Writer’s Guidelines: How To Submit A Story

QCA Guest Blogging


Thank you for your interest in contributing to the QCA blog!

QCA was founded by a community of like-minded, forward-thinking promotional products professionals that consciously chose to elevate the processes by which branded merchandise manufacture is controlled and how it is sold in order to provide safe, compliant and responsibly sourced product to brands for use in their marketing campaigns. And we’ve been living out this mission for more than a decade.

Part of being an active community is sharing information. In the past, our blog was set up to communicate in a one-way street of sorts: From those of us at QCA to you, the reader. Throughout the years, though, we have heard some great stories—ones that should be shared participant to participant. That’s where you come in. Guest blogging opportunities are now available. Help us grow and strengthen our community of participants. Become a contributor today. Here’s how:


Who Can Contribute

Guest blogging opportunities are open to QCA participants as well as subject matter experts in the field of product safety, responsible sourcing, product quality, environmental stewardship and supply chain security.


What We’re Looking For

We publish original content that furthers QCA’s mission of providing the tools all members of the promotional products supply chain—suppliers, distributors and end buyers of branded merchandise—need to protect their brands.

We also love hearing from our participants on what it’s like partnering with QCA and any tips they have for others to help them through the Accreditation or Certification processes.

Stories can take many shapes:

  • How-to articles
  • First-person point-of-view stories
  • News reports
  • Thought leadership essays
  • Lists
  • Case histories


QCA’s content covers five pillars, and the proposed story should generally fit within one of these categories:

  • Product safety
  • Social responsibility
  • Product quality
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Supply chain security


QCA’s readership falls into three distinct categories:

  • Suppliers: Those who manufacture and decorate branded merchandise
  • Distributors: Those who sell branded merchandise to end buyers
  • End Buyers/Users: Those who purchase branded merchandise to use in promotional campaigns

When writing, be clear which audience is being targeted and tailor the message specifically to them.


Writing Guidelines

Articles must be original work and not previously published elsewhere.

Stories should have a singular focus and develop that concept adequately without being too wordy or too simplistic.

There is no word count minimum or maximum. The average is around 700-900 words, but longer or shorter is acceptable.

When sourcing data, citing a statistic, quoting an expert, etc., be sure to hyperlink to the original story source for fact-checking purposes.

Keep in mind, compliance can often be a rather dry subject. To make your article interesting as well as informative, think about ways to integrate a real-life example of something that has happened. People are hard-wired to remember stories not statistics, so it’s always a good idea to humanize the experience and make it relatable.

While you can talk about your company’s products and services, it can’t be overly self-serving or sound like a commercial. Rather, if you need to talk about what you offer, do it within the context of giving an example, sharing an experience or making an analogy.

Avoid passive voice and using a lot of industry jargon, acronyms, abbreviations or technical terms. For any that are used, be sure to define them for better reader understanding.

Note: All posts will be edited for punctuation, grammar, clarity and style.


Developing Your Story Idea

If you’re interested in contributing but aren’t sure where to start, here are some tactics you can use to develop your story idea and bring it to life.

Lists are a popular way of organizing content, which not only helps the reader understand what the article is about but also helps the writer formulate an outline and stay on track. (Note: Odd numbers typically work best, unless you’re doing a Top 10 list.)
Five Things You Must Do For A Smooth Factory Audit
Three Often Overlooked Aspects Of Social Responsibility


Asking and answering a question is another way to build a story.
What’s the first thing you should do when creating a sustainability program?
How do you leverage compliance and use it as competitive advantage?


You can give tips on how to do things better, faster or more economical.
The Most Important Question Brands Should Be Asking Their Vendors About Compliance
What Suppliers Really Wish Distributors Knew About Product Safety
How To Communicate With Vendors To Facilitate A Successful Audit Process


Sharing lessons learned the hard way can also be a valuable approach to help others avoid pitfalls. Discuss not only what the mistake was but also how the mistake was addressed, why the company is better for it and how others can avoid the mistake in the future.
Don’t Make These Three Mistakes When Hiring A Compliance Specialist
The One Thing I Wish I Knew Before Beginning A Company-Wide Recycling Program


For those QCA participants who would like to write about their experience with QCA, some ideas:

  • Share an experience where QCA participation made an impact, helped land a new customer, strengthened a relationship with an existing client, etc.
  • Give a case history on how QCA participation provided a competitive edge in the marketplace.
  • Talk about a participation benefit (webinars for example) and how something was learned that helped change a perspective or make a sale.
  • For those who have tried to create compliance programs on their own and ultimately decided that partnering with QCA was the right choice, compare and contrast what it was like doing it on your own vs. the benefits received with QCA.
  • For suppliers that have gone through multiple re-accreditations, talk about why you continue to partner with QCA and not go out on your own. Highlight the value you receive.


How To Submit

To submit your idea, contact Lisa Horn, QCA’s editorial and marketing director, and provide the following:

  1. Working title of proposed blog post
  2. General summary of what the article will cover
  3. Top 3-5 takeaways the post will provide the reader
  4. Author bio and details about how your expertise lends itself to telling this story

Once story pitch is accepted, you’ll be contacted to determine deadline and publication dates.


After Publication

Part of our content strategy includes improving our Google ranking via SEO. Thus, we ask our contributors to help us make sure that the articles we publish for them are recognized as the original, authoritative post by the search engines.

In order for this to happen, we ask that you do not repost the article you wrote for QCA in its entirety on another site.

Instead, we request that you do the following:

  • Share the link to your original QCA article widely via your company newsletter, social media, etc.
  • Wait 2-3 weeks before excerpting it to your business or personal website.
  • When creating an excerpt post, include a short custom intro, then use a blockquote to capture 150-200 words from the original article.
  • Include the link to the original article within the excerpt post. (Can use wording such as: Read the article in its entirety, which was originally published by QCA, <here>.)

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to receiving your story pitch soon!