I've been the editor of Better Marketing for a few months now. A few days ago, I submitted (and had accepted!) my first Boost nomination. Between those two milestones, I've reviewed, edited, decided whether to accept, reject, or ask feedback for 100+ articles.
Here are my takeaways for you, about Boosting, quality, and how to get accepted.
- Nobody reads the submission and style guidelines. The number of articles I get that are off-topic (abotu self-improvement, talking about writing but with no marketing link, or about one of the things we explicitly say we don't publish), formatted weirdly, self-promotional, or have about ten calls to action is unbelievable. Please read these if you want to get accepted!
- The amount of AI-written content is staggering. I've discovered three specific tells that give it away for me, but honestly even if I didn't suspect a piece was AI-written, the content reads so dry and boring that I'd reject it in a heartbeat regardless.
- There's more competition among Nominators for articles to Boost than there are Boostworthy articles. Out of those 100+ articles, I've only submitted a handful for the Boost -- not because I don't want to, but because I just haven't seen enough that meet my standards.
- I have less time for, well, everything else. I had a healthy amount of respect for publication owners and editors before. Now that respect is sky-high. The work is split among three of us, but the running of a publication is extremely time-consuming work. And you know what? We're doing it for free.
- It's slow going, but it's rewarding. Since taking over Better Marketing, we've published just 20 articles. We've fielded over 80+ new writer submissions (only 15% of which were accepted unconditionally!) and looked at 100+ other articles. Our views are slowly starting to climb, we're getting better and better quality submissions, and we're feeling more comfortable with our work. I can't wait to see what comes next.
What should you do?
If you'd like to submit to Better Marketing, or any publication, I recommend you do the following:
- Read these submission guidelines. They're for Fanfare, a pop culture publication, but Eric does a great job explaining both the nuances of good writing as well as a couple other issues (image attribution, why reading the guidelines matters, and best writing practices). He also does it with a lot of humor and understanding.
- Don't use AI to generate content. Use it for titles, tables, ideation, or any other assistive task. don't use it to write content. We (publication editors and regular readers) can tell and we hate it.
- Before you publish anything, really ask yourself: If my boss/mom/ideal client read this, would I feel proud? Or...embarrassed? So often there's this rush to get pieces out the door, or tick boxes like "get into publication X" or "write 5x this week" that the content that comes out is a little crappy.
- Remember: There's less competition than you think. If you're a good writer, you have a story to tell, and you can read a submission guidelines page, you're already ahead of about 80% of our submissions pile.