How to Write a Hit Product Management Insider 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 that they use each day. We’ve found that our top stories cover actionable strategies and tactics for an important aspect of modern product management. Share stories and examples that readers can learn from and provide specific steps that the reader can take to implement your advice.

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 cites interviews with dozens of key stakeholders at two high-performing organizations. Because of his observations of senior executives and his own personal background as a founder and CEO, Thor is able to provide insights that can help executives achieve high level objectives.

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

By virtue of having worked in product roles at some of the fastest growing companies, Brent Tworetzky provides unique insights on career advancement. In Product Manager Skills By Seniority Level — A Deep Breakdown, he 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. Enter Aazar Ali Shad with his article, How 4 Leading SaaS Companies Design the Customer Onboarding Experience. Aazar does a great job of highlighting real world examples and providing specific ideas that readers can immediately apply on their own products.

e. Management, Leadership, and Collaboration

This last category hones 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 their teams and collaborate with peers. Chris Butler provides excellent advice shares his own personal experience with such a subject in Product Manager Critiques: How to Raise the Bar of Your Product People. He does a great job of framing his article in terms of how the reader will benefit from reading the article and implementing his suggestions.

2. Provide evidence

It’s important to support the topics that you write about with strong sources. Readers need to see the proof that your recommendations are proven to be effective. There are three forms of evidence that 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 that chef never tested before. Theory is great, but sometimes it’s important to show how to deal with the nitty gritty. Walk readers through the exact steps that you took and the outcomes that 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 can cite a source that shows that “companies who [strategy] grow revenue by 25%”. For an example of an article that cites data, check out Why do product managers fail? by Nis Frome. Survey data is the basis for the article. He includes chart graphics, describes them succinctly, and provides his unique perspectives.

c. Quote experts

Quotes are powerful because they add credibility and social proof. Advice from Jeff Bezos is more credible than advice from the guy giving life you advice at your local dive bar.

3. Write for a senior audience

Our audience is primarily middle and senior-level product managers. They work 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.

4. Format your article for readability

Medium is one of the best designed websites on the Internet. It offers several formatting features that help readers improve the design and readability of their articles. Please include the following formatting elements:

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

Readers will see the title of your article on Medium and in their social feeds. They decide whether they want to read it in large part based on the title. Highlight what the reader will gain from reading your article. When you see the title, 7 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 to read 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 that 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. 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 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, 6 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 that the reader can apply the next time they are 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. Often, subheadings will be a list of tips. In this case, a good rule of thumb is to start each subheading with a verb.

e. Write between 750 and 1,500 words

Your article should be the best article available on its topic. To be the best article available, it 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). If you’re writing an article about writing user stories, about everything readers need to know to write a good user story.

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. But writing takes time and effort, so you want to make sure you benefit from it. We get it. You’re welcome to link to your website or mention your company, but don’t be overly promotional. A link or two within the body of the article to a relevant article that 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. We also add a form or graphic at the bottom of every article for readers to sign up for more content.

5. Submit your article

Once you’ve written an article that meets the above criteria, send us the draft. First-time readers should submit via email. Second-time writers can submit directly through Medium. Here are the instructions for both:

a. First time writers: Email

If this is your first time writing for Product Management Insider, send Shawna an email at shawna.lent [at] alphahq [dot] com with the subject line: “PM Insider Submission — [Your Name]”. If you’d like us to edit and proofread your “MVP,” include a Google Doc. If your article is ready to ship, upload it to Medium, and send a link to the draft before you publish it. We’ll consider articles that you’ve previously published on Medium as long as they are not already in a different publication.

b. Current writers: Medium

Once we’ve added you as a Writer here on Medium, your can submit your article directly through the platform. We’ll make small edits directly within the article if there are any typos or small suggestions. If we have most significant edit requests or feedback, we’ll privately comment on the article or email you.

Product Management Insider

The exclusive data and insights that enable 8,000+ product managers to win. Subscribe via email at productmanagementinsider.com. We are powered by Alpha.

Alpha

Written by

Alpha

Alpha’s platform enables management teams to make data-driven decisions about users, products, and new markets.

Product Management Insider

The exclusive data and insights that enable 8,000+ product managers to win. Subscribe via email at productmanagementinsider.com. We are powered by Alpha.