A What-To and How-To Guide for Health:Further Contributors
The most significant part of Health:Further is the contributors. You. The goal of Health:Further the company and team is to simply provide a place for Health:Further the community to talk about ideas. Infrastructure and curation and a little bit of guidance, but that’s about it.
In practice, this means bringing in as many people as possible to write about their perspective on whatever part of health and innovation they’re involved in. Therefore, becoming a Health:Further contributor is pretty straightforward: Have an idea, apply to contribute, write about your idea, submit it to us on Medium, get approval, get published, respond to comments.
To help you work through that process, we’ve created a contributor’s guide to Health:Further. This will be updated periodically and includes pretty much everything we think you need to know about writing for the community. Please read this guide thoroughly before sending us your work; while it’s an open community and we want things to be quite flexible, there are some constraints so it’s important we’re all on the same page.
Lastly, not gonna lie, we drew heavily from the Fast Company contributor guidelines for what follows. They’ve been doing a killer job for a long time, so we figured it’s a good template to work from.
Application: To help us stay organized, we’re asking people who want to contribute to fill out the following form (unless you’re reading this guide because we’ve already discussed getting you on board).
Topics: Anything in the realm of health/healthcare innovation. Yes, that’s broad and yes, it’s intentionally so. We all have a ton of work to do to reach the ideals of sustainable and affordable health for everyone, and we’re not going to get there if we narrow our focus. It’s time to tear down the silos and remove the restrictions, time to get everyone talking even if the ideas seem way out there. Practically though, here are some of the topics we’re looking for. If you don’t see yours on the list, send us a note anyway and we’ll talk. If you’re thinking about innovation, we probably have a spot for you.
- Health IT
- Medical devices
- Life science/biotech
- Consumer tech
- Healthcare delivery
- Mental health
- Health policy
Audience: Also very broad. Anyone involved or interested in innovation around health/healthcare, particularly the topics above.
- Government officials/staffers
- Students (undergrad, grad, med, etc)
- VC and finance
- Service providers
- Healthcare professionals
- People who think health is important and subscribe to our two ideals
This is an unusual approach, because it means you’ll be talking to and with a lot of people from a huge range of backgrounds. That is, of course, challenging. However, if you start from the premise that we are all here because we want to solve real problems in human health using compassion, sustainable economics and cool technology, you’ll be fine. Which leads to the next point…
Educate, don’t promote: The goal of the H:F community is to work towards solutions in a collective way. We want to stimulate discussion about issues and trends in health. In practice, this means writing more about the ideas than the products. Put another way, a specific technology (yours or others’) should be viewed as a means to an end, NOT the end in itself. As you start developing your contribution, think about education first, discussion second, and your particular interest in the field third. That said, of course you may mention your product. It’s a fine line because we want you to contribute precisely because you are coming from a unique perspective that is in large part shaped by your company’s place in the market. And this, in turn, is informed by your product (and visa versa). So we understand that your product is a critical part of your story and want to give you latitude to say what you need to say. Just think of this as a contribution to the community rather than a marketing effort, and everything will fall into place.
We are a business and as such, we will give our sponsors a bit more room to talk about their products. Even so, the material provided by sponsors will maintain the hierarchy of education, discussion, promotion.
Take a stand: Please, please, please have an opinion. There’s too much sanitized, soulless content floating around the web already. We’re not about to add more. It’s ok good to poke a little bit, that’s how conversations happen and solutions are developed. It’s good to push back on someone else’s ideas, as long as it’s done respectfully. When we all come at these problems with the understanding that everyone here is debating in good faith, we can make real progress. So no trolling, no name-calling, no personal attacks. We hate having to include that stuff, but, well, the internet.
Use your voice: Related to the previous section. The biggest draw of the Health:Further community is that people get to talk about what they want, how they want. (Again, within reasonable bounds.) Therefore, we’ll encourage you to write in a conversational tone as if you were conversing with friends at a cocktail hour. In other words, don’t feel obligated to make your writing sound like a press release or a technical document. If you want to start sentences with a conjunction, go ahead. If you decide to use contractions, that’s great. Write in a way that gets you excited about the material and makes it easy to write. This isn’t so much a guideline as it is permission. Have some fun.
Provide evidence: This isn’t a scientific publication by any means. However, we love data and want to see it whenever possible. It’s fine to speculate and project, subjectivity is great (see above). Just avoid the conspiracy theories and bad science. Put another way, alternative interpretations are great, alternative facts…not so much. Again, common sense and common courtesy should rule the day.
Be focused: Say what needs to be said, but please keep things reasonably concise. What does that mean in practice? Well, we don’t have formal word limits on contributions. However, most of what we’re looking for will probably fall into the 600–1200 word range. If it’s looking like your piece is going to run way past that, let’s talk about doing a series (we get more content, you get more exposure, everyone goes home happy). We’ll work with you to hone your contributions, though, so don’t worry too much about this.
Define the terms: Field-specific jargon is unavoidable. But, please try to minimize obscure terminology as much as possible and, when you do need to use it, include definitions. Especially abbreviations and acronyms. Remember that this is a broad, diverse community with a lot of people who may not be using the same glossary as you.
Submission guidelines: Please sign up for a Medium account and then head over to https://medium.com/healthfurther and follow the publication. Once you’ve written a draft, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Yours truly will review the piece and get back to you to discuss edits, if necessary. From there, you’ll be added to the Medium publication as a writer and can submit your article. Once you’re listed as a writer, you can create drafts and submit them directly, no email back-and-forth necessary.
IF you’re precluded from using Medium for some reason, you can send submissions to email@example.com and then have your work published under the Health:Further name with a note at the top declaring you as the author.
Editing: In general, we’ll leave contributions pretty much as is. That’s the point — to give contributors an unfiltered voice within the community. However, there may be instances where tweaks are needed and therefore all submissions may be edited by the Health:Further team. We’ll copy edit for typos and possibly change titles. We may also add/change graphics, but never in such a way that will alter your perspective or data. If significant editing is necessary, for example on content or length, we’ll get in touch and work with you to make the appropriate changes. We’d ask that you include all relevant links, we don’t have time to source your work for you.
Timeline: We need your contribution a minimum of one week ahead of the scheduled publication date. Two weeks is better, especially if this is your first contribution. A week gives us just enough time to review, edit, and send back for another round.
Promotion: Promote your work as widely as you’d like. We’ll be pushing out your articles on various social media channels and possibly through email. It’s great if you do the same. Greater visibility means more conversation around your topic and more exposure for you and your company.
Rights: By contributing to Health:Further, you agree that we may use your work in whole or part for our online publication(s), social media, festival materials, and other content as we see fit. No compensation will be provided unless determined in a separate agreement. You are welcome to repost your contributions, but we ask that contributed articles remain exclusive to Health:Further for five business days, after which time they may be reprinted in part or full on other sites, with a link back to the original article on Health:Further. By sending us your material, you are affirming that the content is original and that you have the right to submit it. No plagiarism, no stealing.
Disclaimer: We reserve the right to reject any contribution, regardless of whether the author has published with us before. We also reserve the right to pull/retract any work if we deem necessary. Most topics are going to be of interest, but there are some things that we won’t cover. We’re not going to go into details here because the odds of you sending us something out of bounds is very very low, but please understand that boundaries do exist.
Also, you are responsible for getting approval on any content that might need it. Talk to your legal, regulatory or medical team if necessary. Work published on Health:Further does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Health:Further team, and we are not in the business of offering advice. Therefore, we are not responsible for any legal, medical, regulatory or other recommendations made by our contributors (accurate or not). Same goes for proprietary information revealed by our contributors. So, just make sure everything’s cool before you submit to us.
Questions about any of this? Send a note to our Community Editor David Shifrin at firstname.lastname@example.org.