How-to Write Articles for TecHow

If you are reading this post chances are that either you are a reader of TecHow or want to be a writer for TecHow. In both cases specially for the later one, we strongly recommend you to go through this entire article. This article will teach you everything that you need to know in order to submit articles to TecHow. Since TecHow is an How-To site for technology issues, we thought that it would be fair to structure these instructions in exactly the way we want the other articles to be. So this guide will not just teach you about How-to submit articles to TecHow, it also serves as a sample How-To article in its own right.

Having said all this, lets begin with the actual writing guidelines:

Step 1: Finding a Topic to Write

The first step in writing an article is to come with a topic on which to write. There would be two ways to go about it. One would be that you come up with article ideas of your own. These ideas should explain our readers about how-to perform a certain task using some application or technology.

The second option would be to follow our Google Reader shared feed. We follow dozens of blogs and share 2-3 dozen ideas on our shared feed. Each of these shared story could be transformed into an How-to article. You can browse through the shared feed each day and select the stories that you want to cover.

Do take a look at our shared feed to have a feel for the kind of topics on which we want you to write.

Google Reader Shared Feed

Step 2: Getting the Articles Assigned

Once you have selected the stories that you want to cover, you should select the link of those stories and submit them to TecHow’s yammer network. If you dont already know about Yammer, it is a group communication system similar to Twitter, but designed to be used for organizations like us. The links that we would post and discussions that we would do on Yammer will not be visible to people outside of our company.

Posting links to yammer is similar to posting links to Twitter, however you should follow the following tag conventions:

  • #pitch: The pitch tag should be attached to all story links that you are submitting to yammer. This will enable the editor to quickly find out what stories have been pitched and by whom.
  • #assigned: Once an editor see’s a story with a pitch tag, he will insert an assigned tag to it and will also write assigned in the comment. This will let you know that the story is now assigned to you and you can work on it.
  • #pending: After you have written your story and have completed it in all aspects, you would insert the pending tag to the story that you pitched earlier. The pending tag will let the editor know that the story is finished and he should review it.
  • #published: Once the editor has reviewed and published your story, he will assign the published tag to the story on yammer. This will let you know that your story has been published on the site.
The process that we have outlined above enables us to better collaborate on writing stories. It keeps both the editor and the writer updated on the progress of the article. There is one final thing that you must keep in mind, and that is to scan the pitched stories on yammer before pitching a story of your own. This will ensure that you dont pitch a story that has already been pitched by someone else.

Step 3: Writing the How-to Article

By now you already have an article assigned to you and are all set to start working on it. Before you begin writing, you should know that we use WordPress as our blogging platform and hence all articles that are to be submitted to TecHow must be written in the WordPress platform. If you are already familiar with WordPress that is awesome, however it is not an issue even if you haven’t heard about it.
Once we will accept you as a contributor for TecHow, we will make an ID for you on our site, so that you can directly write your articles in WordPress. Writing articles in WordPress is as easy as writing articles in Word, or writing an email in Gmail. WordPress has a similar textbox in which you will write your article, as is provided by Gmail to write emails.
A few things that you must follow in your write up are:
  • Since you would already have a story from which you would formulate your article, you must ensure that nothing is ripped from that story and that every word you write is just that, your own word.
  • Your write up must be structured into different sections and should take the reader and walk him/her through the various steps.  As an example, see how we have structured this article into various steps. There should also be an introductory paragraph in the beginning.
  • The final write up must not have any grammatical mistakes.
Wordpress User Interface

Step 4: Working With Images

Each step of your Article should have an accompanying image to visually explain that step. The image should typically be a screenshot of the software of application at the stage that is being explained in that step. We expect you to download install and run the application that you are reviewing in your article in order to get your own images. However, you can also use images provided by the software/app maker. In the extreme case you can use images from article, which you pitched, but make sure to acknowledge the source.
The images that you use in your articles must not be more than 600px in width. The option to insert images into the post can be found just below the title box in WordPress.
Image Upload
In addition to the articles within an article, every article should also have a “featured image”. The featured image must be 200*200 pixels and should convey the essence of your article. The featured image is shown beside the title of the article on the main page of Techow. The featured Image can be set from the “Featured Image” box which is present on the right side of the WordPress user interface just below the Post Tags box.
Featured Image
One essential thing about images is that they should be very crisp and sharp and not hazy and blurry. Please make sure that this is the case.

Step 5: Working With Tags and Categories

Every article should also have a category to which it belongs and some tags that would describe the article. Typically we will provide with this information while sharing stories on our Google Reader feed. All you have to do is to assign the article to that category and add those tags to it.

Step 6: Finishing it Up

Once you have completed an article, you should review it once again to make sure that it does not contain any omissions or grammatical errors. After doing that from the drop down menu in the publish box, select “Pending Review” option, and press the OK button. Once you will press OK, the “Save Draft” button will change to “Save as Pending”. Pressing the Save as Pending button will save your article in pending mode on wordpress.  After doing this, assign the “pending” tag to the article’s pitch on yammer, so that the editor can know that the article is ready to be published.
Save as Pending
Thanks a lot for reading through this guide, we hope that it will help you to help us publish quality content on TecHow.

About Bilal Hameed

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Blogging and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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