How to write a guest blog
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Guest blog requests
- The legal stuff
- The technical stuff
- Other stuff
- Hank’s questions
- B.B.’s faults
Guest blog requests
Reader Vana2, whose real name is Hank, suggested today’s topic and it is a perfect one. We ask people who want to write a guest blog to contact us before they send anything in, because there are several things they need to know. The first thing to do is contact us. We always say please email us at the start of each guest blog, and that link opens an email window for your contact message.
When we answer you, sometimes we ask what your blog is about. Most of the time, though, people tell us what they want to write about up front, so we can get right into the instructions. The first part is the legal stuff. Here is what we say:
The legal stuff
I understand you want to write a guest blog for Pyramyd Air’s Airgun Academy. To accept a guest blog for publication, you must agree to abide by the following 2 (two) rules.
1. Any blog content that Pyramyd Air accepts & publishes (text & images) is the sole property of Pyramyd Air and cannot be duplicated or reproduced in whole or in part in any form. Pyramyd Air is the sole copyright owner of all images and text it publishes any in any media or form.
2. Pyramyd Air has the right to edit, use, or not use all or part of any guest blog submission. If we do not use your guest blog, then you retain all rights. Submitted content and graphics must be free of any other copyright reservations.
Here’s why we do this. First, Pyramyd Air may want to use the information in the guest blog in some other way in the future. To do that legally, they must own the rights to the material.
Then there is the subject of the rights to the photos and other images in the guest blog. Sometimes these images are copyrighted and someone has copied them — thinking that anything that’s on the internet is free and in the public domain. That’s not always the case. When you submit an image with your guest blog, it is your responsibility to see that you have permission to do so.
The technical stuff
When you send the article, send it in rtf (rich text format — preferred format). Please DO NOT send anything in a word processing program like Microsoft Word. Those programs use characters that are not compatible with the internet and it take me many hours to convert a document from Word to rtf. You may have seen some strange characters in the messages posted to this blog — that’s why.
Please send images separately, not embedded in the article. But indicate where they are supposed to go. Give them titles that mean something — like Revolver-with-cylinder-open. That makes more sense than the names your cellphone cameras and digital cameras assign.
Jpg images should be 72 dpi and a max of 560 pixels wide. The height is variable, although we’ll reduce the photos if they’re over 730 pixels high. Crop the thing in the photo so it fills the frame. Nobody wants to look at the black silhouette on a rifle that’s laying on a table in the shade — especially when it is only 200 pixels long.
I have written several reports on taking digital photos for this kind of work. You can find two of them here. And here is a 4-part report I did that goes into even more detail.
Don’t let a lack of photos or poor photos stop you from submitting a guest blog. I have soft ware that can enhance things on my end. Just do the best you can and remember — edith and I have taken good photos and videos for this blog from our cell phones and mini iPads. The technology has really improved.
Let us know if we can use your real full name for the byline or if you prefer a handle that you use in your blog comments.
Now, let me share Hank’s specific questions with you.
Q. Do you have a template for what fonts, sizes, margins etc. that you could share that should help getting things started?
A. As long as you submit the blog in .rtf, most of these concerns will be taken care of. At the least they will be easy to change.
Q. What format do you prefer? .doc .docx .rtf .txt?
A. I prefer .rtf, but any simple test program will output files that are easy to use. The Word files (.dox, .docx) are the ones that give me trouble.
Q. What size and resolution of pictures works best?
A. The pictures should be in .jpg or .jpeg. They should be 72 dpi, but some cell phones output them at 96 d.p.i. and I can easily change that.
Q. How long can the blog be?
A. Please try to either hold it to 1500 words and 5 pictures or less, or think about serializing it. I will tell you that Parts 2 and 3 have less readership than Part 1 most of the time. And a longer blog really loses viewership.
Q. I’m fairly comfortable writing documents, drawing sketches and editing images and would be willing to work with others who want to write a Guest blog but don’t have access to the editing software.
A. I can do the editing — as long as the writer is willing to work with me. The photos and drawings can just be scanned in and sent and I can take care of the rest.
I wish Edith were here to write this for me, but here goes. I am colorblind. Some of the pictures come out odd tones because things look different to me than they look to a normal-sighted person.
A second reason the pictures might look odd is I enhance them to show all the detail. Edith used to fight with me because I made black guns look gray or even golden. I did it to show all the details in the nooks and crannies, but Edith thought it made the guns appear artificial. She was right, but that didn’t stop me from trying. I want to see everything in the shadows.
I am not a very hip person. My social development ended in 1964 and anything that happened after that escapes me. So, if you make some obscure reference I probably won’t get it.
Edith’s list was longer, I am sure. Maybe you have figured that out on your own. My point is, don’t count on me to be clever for you.
How to write
Write like you are telling a friend something he wants to know. Don’t use jargon and don’t assume that everyone knows the things you know. Don’t talk down to your reader but inform him, because he needs to know what you know about your subject. In short, write like you like to read.