News & Views

SB Content Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in contributing to Sustainable Brands! Our readers are looking to you to share your advice, expertise and wisdom — before you submit, here are some FAQs to help you get started.

Writers' Guidelines

Other Need-to-Knows

  • Target length is 500-1000 words, with a single space between sentences
  • Content must be non-promotional in nature
  • Use of words such as "green," "eco-friendly," "sustainable" (without the appropriate context) and similarly overused buzzwords is highly discouraged (you can do better than that).
  • Please make sure we either haven't already covered your topic or that it is in fact newsworthy in the context of what we have covered (see 'What should I write about?').

Formatting

  • Ensure that all changes to the document are accepted and that "track changes" is turned off
  • All desired hyperlinks must be embedded in the document (rather than footnotes) prior to submission
  • First-time contributors must create an account on sustainablebrands.com, including a head shot and biographical information
  • First-time writers may submit completed drafts via our content submission webform

Who reads SB?

It runs the gamut, but our core audience of sustainable business innovators trend toward mid- to high-level managers or decision-makers who are looking for new ways to build business and brand value by improving environmental and social impact with positive economic results — ideas and strategies that go above and beyond compliance and what their peers might already be doing. Our readers generally possess more than a basic understanding of the opportunity in "doing well by doing good." They already "get it," and now want smart strategic thinking; novel, innovative ideas; and tested approaches with demonstrated success metrics, when possible. We value those willing to share specific case studies, and encourage you to remember that while people rarely share them, failures are as valuable as successes!

What should I write about?

We understand the 'why' ... now tell us 'how.'

Our readers generally have a thorough understanding of the benefits of and business case for sustainability and the low-hanging fruit in terms of tips for implementation, and are looking for disruptive new insights, ideas, strategies, innovations, etc. SB can offer some guidance, but in general we encourage writers to address topics that they feel passionate about and about which they feel they have an advanced level of domain knowledge. A few broad suggestions:

  • Think Sustainability 2.0. Emphasize "innovation" and "opportunity" over "responsibility" or "compliance."
  • Think "big picture." Focus on ideas, initiatives and case studies that will offer beneficial information for a broad range of companies or industries.
  • Share metrics. Quantifying the impact and ROI of sustainability initiatives is of particular interest and value to our community.
  • Be specific. Better to drill down on one or two key issues than provide an overview that offers few concrete takeaways.
  • Tap your inner guru. Sharing your expertise is what counts. Shoot for the kind of analysis/advice/metrics piece our readers might forward to their colleagues.
  • Reference current trends. Start by perusing SB's editorial channels for a look at what topics we've published on in recent months. You may find inspiration from the industry surveys, company news, interviews with business leaders, and past contributions from SB writers. Any references to previous SB coverage can be hyperlinked within your text.

How long should my article be?

That depends on the topic at hand. SB articles run from brief, blog-style posts to 1,500-word, magazine-style essays. If you find yourself hitting the 1,500-word mark with no conclusion in sight, you may want to revisit your original plans for the piece and select just one or two core ideas to focus on.

Do you have any tips for me before I begin writing?

The Internet caters to short attention spans, so structure is extremely important. You may have just 10-15 seconds to capture your audience, so plan to present your thesis up top second paragraph at the latest.

By the same token, it helps to provide a roadmap so the reader knows what to expect. A simple "Here are three examples" will help your reader not to mention you stay on track. The old "Tell 'em what you're going to say, then say it, then remind 'em what you said" is always a good approach.

Also, be sure to frame your article in a way that can inform, interest or appeal to a large subset of the SB community (see 'Who reads SB?') in terms of strategies and takeaways that could benefit organizations in a variety of industries. Instead of a self-promotional pitch about how great your company's latest program is, try and present the topic as insights and benefits that your company has gained as a result of the program.

How do I know if I'm on the right track?

Rule of thumb: If you're asking yourself this question, you may well need a bit of focusing. Don't hesitate to check in with our editor for feedback — we're here to save you time and effort if we can.

Can I use graphics and illustrations?

Of course! Simply send us the desired graphics and note within the text where they should appear.

Are there any additional materials I should include with my draft submission?

If you're a first-time writer, we'll need you to create a profile on sustainablebrands.com, and upload a photo and bio to that profile. If possible, please include a suggested landscape-oriented, hi-resolution image to include with your piece.

What if I have last-minute changes?

The beauty of the web is that nothing is set in stone. If you have any changes you'd like to make to any article you've written for us, let us know. If you have any changes to make on your profile, simply log in and edit directly under the 'Bio' tab. Your changes will automatically be picked up on our site.

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