The most significant part of Health:Further is the contributors. You. The goal of the Health:Further team is to provide a place for you to talk about ideas. We’re here for infrastructure, curation and a little bit of guidance. We’re here to support you.
In practice, this means giving as many people as possible opportunities 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, create an account on our site, 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.
First, to provide an optimistic and respectful place on the web for people to discuss the best ideas in health in order to actually do something with those ideas and fulfill our goal of making a healthy future accessible, affordable and sustainable.
Second, to connect people from across the world of health and healthcare who might not otherwise get a chance to talk. In other words, to break down silos. Again, so that real progress can be made towards a sustainable future of health.
To be honest, for some of what follows we drew heavily from the Fast Company contributor guidelines. They’ve been doing a killer job for a long time, so we figured it’s a good template to work from. Check out the whole thing, or skip to the relevant section for specific questions:
- What to write about
- Who to write for
- Educate, don’t promote
- Take a stand
- Use your voice
- Provide evidence
- Be focused
- Limit the jargon
- Submission guidelines
What to write about: 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 reach the ideals of sustainable and affordable health for everyone, and we’re not going to get there if we narrow our focus. 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
- Healthcare services
- Medical devices
- Life science/biotech
- Consumer tech
- Healthcare delivery
- Mental health
- Health policy
Who to write for:
- Execs – Payer, provider, etc.
- Corporate innovators – people working within established healthcare organizations to find and implement innovative ideas.
- Government officials/staffers
- VC and finance
- Service providers
- Students (undergrad, grad, med, etc)
- People who think health is important and subscribe to our two ideals
It’s best if you pick one of these segments and keep it in mind while writing your piece. Write in such a way that your article can be interesting and accessible to someone in a different segment – this goes back to cross-pollination and getting rid of the silos – but it’s always easier to write for a narrower audience. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
Educate, don’t promote: As you start developing your contribution, think about educating the audience as the primary goal, with your product or company taking on a secondary role. 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, so we understand that your product is a critical part of your story. Feel free to talk about your product; we’d just ask that your article not be set up as a marketing piece.
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 chatting 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. 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. Include case studies. 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).
Limit the Jargon: 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 you’re writing for a specific segment of healthcare but your article will be seen by a broad, diverse community containing a lot of people who may not be using the same glossary as you.
Submission guidelines: Start by picking a publication date here. Then, sign up for a contributor account on our website here. No less than one week prior to your scheduled publication date, please submit a draft through your contributor account. We will then review it, work with you and any edits, and then schedule it for publication when it’s ready. If possible, please include at least one image. We’ll use that as the featured image on our main blog page and a header for the post itself. More than one is great.
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: As noted above, 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. Some of our best content will be included in our year-end ebook, and we also have a few free tickets to Health:Further for people whose articles do exceptionally well.
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 by 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.