Table of Contents
- What We’re Looking For
- What We Won’t Accept
- How to Submit & What to Expect After
- Style Guide & Editorial Guidelines
So, you’re thinking you’d like to write for Goodwall, eh?
We’d love to have you!
Well, probably, that is.
We are always looking to publish content that is unique, relevant to our readers, and thought-provoking. By that logic, we don’t want to publish content which is generic, irrelevant to our readers, or uninspiring.
If you think you have what it takes and would like to become a contributor, keep on reading!
What We’re Looking For
On the Goodwall Blog, we cover a range of topics we feel bring value to our readers. These categories are:
Our articles are also pretty extensive, often 1,500 words or more. If you want to contribute, make sure that it follows the editorial and style guidelines (located below).
Articles must address the primary Goodwall audience, which includes high school students, college students, and young professionals (basically Gen Z and millennials).
Finally, only unique content, please! The article you provide to us, if accepted, can’t be or have been published anywhere else.
What We Won’t Accept
If it’s not related to the categories above, we probably won’t be able to accept it.
If its purpose is only to get you backlinks, please try elsewhere.
If the content is self-promotional, we can’t take it.
If your article doesn’t follow the editorial and style guidelines (located below), we won’t publish it.
How to Submit & What to Expect After
If you want to contribute, it’s best if you pitch us your idea first.
Send an email to Christian Eilers (email@example.com) with a brief introduction to yourself and your idea or ideas.
If you’d like to write for Goodwall but don’t have a topic, not to worry! Send Christian an email with a bio, a link to your online profile, and any writing samples, if any.
Once you submit, please wait for us to get back to you; we get a lot of pitches, and it gets difficult tracking and replying to them all.
Style Guide & Editorial Guidelines
Now the fun stuff! 🙂
We’ve created this style guide in order to define one consistent copywriting voice. This ensures that brand personality remains consistent across multiple writers and platforms.
Active Voice: When the subject of the sentence performs the action; the type of voice Goodwall uses when at all possible
Content Types: The different forms our content takes and which teams are involved with each element
Perspective: Which point of view we are writing from. Multiple perspectives can be used across the array of media channels (social media, blog, newsletter, etc.) from multiple perspectives (Goodwall, student users, employers, etc.).
Slippery Words: Words that are commonly written in many different ways; Goodwall establishes what our consistent brand standard is for these words that are commonly toggled between two versions
Tone: How the Goodwall voice comes to life based on the content being presented. (Numerous tones can be used to shape and create the Goodwall voice.)
Voice: The Goodwall brand personality described in adjectives. What would Goodwall have to say if it were a person? How would he/she be described?
Voice and Tone
The Goodwall voice is:
- Accessible, not elitist; inclusive and approachable
- Professional, but not corporate
- Authentic and genuine; lighthearted and relatable
- Thought-provoking and forward looking; not outmoded
- Inspirational, but not pushy
- Fun, but not gimmicky; genial, but not silly
- Cheerful, but not cheesy
- Educational, but not sanctimonious
The Goodwall Tone:
The Goodwall tone will remain consistent to the above voice parameters, but vary slightly depending on the user.
The tone will veer slightly more casual and off-the-cuff for student users. Our tone will convey that we are qualified experts, yet still approachable and easy-going. We’re the mentor and guide every student wished they had. More “buzzword” type lingo is acceptable to make us more approachable, as long as it is fresh and tasteful.
The tone will veer slightly more professional and polished for employer users. Our tone will convey that we are efficient, polished, and capable of meeting their [high] standards. The goal is to present Goodwall as the go-to resource for skilled and qualified candidates by communicating in a way that is efficient, succinct, savvy, and a pioneer.
Examples of Our Voice and Tone in Action:
“#FeelGoodFriday! Taking you into the weekend with some good vibes.” (Goodwall Instagram)
“Join over a million members of The Hustle Generation becoming the most successful versions of themselves on Goodwall, and cashing in while doing it.” (Goodwall website home page)
“For Gen Z, authentic stories help them understand an employer, it’s culture, its people, and opportunities that are more likely to get their attention.”
The Different Goodwall Perspectives:
It is acceptable to use both first and third person when referring to Goodwall from all platforms. The important thing is to keep it consistent across all platforms.
For example, “Goodwall is thrilled to announce…..” vs “We are thrilled to announce……”
When to Use “Our,” “We,” or other first person terms:
- Email communication; when communicating directly to a user, partner, client, etc.
- Social media captions; while the graphics should be third person for eye-catching brand awareness, captions across all channels should be written in first person in an effort to humanize the brand and seem more approachable
When to Use “Goodwall” and other third person terms:
- Email communication; branded e-newsletters should use third person to be presented as a resource and professional entity, this is where we present native content and want to appear more professional (yet still approachable) rather than in a person-to-person email that is more laid back
- Social media graphics; while the captions should be first person for more casual approachability, designed graphics (where relevant) across all channels should be written in first person in an effort to create immediate brand awareness for anyone scrolling through the platform
Active vs Passive Voice:
Use active voice and try to avoid passive voice when possible.
In active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. In passive voice, the subject of the sentence has the action done to it.
- Correct (active): Tom applied for the scholarship.
- Incorrect (passive): The scholarship was applied for by Tom.
Tip: words like “by” and “was” may indicate that you’re using passive voice. Check for these words and rewrite sentences when applicable.
There are exceptions. For example, if you want to specifically emphasize the action over the subject. For example:
- Your Facebook comment was flagged by our abuse team.
For many contributors, this is the most important factor, so let’s get this out of the way.
All links must be relevant
Goodwall uses American English spelling.
Keep in mind that our readers are global, many with English as their second language. As such, avoid complicated words, obscure phrases, and so on.
Don’t use ampersands in body text unless one is part of a company or brand name.
- Correct (not branded): Ben and Brenda
- Correct (brand name): Ben & Jerry’s
In a title, however, an ampersand is fine.
Use a colon to create a list. Do not use an ellipsis, em dash, or comma.
- Aaron has 3 kinds of career interests: non-profit, IT, and mechanical engineering.
Goodwall uses the Oxford comma (aka: serial comma).
- Correct (Oxford comma): Lisa admires her siblings, Gandhi, and Beyonce.
- Incorrect (no Oxford comma): Lisa admires her siblings, Gandhi and Beyonce.
Try to limit use of exclamation points (and never use more than one at a time) to maintain professionalism.
Never use exclamation points when the content contains sensitive topics. When in doubt, just avoid.
As often as possible, spell out the day of the week and the month. Abbreviate only if space is an issue in the app.
- Monday, August 21
- Mon., Aug. 21
Spell out a number if it begins a sentence. Otherwise, use the numeral:
- Eight new users joined Goodwall today, and 19 joined yesterday.
- I posted 4 tweets today.
- Meg won 1st place in this year’s competition.
- We hosted a group of 12th graders who are learning to code.
Use a comma when a number has more than 3 digits:
Try to write out larger numbers, but you can abbreviate them if there are space restraints, as in a caption or in the app: 3k, 250k.
For headlines, article titles, and an article’s main subheadings, we use title case. Title case capitalizes the first letter of every word except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions which are less than 4 letters long. The first and last words will always be capitalized.
When writing out an email address or URL, use all lowercase.
Here are some commonly capitalized words that we never capitalize:
It’s paramount for Goodwall to write about people in a way that’s compassionate, inclusive, and respectful. Being aware of the impact of our language will help make Goodwall a reflection of our values as a company and an approachable resource for students and young professionals.
When referencing a person’s age, include the person’s specific age, offset by commas.
- Maria, 18, is a recent high school graduate.
Only refer to people using age-related descriptors like “young” when using the phrase “young professional.” Try to avoid using the terms “old” or “elderly.”
Avoid referring to disabilities in a negative light. Definitely avoid disability-related figures of speech like “falling on deaf ears” or “turning a blind eye.” Don’t refer to a person’s disability unless it’s relevant to the content and you have permission from the subject to mention it.
If the subject’s disability is relevant to the content, ask whether your subject prefers person-first language (“they have a disability”) or identity-first language (“they are disabled”).
When writing about a person with disabilities, don’t use the words “victim,” “suffers,” or “handicapped,” unless referring to “handicapped parking.”
Gender and Sexuality
Try to avoid gendered terms. Instead, use neutral alternatives, like “flight attendant” instead of “stewardess” and “businessperson” instead of “businessman.”
It’s OK to use “they” as a singular pronoun.
A person’s sexuality should only be included with permission and pending relevance to the content.
Use the following words as modifiers, but never as nouns:
- transgender (never “transgendered”)
Don’t use the word “homosexual” in reference to LGBT people or communities.
When writing about a person, use their preferred, communicated pronouns. When in doubt, just ask or use their name.
Heritage and Nationality
Avoid hyphens when speaking about someone with dual heritage or nationality. For example, use “African American” instead of “African-American.”
Emoji are a fun way to add a human element and fun, visual interest to content, but use them sparingly, deliberately, and mainly in social media.
The first time you mention a school, college, or university within content, write out its official name. On all mentions afterward, use its colloquial name or more common abbreviation.
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, (Virginia Tech)
- New York University, (NYU)
More Slippery Words
Some words can be written (correctly) multiple ways. Here we establish how Goodwall writes certain “slippery” words in order to maintain consistency across all platforms.
- coworker, not co-worker
- email, not e-mail
- hashtag, not hash tag
- internet, not Internet
- online, not Online
- tweet and retweet, not Tweet and Retweet
- website, not Website
Writing About Other Companies
Honor companies’ own names for themselves and their products. When in doubt, go by what’s used on their official website.
Refer to a company or its product as “it” rather than “they” to maintain professionalism.
When in doubt, read your work out loud and follow your gut. Common sense is your best friend.
Our objective with the Goodwall Blog is to provide content to our users that is helpful, entertaining, and informative—without being patronizing or boring—so they can successfully achieve their scholarly and professional goals through Goodwall.