Inman contributor guidelines and FAQs

Inman is the real estate industry’s leading source for news, insight, intelligence, advice and opinions provided by full-time journalists in collaboration with hundreds of volunteer contributors representing every aspect of the industry.

Ready to apply to become an Inman Contributor? Please fill out this form >>

We’re always on the lookout for fresh perspectives and new voices here at Inman, and our community is the drive behind Inman’s editorial mission, and our contributors help fuel it.

What is an Inman contributor?

For more than 20 years, Inman has been finding unique viewpoints  in the real estate community to highlight on our site, onstage at our events, and now onscreen at our virtual events.

Inman contributors are those exceptional practicing real estate professionals out there who love to lend their insight, foresight and hindsight (in the form of articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, and more) to help their brethren and, in turn, make the industry better.

If you’ve ever had someone say to you, “You know, you should really write for Inman,” we think you should write for Inman, too! Here’s what you should know before you commit.

Inman contributor program overview

If you’re an agent, broker, independent broker, team leader or staff, or broker-owner, we’d love to hear from you.

We also take contributions from mortgage professionals, investors, thought leaders and more — on a case-by-case basis.

How does the program work?

Anyone on the mentioned on the list above is invited to reach out to contributors@inman.com. Please send a letter of interest telling us who you are, what you do, and why you think you’d make an excellent addition to the Inman contributor program.

Here’s the general breakdown of the program:

  • Contributors: The majority of our 500+ contributors fall into this category. They are typically industry professionals who are practicing in the field. They typically write on a monthly or quarterly basis. Accepted contributors have an open invite to contribute. Contributors will be notified of any changes to that.
  • Columnists: Only the crème de la crème contributors are asked to contribute regularly. A regular columnist contributes on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Regular columnists tend to be more tuned into the industry’s ecosystem, and thus, they often receive top billing on editorial products and are often asked to be speakers at our events, both virtual and in person. Having a regular column is an invite-only situation, but we do invite you to reach out with interest. More on that process below.
  • One-time contributors: We often have contributors reach out who want to do a think piece about a particular event or relevant topic. That’s perfectly fine, we’re open to one-time contributors. Please just mention that in your initial contact.

How do you become a regular columnist?

If you would like to join the ranks of regular columnists, become a contributor, let us know your intent, and contribute regularly for at least three columns. From there, we can decide if a regular column is a fit. And we are always on the lookout for new voices and perspectives.


Contributor program guidelines

Here are the rules, guidelines and other things you should know before getting started:

Who can contribute?

Agents, brokers, independent brokers, team leaders and staff, and broker-owners. We also take contributions from mortgage professionals, investors, thought leaders and more — on a case-by-case basis.

We’re always open to new voices and perspectives, and we work hard to ensure everyone has a chance to be considered Diversity and inclusion are a priority for us.

If you have something to say, reach out. We just ask that you be clear about any conflicts of interest that you might have (working for companies mentioned, consulting, former relationships, etc.) and that you not apply if you market goods or services to agents and brokers.

What is not allowed or not likely to be accepted?

  • Advertorial content.
  • Endorsements for your company, product, team, or service — or for a company, product, or service for which you have consulted or been paid to promote. (No commercials for you, your company, your client’s or family/friend/loved one’s company, please! If you wish to have publish a sponsored article or other sponsored content, please contact sales@inman.com for rates and further details.)
  • Overt critiques or attacks.
  • Contributions that rely heavily on math, data, or claims that Inman editors cannot research and independently verify.
  • Surveys or data that have not been published publicly elsewhere.

Links and attribution policy

  • Contributor bios are formulaic: Name, title, company, and two social media links. For biographies within the story and backlinks, contributors are allowed to provide links to the website of their choice and two social media accounts of their choice.
  • Links in articles will be evaluated for relevance and fit prior to publication. Articles and links may also be reviewed after publication and updated as deemed necessary by Inman.
  • Articles should generally have four or fewer links. Exceptions are round up posts or list type posts that link to a large number of resources.
  • Links in articles should only point to:
    • Brands (DocuSign, Re/Max, etc.)
    • A mentioned domain name (realestatewebmasters.com)
    • An article acting as a source for the story (NAR’s homeownership report or similar)
  • Links in articles should not:
    • Link to non-authoritative pages or sources
    • Be used purposefully for building SEO to websites
  • Inman reserves the right to remove, update, nofollow or change any link in any article at any time.
  • Inman reserves the right to update this policy at any time.

We will remove backlinks that do not strictly follow the guidelines above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add backlinks in my story?

You can, but the backlinks must reference a news story or a study you’re citing — in fact, you should provide links to any number, statistic, research, etc., for fact-checking purposes. Or if you’re referencing an app or a useful tool, then please add a link to the tool. Note that editors may remove links that don’t follow guidelines.

Each contributed piece is published with a biography at the end that includes one or more backlinks to appropriate author websites and social media.

Do you edit my article?

Our editorial team will evaluate all contributed submission for compliance with guidelines and publishing policies and then edited to fit Inman style, which often aligns with Associated Press Style.

Inman reserves the right to edit or change all article headlines and content, and to fact check any claims with sources at other organizations and companies to ensure that contributed articles are accurate.

Do you publish content that’s been published elsewhere?

Typically not. Submissions to Inman should be written or recorded specifically for publication in Inman. If you have previously published content that seems particularly well suited for the Inman audience, we would be happy to review it.

What about publication rights?

All submissions become the property of Inman upon publication.

Do you take paid contributions?

We do not take money for contributed stories. Any contributors who are paid by outside parties to insert links must disclose or risk the end of our relationship and their stories and links being removed from our site.

Do I need to provide images?

We appreciate original photography but do not accept copyrighted material. If you have an idea about how to illustrate your article, talk to us! Feel free to send links from sites such as Unsplash as a suggestion.

I use a ghostwriter or an editor who helps with my work. Do you still need to edit it?

Yes.

I want to submit content with an as-is clause. Will you accept it?

No.


Getting started: The submission process

From submitting an article to pushing it through the publication process, here’s what you should know:

How do I get started?

Reach out to contributors@inman.com. Tell us who you are, what you do, and why you think you’d make an excellent addition to the Inman contributor program.

If we think so too, we will respond to your inquiry with next steps or other directions; our new contributor spiel will walk you through the process of contributing.

From there, we’ll ask you to submit a story. Once you submit, if we don’t have any further questions, we’ll either reject or accept. If we accept, we’ll get to work on getting your story in shape to publish. That might require some edits or additional information, such as more research, links or anecdotes, from you.

Occasionally, we’ll discover during the editing process that the story isn’t a fit. If that’s the case, we’ll reach out and let you know.

How do I submit an article?

Submit an article for publication by sending a Word or Google Document to contributors@inman.com.

What happens after I submit my article?

Our editors will review it for content and determine if and where it fits with our upcoming editorial calendar. We will often ask you to make some edits, such as elaborating on aspects of the piece we think readers will find interesting or including more links or research.

When we accept your content, we’ll reach out to let you know a targeted publish date. We’ll also send you directions on how to officially sign up as an Inman contributor.

You’ll receive a WordPress account and an authors page on our site before we publish your first story. (The link will be: https://www.inman.com/author/your-name/.) From then on, you’ll always be able to find your published content on your author’s page.

All contributor applicants will also receive a DocuSign contributor agreement from our Managing Editor Jotham Sederstrom. We ask that you respond in a timely manner. Please reach out to contributors@inman.com with questions.

How will I know when my story will publish?

When your story is accepted, the editor will send you a targeted publish date. Your story should publish on or near that date. If not, you will often be notified. Please check your author page on and around your target publish date. If you haven’t seen it, just reach out to the editor to inquire.

Will you send me a link?

Probably not. We have hundreds of contributors, and frankly, it’s just not feasible to send a link to every published story to each contributor. But you can check your author’s page or check in with the editor via email if you can’t find it.


Author profile basics

Now that you know the rules and the process, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of contributing. Here’s how to build your author page and change your personal info on the Inman.com site.

What system does Inman use?

Inman publishes using the WordPress (WP) system. You don’t need to know the ins and outs of WordPress to be a contributor. Your editor will handle most of the backend, but it is good to keep this link handy for trouble-shooting your author page bio.

How do I log in to WordPress?

Visit https://www.inman.com/wp-login.php.

Your username is your full byline. For example: Brad Inman. Your account will be set up as soon as your first story publishes.

If you aren’t sure which email address is registered or need your password reset, email contributors@inman.com, and we will take care of you.

How do I find my author’s page?

Your author’s page is usually your byline name in this format: https://www.inman.com/author/First-LastName/

For example, Dani Vanderboegh’s author page link is: https://www.inman.com/author/dani-vanderboegh/

I want to change my photo or my bio.

Contributor bios are formulaic: Name, title, company, and two social media links. For biographies within the story and backlinks, contributors are allowed to provide links to the website of their choice and two social media accounts of their choice.

If you’d like to change your in-story bio, please email the following to contributors@inman.com:

  • Name:
  • Title:
  • Company:
  • Company website:
  • Social media link 1:
  • Social media link 2:
  • What city/ies do you live and work in?

To change your author’s page, please follow the directions here.

Can I add a backlink to my bio?

You can, up to the limit as noted in our link guidelines. Email contributors@inman.com with changes.

Other submission FAQs

Do I need to add images?

No. If you have charts or graphs or another image that’s pertinent to the story — or photos of someone you quoted — we’d welcome the additions, but it’s not necessary.

We manage hero art for the website (the “featured images” in the posts). This way we can ensure that any image will be appropriate for our aspect ratio, appropriately sized and also won’t closely replicate something that recently ran on Inman.

Will you edit my article?

Yes. Every contributor article that gets posted on Inman is edited by an editor.

We edit for style (Inman uses in-house and Associated Press style). We also edit for the “7 Cs” — articles should be:

  • Correct
  • Consistent
  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Coherent
  • Complete
  • Creative

As a news outlet and not a personal or lifestyle blog, we do have to ensure that all of our copy is consistent in quality and coherence.

Who edits my story?

Our Senior/Contributors Editor Dani Vanderboegh will be your point person. She will oversee all contributed stories and submissions. As for who edits your story, it will almost always be her or a talented editorial assistant.

What do you typically do when you edit a story?

We edit for style consistency, spelling and grammar. We also edit for clarity, conciseness and consistency. Most of the hardest editing work is done to the lead (the first two or three paragraphs of a story).

The biggest writing tip we could share with authors? Get to the point, and don’t repeat yourself. Our readers have a great deal of knowledge about the real estate industry and don’t need a historical overview or a long, winding introduction full of definitions and footnotes.

Try to tell the reader in your first couple of sentences why they should care, and that should be reflected in the headline of the story as well.

How long will it take for my article to go live?

A typical turnaround for an article is about a week, but it may be longer if submission volume is high.

Do you have any tips for writers?

Yep, see below.


Helpful writing hints

Ideal story length, fact-checking, idea generation — here are a few tips 0n the nuts and bolts of writing for Inman.

  • Ideal word count is about 500-800 words (longer, if the subject merits it).
  • Start with a headline, and follow with an outline.
  • Limit your introduction — get to the point.
  • Offering advice? Provide an odd number of takeaways (5, 7, 9, 21) takeaways. Or a nice round 10 always works.
  • Anecdotes help provide color and make your article unique.
  • Use simple, direct prose and active verbs.
  • If you pull something from an online source, link to that source, and put quotes around any material taken directly from the source. Paraphrase a resource, be sure to attribute it and link within the text.
  • If you quote someone directly, attribute properly, and mention how this information was conveyed do you. Was it a phone call, an email, a text, social media, etc.? It matters in the editing and fact-checking processes.
  • It never hurts to send screenshots of relevant conversations to your editor, along with any PDFs, links, images, etc., for fact-checking purposes.
  • Every writer needs an editor. We are here for you, but it never hurts to have someone else put a read on your work before submitting it to your Inman editor.
  • Don’t be nervous about your writing. Not everyone is a pro, but if you have great insights, we’ll get you there.

What should I write about?

  • Topics that matter to you, your clients, colleagues, competitors, vendors, real estate industry leaders and policy-makers.
  • A specific niche within the real estate industry (luxury properties, teams, investing, etc.).
  • A personal experience that taught you a lesson or two.
  • A valuable insight no one else can offer.
  • The pros and cons about an industry practice or policy, government action or anything else controversial.
  • A new process, practice or technology that helped grow your business.
  • Inman’s monthly theme.
  • Remember: If you haven’t read about it, consider writing it!

I need ideas. What do I do if I’m stuck for a topic or have writer’s block?

First thing’s first, let your editor know. Just shoot us an email, it’s happens all the time. Also, we have a weekly voluntary assignment email. If you’re interested in being included, it’s flush with ideas for contributors and information on our latest theme month — just reach out to contributors@inman.com to be added to the list.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Contact contributors@inman.com with any questions about contributing to Inman. We’re here to help!

Ready to apply to become an Inman Contributor? Please fill out this form >>