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Guidelines for academic guest posts and podcasts

As part of my Academic/Practitioner Conversations project, I’m highlighting research published by academics and blending spaces where practitioners and academics interact. I’m doing this by inviting academics to engage in writing guest posts or participating in podcasts.

Guest posts

Guest posts are basically posts that you author from start to finish. You might start with an existing article you’ve written and create a practitioner-friendly version of the same content. Or you might explain some current research you’re undertaking, or even research you’re considering.

If you’ve grown tired of the academic discourse that you’ve been writing in, the guest post gives you an opportunity to write in a more creative style. You can tell a story, explain how a research topic first became relevant to you, be personal or transparent in dangerous ways. Remember, it’s a blog, so there are no rules except to be interesting.

The process for submitting the guest post is simple: write your guest post in Google docs and share it with me ([email protected]). Google Docs makes it easy to convert it to Markdown.

Here’s an example guest post from Emily January Peterson on stereotypes, and another guest post by Melonie McMichael on technological adaptability.


A second type of post is a podcast. You might choose this option if you’d like to have a conversation and you prefer the spoken exchange, as you might feel it’s easier to explain ideas this way. Or you might prefer the more dynamic aspect of podcasts — by dynamic, I mean your responses might change the questions and direction of the podcast in more natural, spontaneous ways.

For podcasts, I’ll usually start with something you’ve published as a springboard into the discussion. I can send a few questions or talking points ahead of time for you to prepare. We’ll chat through Skype, so you’ll need a USB microphone.

Here’s an example of a podcast with Kirk St. Amant on the relationship between academics and practitioners.

Individual surveys to follow posts

In order to align and evaluate the goals of the Academic/Practitioner Conversations project, at the end of each post I’ll include a survey form that asks the same questions as the original survey but personalized to you. This gives you more direct feedback about your topic or other writing connects or doesn’t connect with the practitioner audience. The individual surveys are done through Google Forms. You can see an example here.

Optional sections

At the end of your post (no matter which type), you can include the following information:

  • Bio. Tell us a few sentences about yourself, such as where you live, what program you teach at, what your academic interests are, and what your personal hobbies are. If you spent time working as a practitioner before turning to academia, include that too.
  • Program details. Tell readers a bit about your program, such as what degrees are offered, what makes the program unique, whether the program is online or in-person, and more.
  • Invite participation in your research projects. If you have a research project where you’re looking for companies to participate, or surveys to complete, or other involvement with practitioners, provide the details here and ask readers to participate. Also be sure to sign up for the Academic/Practitioner Bridge email group for these kinds of collaboration goals.

Post-publication activities

Publishing the article is just the first step. After the post is published, you can gauge more of the impact of your content. Do the following:

  • Share the post. Share the link to your post on Twitter, Linkedin, and any other forums where you participate. Include the hashtag #techcomm.
  • Respond to comments. When people comment on the post, try to respond in some way. People like the interaction, even if the response merely agrees or reflects on their comment. You won’t receive notification of comments until you respond to the comment thread, so I’ll usually let you know about comments.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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