Writing for Higher Education Today

March 23, 2020

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Submission Guidelines

  • Word count: 900-1,400
  • Charts/figures/other images: Submit separately as image files (.jpg or .png preferred). If you have generated your graphics from Excel or similar program, please send the spreadsheet as well. If you have photos you would like us to consider, please send a high-resolution, large format version of the image. Photos must have a landscape orientation and be minimum 1000 x 600 pixels (bio photos can be smaller, but they must be at least 500 x 500).
  • Bio: Please send a brief biography (which may be edited for length) and if possible, a headshot along with your draft. If you have a bio on your institution’s website or elsewhere (for example, LinkedIn), please send the link.
  • Research/links: If possible, embed hyperlinks in the text instead of using endnotes or footnotes.
  • Due date: Send a draft outline and then a full draft to your ACE liaison and blog editor Laurie Arnston at larnston@acenet.edu. The draft is due two weeks before the agreed-upon post date. Feel free to let us know if you would like to set up a conference call to discuss your piece before you start writing.

Content Tips

  • Our target audience is senior higher education leaders both on campus and in the research and advocacy communities. However, our actual audience is somewhat broader and more general, so we try to keep the language accessible and the tone conversational.
  • Unlike traditional research manuscripts that often begin with a long wind-up and extended background early in the piece, typical blog posts are structured like essays or op-eds, with a strong, clear explanation of the issue and key themes upfront.
  • Focus on what would be beneficial to readers: Emphasize actionable takeaways and avoid overly theoretical pieces. And keep in mind that institutional or situational (such as current events) context is always helpful.
  • On a related note, most successful blogs are both informational and tell a story. We encourage writers to link any research they might use to concrete examples or a narrative.
  • If necessary, separate your content using subheads so that it’s easier for readers to navigate. It can often be useful to combine numerous items of a similar nature into bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Include an interesting but brief title to draw your readers in.

Sample Posts

Higher Education Today has four areas where guest contributions are posted: Policy & Research, Leadership, International and Attainment & Innovation. Please spend a few minutes browsing around the section where your post will appear to get a sense of what’s been written in that area. Your ACE liaison may send links to particular posts that you might find helpful. If you need further guidance, let us know.

Spreading the Word

Some Higher Education Today posts have reached a relatively large audience, with over 10,000 views. Others have been reprinted in textbooks or linked to in high-profile media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

We work to share your post as widely as possible, through our bi-weekly email newsletter (Higher Education & National Affairs), social media, the ACE website and other tactics. To help us get as many readers as possible for your post, consider one or more of the following:

  • Share on social media: both your own, your department’s, and your institution’s accounts. We have code embedded on the blog so that when you share a link, the image on the page will show up on your account, which can help raise visibility. Also consider pinning it to the top of your page for a period of time. (See instructions for pinning posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.) If your institution is small, you can tag the institutional account in your personal post, and they’ll likely pick it up. For larger universities, a direct message or call to the person who runs the department’s social media accounts and the university’s PR or public affairs staff often helps.
  • Share on social media again: While you don’t want to spam your followers by posting the same thing over and over, several carefully timed shares can increase the views for your blog post. Consider switching up the language, tagging different people, and posting two or three times over a week- to two-week period.
  • Choose your language: While posting the title and link to you post is quick and easy—and can be effective—try quoting some language from it instead, or perhaps writing a brief summary or series of takeaways (you might need multiple posts if you use the takeaway strategy).
  • Hashtags: A hashtag is a keyword or phrase used to group a collection of content together. Tricky to get right, hashtags nonetheless can help people in your community and other readers find your post. Be sure to use common, existing hashtags: They will be more useful in spreading the post than one used solely by you or just a small handful of people. See this Inside Higher Ed directory for ideas.
  • Tagging people or organizations: You can also use a tag to alert a specific person or group about your post (for example, @ACEducation). Try tagging researchers whose work you have used in your work, or other relevant people or organizations who might be interested in your writing and can pass it on.
  • Reposting in newsletters, emails, or on other blogs: We encourage you to repost or share the link to your post in department and college newsletters, emails, or on other relevant blogs. If you would like to repost it in full, let us help you think through the best date (sometimes it might be the same day as it appears on Higher Education Today, other times we might ask you to wait a bit) and other issues you might want to discuss with the editor.

If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact us.

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