Write for the Ashtray Blog

Man with pipe in bow tie in front of a type writer.

Can you write a truly great article about vaping/harm reduction/electronic cigarettes or related topics? Do you want to get paid for it AND reach thousands of readers?

If so, here’s what you need to know before picking up your pen.

Payment

We’re happy to pay for content. I’m not going to specify an amount here, because obviously it depends (we’re going to pay more for a 5000 word guide than a 500 word news piece, we’ll also pay more for pieces which require a lot of research) but prices typically start at around $50/£30 for a 500 word piece which doesn’t require a lot of research.

Feel free to shoot over a proposal and your price. But before you start writing, bear in mind we will only publish blog posts which are:

a. Great pieces of writing
b. Right for our audience

Payment is usually made via PayPal, and we’ll need an invoice before payment can be made.

Given that we’re fussy, it might help you to know what we are looking for. The following is adapted from a blogging guide I created for company staff. (I’ve made it slightly less onerous for you ;))

What we’re looking for in a blog post:

Title

The title is the most important part of the blog.

If people don’t like the title, they won’t read the rest of your blog post.

When planning your blog post, think of as many titles as possible. We can split test three of these to see which works best.

Are electronic cigarettes safe? The shocking truth!

The title of that blog post is one reason it got 70,000+ shares.

Content

All the following are relevant:

  • user guides and tutorials
  • humour
  • industry comment
  • interviews

In general, you’d be better off submitting timeless content than something which will only be relevant for a week.

It’s also better to write something which is specific to a topic about vaping rather than ramble about vaping in general.

Recent examples include:

  • 14 common clearomiser mistakes (and how to fix them)
  • 7 Huge Consequences of an ECig Ban
  • Why everything they told you about nicotine addiction could be wrong

Whenever we publish a blog post, we want it  to be the best and most comprehensive post on its topic on the internet. If you’re thinking of writing a blog post, it’s a good idea to check if there are similar posts on the internet, and make sure you can supply information/quality over and above what already exists.

You can also ask on social media and forums what people would like know about.

Skill Level

We get vapers of all skill levels reading our blog, but it’s particularly aimed at beginner to intermediate levels. Many of our guides include some tips which will help both begining bloggers and others which will help intermediate users.

We don’t currently cover modding or rebuilding.

Writing Style

  • informal
  • always imagine you are speaking to your reader
  • use the word you more than you use the word we or I
  • never use a difficult word when a simple one would do
  • never use two words when one would do
  • never use the passive when you could use the active
  • use short paragraphs
  • ask rhetorical questions
  • include a subject with every sentence

When you review your post, always think about how you could:

  • make it clearer
  • easier to read
  • cut out unnecessary words
  • make it friendlier
  • speak more directly to the reader

Include humour if you can.

Formatting

Break up blog posts with:

  • headlines
  • lists
  • numbering
  • graphs and charts

We also LOVE:

  • tweetable quotes
  • embeddable charts/graphs/diagrams

Images

A picture is worth a thousands words. So if you can, suggest or provide images with a blog post. (But never include an image unless it can legally be used on our blog.)

Custom images are preferable, we use stock image sites when this is not possible.

If relevant, considering suggesting a cartoon to illustrate the point of the blog.

Linking out

Link to high quality posts/articles/research on other sites when they are relevant and add value to the blog posts.

Post publish

We’ll do some of this, but the more you can do the better:

  • share the post on social media
  • monitor and reply to comments, both onsite and offsite
  • look out for reader suggestions that can improve the content of the blog
  • update the content of the blog post when you see relevant new information
  • when you see questions on social media which the blog post answers, include a link to the blog post with your answer

How to submit

Proposals: Simply put your proposal and price in an email to [email protected] Use “Vaper Writer” in the title.

Full articles: I prefer these in a google doc. If you can’t manage that, a Word attachment is fine.

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