Contributor Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in becoming a content contributor for Next Steps in Derm. Our team recognizes that you hold the vision, highly specialized expertise, and unique training that drives dermatology, and we feel honored to be partnering with you. It is through the support of people like you that we have been able to position Next Steps in Derm as a top resource and online mentor for residents, fellows, and new practitioners in the dermatology field.

What’s in it for you?

Writing for Next Steps in Derm will help you gain visibility within the field and further your career. When you write for us, you become part of a reputable pool of accomplished thought leaders, and act as a source of inspiration for rising stars. You will get a lot exposure and credibility, which will help you connect with peers who share the same passion for dermatology as you do. We really see this opportunity as a win-win situation and hope you will arrive to the same conclusion once you start collaborating with us.

Who is our audience?

Our target audience is comprised of two main segments: dermatology residents and young dermatologists. However, we also have the potential to reach more seasoned practitioners through cross-platform publishing efforts on other of our media platforms such as the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD).  For dermatologist practitioners, we’ve found that keeping up-to-date on light (easy reading) and technical knowledge is part of their lifestyle, and they consume both freely at the same time. They intertwine their technical learning with their lifestyle, on-the-go, passive browsing.  They don’t want to sit down and read a journal cover to cover, they want something easy, light and fun to consume amongst their other interests.

What topics is our target audience most interested in?

In general, we are looking for original content in the following categories:

    • Becoming a thought leader/published author/advisory board member
    • Navigating your career
    • Legal, finance, billing and coding
    • Starting and running a practice
    • Board study tips
    • New treatments
    • New equipment/devices
    • New product lines
    • New and emerging therapies
    • Tales from the office
    • Medical and aesthetic dermatology topics (i.e. acne, rosacea, lasers, etc.)
    • A Day in the Life of…
    • Patient compliance
    • Case reports
    • Summaries of Scientific Posters/Journal Articles
    • New approaches to traditional dermatology
    • Skin of color

This is not a comprehensive list and we are always open to new topics. We encourage you think beyond these categories.

What makes good Next Steps in Derm content?

When you begin thinking about your first submission, consider the following tips:

    • Visit our site and develop a sense of what we publish.
    • Write primarily for residents and young practicing dermatologists. Go back to that time in your career, address their needs, fears, challenges, burning questions, and thirst for advice and expert opinion.
    • When writing for the first time, make sure to introduce yourself. Be brief and let readers know why they should listen to you.
    • Always include an introduction to your article. A good introduction is brief with a VERY clear message. It should entice readers to keep reading more and not skip the page.
    • Tell a story and make it personal. While some topics you’ll write about will be more technical, you can still add your personal touch. Sharing pearls, things you’ve done and seen, lesson you’ve learned, aha moments, personal and professional accomplishments, insightful and thought-provoking commentary, etc. should be at the core of your writing.
    • Use a friendly voice so you become approachable, the mentor/peer everyone wants to follow and learn from. Feel free to use contractions and address the audience just like you would address a peer or mentee.
    • Avoid writing promotional content and focus on content that is informational, educational, entertaining, insightful or procedural.
    • Length is flexible. The main goal is to enrich and educate our audience, without boring them. While the perfect word count doesn’t really exist, we recommend staying within 1,000 and 1,500 words (12pt font, single spaced).
    • Use bullet points (when applicable) for easy reading and avoid lengthy paragraphs.
    • Use headings and subheadings

In addition to the above, and in order to improve readability of the content you submit, please make sure to pay attention to the following guidelines:

 Readability Guidelines

    • No more than 10% of the text should be written in the passive voice
    • Use subheadings!No more than 300 words should be used between subheadings
    • Sentences should contain 20 words or less (no more than 25% of the article should contain sentences with more than 20 words)
    • Keep paragraphs short (around 150 words)
    • Use transition words.Transition words are words like ‘most important’, ‘because’, ‘therefore’, or ‘besides that’. They give direction to your readers. These words give a signal that something is coming up: if you’re summarizing, you’ll use ‘first’, ‘second’, ‘third’, etc. If you want to compare, you’ll write ‘same’, ‘less’, ‘rather’, ‘while’ or ‘either’. If you want to conclude, you’ll use ‘hence’, ‘consequently’ or ‘therefore’.

SEO Guidelines

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine (i.e. Google). There are several steps we can take to ensure our Next Steps in Derm content becomes more “discoverable” by readers and you can help us by following these simple guidelines:

    • Please provide at least 3 relevant keywords for your article
    • Article headline should be on more than 60 characters and should contain the keywords near or at the beginning (if possible)
    • Meta description snippet – short description of the content of your article (no more than 156 characters).Should also contain the keyword(s) is possible
    • The article itself should have the keyword(s) in the first paragraph.This lets the reader know what the article is about right away.
    • Try to add at least one (1) outbound link to each post (i.e., if you mention a journal article, you may include a link to the article)

Submitting Your Content [Please see submission template at the end of this document]

Send your content as a Word document using a 12pt, non-serif font and attach the following: 

    • Brief bio
    • Your Twitter/Instagram/Facebook handle, as well as any other relevant links you wish to display (i.e. blog, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, website URL, etc.) If you have a promotional link (i.e. practice website, a meeting you’ll be speaking at, etc.), you may submit that as well.
    • Headshot:submit a current, high-resolution, full color image in PNG or JPG format.
    • A statement of relevant disclosures if applicable
    • A full list of citations (if applicable) in AMA citation format
    • Accompanying images: we encourage you to submit original images along with your content. If you decide to do so, you should either own the rights or have been granted permission to use any accompanying images. Any images you submit must be high-res, PNG or JPG files and submitted as separate files (not embedded in the document).

Our Content Management team reviews all submissions and may suggest edits related to clarity, style, and/or format, in which case you will receive a revised draft for final approval.

We hope you find the above guidelines helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you need clarification on any of the above or have questions about your first submission.

Once again, we appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with you and thank you in advance for contributing to the ongoing success of Next Steps in Derm.

Happy writing!

Berenice Bonalanza

Director of Content Development