CONTRIBUTOR GUIDELINES

What We Are Looking For

We are constantly looking for outstanding writers—whether long-time healthcare journalists or newbie writers. If you can parlay your passion for healthcare and combine it with a talent for translating evidence-based medicine into readable stories that engage readers, we might consider your story for publication on our site. You must, however, meet all of our contributor guidelines as outlined below.

Our audience is a mix of healthcare professionals, early adopters, innovators, knowledge seekers, and individuals interested in learning more about health or healthcare. Our team is a digitally-orientated group of writers, editors, curators, and social media mavens all focused on making science, medicine, and healthcare accessible to all who want to learn more about these important topics. We handpick our content from the best writers, the most compelling topics, and credible sources that meet our high standards of publishing.

Why Publish on The Doctor Weighs In?

We offer writers the chance to amplify their reach via our global audience and social media amplification. Because we are sticklers for stories supported by credible medical evidence, you will expand your ability to evaluate and report on medical research and health policy. If your story passes our first review, we will work with you to strengthen it so that it meets our standards for publication.

Publication on TDWI can enhance your reputation as a writer and broaden the reach of your stories via our social media channels, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram, and Medium. You also have the opportunity to be featured in our newsletters that reach many thousands of our readers. If we choose to make an accompanying video of your story, you will also be featured on our YouTube channel as well as Facebook page. Many of our stories become “evergreen” and continue to attract readers many years after they are initially published.

Topics of Interest

We publish on a wide variety of topics, ranging from lifestyle stories to stories about innovations in medicine and technology as well as health policy and neuropsychology. Stories can reflect the latest and greatest or they can be in-depth reviews of topics that are perennially important. We suggest you spend some time on our site to see what we are currently writing about and what has been popular in the past. WE DO NOT HELP AUTHORS CHOOSE THEIR TOPICS.

General Guidelines

Please read the following guidelines before submitting your content:

1. Read our most recent and popular articles

  • Check out what topics our current readers are interested in.
  • Note our editorial style including format, the prevalence of hyperlinks to credible sources (e.g., peer-reviewed papers or reputable news sites, organizations, etc.), internal links, and high-quality photos and graphics.

2. Keep in mind the importance of high-quality content

  • Articles must be written in a professional, native English proficiency that caters to our audience of healthcare professionals, early adopters, and knowledge seekers.
  • Content must be your own and 100% original. Plagiarized content will be rejected.
  • We are no longer accepting articles that have already been published on other sites. You may republish your content once it has been published on TDWI but you must wait 72 hours after it appears on our site and you must use our canonical URL to indicate that TDWI is the primary source for the article. Notify us before you republish.
  • Typical articles run around 1,000-2,000 words, but we will consider longer articles if necessary to fully explore a topic. Video content is accepted, but all content must be your original work or available under Creative Commons licensure.
  • We absolutely will not accept content based on pseudo-science or biased and unfounded health or medical claims that do not reflect the use of reputable and reliable sources (e.g. “Drop 20 pounds in 10 days with new miracle weight loss supplement.”)
  • No hateful, bigoted, or mean-spirited posts.
  • No use of content that infringes third party trademarked, copyrighted, or patented material without permission.
  • No sales-focused soliciting or product promotional content. If you have an article that is promotional in nature but meets our quality standards, it may be eligible for our sponsored content option. Click here to learn more about sponsorship options.

3. Send your content via the “Submission Application” button below.

4. If you are with a PR company representing a healthcare professional and wish to have us consider a story, interview or book review related to your client’s area of expertise, please send us a specific pitch to info@thedoctorweighsin.com.

5. Freelancers: Please do not send us generic pitches (e.g., I would love to write for you. What topic do you want me to write about? I can write about anything, tell me what to do.) Due to the overwhelming number of generic pitches we receive, we are unable to respond to these on an individual basis. If you want to write for us, please send us either an original post that meets the guidelines we have outlined above. We will review it within 2-4 weeks and let you know if we have accepted it for publication.

Tips for An Amazing Article

Precision: Be precise and concise in the information provided in the article. Do not use filler to try to make an article with thin content appear longer.

Takeaways: Ensure that readers leave the article with a definite takeaway once they have finished reading your article.

Proper grammar and spelling: Ensure that there are no grammar or spelling mistakes. The use of a tool like Grammarly or Ginger Software can help you meet that goal.

Format: Break the content into easy-to-digest, short paragraphs with subheadings. Use bullets or numbering to indicate specific points.

Creativity: This is what differentiates your article from others. Try to offer the reader a fresh perspective even if you are writing about a topic that is all over the media. Think like a reader and create titles and content that is interesting and enticing. Do not, however, attempt click-bait or other deceptive practices that trick the reader—this will lead to rejection of your article.

Be intriguing: The key to keeping a reader continuously engaged is to be as intriguing as possible. Introduce your personality into the content and make it fun and educational at the same time.

Details: The content should offer high-quality, educational information that our readers can learn from. Our audience tends is pretty sophisticated so do not shy away from diving into scientific details or complex concepts – just be sure that your explanation is readable, engaging, and accurate.

References or links: All factual statements should be supported by links to credible sources (e.g., a link to a peer-reviewed article) or endnotes. If using endnotes, we prefer this style. Use a superscript to cite the content.

SEO for Authors

We strive to have every story on our site reach the broadest possible audience, not just in the short term, but over months to possibly years depending on the topic. To accomplish that goal, we invest a considerable amount of time on technically optimizing each story so that search engines not only index it, but also rank it highly.

There are a number of strategies that you, as the author of the article can do to ensure the search engines will show your story a lot of love as well. We hope you will find these guidelines helpful as you work on your story and help us promote it after it is published.

Writing Tips

  1. Topics, sources, and external links

Choose a topic you have expertise in and then do your homework. Be sure your statements of fact are up-do-date and based on credible sources. We prefer that you use references that are either in peer-reviewed literature (e.g., from PubMed) or come from high quality medical sites, like Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Medscape, and so forth. We ask that you provide a link to the reference or use endnotes so that our readers can easily learn where the information was derived from. These types of links increase the Domain Authority of TDWI and the overall authority of your story. These are important factors in SEO.

  1. Keywords

Keywords or phrases help search engines understand what the story is about (for example, “new treatments for gout” or the “risks of knee surgery.” In general, keywords should appear in titles, headings and subheadings as well as content. Use keywords or phrases naturally. That means they have to make sense, fit into the story and be grammatically correct. Avoid “stuffing” your story with keywords.

There are many resources on the internet that can help you understand how to determine and use keywords for your topic. It is helpful if you include the keywords in the first paragraph if possible (some SEO experts recommend doing this within the first 100 words) as people will click on a story and make the decision about whether to read it after scanning the first paragraph or two.

  1. Titles

We review many stories that have catchy titles, but they don’t help a person searching for a specific answer to their question understand what the story is about (e.g., “You Can Beat the Odds” vs “How a Plant-based Diet Helps You Lose Weight”). We ask that you provide an SEO friendly title that contains the main target keyword or phrase. There are many resources on the internet to help you learn how to craft a clever title, including title checkers, such as Co-Schedule’s Headline Analyzer. We reserve the right to change the title, however, to be sure that it is optimized for search.

4.  Formatting

Please try to follow this pattern:

  • Title: Main Headline Beginning with the Main Keyword
  • Subtitle: This will appear just below the title and can be used to highlight the key point of the story
  • Introductory paragraph: Write a compelling 3-4 sentence introduction. Use the target keyword in the first 100 words.
  • Subheadings using secondary keywords: Try to limit your content under each sub-heading to 300-400 words.
  • Bullet points: Present important points as bullet points instead of long lists of items in a single sentence
  • Summary or Concluding Statement
  • Add an appropriate call to action if relevant to your story (e.g., support Breast Cancer action or leave a comment to let us know how you feel)
  • References: Please use endnotes if you have references that you haven’t provided a direct link to the source material
  • Additional materials for readers: List any books, articles, videos, social posts, tweets, pdf that can help strengthen our content.
  1. Internal links

Internal links are links to other pages on our site. We encourage you to become familiar with what we have already published on your topic. If we have an article that you can refer to in the body of the story that helps you make you point, please do that and make the linking word or phrase for internal links relevant to your story’s keywords or phrases. If we have a story that is related to your topic, but it does not work to link to it in the body of the story, please type in caps where you think we could include it as a related story link. We will also add related story links to your story as appropriate.

Here is what a related story link might look like:

        RELATED: Here are other stories about sleep on TDWI

These types of links help enhance TDWI’s Domain Authority and the Authority of your story. All of this helps with SEO.

  1. Length

 Articles should be at least 1000 words or longer to get noticed by Google and other search engines. You may need 1500, 2500 or more words to cover everything you want readers to know about your topic. Search engines are increasingly looking for definitive articles on topics. Please do not pad your article with repetitive information just to reach a certain word length.

  1. Don’t copy content from other websites.

This is obvious. We never want to publish plagiarized material. Avoid unintentionally copying sentences from your research materials. Instead put the concepts into your own words or place the sentences in quotes and provide a link or endnote to the source. Here is a handy tool you can use to check your work for plagiarized material: Plagiarism Checker

  1. Write for the audience.

Think about who you are writing the story for – doctors? Patients? Interested consumers? And tailor your information and language for them. In general, we ask authors of our medical and technical pieces to write using more sophisticated language than stories that appear in our lifestyle section. All stories, no matter the audience must be factual and based on stated evidence.

9. Readability

We want all of our articles, even those about technical or complicated medical issues to be accessible to a wide variety of readers. We therefore encourage you not to “dumb down” or over simplify your topic, rather to use language that makes those topics understandable to general health information consumers who are searching for answers to their health-related questions. Use standard English conversational language and explain or link to definitions of words or concepts that required further explanation. The goal is to make it easy for your readers to understand your content.

  1. Proofread your work.

It is best to proofread your work after at least an hour of writing it. Proofread with fresh eyes. Check your grammar, spelling, structure, and also the validity of your sources. It is a top priority to keep our information accurate and up-to-date. We don’t want to mislead readers. You can also use Grammarly to help you proofread your work (we do).

  1. Keep your story current and evergreen

Many of our stories continue to provide useful information and therefore perform well in search for months or years. We urge you to contact us with updated versions of your story. We will add the new information or replace the entire story with the new version preserving its connection to the original URL. We always notified the readers that the story has been reviewed and updated by the author. Here is an example of story that was both updated and republished without updating:

https://thedoctorweighsin.com/killer-abs-at-80-really/

Submitting Images

We encourage you to submit a featured image to accompany your post. This will appear at the top of the story and serves to encourage people to read your story.

  1. You must own the rights to the image or otherwise have explicit permission to use it. Please include information about where you purchased it or provide the details of what free site you obtained it from (e.g., Pixabay, Pexels, Upsplash, Flicker, Wikipedia, etc.) in the appropriate place on the submission form.
  2. Featured image sizes should be between 800 x 500 and 2000 x 1333 px. The format should be JPG or PNG.
  3. We reserve the right to use a different featured image if we feel it will better support the story.

If you want to include images, infographics, or graphs into your content, be sure that they meet the following requirements before submitting them.

  • Size: Images should be between 500 x 350 and 800×500 px.
  • Format: Image should be either JPG or PNG.
  • Original: Images must be your own or original and not images you have downloaded without permission. If you want to use an image you downloaded from the Internet, you must attain the rights to use the images and provide the needed proof or approval issued to use the said images.
  • Personal images: These are encouraged only if the content gives descriptions, specific exercise routines, or techniques not known to others. Personal images must be of high quality in order to be included in your story.
  • Make sure all of the images included in your submission application are captioned with where you got the image and the type of license from which it was obtained, e.g., Creative Commons, Rights Managed, Royalty Free, Public Domain, etc.).
  • We reserve the right to not include your submitted images in the story.

Social media

We promote all of our stories via our various social media channels and encourage you to do the same. Please tag us (@docweighsin) so that we can amplify the message.

We post many of our stories on our Medium.com partner pages that earn us a small amount of revenue depending on engagement with the story. We are unable to share this revenue with you for two reasons:

  1.  We are not set up to handle this
  2.  The amount of money is quite small ($3-10/post)

If you do not want us to share your story on our Medium partner page, please notify us via the checkbox on the submission form.

FAQs

How long does it take to review a writer’s submission?

The review process can take up to 2 weeks. If we approve your submission, it will be published within the month. You will be issued a notification indicating that the article has been accepted and when it is ready for publishing via email. This ensures that you will be one of the first people to see it.

When will the submitted copy be published on The Doctor Weighs In?

As indicated above, you will be issued a notification in regards to the article’s progress. You will receive the link once it is published.

Do you limit the amount of content or articles I submit at any given moment?

There is no limitation as to how much content you can contribute. In fact, the more the content the better, especially if it is high-quality and relevant to us. Furthermore, it ensures that you gain exposure once more articles are published in a similar way. If we have already published at least five of your articles, you may be eligible to become a regular contributor. Our regular contributors set up a schedule of submissions with us (e.g., monthly, quarterly) and we work with you to get these published on a regular basis.

 

Author’s biography

Your bio is an opportunity to tell the readers what makes you a great writing professional and learn a little more about your background and interests. Here are some details that must be included in the biography.

  • Summary – It should be around 150-200 words describing your background and any relevant affiliations. Be sure to include something personal (e.g., hobbies, travel) so readers feel they know more about you. You can also include relevant links, including links to your website.
  • Headshot – Every biography requires a high-quality face shot that is at least 200 x 200 px. This photo will become your profile picture and will appear together with your bio below any of your published articles. It must be included in your submission form.
  • Social links – Please provide links to all of the social media platforms that you participate in so that our readers can interact with you or follow you.
  • Contact email – We use this email to notify you when comments have been made on your article(s). We encourage you to respond to comments and to create a lively conversation around your content.

Note to Contributors

More importantly, because of the high influx of submissions we receive, we cannot guarantee a response to every one. We’d like to assure you that we do our best to reply and cater to the needs of all our potential contributors.

Disclaimer
Content published on The Doctor Weighs In is meant to promote news and knowledge of various health news and topics and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice from a licensed physician or other healthcare provider.