Inman Local Contributor FAQs
Updated August 27, 2015
How do I log in?
Your username is your full byline. For example: Amber Taufen or Neil deGrasse Tyson.
You can reset your password here; WordPress will send an email to your registered address. If you aren’t sure which email address is registered and need your password reset, email firstname.lastname@example.org and our administrator will take care of you.
Where should I build my post?
Find the “Next” area in the left-hand menu bar. This is the “holding pen” for contributor articles. Please build your post in there.
How do I build my post?
Click the “Add Next” button at the top of the screen.
The long bar at the top is for your headline or working title.
The big box is where you can paste or enter your copy. It’s also where you can add hyperlinks, bulletpoints, bold and italics.
I started building a post in the wrong area! What do I do?
No big deal! Finish writing your post and alert email@example.com when you’re finished. We will find it and move it to “Next” for you.
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 have a full-time staff member who manages 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.
Do I need to add tags? How about categories?
You may tag or categorize your post if you like. Inman is streamlining categories, and we do reserve the right to recategorize stories as appropriate.
Can I add backlinks in my story?
You can, but the backlinks must reference a news story or a study you’re citing — or, if you’re recommending an app or a useful tool, then please add a hyperlink to the tool.
We will remove backlinks that do not strictly follow the guidelines above.
Each contributed piece is published with a biography at the end that includes one or more backlinks to appropriate author websites.
What should I do when I’m finished?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know that you’re ready for me to take a look and schedule the piece if it’s in good shape.
PLEASE do not send an alert before your story is ready to go.
I’d really rather not deal with WordPress. Can I just email you the document I worked on?
That’s okay with us, but we would urge you to at least become familiar with WordPress so you can see when your stories are scheduled to run. (See more about that under “the submission process.”)
I can’t find my post! Help!
Don’t panic! In 90 percent of these scenarios, the author built the content in “Posts.” I will move it to “Next” when I add it to the lineup so we can keep it out of the staff writers’ area. So please look in “Next” for your post.
Don’t see it there? Send an email to email@example.com with the working title of the post. We can find it for you.
I want to change my photo or my bio.
Send the new photo and the bio updates to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will have our administrator handle your request.
Can I add a backlink to my bio?
You can. Send the link to email@example.com and we will have our administrator handle your request.
The submission process
I’d like to write about a national story for my local market.
Great! Sometimes national stories are applicable on a local level and vise versa. If you’ve got a great national story you’re interested in covering feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens after I submit an article for review?
We will take a look at your article and get back to you with any suggested tweaks or edits — there might be a question we’d like you to answer or a paragraph or statement we’d like you to expand upon.
If your article is ready to go, we’ll thank you and tell you that we’re putting it in the lineup.
Will you edit my article?
Yes. Every contributor article that gets posted on Inman is edited by the contributions editor and a copy editor.
We edit for style (Inman uses Associated Press style, and you can purchase stylebooks or an online subscription if you like, although it’s not necessary). We also edit for the “7 Cs” — articles should be:
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.
How long will it take for my article to go live?
A typical turnaround for an article is about a week.
Will I know when my article will be published?
You can always request an update from us at email@example.com. That said, the fastest way for you to learn when your article will be published is to log in to WordPress, find it in “Next” and look for a publication date and time. The number of contributors in play and the nebulous nature of the news business means it is very difficult for us to notify everybody before an article goes live.
We add articles to the lineup and change the date and time as soon as they’re approved. We also reserve the right to move your article, as publishing emergencies do happen, so we appreciate your flexibility.
I want my article to go live on a specific day. Is that possible?
We can certainly try our hardest. It would be helpful if you could submit timely articles as soon as possible and give us advance notice that you are planning to write something timely so that we can adjust our schedules accordingly, if necessary.
I wrote a really clever headline and you changed it. Why?
All of our headlines must answer one simple (but vital) question: What will readers get from spending their time on your piece? Or, to put it another way, what’s in it for the reader?
This is a more difficult question to answer than you might think. Of course it’s obvious that your “5 Facebook tips for Realtors” article will give readers 5 Facebook tips!
But what will those tips generate for the reader? Why would the reader need to know those tips? What’s the return on investment for using those tips? More leads? A higher quality of marketing? Make it obvious!
We must also ensure that readers who see our headlines shared on other websites understand that the stories are specific to real estate, so we often will rewrite a headline to make the industry setting more obvious.
If your headline didn’t answer that question, even if it was the cleverest headline we’ve ever seen, or if the industry discussed was nebulous, then we had to rewrite it.
I want to learn how to write better headlines.
Good for you! Headlines are quite possibly the most difficult part of any post. Here are some resources that we use when we’re stuck and that might be helpful to you, too:
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.
Think about the headline question above and try to tell the reader in your first couple of sentences why they should care.
I use a ghostwriter or an editor who helps with my work. Do you still need to edit it?
I want to submit content with an as-is clause. Will you accept it?