So, you wanna write for RFS? Better bring your A-Game.
From the time RFS began, we’ve been inundated with requests to write content for us. Which is very flattering, of course.
Over the years, we’ve received more pitches than we can count, and even more direct submissions on top of that.
If you have a great idea for a story related to fitness, sex & relationships, health, business & money, climate change & science, or a generally cool lifestyle idea, we would love to hear it.
In fact, we often will pay for it.
And we will pay even more for BIPOC, Queer, and Trans voices.
However…looking back on some of the pitches we’ve received over the years, we’re a bit trepidatious about this–after all, most of them were terrible.
That brings us to the Rules for Submission — please read these before you submit anything, as we take this very seriously. If you clearly didn’t read these, we will not consider your article.
RULES for Submissions
1) Do not suck.
We don’t publish shitty content here. If you’re going to submit an article, it has to have great content and great writing. Our editors can help you a little bit with the latter, but you need to give them something to work with. In other words, we ask that you take writing for us seriously, and put a lot of work into it.
2) Be qualified.
If you are a marketer and work for some scammy content agency and have NO experience training people, DO NOT send us an article about fitness. You’re not qualified, actually. This doesn’t mean you can’t write for us, we publish all kinds of articles on various topics. However, the topic of your article should reflect your expertise and experience. Trust us, we can tell who actually trains people and who doesn’t when we read the article.
To that, let us know your credentials in your message. We’re not asking for an alphabet soup of certifications, but we are looking for the people who work in whatever space they’re writing about.
3) Craft it for us.
Nothing is more annoying than getting some blanket pitch that you can tell went out to 15 other websites. If you send one of those, your ideas will not be considered, now or ever. On the flip side, don’t send us an article written in hyperbolic bro-talk because you think that’s what we want. It’s not.
This distinction is most aptly described by nonfiction legend John McPhee is his book, Draft No. 4: “House style is not a reference to a canard that an entire magazine can be made to sound as if it were written by one writer. House style is a mechanical application of things like spelling and italics.”
In short, sound like you, but craft it for us. We want to hear your unique voice and perspective, not a poor imitation of ours.
To that end, our style guide includes a rather informal style. Use contractions, drop F-bombs if you want, and feel free to use made-up words like broscience. Finally, we’re an American magazine, so please spell color and favor like so.
4) Make it relevant.
Please familiarize yourself with our back catalog. Get to know the types of articles we publish and the general tone of the writing. Everything you submit should be in line with our general feel. Here are links to some of our popular guest posts from the last few years. All of these are good examples of articles with a tone that clearly fits our website, but each author has their own voice.
5) Take chances.
Just because we’ve never published an article on something doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to do so; it just means we haven’t found the right person to tackle that assignment. If you want to write something about Pilates, for example, and you can position it in a way that our readers can relate to it and draw value from it…well, then I guess we’ll find ourselves strongly considering that article. We’re always looking to expand.
6) OPTIONAL: Do your keyword research.
Now, this isn’t an absolute necessity, however, I highly recommend spending the time to do keyword research before sending us an article for a few reasons. The goal of keyword research is to find topics where you’re likely to rank high on Google for popular searches. This has an obvious benefit for you: your article will always get traffic. Something you write for us today has the potential to bring exposure to you for years and years to come. Yes, you can stumble upon a high-ranking article, but doing the research ahead of time greatly improves the chances of ranking.
On our end, effective keyword research can show us the value of an article.
We publish plenty of articles that don’t focus on search engine optimization, but this is something to keep in mind.
When you submit your article, please include any keyword research and other SEO-related info that went along with its creation. If you’re wondering “what the hell are keywords” then write your first article like normal.
7) Please see rule 1.
Good content trumps everything. So maybe go work on your writing.
GUIDELINES for Articles
In order to maximize your chances of getting your article published, and minimize the amount of work we need to do to get it ready for the site, there are a few specific things you should include in your submission.
All of these things are important from a publication and technical perspective, so including them upfront allows us to get an article up on the site without the need for a consistent back and forth.
Please make sure you include all of the following:
AUTHOR BYLINE – This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people forget. At the top of the article, please include your name, nom de plume, or whatever you’d like to be called at the top of the article, so we can be sure to attribute it to you correctly.
AUTHOR BIO – Please include a brief bio paragraph about yourself, including links to any sites, products, or social media outlets you’d like us to mention (up to 2 links total, these will be dofollow links so Google recognizes how awesome you are).
AUTHOR HEADSHOT – We need a picture of you. Make it pretty.
ARTICLE TITLE & SUBTITLE – Please do not send us a submission with a note that says, I don’t know what to call this. Instead, come up with a comprehensive title that states your idea, as well as a descriptive subtitle that explains it further.
For example, if this page was an article, it might be called, “A Brief Note About Article Submissions: How to Give Yourself the Best Chance of Getting Published.”
ARTICLE FORMATTING – In addition to being generally well written, your article should be well organized. Break up your paragraphs, and be sure to use headlines to separate topics. This makes for easier editing, and easier reading.
Taking things a bit further, please make sure to use bold, italics, and underlining to create emphasis where applicable and/or necessary.
Keep in mind, this is one of the ways you dictate “tone” in writing, and it’s what helps your voice shine through. Use your voice, rather than rely on us to create one for you.
Another bonus tip that we appreciate is if you add inbound links to other relevant articles on RFS. For example, if you’re writing about Olympic lifting, you should link to our article on power cleans.
ARTICLE SUMMARY – Nothing crazy, just a 2-3 sentence summary we can use as an excerpt. Think in terms of a Tweet or Facebook post.
ARTICLE TAGS – For the purposes of organization, please include all relevant “tags” for the article. These are the main themes of the piece.
Let’s say you wrote an article called Intermittent Fasting 201: Four Popular IF Protocols and How to Use Them. You’d list the main themes of the article, as well as the specific protocols you touched on.
In the case of that article, your tags would be: intermittent fasting, intermittent fasting protocols, feast/fast, 16/8 fasting, leangains, warrior diet, eat stop eat, etc.
You might also include any individuals mentioned in the article, so you’d want to include tags for Martin Berkhan, Ori Hofmelker, and Brad Pilon.
You don’t need to do this in the body of the article; just include a list of tags at the end of the piece, separated by commas.
ARTICLE PICTURES & VIDEO – Visual media is important for two reasons. Firstly, it can often help convey concepts more easily than the written word; if you’re going to be talking about a specific exercise, a 15-second video of you demonstrating that exercise is more helpful than 400 words trying to describe it.
Secondly, it helps break up the text and keep readers interested. A good rule of thumb is that for every 800-1000 words, one well-placed picture or video can make a huge difference.
Feel free to use just about any picture that’s relevant, as long as you’re sure to give proper photo credit. (We’d prefer that any and all videos you include in the article be your property, however.) For Youtube videos, in the article include the HTML code for where you’d like us to embed the video in the article.
The main thing is to only use as many as is necessary, and never to shoehorn them in. It should add to the experience of reading the article, not distract from it.
Final Notes on Article Submission
- We prefer for writers to send us a fully written piece. If you send us a pitch, the answer will almost always be, “sounds like a cool idea, write it up and let’s see how it turns out.” So, you may as well save yourself some time and just write it first. From there, if it doesn’t get accepted, at least you’ve got a high-quality article for your own site.
- Only submit on this page; do not pitch through the general contact form on the site, as pitches received there will not be read.
- If you’re just looking for a backlink, that’s fine, but if it’s obvious that you wrote it quickly for the sole purpose of getting a backlink, we obviously won’t publish it. If we do decide to publish, you can get two, do-follow backlinks.
All of that clear? Perfect. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Please make your submission via the form below, and we can get this party started.
As stated previously, this form is the ONLY place to submit articles and/or pitches for articles. Please make sure that all submissions are in compliance with all of the rules and guidelines listed above. Thanks!