LWOS - Submitting an Article
IMPORTANT: To cut down on unnecessary editing, install the free (or paid) version of Grammarly.
IMPORTANT: Unless arranged with Mike or Ben, all articles are exclusive to Last Word On Sports INC and may not be copied and pasted elsewhere. This long-standing policy is to protect our writers as well as our intellectual property. You may, however, use up to 100 words of your article as an excerpt with a hyperlink back to your original article at LWOS.
How to begin a new article
1. Login to site --- yourLWOSsite.com/wp-login.php
2. In your dashboard screen, choose "Posts" and "Add New".
How to write an article
LWOS provides an eight-step plan for how to write your articles.
1) Idea--what am I going to write about?
Stuck for an idea? Use our network to generate some ideas. We have a thriving community of writers just like you who love chatting about sports. Feel free to reach out to those in your department either through our department Facebook group (found in your welcome email) or our department Messenger chat.
There are three great ways to find some topic ideas that will be relevant:
a. Reddit -- Reddit has a massive community that can be as general or specific as you like. Find a subreddit (for instance reddit.com/r/football or reddit.com/r/nfl) and see what people are talking about.
b. Google News -- Google News is a great idea to check out current events. Not only that but if you are writing an article you can most likely find a good source using Google News to use in the article.
c. Twitter -- Twitter search and the hashtag feature is an excellent strategy to stay updated on the current goings-on concerning your sport or team specifically. Be careful that you are basing your ideas on credible sources!
2) What keyword will I use?
Deciding which 2-4 keywords to use is a very important part of the process. Basically, the keywords you choose are the exact words you predict people will enter into a search engine to hopefully lead them to your article. Knowing how specific to be, however, is an art form. If your keywords are too general, your article will be too lost and will never find its way to the fore in search results. Too specific and you greatly limit how many people will actually input those keywords. You need to find the sweet spot. Here are some examples of good and bad keywords.
The above are all too general that your article will forever be buried by much, much larger sites.
NFL rules committee decides to get rid of field goals
Pittsburgh Steelers win their seventh Super Bowl
Buffalo Bills lose heartbreaker to the Patriots, again
The above are all far too specific that you can't expect anyone to ever enter those words into a search bar. Remember, keywords must be letter-for-letter.
NFL 2017 season
Pittsburgh Steelers AFC North
Super Bowl 2017
Football schedule 2017
NFL Rules Committee
Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl
Buffalo Bills Lose
JuJu Smith-Schuster best
3) What title will I use that contains the keywords exactly?
The title MUST contain the keywords you chose above EXACTLY, letter for letter, and without any words in between. If you chose "Antonio Brown best" as your keywords, your title must have those three words together. It is preferable that those keywords are close to the beginning of the title if possible. For instance, "Antonio Brown Best Receiver in NFL" works because those keywords appear exactly as written in the same order. However, "Antonio Brown is the NFL's Best Receiver" does not work because there are words between "Brown" and "Receiver".
Along with the title is the permalink, which is found directly under the title. The permalink is the URL extension that is added to your site's URL. It is important that there aren't any "stop" words in the permalink. Stop words include articles (a, an, the) and short prepositions and conjunctions (in, on, and, etc).
4) What is my main thesis/point to make?
It is important that you have a point to make in your writing, usually within the first paragraph, possibly the second. The rest of the body of your work is, of course, meant to prove your argument.
Consider including the following that may help to prove your argument and add an element of authority:
a. Have you hyperlinked 2-3 links to authoritative sites?
b. Have you found a relevant quote to embed?
c. Have you included a quote from a direct source?
d. Have you found relevant statistics or past analyses that can strengthen your argument?
Even news stories should have a point to make. Instead of simply reiterating what happened, including an element of "so what?" is essential. That is, what impact will the news have? What fallout will there be, if any? What does this mean for the team, player, or league?
5) How will I structure the body of the article?
Subheadings are essential to writing an organized article. As more people are accessing media via smartphone and tablet, the need to have well-organized and succinct writing is becoming even more apparent. Using headings creates natural breaks and helps to clarify where you are going with your writing.
Always start with a "Heading 1" (found in the left of your toolbar). There should only be one Heading 1 in your article as it is meant to re-state (but not copy) your title. The Heading 1 should appear after your introductory paragraph and must include your keywords. It can include part of your title exactly, but not the title in its entirety.
Throughout the article, separate major sections of your article using "Heading 2". A general rule of thumb is that you should have a Heading 2 for every 300 words of your article. If you feel that your writing within one section can be further divided, you can separate further using Heading 3, however, this should only be needed in long-form (1200 words+) articles.
Be sure to leave the reader with a summation of your main arguments at the end, and perhaps an idea for them to consider.
6) Write the article
Keep your writing straightforward and focus on making it easy to read and enjoyable. Using complicated vocabulary purely to make your writing come across as intelligent is far from ideal. While it may win you points at the university coffee shop, it is important to consider the breadth of readers that frequent our sites. It is also important to use proper spelling and grammar rules -- otherwise, you run the risk of losing all authority on the subject matter as you would come across as sloppy. Grammarly is a free add-on/app that can be an invaluable tool. While it isn't perfect, it will certainly help you correct common mistakes in grammar as well as typos in your article.
Some important rules of thumb:
a. Write in the third person. Avoid using personal pronouns in your writing.
b. You are the authority so don't write passively. That is, "I think that Alexis Sanchez is one of the top strikers in world football" is passive, whereas "Alexis Sanchez is one of the top strikers in world football" is preferred.
c. News articles should be 300-600 words in length, analyses should be 500+ words.
d. Spell all numerals under 10. That is, "eight" not "8".
7) Have I completed my own SEO and filled out the tags and categories?
Please read our wiki on how to complete SEO (Yoast Seo) here: 
Tags - tags are keywords that are used to help locate an article. Include the sport, league and any players who are PROMINENTLY discussed in the article to a maximum of 10 tags in total. Separate with commas. Capitalize leagues, teams and names. Use the full team name, not just their nickname.
Hockey, Detroit Red Wings, Pavel Datsyuk
Click only relevant categories. Avoid using "Featured" category, which is only for editors' use.
8) Have I made a genuine effort to promote my article across several platforms?
If all you do is get your article published and then do nothing to promote your work, you are basically just talking to yourself. Now that you've spent all that time writing your article, you need to spend at least as much time promoting it.
Reddit - Reddit is a phenomenal tool for exposing your work to a great number of potential readers. However, it is essential that you understand the rules of Reddit as well as the rules outlined in each "sub-Reddit". Think of Reddit as a newspaper where you can create its layout. You sign up for "sub-Reddits", which are groups organized by topic. Then when you login to Reddit, your front page is a feed of new topics from all of your favourite sub-Reddits. It is mandatory that you receive our Reddit guide before posting any LWOS article. We would also advise that you read the guide before even creating your account.
Message board - Message boards are not entirely obsolete! While they aren't frequented as much as they were, say, in the early 2000s, there are many that are still very healthy. Just like in Reddit, every message board has a set of rules you will need to follow before you can start posting your own content. You can't just show up and spam your work -- you need to be an active participant first! Get to know people before you start asking them to support you.
Facebook - Facebook has great potential, but to maximize its value there are a few important general guidelines:
a. Join multiple groups, preferably the biggest ones.
b. Be sure to reply to all comments on your article. Not only will this create interaction, but Facebook will keep moving your article to the top of the group.
Twitter - Twitter is not a great source of traffic, though there are a few tricks to maximize its potential.
a. Actively engage your followers, especially if they comment on your links.
b. Be sure to add value to your account -- Tweet scores, quote other authorities, add polls, offer tidbits, or anything else that will give value and a reason for people to return to your account.
c. Tweet your article multiple times per day while the topic is relevant. You don't want ALL of your tweets to be your links, but tweeting multiple times will maximize your exposure as only a small fraction of your followers are on Twitter at any one time.
Other - There are other platforms that have proven helpful. Instagram, while not really a tool for sharing links so much, can be used effectively. LinkedIn is a good idea as it will add a degree of professionalism to your own brand. You can try StumbleUpon. I used as intended, it has the potential to generate serious traffic. Flipboard is another potential goldmine, but as with the others you will need to actively build your account. Finally, Google Plus has potential if you can find some big, active groups.
How to submit your article for review
IN PROGRESS --- you are not finished the article and mean to return to complete it at a later time
PITCH --- the article is completely finsihed and is ready for an editor to review
NEED WRITER REVISION --- an editor has requested you to make a change(s) -- check Editorial Comments in the article for an explanation.