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Style Guide

These are the basic editorial guidelines for the Post Planner blog.

Writers who wish to contribute articles or ideas for consideration should send queries: support@postplanner.com

Guidelines for Guest Bloggers

Copy

General

  • speak directly to the reader — as if you’re writing her an email
  • engage her in a conversation
  • remember she doesn’t know what you know — you have to teach her
  • don’t make her work hard and don’t make her feel like a dunce
  • offer concrete, crystal-clear examples for everything you recommend
  • let your passion & personality shine through

Headline

  • base around a keyword
  • aim for both virality (social shares) and SEO (search results)
  • use proven headline formulas (resources herehereherehere)
  • expect editors to change it :)

Intro

  • begin with a 1-2 line sentence/paragraph
  • should be 5-8 paragraphs (of 1-3 lines each)
  • include a quote or list, if possible (to break up left-margin monotony)
  • final paragraph should be something in the spirit of:        
    • “In this post I will…” (example)
  • final paragraph leads to first H2 subhead (where headline is repeated)

Subheads

  • the first H2 subhead should always:
    • follow the intro
    • repeat article headline
  • afterward, use as many subheads as possible (to increase scannability)
  • H2, H3 and H4 should be enough for any post (H5 should not be used)
  • format your subhead lists correctly:
    • use a simple period after numbers: “1.” not “1)”

Quotes & Lists

  • use as many as possible (to break up monotony of left margin)
  • you can often turn long sentences with strings of items into lists (ordered or unordered)
  • make sure list items are parallel in grammatical structure (all beginning with verbs in same tense, for example) — example

Conclusion

  • ALWAYS have one!
  • begin with an H2 subhead
  • subhead should be “Conclusion” or something clearly indicating an end to or summary of post
  • end with a “What about you?” question to reader and a CTA to leave a comment

Style

  • speak directly to the reader, like you’re writing her an email
    • use “You” and “I” as often as possible
  • write short paragraphs
    • most common = 1-2 sentences
    • rarely longer than 3-5 lines
  • use “in other words” a lot
    • then restate your idea another way, for clarity
  • use “for example” a lot
    • then offer concrete examples, for clarity
  • use lots of double dashes: “word word word — word word word”
    • replace commas with them, where appropriate
    • always replace semi-colons (NEVER use semi-colons!)
    • also use ellipses, but favor double dashes
  • use lots of parentheses
  • use contractions
    • they’re how we speak (and think)
  • shorten words when possible
    • "info" not "information"
    • "ads" not "advertisements"
    • "Jan 1" not "January 1"
    • "9am" not "9 o’clock A.M."
  • use numerals instead of words
    • "3" not "three"
  • don’t use boldface or italics
    • use all-caps instead — to emphasize & anchor reader’s eye

Images

Content Images

  • align right by default – never align left!
  • align center for full-width images/screenshots — example
  • images should be sized to 580 pixels before entering them
  • images should be sharp and clear (no low quality images)
  • images should be named with a 4-5 word jpeg name including keyword (separate words with dashes)
  • remove image links
  • add right-justified images to break up monotony of full-column text and create narrower columns for easy reading
  • for screenshots referred to in text, place screenshot below reference – example