Writing for Mind the Product
Mind the Product is the world's largest community and blog focused on the craft of product.
Founded in 2011 Mind the Product has always been about bringing together product people of all stripes to share lessons learned and together move our craft forward.
We believe that product management is not an exact science — each company and product person refines their own tools and methods. Our aim is to share this broad range of practices with the community, so we actively seek guest contributions so that we can share your experiences with our community and we can all learn from each other.
Why Write for Mind the Product?
With our readership of 150,000+ product managers every month, we share practices, lessons-learned and ideas with the world's largest global community of product people. We have a team of editors supporting our authors, helping them to develop their ideas and refine their articles.
Writing for Mind the Product is a powerful way to share your expertise with the largest gathering of product people in the world. Our publishing platform is freely available for all product people to share their insights and experiences with their tribe, with the input and guidance of our editorial team.
Narrative style is the domain of the individual author, but we want to ensure our readership and the community can expect a consistent learning experience and actionable insights from articles published on for Mind the Product.
Pitching Article Ideas
When you're pitching articles, please either send us a working draft copy, or an informative outline including a few paragraphs of article scope and intent, and a few key points you intend to cover.
Please do not send us pitches that are just article titles (that's not enough for us to judge whether the article is a good fit), or speculative emails asking us if we'd like to commission you to write something. We get a ton of empty pitches every day, and as much as we wish we could reply to everyone and craft a great story, we will typically ignore emails that don't have a clear article pitch.
What do I Write About?
As a rule of thumb, anything that you find useful or interesting as a product manager, other product managers will also find useful. It's also easiest and most effective to write about work you're currently doing, or have recently done, or a topic which you're enthusiastic about (either in general, or as a result of a recent deep-dive). You can always ask in our public Slack community if a certain topic is of interest to others. If you'd like some quick inspiration examples:
- Just been through a major redesign? Share some of the lessons you learned (honest and humble wins here).
- Figured out a nice time saver doing A/B testing? Jot down some notes and get in touch!
- Done some comprehensive research on the best user feedback tools? We all want to read that!
We define product management as the intersection between Business, Tech and Design (IxD/UX). That means our topic spectrum is pretty broad. It's important to note that Mind the Product doesn't specialise in anyone of these areas, and we tend to seek content that intersects with at least two of these areas. Our articles tend to fall into two broad types:
1. Topical / News / Op-Ed
These articles usually have a temporal relevance to something happening in the product industry. This might be a formal critique of well-known product's redesign, or it could be an opinion piece on the current state of product management.
Op-eds can be easy to write if you have the appropriate style, but quite hard to write if you don't. The best approach here is to review some of the content on Mind the Product and get a feel for how subjective pieces can be written in an informative way. Acknowledge where you are being subjective and avoid framing this subjective commentary as 'the way it is', but rather 'how I see it'. Some examples:
- Education of current affairs and new standards in the industry (ex: "Beware The Dogma Of Agile And Lean")
- Exhibition of how to constructively critique a third-party product (ex: "Data Driven: Your Bounce Rate and Time On Site are wrong")
2. Informative / Educational
These articles are usually well-researched, informative and relatively timeless. They are usually an investigation into the roles and responsibilities of a product manager, sharing lessons learned and experiences straight from the real world, or instructive pieces on the instruments of product management.
These articles might cover topics such as (for example) effective roadmapping, analytics and measurement practices, optimal team structures etc. You don't need to be an expert and write about the very advanced aspects of these topics, as it is equally valuable to share real-world experiences and lessons learned from applying the basics. Some examples:
- An examination of best practices for a core instrument of product management (ex: "Better User Stories, Come Hell or High Waterfall")
- Philosophical investigation into certain aspects of product management as food for thought and/or discussion (ex: "Product Focused vs. Customer Focused Product Management: What’s the difference?")
- First-hand experiences and lessons learned in the trenches (ex: “The Week iPad App – Lessons Learned From A Product Manager")
- Tools of the trade - reviewing applications and utilities that product managers use (ex: "Tame Your Roadmap")
Our absolute priority is to share ideas from which the community can learn. It is essential to focus on what the reader gains, how the article either teaches new methods, helps refine existing methods or helps broaden the mindset (and ultimately, ability) of our readers, as product managers. Our key is to provide actionable insight - that doesn't mean you need to hold the reader's hand in a step-by-step manner, but they should be able to finish reading your work, and have some clear, concrete ideas about what they can do next.
Any articles published on Mind the Product must be original work, and we ask that we retain that exclusivity for a minimum of 2 weeks. We don't syndicate other blogs or publish pieces which have already been published elsewhere (including your own blog). You may, of course, syndicate your own content after a short exclusivity period on Mind the Product.
We don't currently enforce a strict style guide, other than AP styles for titles and headers. We do expect you to follow some professional etiquette with grammar, title capitalisations, formatting etc. If you're not strong on this, don't worry - our editor can help you make the required edits.
The ideal length for most of our articles is around 700 - 1000 words (roughly 2 pages), but this is a guideline rather than a hard boundary.
- If your piece is much shorter, it should be tightly focused, and ideally high impact.
- If your post is significantly longer, we may edit it down or split it to ensure both the quality and the quantity of words is optimised for the format.
If your article is longer than 500 words, then consider adding sub-headings, bullet points or call-out text to give it internal structure for easy reading.
Our Editorial Process
We try and keep it lightweight and we'll talk you through it at the time, but here's a path you can expect:
- You email email@example.com with an outline or a draft, and we chat about your article ideas to try and find a fit.
- When you're ready with a draft to review, send it to us as either an MS Word or Google Doc, and we'll provide private editorial feedback.
- Once we've agreed on a final version, we'll set you up as an Author on mindtheproduct.com.
- Your post will get one final review from the other editors and, if everyone is happy, it goes to publishing.
- We'll publish your article at the next opportunity, usually within the following week.
- You become instantly famous. Or, y'know, mildly famous.
"Making the Cut"
Please be aware that we won't publish just any product-related content to the community. We consider it important as editors (and readers ourselves) that our published articles have a high degree of quality and integrity. If, after numerous iterations, we can't come to an agreement on a final draft - it shall remain just a draft.
If this happens to you, please don't lose confidence! It's painful for us to have to decline such a strong initiative from a community member, but it does need to happen from time to time, and you still own your copyright so you can of course take the content and post it wherever you wish. At the same time, we're always willing to consider alternative pieces and help a hopeful author reach the product community - if you're willing to work with us on raising the bar, we'll put the time in to help you refine your articles.
We are happy for articles to mention products or services, but those must be passing references, and all articles must be valuable and informative in themselves (i.e. if product / service mentions are removed). We will reject a post if we feel it is simply an advertisement for a product or service.
We're all here to learn from one another, and if you want to talk about a rough idea you have, just email firstname.lastname@example.org - we love to hear from you.