Apr 27 2009
Here are just a few strong suggestions on how to submit news to MacMerc.com and get the story published.
WE ARE A MAC SITE!!
The first three letters of MacMerc.com are M A C. This is not because we are Scottish, it is because we are Mac centered as far as or computing platform. The farthest we’ll delve outside of the Mac category is to cover iPod stories. If you are flogging some Windows-only software or non-Mac-compatible hardware, WE DON"T CARE!!!
Choose a punchy headline
We get a lot of our traffic from RSS readers and Mac news headline sites. If
the headline isn’t unique and intriguing, people will assume the story isn’t
either. Furthermore, if every Mac site is following the same story and posting
it with a similar headline to yours, why would anyone choose the story you wrote?
You’ve got to hook the reader.
Blah: WiebeTech introduces FireWire KeyChain
Use correct and supported HTML tags
We don’t expect everyone to card carrying code monkeys before they can successfully
post to the site. We do expect you to make sure the story you post looks the
way you want it to when you post it. We shouldn’t have to clean up every story
that gets posted here, but to a large extent, we do. Please do us all a favor
and become familiar with the following HTML tags:
Authentic code monkeys might question this code, but trust me, it works just
fine. Anytime you want to create a paragraph break, punch in a pair of <br> tags instead of hitting “Return” twice. Make this code your friend.
Since every story must have a link, you may as well link properly. Replace
the “http://www.macmerc.com” with the URL you are linking to and replace
the “MacMerc” with the name of the page to which that URL belongs
and soon MacMerc readers will be flocking to your site.
Once you’ve plugged in these tags where they belong, don’t forget to change
the story format selector from “Plain Old Text” to “HTML Formatted”
Choose an appropriate topic heading
We have a large
and growing collection of topics (45 topics at the time that I write this).
Certainly at least one of them pertains to your story in a deep and meaningful
way…if not choose one that pertains to it in a loose and tenuous way, but
choose one. Try to stay away from using the Apple / Mac topic in a generic sense
â€” we’d like to reserve that topic for stories that are specifically about
Use Story Text & Extended Text fields appropriately
On the Submit News page, you will notice that there is a large text submission
field marked “Story Text” and another marked “Extended Text”.
Admittedly, this interface could have been made to be more clear. The Story
Text field is for a short introductory paragraph to introduce your story on
the front page of the site. It’s your opportunity to hook the reader. The Extended
Text field is for the bulk of your story. Readers see this part when they click
the “Read more…” link. Submitting stories this way keeps from having
to scroll down screens and screens of text.
Make sure your story goes somewhere
Like I said while discussing HTML tags, every story should have a link. Okay
maybe if you submit an editorial you may not need a link, but it would probably
be a much stronger piece if you could include links to other stories and sites
that back up your claims. Include a link and include it properly.
View the preview
You cannot submit a story without previewing it first. You can’t! What you
evidently can do is ignore the preview. You can, but you shouldn’t.
If your story looks bad, if it’s poorly formatted, if the links are invalid
and you choose to submit it anyway, then we are likely to just delete it. Study
that preview. Look at it objectively. Ask yourself, “Would a MacMerc visitor
want to read this?” If the story is worth posting, it’s worth posting properly.
For bonus points…
Become a registered user of MacMerc
Avoid having your story credited to “Anonymous Coward” by registering
with MacMerc and logging in before you post.
Support your story
Once you have written your story with a snappy headline, entered in all your
text, checked your tags, corrected your spelling (sorry no spell check on the
site, you’ll have to do that on your own), chosen a topic heading, verified
your links and submitted your masterpiece (with “HTML Formatted” selected),
you may have to wait a little while for one of us here to receive and approve
it for posting. Once we do (and if you have done everything the way I have recommended,
there should be no reason why you shouldn’t get posted) the next step might
be to publicize your story by emailing its Headline, Story Text and Permanent
Link (the URL that the “Read more…” link uses) to other Mac news
sites like MacSurfer.