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Many of the blogs we syndicate come in ‘over the transom’—that is, they’re submitted to us by bloggers. We love having bloggers submit their work to us, but unfortunately, many of the blogs we receive aren’t a good fit for us. Today, I’m going to discuss some of the things we look for when reviewing blog suggestions.

First and foremost, we’re looking for content that is likely to appeal to a professional audience working in fields such as law, journalism, or academia. As wonderful as a blog about your pet or your culinary adventures might be, it’s not likely to be useful to our distribution partners’ audiences. Also, since our clients usually use the content we provide them within information databases, posts that are rich in searchable terms (for example, the names of companies or public figures) are likely to do well.

We want content that is well-written. Typos and poor grammar are definitely red flags for us. The occasional flub isn’t a big deal, but multiple mistakes suggest a lack of polish that is inconsistent with authoritative content. Just because you can hit ‘publish’ the minute you finish your post doesn’t mean you should. Everyone makes mistakes and taking time to proofread your work (or have someone else proofread it for you) is an easy way to bolster your credibility.

Good writing isn’t just a question of mechanics. It also involves the way you construct your arguments. Our clients are primarily working in professional fields such as law, journalism, or academia. They’re looking for content that is well-founded. They’re not likely to use content that simply rehashes conspiracy theories or resorts to ad hominem attacks. Instead, they want well-reasoned posts that actually cite evidence.

We’re also looking for bloggers who write with authority. This doesn’t mean you have to have formal training or certification in the subject you blog about (though that certainly doesn’t hurt!). Even amateurs can write about their pet subjects with authority. But you should make it clear that you’ve done your homework. You don’t need to be a CPA to write about personal finance, but you need to make it clear that you have something meaningful to contribute to the conversation.

We also want content that’s original. The occasional link roundup is fine, but if those are a daily occurrence, that’s a problem. Similarly, posts that mostly consist of excerpts from other people’s work with minimal commentary aren’t a good fit, either.

Some other things we look for:

  • Substantial posts. While we don’t have hard-and-fast rules for post-length, we prefer blogs where the average post is at least 300 words.
  • Limited audiovisual content. Many of our clients strip out images, meaning our distribution partners’ audiences might not see that hilarious stock photo you chose.
  • Independent voices. We are also interested in perspectives that aren’t always represented in traditional media.

Hopefully, this has given you a good idea of what we look for when we evaluate a blog. But even if you’re not sure your blog is a fit for us, please don’t hesitate to submit it!