How to Write a Hit Product Management Insider Article

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Product Management Insider is the premier publication and community for product managers on Medium. Since launching in 2017, we’ve published 400+ articles submitted by 50+ contributors, and have grown to more than 15,000 followers.

Writing for Product Management Insider is an opportunity to reach our growing audience of product managers, build your brand within the industry, and join a vibrant community of writers and industry leaders.

Our editorial guidelines are designed with our readers’ interests in mind.

Please read ALL five guidelines before submitting your article.

1. Write about a high-impact topic

When readers are interested in the topic of your article, they’re more likely to read it, clap it and share it. Our readers love to read stories that help them improve the skills they use each day. Our top stories cover actionable strategies and tactics for an important aspect of modern product management. Share stories and examples readers can learn from and provide specific steps the reader can take to implement your advice.

We publish articles that fall within five broad categories:

a. Product strategy

Strategy topics include product roadmapping, go-to-market, evaluating new market opportunities, and adapting to new consumer preferences or market dynamics. Want to Win in the Digital Age? by Thor Ernstsson is a good example of a strategy article. He provides perspectives on business and product strategy, and he cites interviews with dozens of key stakeholders at two high-performing organizations.

b. Culture, hiring and organizational design

Hiring the right team and fostering a good culture is crucial to an organization’s success. In Interviewing Product Managers, Brent Tworetzky discusses how to evaluate the skill of the candidate and their “will,” or how excited the candidate is about the work and the company vision. Also check out Vivek Bedi’s Why I Hire Product Managers Based on Emotion Over Experience for another great example of an article about hiring and culture.

c. Career advancement

We’ve published some great articles on breaking into product management, but we prefer to help middle and senior-level product managers advance in their careers.

In Product Manager Skills by Seniority Level — A Deep Breakdown, Brent Tworetzky employs clever visualizations to describe what product managers need to learn in order to figure out what role best suits them.

d. Skills and techniques

Articles that provide actionable, detailed and comprehensive guides to important product management techniques and activities tend to be extremely well-received by our readers. These articles can cover different Agile methods, user research tactics or even how to build user onboarding flows. Aazar Ali Shad‘s article, How Four Leading SaaS Companies Design the Customer Onboarding Experience, does a great job of highlighting real-world examples and providing specific ideas readers can apply to their own products.

e. Management, leadership and collaboration

This last category homes in on the “manager” part of the product manager job title. From running meetings to evangelizing a vision, our readers want to improve their ability to lead teams and collaborate with peers. In Product Manager Critiques: How to Raise the Bar of Your Product People, Chris Butler does a great job of framing his article in terms of how the reader will benefit from implementing his suggestions.

2. Provide evidence

It’s important to support the topics you write about with strong sources. Readers need to see the proof that your recommendations are effective. There are three forms of evidence you can include in your articles: personal experiences, credible data sources and quotes from experts.

a. Share stories or personal experiences

Stories are powerful, because they lend credibility to what you’re saying, while entertaining and influencing the reader. No one would trust a recipe a chef never tested before. Walk readers through the exact steps you took and the outcomes you achieved.

b. Cite credible data sources

Data is powerful, because it’s measurable and easy to understand. It sounds nice when you say “[strategy] will help you grow,” but it sounds way more legitimate when you cite a source that shows “companies who [strategy] grow revenue by 25%.” Check out Why do Product Managers Fail? by Nis Frome, which is based on survey data.

PMI contributors have also written articles about Alpha’s decision-making survey report:

c. Quote experts

Quotes add credibility and social proof. Advice from Jeff Bezos is more credible than advice from the random guy at your local bar.

Tremis Skeete does a great job of using quotes and citing expert advice in his feature of Alpha Co-Founder and Head of Experimentation Nis Frome and of Pendo CPO Brian Crofts. In How 14 Product Leaders Generate and Use Customer Feedback, Daniel Zacarias rounds up expert tips on a critical skill for product managers.

The best articles usually have more than one of these types of sources. tackles an important strategic topic In his article, A Radical, and Simple, Approach to Product Prioritization, Richard Banfield provides evidence based on his personal professional experience and research. He includes graphics and block quotes in a way that makes the article more engaging. To borrow a quote from the article, “What [your reader] need[s] is an instruction manual, not another manifesto.” Richard also does a great job of breaking up his story into short sections with subheadings, and providing concise and actionable insights.

3. Write for a senior audience

Our audience is primarily middle- and senior-level product managers. They work at large companies and venture-backed startups in almost every industry. When coming up with topic ideas and crafting your content, consider what someone who already works in the field can learn from you.

If you’re writing about career advancement, instead of writing about the day-to-day life of a project manager or how to break into product management, cover how to jump to upper levels of management.

4. Write and format your article for readability

Please remember to think about your article from a readers’ point of view. Shorter sentences and paragraphs help make an article more readable.

Please avoid overuse of capitalization and bolding. We follow AP style and use American English.

Please include the following elements in your article:

a. Craft a descriptive, attention-grabbing and benefit-oriented title

Readers decide whether they want to read your article, in large part, based on the title. Highlight what the reader will gain from reading your article. When you see the title, Seven Conversion Funnels That Mobile Product Managers Need to Measure, you can clearly understand what you will learn from the article.

b. Write an engaging introduction with a clear thesis

If readers don’t get excited by your article within the first couple of paragraphs, they’re likely to stop reading. Provide a relatable story, a short and easy to understand summary, and/or an explanation of the benefits they will receive from reading on.

c. Add images

At a minimum, include a banner image at the top of your article that grabs attention. Please do not use a graph or chart for your banner image. If you want to step it up, add 2–3 more images to the body of your article. Good images attract attention and help readers visualize important concepts. Here are four types of images you can include in your story, along with sources and examples:

d. Use subheadings to distinguish key topics

Subheadings make it easy for readers to digest important insights. Melissa Perri’s article, Six Questions to Ask Before Taking That Product Manager Job, has performed incredibly well, in part, because it organizes an important topic into distinct sections. Each section is an actionable tip the reader can apply when interviewing for a product management role. Each question has one or two paragraphs that explain why it’s important and what the reader should do to get the right answer.

e. Write between 750 and 1,500 words

To be the best article available on its topic, your article needs to be comprehensive and thorough. Articles must be between 750 and 1,500 words (or between 4–7 minutes of reading time as reported on Medium).

f. Feel free to include a brief plug

Writing for Product Management Insider is an opportunity to reach a large audience of product managers and build your brand. You’re welcome to link to your website or mention your company, but please don’t be overly promotional. A link or two within the body of the article to a relevant article you wrote, or a call to action at the end to follow you on Twitter or sign up for your email list is completely acceptable.

5. Submit your article

Once you’ve written an article that meets the above criteria, send us the draft through Medium.

Please note: Medium defaults to putting your story behind a paywall. We don’t accept articles on Product Management Insider if everyone can’t see them. Please be sure to change the distribution setting to “off” on your article before you submit it. You can find instructions on how to do this here.

a. First-time writers

If this is your first time writing for Product Management Insider, send an email to pmi [at] alphahq [dot] com and Shawna Lent at shawna.lent [at] alphahq [dot] com with the subject line: “PM Insider Submission — [Your Name].”

We will let you know once we add you as a contributor, then you can upload your story directly through Medium. We’ll consider articles that you’ve previously published on Medium, as long as they are not already in a different publication. We’ll review and edit your article before it is published.

b. Current writers

Once we’ve added you as a writer on Medium, your can submit your article directly through the platform.

We’ll make edits for readability, clarity and style directly within the article. If we have more significant edit requests, questions or feedback, we’ll send you private comments directly on the article.

We’re looking forward to featuring your story!

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