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How to Join the business.com Contributor Program

ByHaley Hanlon,
business.com writer
|
Jun 10, 2019
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> Marketing
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Build your brand and share your expertise by joining the business.com contributor program.

At business.com, we offer comprehensive resources for entrepreneurs who want to start, run, or grow a small or medium-sized business.

Backed by a community of experts, the business.com platform is designed to connect small business owners, industry experts and vendors through a wide array of services, tools and insights. We pride ourselves on featuring relevant content, proven strategies and information you can trust. You could be the source for that relevant and authoritative content if you join our contributor program.

What is the contributor program?

The business.com contributor program is a unique platform where industry experts can submit original content to be considered for publication on our site. It is completely free. At business.com, we know that the best advice comes from those who have been there and done that. Experience is a fantastic teacher, and we believe that your one-of-a-kind knowledge is priceless.

How do I know if I'm a good match for the contributor program?

We are selective when determining who to accept as a contributor. This program is strictly reserved for community members who are experts in the small-to-medium business environment.

What do we mean by "expert"? Use the following criteria to self-evaluate. How many boxes do you check? If it's more than one, you're likely to be accepted.

  • You have been running your business or working in your current industry for several years.
  • You are knowledgeable across more than one part of the business.
  • You consider your business to be in the growth or established stage.
  • Your business model is profitable.
  • You have tested, analyzed and successfully identified your exact target market.
  • Your business has a portfolio of product or service reviews collected from previous customers or clients.
  • You have previously been recognized, spoken at a public event, or been interviewed by a reputable source about your business and/or experience in the industry.

What are the benefits of becoming a contributor?

Part of our mission at business.com is to provide business professionals, like yourself, the ability to promote your expertise by becoming a thought leader, sharing personal experiences and relevant advice you wish you knew when you were first starting out. But just sharing your story and getting your name out there isn't the only pro.

  • Expand your outreach. Content published through the contributor program is shared with a community of 190,000-plus members (which is growing every day) and promoted across the business.com social feeds, which include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Published articles are also considered for feature in our targeted email campaigns.
  • Promote yourself. Each of your published articles will automatically link to your business.com profile, where potential clients, customers or mentees can choose to contact you directly. 
  • Promote your company. We allow one link to your company's website in every article you create. Not only will this help drive traffic to your page, but it will also help you build your brand.
  • Help others. Our mission is to help people grow their business. By sharing your stories, lessons learned and general business perspectives, you can act as a mentor to others.
  • Improve your online presence. We will share our exclusive set of content guidelines based on proven techniques that will ensure your articles are optimized to attract as many readers as possible.

What should I write about?

Upon being accepted to the program and granted access to the contributor dashboard, you will have the freedom to write about your own ideas and interests. We are always looking for fresh perspectives on popular areas of interest in the small business community. However, if you're having trouble coming up with a concept or can't narrow down which area of expertise you'd like to share first, you will have access to a list of suggested article topics that are updated and maintained by our editorial staff.

We do have some simple guidelines to follow, however:

  • Familiarize yourself with our community. By reviewing the various professional categories we feature or checking out the latest questions being asked, you will get a feel for who you are writing to and what they want to know.
  • Know your audience. We have community members all over the world with very different professional backgrounds and experience. To keep your topics focused on our audience, remember that more than 63% of our business accounts consider themselves to still be in the idea, startup or growth stages.
  • Tell your story. If you've experienced a hardship during your professional career, it is likely that others have been exposed to the same issue and would appreciate your guidance. Repurposing your experiences and lessons learned into relevant advice is a great way to connect with readers.
  • Be unique. Whether it's related to an industry trend, a new study or a personal anecdote, make sure that the idea you pitch proposes content our readers and editors haven't seen before.
  • Focus on one or more of our key business categories.
    1. Business Basics: Includes entrepreneurship, franchising, insurance, legal, strategy and how to start a business
    2. Career: Includes certifications, education, leadership and work-life balance
    3. Finance: Includes accounting, finance, funding
    4. Human Resources: Includes employees, hiring and managing
    5. Marketing: Includes branding, business intelligence, customers, public relations, sales and social media
    6. Technology: Includes computers, phones, software, storage, security and networking

What are the rules for contributed content on business.com?

We publish content from different people because we want to provide our audience with a series of well-rounded perspectives. We strongly encourage you to use your authentic personality in these articles. We want our readers to connect with your voice, tone, passion and overall character. We may edit your content for quality, clarity and length, but we will try to keep it as close to the original as possible.

We understand and expect that you may have various questions about the contribution process. Thankfully, our business.com editorial team has you covered. We developed tips and tricks to ensure your articles will get seen, ultimately boosting your personal brand and reputation. We ask that you follow a few simple rules to ensure that your article is of the highest quality:  

  • It must include a minimum of 1,200 words.
  • It's recommended that you include a bulleted list of three or four of the key talking points at the very top of the article.  
  • It must convey an authoritative, unique perspective and include actionable advice for small business professionals.
  • It must be 100% original content, meaning it has never been, nor ever will be, published anywhere else.
  • All content must be based on your own experiences and supplemented by research and/or third-party information, where appropriate. 
  • Ensure that your content is actionable by answering the "why" and the "how." Ask yourself, "What would I Google on this topic to land on this article?" Then make sure you answer that query.
  • After reading your article, a viewer should not need to seek additional resources to answer their questions.
  • Make sure you provide readers with instruction. Without further research, a reader should be able to take the steps or advice detailed in your article and implement it immediately.

We are here to help empower your business. We want to see really great results in return for the valuable time and effort our contributors put in.

How do I become a business.com contributor?

First things first: You'll need to log in to your business.com community profile. If you don't have one yet, you can easily join our community for free by clicking here.

Once you're logged in to your community profile, go to the dashboard and select "Become a Contributor" as shown in the screenshot below.

 

You can also follow this link to apply to the contributor program.

The application will inquire about your professional experience, previously published content, sample topics you might want to write about, and links to your personal social media to help us verify your identity. The information you provide on the application allows us to evaluate whether your expertise is a good match for our contributor program.

By filling out this application in full detail, you allow us a glimpse into your professional journey. An ideal application would include a detailed and insightful bio, a professional picture, quality writing samples, and evidence of your connection to the SMB community.

Frequently asked questions

How long will it take for my application to be approved?

It can take up to a week for your contributor application to be reviewed by our editorial staff and approved, but it may happen within one day.

What happens after I submit an article?

It goes into a pending state. The editorial team will review the article to ensure it meets our guidelines for quality, authoritativeness, length and originality. That team will then approve or decline the article. In the event of a decline, the editors will usually include a note to indicate why it was sent back. A declined article can be fixed to address the issue and resubmitted. If your article is accepted, you will receive a notification. From there, it goes into a queue to be copy edited and produced. Then it will be scheduled to publish. Feel free to check your contributor dashboard for updates on an individual article's status.

Why might an article get rejected?

  • It is too short (1,200 words minimum) and not comprehensive enough.
  • It does not contain actionable and helpful information for a small business owner.
  • It has been published elsewhere online.
  • It contains infographics from third parties or other images and video.
  • It is a "roundup," meaning it endorses a list of things (e.g., "10 Best Apps for Small Business").
  • It contains interviews or quotes from third parties, not your point of view.
  • It is poorly written and contains a lot of grammatical and spelling errors.
  • It is overly promotional for a specific company or product.

How long does it take for my articles to be published?

From the time of submission, it may take up to a week for the article to be accepted. It may take up to a week from then to appear on the site. The editorial team strives to be as responsive as possible, but due to the high volume of submissions, it can take time. If you feel your article is taking longer than that, feel free to reach out to the editor@business.com account and we will investigate.

How else can I benefit from the business.com community?

Besides acting as a platform to publish your content, the community offers a variety of beneficial features for growing your business and sharing your expertise. By creating a community profile, you will instantly have access to thousands of business articles, advice from other experts and the ability to act as a thought leader by sparking discussions. The more active you are, the more likely you are to have members contact you as prospective clients.

Responding to questions or commenting on others' answers is a great way to generate leads. By helping members who are struggling through a specific business challenge in your area of expertise, you position yourself as the authority on the topic.

You will have an opportunity to appear in our Expert Search, which is a directory of service providers available for hire. Your frequency of activity in the community is one of the factors in our Expert Rank algorithm that determines where you are positioned in the results. To rank higher, you will need to optimize your community profile by providing compelling information about yourself, the services you offer, your experience, professional reviews and links to all of your social accounts.

On the flip side, you can use the community to get answers to your own questions. Need help finding the right product or service for your business? Have a specific question outside of your area of expertise? You can easily post a question or reach out to other experts to gather information and feedback.

Haley Hanlon
Haley Hanlon
See Haley Hanlon's Profile
As the Community Content Manager I will direct you to thought-provoking discussions and posts that will help give you and your small business the ability to grow. You can expect to see me engaging with other members in relevant discussion topics, asking for feedback from our experts, and assisting our members with any questions or concerns they may encounter. Feel free to reach out if you need help or if you just want to chat!
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