STACK Writing Tips and Guidelines | STACK

STACK Writing Tips and Guidelines

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Length

The ideal length for an article is 300 to 700 words, so it’s important to focus your writing on a central point—e.g., the benefits of Olympic Lifts—rather than trying to pack too much information into a single article. For broader or more complex topics—e.g., a comprehensive 12-week training program for improved speed, strength and nutrition—a series of articles is better. They can be interlinked online to create a series.

Style & Voice

You’re writing for an audience of athletes, parents, coaches and
 others who most likely do not have your educational background 
or experience. Keep industry lingo and jargon to a minimum, focus on the key points of your topic, and go light on the science. Provide facts that are compelling and support your points—e.g., “a recent study by the University of Kentucky found that athletes can reduce their body fat by up to 10% in 4 weeks with a diet that’s 40% protein, 50% carbs and 10% fats.” Avoid general or broad sweeping generalizations—e.g., “proper nutrition through a balanced diet can help you lose weight faster.” Specificity wins.

Relevance

Articles that address a common concern or goal are always top performers. STACK readers and viewers want quick answers to questions like “How do I add more muscle?” “What should I eat for breakfast?” “Is creatine safe?” “What should I look for in a basketball shoe?” and “How do I throw a better curve ball?” Write clear answers, solve problems and discuss steps to achieve common goals with tangible, actionable advice. Such articles have a longer shelf life than those that report on current events. Longer-lived articles will garner more exposure and increase your chances to be featured and build a following of athletes, coaches and parents on STACK’s media platforms.

Artwork (photos and videos)

Articles with photos and/or videos are immensely more appealing. For example, if you are discussing “The Right Way to Squat,” provide images showing good form and bad form and point out the differences. Articles with images also have a better shot of being promoted on featured areas of our website and selected for publication in STACK Magazine. Video is another excellent complement to article content. If you have a flip cam or high-end video camera, capture footage of drills, exercises, meal preparation or product reviews to add value to your article. If you cannot supply photos or videos, our editors might be able to help. Please offer tips and suggestions.

Sources

Include source notes for all facts, figures or other data included within a piece. Writers who are not a certified expert in a particular subject matter, such as strength training or nutrition, must research the facts and also use expert sources. Relevant facts from reliable sources that back up your statements make for more credible and engaging content, which will get viewed more often by athletes, coaches and parents. It will also have a better chance of being featured prominently on STACK.com and in STACK Magazine.

Writing Quick Tips

  • Be clear and direct in your writing. Say what you mean and mean what you say
  • Omit needless words and phrases—like “just,” “really,” “remember to” and “make sure to”
  • Avoid clichés
  • Vary your sentence length and sentence structure to enliven your writing
  • Use action verbs instead of the verb “to be”
  • Avoid overused adjectives like “unique,” “perfect,” and "interesting." Instead, explain why you would call something interesting or unique in concrete language
  • Don’t begin sentences with "Look," "Listen," "You see," or "Now"
  • Don’t use fancy language or try to impress people with long words when short ones will do
  • Stick with what you know. If your degree, certification or experience is in sports psychology, submit articles related to sports psychology. Don't try to be an expert in something you're not.

Byline, Bio and Headshot

Please include your byline as you’d like it to appear with each article you submit. Also, provide a brief bio (150 words max.) for yourself and/or company as well as a headshot.

Sample Articles

Below are links to sample articles that reflect the best practices cited above:

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