About The VLNetwork
The Visionary Leader Network, an emerging multimedia hub that produces training, multimedia thought leadership and an interactive events series to help businesses to build the strongest, highest performing workforce teams possible. In doing so, we support individuals in achieving extraordinary breakthroughs in their businesses and lives.
Submitting An Article To The Visionary Leader Network
The best insights on how to achieve inclusion and innovation may have yet to be discovered. This is why The Visionary Leader Network welcomes submissions from other visionaries who are also passionate about our mission.
Before you submit a post, please contact The Visionary Leader Network first via email at:
WGraafmans@TheVLNetwork.com, with a brief outline of your insights. Our team will then review it to see if it fits in with our regular content, to make sure that your words reach the desired audience. If your idea is suggested without any remarks, then you can send a copy of your full article to WGraafmans@TheVLNetwork.com.
Most pieces of content on our website are between 250 and 500 words. We highly recommend you to write within this margin. There is a possibility to write on a wide variety of topics, such as how to better workplace cultures, how to deal with diversity and or personal problems. No topic is immediately rejected without looking at the full picture.
– Write in First-person perspective. (So our audience knows these are your personal insights)
– List-formatted blogs tend to help writing down insights. (“7 Ways to”…”, “6 Signs That”….”)
– Your personal insights on current events are more than welcome.
– If you’ve interviewed a corporate strategist or any other professionals; don’t hesitate with sending – in your and their knowledge.
The VLN Team strives to respond to every submission within one week. Some topics are responded to more quickly, others deserve a closer look. If we feel that your content is a good fit for our platform, someone from our team will contact you. The VLN Team is looking forward to see other visionaries share their knowledge and the enlightening conversations that arise as a result.
The Visionary Leader Network thanks all other visionaries in advance for their submissions.
VLN Editorial Style Guide
VLN – Visionary Leaders Network is a forward thinking multi-media outlet purposed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses level up, maximize possibilities, unlock hidden potential and thrive fiercely through a service minded platform.
Founder Traciana Graves developed this content, training and event platform to fulfill one promise: create authentic narratives with proven success formulas that allow for extraordinary breakthroughs in business and in life.
As a VLN Contributor, you get to be a part of that.
If you’re writing content that adopts VLN’s voice – e.g., essay posts, listicles, ebooks, web copy, instructionals – you will need this tool. This style guide is full of the insights and tactical knowledge you’ll need to best represent our brand in content.
How we should always be perceived and how your work should be judged:
- We’re trusted experts.
- Our experience empowers us. Our research prepares us to deliver on our promises.
- We speak from the heart and focus on building relationships.
- We get to the point.
We are relevant. Our research is dated within three years.
Overall Voice and Tone
In general, write articles using an informal writing style with a conversational undertone.
- Make content easy to read, both in word choice and layout.
- Write action based, relevant articles that meet the needs of our audience.
- Put your most important information first.
- Be clear, concise and direct in your messaging.
- Use simple, straightforward language. Avoid jargon.
- Use active language. Speak directly to your readers by saying “you.”
- Use long sentences, repetition and jargon.
- Rely on cliches and overused metaphors.
Use the passive voice.
Write articles in either essay or list format.
List articles outline either a short or long list of points.
- They may be formatted with numbers or bullet points.
- List post Dos: We offset ideas – like this one – with a single dash. (Although, parentheses are okay, too.)
- Use bullets instead of numbers or letters;
- Only the first word of each line item should be capitalized;
- If your list contains line items that are phrases, use a semicolon to separate each line item;
- You do not need to use a semicolon if list items are essentially nouns (objects, department names, etc.), not phrases; and
When using semicolons, put “and” at the end of the second to last item as shown above.
Essay posts, though freeform in nature, must have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Paragraphs should naturally build upon each other.
Use subheadings (see formatting section below), as well as other content separators like block quotes and images to make the content easy to digest, especially for “scanners.”
Tips for writing essay posts:
- Have a strong lead paragraph. The first few sentences should capture and keep your reader.
- Use short paragraphs – no more than three sentences. Keep sentences to a maximum of 12 words.
- Break up the monotony of reading – Challenge the reader to think by using a well-timed and relevant question.
- Conclude with a CTA – “call to action.” At the end of your article, invite the reader to do something that brings them closer to the article’s main stated goal. Point them to VLN courses if applicable.
Articles should be 500 – 1000 words.
Bold to emphasize words and phrases. Do not italicize, CAPITALIZE or underline for emphasis. The only exceptions to the no italics rule are book or composition titles.
Italicize the titles of books, television shows, movies, songs, speeches and works of art. The Bible does not require italics. (This is a departure from standard AP Style.)
Subheadings fall under the main headline and break the article into more digestible sections. These may be used primarily in essay posts.
Article subheadings include:
The Skinny – a summation of the article’s main point
The Story – a relatable story that led to the article’s main point
The Setbacks – problems that need solving
The Breakthroughs – how a problem was solved (tool, conversation, etc.)
What’s next? – available resources for raising the bar, moving the needle, etc.
AP Style Overview:
The purpose of AP Style – our external style guide of choice – is to provide us with a foundational set of rules and standards pertaining to the mechanics of writing and editorial style. You can use an online version at www.apstylebook.com.
AP Style is suitable for use across a range of diverse industries, as it adopts a clean, uncluttered approach to writing.
Our audience expects us to be as focused and detail-oriented as we are innovative and approachable. Let’s not disappoint them.
Common AP Style Rules:
The following months are abbreviated when referencing a specific date: January (Jan.), February (Feb.), August (Aug.), September (Sept.), October (Oct.), November (Nov.) and December (Dec.). Months are not abbreviated when they stand alone or are paired with a year.
Jan. 21, 2019
Other than noon and midnight, use numerals for specific times, but do not use :00. Also, we use a.m. and p.m., not AM and PM, or am and pm.
Cities and States
Athens, Georgia, is correct. Athens, Ga., and Athens, GA, are not. Not all cities, however, require a state reference. Cities in the United States that do not require an accompanying state reference include:
Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
Name references should appear in the following order: first name, last name and then pronouns. Last names can be reiterated later to avoid confusion between other individuals or as style dictates. Do not use “Mr., Mrs., etc.” with last names.
Nathan Cook has been a baseball fan all his life. Cook went to his first baseball game when he was only 10 years old. He’s been hooked on the game ever since.
Generally do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant.
Three rules are constant:
- Except for cooperate and coordinate, use a hyphen if the prefix ends in a vowel and the next word begins with the same vowel.
- Use a hyphen if the word that follows is capitalized.
- Use a hyphen to join doubled prefixes, like “sub-subparagraph.”
Nontechnical, nonprofit, suboptimal, prehistoric.
In general, spell out one through nine. Use figures for 10 or above and whenever preceding a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things. Also in all tabular matter, and in statistical and sequential forms.
The Cubs finished second. He had six months to go.
You should also use figures for the following scenarios…
ACADEMIC COURSE NUMBERS: Math 6, History 209.
ADDRESSES: 2910 Main St. Spell out numbered streets nine and under: 5 Sixth Ave.; 3012 50th St.; No. 10 Downing St. Use the abbreviations Ave., Blvd. and St. only with a numbered address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Spell them out and capitalize without a number: Pennsylvania Avenue.
AGES: a 6-year-old girl; an 8-year-old law; the 7-year-old house. Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun. A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years old. The boy, 5, has a sister, 10. The race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s. 30-something, but Thirty-something to start a sentence.
CENTURIES: Use figures for numbers 10 or higher: 21st century. Spell out for numbers nine and lower: fifth century. (Note lowercase.) For proper names, follow the organization’s usage: 20th Century Fox, Twentieth Century Fund.
DATES, YEARS AND DECADES: Feb. 8, 2007, Class of ’66, the 1950s. For the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 9/11 is acceptable in all references. (Note comma to set off the year when the phrase refers to a month, date and year.)
DIMENSIONS, TO INDICATE DEPTH, HEIGHT, LENGTH AND WIDTH: He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, the 5-foot-9 man (“inch” is understood), the 5-foot man, the basketball team signed a 7-footer. The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high. The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet, the 9-by-12 rug. A 9-inch snowfall. Exception: two-by-four. Spell out the noun, which refers to any length of untrimmed lumber approximately 2 inches thick by 4 inches wide.
MATHEMATICAL USAGE: Multiply by 4, divide by 6. He added 2 and 2 but got 5.
MONETARY UNITS: 5 cents, $5 bill, 8 euros, 4 pounds.
One word. It takes a singular verb when standing alone or when a singular word follows an “of” construction:
The teacher said 60 percent was a failing grade. He said 50 percent of the membership was there.
It takes a plural verb when a plural word follows an of construction:
He said 50 percent of the members were there.
Use figures for percent and percentages: 1 percent, 2.5 percent (use decimals, not fractions), 10 percent, 4 percentage points.
For a range, 12 to 15 percent, or between 12 and 15 percent.
For amounts less than 1 percent, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6 percent.
- internet, not Internet; web, not Web
- cloud or the cloud, not Cloud or The Cloud
- cellphone, not cell phone
- ebook and ecommerce (not eBook, e-book, eCommerce or e-commerce)
- on-premises, not on-premise
Only capitalize the first word after a colon if what follows is a complete sentence.
Here’s the shopping list for today: apples, bananas and oranges.
If you remember nothing else, let it be this: There’s always money in the banana stand.
Do not use the following symbols in copy, titles or subheadings. Instead, write out their actual meaning.
& — and
# — hash, hashtag, pound
< > — less than, greater than
@ — at
There are two exceptions to this rule.
First, if the symbol is part of a brand identity, and second, the & may be used in titles and subheadings. For the latter, you must be consistent in using & in subheadings and titles.
Commas in a series are for clarity and prevention of ambiguities. In a simple series, a comma before the last item isn’t essential for clarity, so AP Style doesn’t use a comma in that instance. In series with more complexity, a comma may be needed for clarity, so AP Style allows a comma before the last item in such cases, as shown in the final example.
I like apples, oranges and grapes.
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