Assume the reader is busy and has a short attention span.

Since starting this blog a couple years ago, I’ve received many requests to submit guest posts from other financial bloggers and websites. While I have not, in the past, entertained many of these offers, I’m now willing to begin considering well-written articles to supplement my own posts in the future.

On the one hand, I do consider this site primarily a personal blog dedicated to things I learn as a CFP that might help millennials and young professionals. On the other, I’m not the only one with good financial advice (obviously), I don’t know everything (shocking, I know), and frankly I don’t have the time to post as often as I would like.

So with that in mind, here are some of the criteria needed for guests posts to be accepted.

Guest Posting Policies

The ideal length for a post is between 850 and 1,200 words. It must not have been previously published anywhere else on the web, with the one exception of a single publication on your personal blog or website. Still interested? Here are the steps to take:
Get to know the target audience. SmartMoneyNation.com is a personal finance site for young professionals and millennials generally within the 25-45 age range. Most readers do not have a financial background, so please write in a casual tone and check your jargon at the door. Please tailor your article to that demographic and interest set.

Come up with a great idea. It should be within your area of interest or expertise. Write something that you would want to read yourself. These are three possibilities.

1. Offer a solution to a common concern or problem.

Is Mint.com Safe?

How to Retire Early and Never Pay Taxes

How Much Should I Contribute to My 401k?

2. Share a personal experience or a captivating story that is likely to interest many other people.

How I Travel Anywhere without Paying ATM Fees

How I Paid Off $40k in Debt with These Simple Tips

This Doctor Paid Off All Her Debt BEFORE Getting a Job

3. Review or recommend a FinTech product or service

Review of Mint.com for 2018

Review of the Acorns App (or How to Save $20k Without Trying)

Five Alternatives to Mint.com

Topics to Avoid. Please do not send me articles promoting permanent life insurance (whole, universal, variable universal, etc.) as a retirement plan. Also, please avoid articles on indexed annuities and credit repair/restoration services.

Send me a query. Send me a proposal — not the full article. Keep it brief: a tentative headline; two or three sentences explaining what the article will be about; and one sentence saying why you are qualified to write it. Based on this proposal I will let you know within a few days whether to submit the article. If you do not hear from me in that time, please assume that I will not be able to publish your submission; you should then feel free to offer it elsewhere. My email is: [email protected]

Write with the reader in mind. Writing for the web is different from writing for print. The best way to organize the piece is to start with a brief setup that hooks the reader. Then organize the rest in segments (as I’ve done with this article). Assume the reader is busy and has a short attention span. Short paragraphs and headings within the article make it easier to read.

A couple of other tips: avoid throat-clearers or advice that readers will find obvious; use strong examples to support what you say.

Include a brief bio at the top. This means: your name; the name of your company (with a link to your website); and if you’ve written a book relevant to the article, the title of that book with a link to the Amazon page or to your website if the book is available for sale there. If you tweet, please indicate that, and include a link to your Twitter profile page. Do not include puffery — for example, that you are the best career counselor in the world; have been voted a super-lawyer; or are a popular keynote speaker.

Submit the completed article. Please don’t send me a rough draft and ask me to critique it or tell you whether you are on the right track. Paste send the article as a Microsoft Word document attached to your email.

What happens next. I will acknowledge receipt of your article within 2-3 business days, and let you know within a week whether it has been accepted for publication. If it is, I reserve the right to edit the article at my discretion, including changes in the text, subheads and headline, to improve readability and maximize web traffic.

Promotion and Back-links

I will assume that one of the reasons you want to submit a guest-posts is to promote yourself or a website, product, or service. I have no problem with that; it’s how much of the web works. However, remember that the article must bring value to the audience first. The higher the quality, the better the chances of publication.

With regards to back-links, please be explicit in your expectations. Here’s what you can expect from me, if your article is accepted:

  • Short bio: I will include a short bio about you to introduce you to the reader
  • Back-links: Embed any backlinks in the article exactly as you want them to be coded on the page, but also include them at the bottom of article, in a separate section, in list format. (I ask this so that I know what I can edit, and what you would like me to leave alone.) For example:
    • Anchor text: “best banks for international travel”; Hyperlink: https://smartmoneynation.com/banks-free-atm-withdrawals-worldwide/
  • Affiliate links: Affiliate links are not accepted, and will be removed if included.

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