NFL Draft Dog Writing Guidelines
Thanks for showing interest as a Columnist for NFL Draft Dog. Below is a few writing guidelines to help standardize the professional look and editorial integrity of NFL Draft Dog.
1. I like to see weekly updates during the season and then monthly or so in the off season. During the off-season if nothing is going on from about February to July, I am not too worried about updates except draft coverage. I would like to see at least one good pre-draft article in March or early April and then a solid post draft article as soon after the draft as possible. During the season I would like an article after their game, as soon after their game as possible; Sunday Night would be perfect, but no later than Thursday the week after the game.
Columns that go past 30 days (during the season), 60 days (during off season) without being updated will be open or available for others to assume control. You can look through the various NFL Team Columns to find an outdated one and/or one that is open.
2. Please try to write with expert analysis and include statistics and facts to back up what you say. For example if you write that quarterback “so and so” has been playing poorly, list what his quarterback rating is and/or how many interceptions he has thrown, or if you say “so and so” team has been bad against the run, then do some research and list how many average rushing yards they are giving up per game.
Please don’t rant and remember to write for the common man, if you mention someone then give us some history, tell us his full name, position, height, weight, and even what school he played for. Not everyone knows who these players are and not everyone that reads your column is a fan. Make sure you start your column with who played who; who won the game and what the score was.
3. After your team loses, try to write as a journalist and not a fan, try to take excess emotion out of a bitter loss and keep your column as more of a news article/expert analysis and not a fan rant.
4. Do not use acronyms until after you write what it is, for example, if you write NFLPU the first time, write “National Football League Players Union” with the (NFLPU) in parenthesis next to it. Then after you establish what the acronym stands for, then you can write NFLPU. Try to think of each article/update as a separate stand alone article. Please carefully proof read it and check for grammar and spelling errors and when you list a player, list his position and full name. Please list all height and weights like this: 6’ 3” 232 lbs.
5. Just email me your articles/updates in MS Word or in plain text. Check spelling and grammar and proof read it carefully before you send it. Please keep your article fairly short around 5-6 paragraphs. People lose interest on long articles but if you do have a lot of information, break it up into pieces and send it a few days apart.
6. Do not insert pictures, special formatting or tables into your column and don’t copy and paste stuff into it because the formatting will be pasted into it and it will mess up the HTML. If you do include links make sure the links are linking to NFL Draft Dog pages only. You are writing a Column or news article, not a blog, so use proper english, grammar and punctuation. Limit your slang and write complete words and sentences.
7. You are responsible for your own editing, so try to have some one proof read your work before you send it in. Make sure you have cleaned up and fixed any errors before you send it in.
All of your work must be 100% original and not copied from any other source. Once the data gets put up on your column it cannot be used anywhere else. It must be unique to NFL Draft Dog. So you can’t put your writings/column on any other web site, forums or blogs. The reason is, Google penalizes web sites that use duplicate data, so if the information was found to be identical on more than one web source then both web sites get hit with a Google penalty. However I encourage you to put links to your column on forums and other blogs in the comment section, just link back to NFL Draft Dog and make them go to NFL Draft Dog to read the full article.
8. When and if you are writing profiles, also known as scouting reports, please include the players strengths and weakness at the top along with their name, position, height, weight, class year and school. Example:
John L. Clarke
6' 3" 187 lbs.
Strengths: angles, speed, hands
Weaknesses: size, small college competition
That way the reader can catch a glimpse of the player and hopefully read on. You can elaborate on those strengths and weaknesses in your article, but please add that preview to the top.
9. You will be credited for all your work and you can have your own biography page if you want as well as your own "firstname.lastname@example.org" email address. It is web based and you can check it here: http://email.nfldraftdog.com Just give me what name you want in front of the @ and I will set it up for you. On your biography, just write up a little background on yourself, try to focus on why/how you are qualified to be a sports writer and you can send me a small picture if you want that I can insert into it. Please send your updates and your picture as an attachment to Bryant[at]nfldraftdog.com.
At this point we aren’t profitable enough to pay our writers, however, for the writers that are consistent and stick with us long-term, I will try to send out a little Christmas bonus in December or January. You will need a Pay Pal account to receive your bonus. Please send me your Paypal email address to receive any potential payment.
10. Google owns the internet to a certain extent so if you want success you have to learn how to play by their rules. Google loves:
1. Unique content, the text (writing) needs to be 100% original and not found anywhere else on the internet.
3. Follow us on Facebook and we will keep you updated on college and NFL football and try to promote your articles via Facebook and Twitter.
2. Links pointing to your page from other reputable sites. This is big, Google gives out rankings based off of how many incoming links you have and not just any link. It prefers reputable web sites, like if a good blog links to your site or a busy forum linking to your site generates a lot of traffic to you. Social Networking/bookmarking site submissions also helps, like adding links to, just to name a few:
Twitter is very helpful. Open a Twitter account and "Tweet" ever time you write or update your column. It has the potential to greatly expand your reader/fan base:
Key words/phrases that build a sites identity. Don’t overdo it and don’t sacrifice readability, but if you want your page/site to rank for certain words and key words then you need to have them appear frequently in your text. Anchor text also helps if it is a key word or phrase, anchor text is the words that point to a web address or hyperlink. So for example if the anchor text is NFL Draft and it points to http://www.nfldraftdog.com then Google thinks that web sites has information there about the NFL Draft.
Research keywords people might be using to find your content and use these keywords in the title of your post, the body copy and your tags. Do not write for search engines, write for humans but weave keywords into your post so it reads naturally.
Thanks for your interest as a sports writer and welcome to NFL Draft Dog,
Robert Bryant and Staff