One of the most popular formats on TechRepublic is the simple 10 Things model. (You probably know that... you're here, right?) Now we want to cast the 10 Things net a bit wider so that we can tap into the expertise, knowledge, and counting skills of TechRepublic members.
Introducing our new Blog Submission Tool, designed to let you send in entries for the 10 Things blog. If your submission meets the criteria outlined below, it could get published as a blog post under your name. Here's the scoop.
#1: 10 Things lists offer a high-level view
The goal of a 10 Things list is to provide a quick look at a specific area of concern for IT pros, to give them enough information to help support their users, understand a set of issues, avoid common mistakes, formulate best practices, or get familiar with the pros and cons of a certain platform, product, or service.
10 Things lists aren't designed to deliver in-depth analysis, complex instructions, or exhaustive detail.
#2: 10 Things lists are concise
On average, 10 Things lists run between 800 to 1,500 words.
#3: 10 Things lists should contain 10 solid items
If you can come up with only three good points and have to add seven fluffy ones just to hit the magic number, the effort isn't going to fly. It could be extremely useful information -- just not cut out for this format. (You might want to check out the How Do I... blog submission guidelines as a possible alternative.)
#4: 10 Things lists can exceed 10 items
If you've got a few extra relevant, useful points, just call it a 10+ Things list.
#5: 10 Things lists are built like this one
You've seen plenty of examples, if you've spent much time in this blog. The lists consist of a short introduction, followed by the 10 items. Each item gets a paragraph or two of explanation or examples that support it.
#6: 10 Things lists sometimes benefit from an image or two
If you think you'd like to include a photo or screen shot in a submission, just indicate that in the text. We'll ask you for the image files if we publish your post and we'll put them in there for you.
#7: 10 Things lists can tackle a broad topic
Members often are just trying to get up to speed quickly on the basics of some big issue or trend. One good way to give them key info on the fly is with a format such as "10 things you should know about..." (a product, feature, technology, platform, job function, career advancement topic, management strategy).
#8: 10 Things lists can tackle a narrow topic
Other 10 Things lists are narrowly focused, offering a concise look at a more granular topic. For example, they might follow a formula such as "10 things to look for in"... (a desktop firewall, a PDA, an antivirus solution) or "10 tips for..." (writing an effective developer resume, organizing your server room, working with Word tables).
#9: 10 Things lists shouldn't duplicate previous 10 Things lists
It may be just fine to tackle a topic that's already been covered in the 10 Things format -- you may have 10 MORE useful things to add -- just make sure you're really adding something to the information mix on the site. Take a quick look around to make sure nothing out there is already conveying the same basic points you want to cover. (On a semi-related note, and please don't be offended but it has to be said: Make sure what you submit is YOURS -- i.e., not copied from elsewhere. We're interested only in original work.)
#10: 10 Things lists can take many forms
We say 10 Things, but really, Things come in all sorts of flavors. For instance:
- 10 mistakes to avoid when... (hiring help desk staff, rolling our new software)
- 10 things you can do to... (increase database performance, protect users' laptops)
- 10 keyboard shortcuts for... (entering special characters in a Word document, browsing the Web more efficiently)
- 10 tools that... (will streamline your admin tasks, every support tech should carry, are a waste of your IT dollars)
- 10 steps you should take to... (manage your workplan, prevent employee burnout)
- 10 features that... (should be disabled on user desktops, make it worth upgrading to Office 2007)
- The 10 best ways to... (keep your PCs in top condition, ask for a raise)
- The 10 worst ways to... (address a customer problem, ask for a raise)
And of course, there are always those miscellaneous angles: 10 tech skills to develop over the next five years, 10 good professional IT organizations, 10 handy Excel functions for IT managers, 10 tweaks to optimize older systems...
.... and a host of other angles we haven't thought of yet. Anything come to mind? We hope you'll give this Submission Tool a spin and share your best ideas, knowledge, and advice with other members.
In base 10.
Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.