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Executive Member - Editorial Guidelines
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SMEI Editorial Guidelines

All content submitted to SMEI must meet our editorial guidelines and is subject to editing. Before you submit an article, you must verify that it meets these guidelines.

As you prepare to submit your article to our team, please verify that it meets the guidelines below as well as SMEI.org’s guidelines. You must read the SMEI.org terms carefully and indicate your agreement before we can begin the editing process.

Any article that does not meet either our guidelines or SMEI’s guidelines will be returned to you for further editing or deleted. 

Requirements

Before you submit, make sure you can answer YES to all of the following questions:

  • Is your article about your industry and area of expertise? SMEI Executive members contribute articles to the Sales & Marketing Blog on SMEI.org. That means your advice or observations should be related to sales and marketing, business development, social media marketing, etc. Writing about social entrepreneurship or corporate social responsibility are great ideas too.
  • Are you writing for an audience of fellow sales & marketing leaders/executives or business owners/executives interested in your profession? Ensure that your content is applicable to SMEI.org readers.
  • Is your article as valuable as it could be? Does it represent your best work? SMEI.org seeks high-quality articles that offer distinctive insights and advice from your experience as a sales & marketing executive, not generic tips and list articles. (e.g., avoid 10 Quick Sales Tips).
  • Did you include your firsthand experiences/results? SMEI.org content is valuable because it’s written by a leader in the trenches, not a reporter or writer, so it provides a unique “insider” look at your industry and where it’s headed as well as how-to advice based on your experience.
  •  Is it immediately clear why you are an expert on this topic? Articles are an opportunity to establish credibility by mentioning your company and core expertise in a tactful way. Articles cannot be promotional, but explaining who you are and why you are qualified to write sets the stage for your reader.
  • Do you explain HOW you did something vs. WHAT to do? For example, if you offer tips for improving the way your business development department works, describe HOW you used each tip in your business and what the results were. Prove that your advice works. Your readers crave authentic insight.
  • Do you propose solutions that the reader will find helpful OTHER than hiring you/buying from you/etc.? Readers do NOT want a sales pitch, and such articles will not be accepted for publishing.
  • Are you transparent about references to your company, services, clients, etc.? Any article that attempts to promote, sell or market to readers will be deleted.
  • Is your article concise (500 to 900 words) and clear? If not, edit before submitting!
  • Do you end on a strong note? Include a short conclusion reiterating your main points.
  • Is your article original and previously unpublished? We do not accept previously published articles.
  • Did you attribute your sources with links? Provide links to corroborate studies, stats, quotes or research. Sources should be primary sources (i.e., not media articles or blog posts referring to a study), and all data should be recent (within the last 2 years is a good rule of thumb).

We do NOT publish (and may delete) the following:

  • Press releases. 
  • Articles that promote or pitch your company/service/product (or those of a client/customer). For example, a sales & marketing executive should not write an article on “why you should work with this vendor.” But, he or she could write about trends in the industry with firsthand research/anecdotes.
  • Articles written by colleagues, writers, co-authors. We only publish articles by SMEI Executive members.
  • Articles that are not sales and marketing-related.
  • Generic tips and lists. We want YOUR firsthand perspective.
  • Posts that overuse industry jargon, inside knowledge, etc. Talk to your readers in plain English.
  • Timely or news-based content. You are not a reporter; you are an industry expert. That said, it’s OK if your article touches on a trend or news story if it is relevant to your industry and the advice you offer.
  • Post-long metaphors or analogies (e.g. “10 Ways Running a Marketing Department Is Like Training for a Marathon”).
  • Articles with videos, photos, special formatting, etc.
  • Sensitive personal information. Keep your article firmly grounded in your business/industry/leadership experience.
  • Negative rants or complaints. Instead, identify a problem and propose solutions.
  • Articles with promotional links or keyword links (link schemes). Do not link to your company or service in the body of your article. If you use keyword links or participate in link schemes, your article may be deleted without notice. (A “link scheme” is when you link somewhere for perceived monetary or search benefit.)
  • Offensive, partisan or discriminatory content. Articles that cover politics, religion, etc. or use derogatory, inflammatory or obscene language/themes will be deleted.
  • Plagiarized content. Plagiarism, in any form, is against our editorial and community guidelines and can result in your suspension from the community.

You can find more detailed requirements, organized by topic, below:

Byline/Bio Information

It is SMEI members’ responsibility to make sure that their Name, Company Name, Twitter, Website and short/long bios are all correct in their SMEI member profiles at all times. We cannot change bios and links after an article has been published. Log into your dashboard at any time to edit these fields by clicking “Edit Profile.”

Please note that we require your bio to be brief — 1 sentence long. Only 1 link is guaranteed to appear in your SMEI.org member profile. SMEI also requires bios in first person.

Editorial Discretion

Our editorial team — and SMEI.org’s editorial staff — reserves the right to edit all content submitted for publication, including but not limited to:

  • Changing the titles and deks (meta data) of original articles and Q&As where needed;
  • Line edits for grammar, spelling and syntax, as well as formatting;
  • Revising for length, appropriateness, clarity and style. We will advise you and ask for your final review if we make substantial edits.

While we make every effort to ensure that we catch all grammar, style and link issues, mistakes do happen.

We also reserve the right to remove any links that lead to material considered offensive, harmful or that are an attempt to solicit commercial sales from readers (e.g. affiliate links).

SMEI’s editorial team reserves the right to not publish content until they feel it is acceptable for SMEI.org.

Publication Guarantees

It is always up to the discretion of SMEI.org’s editors whether to accept a finished piece for publication. For various reasons, an article may require additional feedback or changes before it can be published. We will work with you to make that happen.

There is no guarantee that your answers to individual Q&As will appear online, although we make every effort to include some from every member who submits answers to our Q&As.

Bylines and Authorship

SMEI.org is specifically looking for content written by individual Executive members. For that reason, the SMEI editorial team cannot accept content written or co-written by other members of your staff or individuals outside of SMEI.

Credit

If you directly quote or use the words or research of another writer, organization or resource other than your own firsthand investigation, you must cite your source clearly. Hyperlinks to the source material are acceptable if it is clear where and how you obtained the information. We recommend you also cite any paraphrased material in the same manner.

Disclaimers and Conflicts of Interest

If your content promotes or discusses a business interest of yours — e.g. a former startup, a business you are a partner or investor in, or a client/customer — you MUST clearly explain your affiliation with said product/service/company/individual, or include a disclaimer within your copy. Good content is clear, authentic and transparent about its sources and its purpose.

Content that is commissioned by a brand or vendor, or created on the behalf of such a business interest (often described as “sponsored content”), is considered promotional and will not be accepted for publication, with or without a disclaimer. We reserve the right to unpublish or delete any content that appears to be promotional or advertorial in nature.

Link Policy

As an SMEI member, you will receive a byline on SMEI.org with a link to your company when you contribute articles.For this reason, we ask members not to link to their company, product, services or clients within the body of the post. If you do, they will be removed. The only exception might be if you are linking to information on your own site or property that is helpful to the reader (e.g. you published a detailed report or study from which you are citing facts of interest, or you have written a blog post expanding on the topic at hand that might be useful for the reader to check out).

When you do link out, be clear (especially if it’s to your own content) and avoid keyword links. For example:

  • Incorrect: XYZ company wrote a great blog post on this. Correct: My company, XYZ, wrote a blog post on the subject.
  • Incorrect: SEO best practices are important. Correct: If you’d like to learn more about SEO best practices, I’ve written several posts on the topic here.
  • Incorrect: One of the best companies doing this today is XYZ. Correct: I work with XYZ, which offers this service; other companies offering similar services include ABC and DEF.
  • Any links in the body of your post must serve to either edify the reader or support a statement of fact. Links for any other purposes, including SEO and keyword links, will be removed by editors.

Accuracy, Copyrights & Fact Checking

It is your responsibility as an SMEI member to do your research, check the accuracy of your facts and ensure that you have permission to post or quote any copyrighted or confidential information. Our editorial staff will verify accuracy where possible and easy to do so, but it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure the material you are presenting is acceptable.

Identifying Sources

Provide links to corroborate studies, stats, quotes or research that is not common knowledge. Sources should be primary sources (i.e., not media articles or blog posts referring to a study), and all data should be recent (within the last 2 years is a good rule of thumb). Just link the relevant words (e.g. “a 2015 study,” not the full sentence).

If you have direct quotes, please be clear about that (e.g., “the Director of Human Resources told me in an email, ‘Lorem ipsum dolor…'”). If you are using indirect quotes, please link to the source of the original quote.

Confidentiality

All SMEI members are expected to respect the privacy and confidentiality (as well as the copyright and intellectual property) of the companies, people or fellow SMEI members they may write about, interview or reference without exception. For more information about copyright and fair use, refer to the Stanford University documentation.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is never tolerated, in any form. Do not submit plagiarized work to SMEI under any circumstances, or you will be subject to automatic dismissal. If you are uncertain what constitutes plagiarism, explore the resources here.

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Sales and Marketing Executives International, Inc.
PO Box 1390
Sumas, WA 98295 USA
312-893-0751

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