If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Hacker Noon in my first 30 days on the editorial team, it’s that the organizing principle guiding the development of this platform is prioritizing the views of its contributors and community, above all else.
In that spirit: we thought we’d make our first stab at defining submission guidelines open for community input - please scroll down to check them out, and let us know what you think!
Here’s a link to the Google Doc if you’d like to add comments to specific sections: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XfgCHnRe1fiSuBS6iHzG6_A8GTizP6JTraypXjT18pA/edit?usp=sharing
How to Get Published on Hacker Noon
Hacker Noon is an independent tech blog - built on a worldwide contributor network of honest, unfettered stories and opinions written by real tech professionals - with:
- 7,000+ contributing writers,
- 200,000+ daily visitors,
- 8,000,000+ monthly pageviews
- 1,000+ Shareholders
- 28 million users in 2018 alone
Hacker Noon is the best place for tech professionals to publish.
Most of our 7,000+ writers work in tech.
They write about how they do they job: what they’re building, why it’s cool, and how exactly they’re building it.
Three entry-level editorial guidelines you can immediate assume off the back of that assertion:
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Write in the First Person (‘I’)
Tell your story. Leave the pronoun ‘we’ at home, because only branded content should come from an celestial-sounding conglomerate.
2. Write about Technology (how its made, what its impact is, and why it could change the world)
While tech is a topic that infiltrates all industries and people from all walks of life, we still receive a fair amount of high-quality content that has nothing to do with the tech industry.
When in doubt, refer to the tags you’ll find attached the top stories featured on our homepage:
- links to all of the below tag pages are included the Google Doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XfgCHnRe1fiSuBS6iHzG6_A8GTizP6JTraypXjT18pA/edit?usp=sharing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Big Data
- Data Science
- Deep Learning
- Machine Learning
- Software Development
- User Experience
- Venture Capital
3. Write something that hasn’t been written before
The Hacker Noon audience is diverse. It includes everything from data scientists and developers to driverless vehicle engineers.
To hit up the homepage at Hacker Noon, you’re going to need to search for the freshest possible angle on your chosen topic.
Do your research, then ask yourself:
- What’s the larger narrative around this space?
- How might the Hacker Noon audience already feel about it?
- What are the contentious or challenging issues worthy of deeper analysis here?
- What is my unique point of view on this topic?
- How might my own anecdotal experience in the industry provide a new point from which to start a conversation?
Hacker Noon is a place where people actually read.
One of the most exciting features of Hacker Noon 2.0 (coming soon!) is that too easily gamed ‘claps’ won’t count for much.
Our critical number when it comes to deciding which stories make it to the high-visitor-volume homepage?
How many minutes, hours, and days have people spent actually reading your words?
That’s the information we want to publically provide, for the benefit of both our writers and readers.
Which begs the question, what makes a highly readable article?
Craft a killer headline
_Even today you can look through almost any consumer or professional publication and find headlines that possess not a single one of the necessary qualities, such as self-interest, news, or curiosity. _
– John Caples
When writing headlines, I find it helpful to drown out the pressure of appealing to an audience of 200,000+, and instead imagine I’ll be sending my article to just one person: a friend, a colleague, a mentor; someone who matches the persona of the audience I’m trying to reach.
If - for even a second - I can imagine that one person thinking “So what?” in response to my title, I know I haven’t yet hit the proverbial nail on the head.
Once you’ve landed on a headline you think will speak to your intended reader both mentally and emotionally, run through the following checklist:
- Is my headline 80 characters or less?
- Is My Headline Written in Title Case? And if not, is there a good reason for it?
- Is my headline an accurate reflection of the content that follows?
- If I saw this headline on Twitter, would I click through?
- Could this headline be construed as clickbait? (If yes - rewrite immediately.)
Use images and media to add real value
Your featured image is worth 1,000 words, so to speak. With how social networks work today, the featured image is the second headline.
Never submit an article without at least one image.
For bonus points:
- Original image preferred
- But also unsplash, pexels, pixabay + lunapic is option (why not use lunapic to Greenify your image while you’re at it?)
- Use graphs or infographics to capture attention and add educational merit
- Embed a relevant video or two to include a variety of voices on your topic
- Break up lengthy sections of text with media to make for easier reading
Remember: easy reading = challenging writing
Bad writing is easy AF. Good writing requires time, revision, and spell check.
You can generally judge the strength of any piece of work by how a writer approaches their introductory paragraph:
- Does the first paragraph set up a burning question that leaves you completely incapable of not reading further?
- Is it clear from the introductory paragraph what you can expect to learn in this article?
- Are their any careless spelling mistakes, typos, or grammatical errors?
- Are sentences so long I lose track of the original thought before I get to the full stop?
- Is there any evidence of blatant punctuation abuse…!!!
The objective of every sentence you write is to entice your reader into reading the next one.
Take the time to consider each and every line of your article through that lens.
Share your sources, as well as your own credentials
All great work builds on what came before it: don’t be shy to share and attribute the wisdom you’ve gained from other great writers and thinkers.
And, when setting the scene for why your point of view is one worth considering, be sure to include one or two lines on who you are and what you’re about.
Remember, Hacker Noon stands for real stories, written by real tech professionals.
We will always value first person perspective over breaking news.
Respect your readers: use paragraphs, subheadings, and bulleted or numbered lists to structure your work for maximum readability.
Also: make links look natural: hyperlink them to your text (don’t just paste them next to the relevant phrase, like this: https://hackernoon.com/why-you-shouldnt-raise-a-friends-and-family-round-923083e15df0).
Tag like you’re trying to win an SEO competition
Last - but certainly not least - before you publish, ensure you’ve selected 5 tags that closely match both the content of your article, as well as the terms you think your intended readers are likely to be searching for.
Heads up: Hacker Noon 2.0 will allow you to add not 5 but 8 tags for extra SEO power!
“Good SEO is paying attention to all the details that most bloggers ignore.”
— Ryan Biddulph
There you have it! Your complete guide to getting published on Hacker Noon. Whether you’re a new or existing writer, I hope you found this a helpful primer on what it takes to hit a homerun with Hacker Noon in 2019.
If you think we left out anything important, please feel free to let me know in the comments, alternatively leave us a comment in the doc: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XfgCHnRe1fiSuBS6iHzG6_A8GTizP6JTraypXjT18pA/edit#