Posts

Contents

The Help Scout audience

Founder or high-level decision-maker

Traditionally at a fast-growing small business like a software company, online store, or agency. Founders care deeply about the customer experience and enjoy thoughtful “affinity” articles on how to best grow their business.

Support team leaders and members

Customer support professionals care about customer success and satisfaction, not just closing tickets. They know the fundamentals of customer service and will not be entertained unless your ideas are fresh and practical.

Editorial Guidelines

Default to AP Style

In general, the Help Scout blog adheres to AP style except where noted below.

Book titles

Use italics, with a link to either the book’s designated website (preferred), or Amazon.

Inclusive, gender-neutral language

Examples: use “folks” or “people” rather than “guys”; “staffed” or “handled” rather than “manned”; “go-between” rather than “middleman,” etc. Avoid ableist language (e.g., “crazy,” “OCD,” “blind,” “lame,” “insane,” and so on). You can always find more precise terminology that improves your writing and doesn’t further marginalize anyone.

Job titles

Capitalize all job titles. (Note: “Co-founder” as opposed to “Co-Founder.”)

Lists

Use bulleted or numbered lists, never dashes. When writing a bulleted list, use periods at the end of each point when the bullet points are complete sentences. If each point is a word or short phrase, do not use periods.

Names

Use first names in the second instance when quoting Help Scout teammates. For people outside Help Scout, use last names in the second instance.

Percentages

Use “%” as opposed to “percent” unless stylistically it makes sense otherwise.

Quotations

  • Refrain from starting paragraphs with quotations; case-by-case exceptions allowed
  • Tweetable quotes should be edited for current character count limits

Subheads

  • Initial cap. “Write them like this,” and “Not Like This
  • Do not end in periods
  • 60-70 characters (wherever possible)
  • Use post keywords in first subhead (when appropriate)
  • Write a subhead for concluding paragraphs, since syndication partners might not otherwise indicate the separation between the body and conclusion

U.S. English

We use U.S. English (as opposed to British/Australian English) by default, unless stylistically it makes sense otherwise.

Guest Post Guidelines

The traits of a successful Help Scout article

  • No self-promotion. We will remove any copy we view as self-promotional.
  • Thoughtful and evergreen. No flash-in-the-pan hot takes; write something you can see yourself sharing five years from now. Aim for something you haven’t heard before.
  • Actionable: The main focus is on the readers and what they can walk away with that’ll enrich their work. Content is customer success; make sure readers will learn something.
  • Well-researched: Include links to reputable sources to support your argument. Solicit original quotations from subject matter experts from varied backgrounds (particularly underrepresented folks!) when possible. Aim for 0-3 links to external sites per paragraph. Embed links in the Google Doc.
  • Engaging: Articles should flow like a conversation and be easily digested. Imagine a CEO or a manager or someone on support sitting across from you; your words should lift their ears.
  • Unique: Every piece we publish aims to have something to say or something to teach. We don’t want to echo what’s already out there — say something meaningful or teach something useful.

Review our blog for examples of tone, presentation and style.

Word count

1,200 - 3,000 words, with no words wasted.

How to submit

Share your post via a Google Doc with EDIT access.

Editing

Help Scout reserves the right to make edits as we see fit to conform with our style. All posts will be reviewed by our content team and copy editor — no need to respond to edits as they’re made in the Google Doc; we’ll let you know when we need you to take a look, and give you the opportunity to review the final version before it goes live.

Timeline

You’ll work with a Help Scout content team member to set deadlines and a publication date. Final drafts are due two weeks before publication, to give our design team ample time to create an illustration and format the post.

Images

Photos: Photos help break up the text and provide visual interest to your piece. Whenever possible, please provide photos to accompany your article — photos of you, your office space, the subject matter you’re writing about, anything and everything that makes sense. We particularly welcome photos showcasing different axes of diversity and inclusion, outside the standard stock images you’d expect from the average software blog. Make sure you have rights to publish any photos you send, and tell us whom to credit in the caption if necessary.

Other images: We will provide main blog post image, but feel free to include images such as charts, graphs, illustrations, etc. if it strengthens your argument and helps with visualization. Be deliberate about it. If you don’t have an image but would like one to illustrate something, include the idea in a comment in the Google Doc. Make sure the images are free or you have permission to use them. Vector files (.ai, .svg, .eps) are a bonus, but not required.

Please email a medium-to-high resolution (at least 300px) head shot to include with your author bio. No blurry photos from family picnics with your sibling’s head cropped out, please — if you don’t have a good head shot, take one!

Don’t paste images into the Google doc — use links (like http://imgur.com/) or send hi-res via email.

We reserve the right to add or remove images as we see fit, and format graphics to match our visual style guidelines.

Author bio

One or two sentences about who you are and why you’re qualified to speak on the topic. Feel free to include links to your website. Examples:

Viktor loves being a happy customer. As the CEO of Nicereply he helps businesses become more customer centric by measuring their customer satisfaction, customer effort and net promoter score.

Liz writes about business, creativity and making meaningful work. Say hello on Twitter or through her website.

Social promotion

We’ll promote your post on social media, and ask you/your company to do the same.

  • Tweetable Block Quotes: Mark inline where you want click to tweet text. Mind of character count. Try to make quote fit in a tweet without truncating.
  • Tweetable text: highlight any paragraph text you want tweetable. looks like this
  • Please list the names and Twitter handles of all of the people and companies referenced in the article at the beginning of the doc.

Once your article is live, we want to get it in front of as many eyes as possible!

  1. Share your article on your social media handles: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, G+
  2. Tag us @HelpScout on Twitter so we can Retweet, and @Help Scout on Facebook so we can boost your signal further.
  3. Tag anyone referenced in your article in Tweets so that they have the chance to Retweet and share with their followers.
  4. If you have a newsletter, add your post!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out: editorial@helpscout.com.