills, and narratives in a way that elevates all of us. We’re asking individuals to submit story, blog, and news ideas. In return, we’ll help you to share and promote your unique take on leadership, strategy, or change. We’ll assist with editing, formatting, and production. We’ll provide the platform for your ideas to be seen and heard.
Why you should do it
It’s really difficult to get above the noise. It can also be challenging to frame and package our best most inspiring ideas so that they’re approachable, interesting, and consumable. What’s more, even once you do all that, the challenge is getting it in front of an attentive audience. Our team can help overcome all of those obstacles.
Not only can we help you to refine and polish your thoughts with conscientious editing and design, we’re looking to promote these ideas as a way of creating more value for all of us – clients, consultants, and the organization as a whole.
One immediate benefit to you is the positive impact on your personal brand as more people from a wider audience get to know you, your passions, and your expertise.
If you’re interested, we’d ask that you submit either:
• A story/blog post idea with an idea as to why it might be interesting and what you might cover
• The above, but with bullets added or maybe even a few paragraphs
• A completed article or blog piece ready for editing
You’ll also want to consider if you’d like your piece will be:
• Short article 500 – 800 words
• Featured Post 1600 words (give or take 300)
• Multi-part feature Variable, but each part is usually of similar lenght
Submissions and ideas can be sent to James Van Doren, who currently heads our marketing and digital engagement efforts. Please send any ideas or documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. While a specific subject header isn’t required, it may be useful to have the subject start with blog or submission, which will make it easier for us to hone in on those emails.
Types of articles
Articles may cover a variety of topics, for example productivity, mindfulness, conflict, or anything else that’s leadership, strategy, or change. Keep in mind it’s important to have a unique take on the subject. Further, consider bounding it. For example, maybe it’s conflict in a new work environment or mindfulness to keep you from taking stress and conflict form the office to your home.
A blog post doesn’t have to be a lesson or exploration of a competency, per se. Many interesting articles invite the reader to think about and explore the complexities of a subject in different ways – often without landing on one specific answer. For example, a story about the challenges of staying focused in the face of social media doesn’t have to solve the problem. Creating the awareness and space for discussion is enough.
Finally, blogs and news stories can be personal. It’s compelling to hear why an issue effects someone or is important to them. It creates a bridge between words when someone shares a moment form their experience that also communicates why something is important to them or maybe should be important to others. For example, someone reflecting on the life and legacy of their military father might share a time when they spoke about the importance of standing up for your values and living true and authentically. It sometimes feels risky and not everyone will be comfortable with sharing, but for those who are – it allows for a powerfully relatable story that emphasizes the shared human experience as much as intellect and expertise.
Components to consider for your article or blog post
While some people can just sit at a keyboard and start writing, for many it’s helpful to have a roadmap or some guidelines. Below we’ve outlined some components that can help you as you create an outline for your piece.
There’s a few ways to approach the various components below. 1 method is to use them in a traditional outline format, and put down bulleted ideas underneath to get the ball rolling. For others who prefer something a little less structured, consider laying these out on a page and just writing a few sentences (or paragraph if appropriate) under each one. You can then go back and write your connective sentences.
Lastly, for those who prefer to dive into the writing, these components may be useful as you go back through your piece. Perhaps try to identify in your article where exactly each of these components are. That way you’ll see if you missed something or if re-ordering your written piece might be helpful.
Lead in: This is an introductory sentence or two that is meant to grab the reader’s attention and draw them into the piece. It isn’t necessarily the reason for the piece. In traditional news article or magazine features, you might recognize it as the quote the story starts with or the description of the setting. For you, this might be a short anecdote, or even the beginning of a story/narrative that you’ll finish in your conclusion. Feel free to get creative here, because we’ll help you make sure it all comes together.
Hook: Your hook is your unique take on the story or subject. To some extent, this is the answer to the unasked question “Why should I care?” Or “What makes this relevant to me?” Sometimes your hook or angle is the same as your lead-in, but not always.
Introduction to topic: Since our blogs are a mix of opinion and information, we’ll want to ensure we’re introducing the overall topic in a way that is meaningful and digestible. Most of the time, this can be done with a fairly straightforward sentence or two that signals to the reader “Alright, we’re about to get into the meat of this.” But didn’t we just introduce the topic in the lead-in and hook? Well, maybe. But more likely those communicated why the topic was interesting (directly or indirectly) and what our specific angle or take on the topic is.
Important points: Throughout the piece you’ll want to ensure your readers can easily find, identify, and digest your important points. Sometimes these get buried in a longer sentence or strong of sentences. If so, periodically summarize them simply and succinctly (either before or after the explanation). If you can, try to remember to tie some of these back to your hook or lead-in if/when appropriate.
Sources: While many things may come from experience, and that’s a wonderful source, it helps your reader feel more confident and adds credibility if you are able to link to corroborating sources. This is easy to do after the fact if you don’t have anything readily available. To make it seamless with your story consider using sentences :
“On (date) researchers published their findings corroborating X behavior”
“Similar to what John Doe said in his book YYYY, I’ve found that….”
“In fact XYZ Paper recently published an article talking about ABCD, which relates to what we’re talking about here.”
Sentences like those above are easy ways to reference sources and add credibility without breaking the flow of your own story. And as long as you can provide us the links we’ll be sure they’re properly embedded in the story.
As an aside, referencing and linking to well read sources are also more likely to increase your own readership. And we all want that!
Visuals: Visuals are important. They help break up a wall of text. But, more, they also provide a different way for people to interact and consume the information you’re giving them. Don’t underestimate the power of good visuals in bringing your story to life. We can definitely help you find these, but if there are pictures or graphics you’re really interested in using, be sure to include them or send us a link to them. The latter is better, since we want to ensure we aren’t using something proprietary. And if the graphic/image/hart you really want is proprietary, we can help by creating a similar one or helping to find an alternative.
Conclusion: So you’re finally at the end. You already know you need a conclusion, but we want to ensure you consider crafting it in such a way that it leaves a great impression on your reader. Ideally the conclusion circles back to your original hook, re-summarizing it perhaps. It can also link back to your lead in. For example if you started your article with a few sentence storytelling narrative about a meeting or a coachee, here would be the place to finish it. Alternatively, you can also use the conclusion to clarify/share your own “ah-ha” moment which keeps you as an expert, but also makes you more relatable. If your struggling with a conclusion, don’t worry – this is also a place where our team can help you.
We hope these tips, suggestions, and ideas provide some useful tools as you get ready to share your talents and ideas.
We look forward to highlighting and promoting your unique views, your expertise, and your passions!
[aesop_content color=”#ffffff” background=”#8f8f8f” columns=”1″ position=”right” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” floaterposition=”right” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]
Do I have to be a great writer?
No, you do not. You do need a good idea though, and be able to flesh it out fairly well. A great place to start is an outline using some of the above points. Our team can then help you finesse it!
If I’m interested, what’s a good first step?
Feel free to reach out by phone or email to James Van Doren and pitch your idea. He’s reachable at email@example.com or 216-952-2899. He can help you flesh out your idea, and help make sure you have a good hook or interesting take. Also, he can let you know when we’d want/need it by. What kinds of topics are good? Anything on leadership, strategy, or change. We try to avoid political OpEds, How-to’s, and anything that is exclusively focused on life skills. That said – if there’s a good idea, with a unique take, we like the opportunity to want to consider it!
Will I get paid if I write an article?
Isn’t getting the opportunity to share your ideas on a platform where they’ll be promoted payment enough? No? Well, we do provide a reasonable payment for the content. Articles/blogs under 900 words are paid at the rate of $0.05 per word. We pay a bit of a premium for articles/blog posts over 900 words. The rate for those is $0.07 per word. Payment is based on either the size of the original submission pre-editing or the size post-editing, whichever is smaller. This way if you send us a not quite fleshed out idea, we aren’t paying for our efforts to complete the article. Similarly, if we have to pare down a blog post, we don’t charge you for the editing, but neither do we pay for all the extra words.
More questions? Contact us!