freelancer guidelines

Contributing to Motormouth

So you want to contribute to Motormouth? That's awesome! We're always on the lookout for talented writers and editors. There's a gaping hole in quality content on the craft of writing and storytelling, and Motormouth is here to change that — but we need your help.

Before you go sending us your big idea, though, here are a few things you'll need to know.

Who you'll be writing for

Motormouth is a newsletter championing writers and the craft of nonfiction storytelling. Our readers are diverse, and include:

  • Editorial freelancers: Journalists, editors, and content marketers who work independently or build publications inside other companies.
  • Content leaders: Agency owners, heads of marketing, content leads, and those in the trenches building publications and media arms in the tech, software, and other industries.

What kinds of stories we're looking for

As you can imagine, this is a difficult question to answer without a ton of freelance work to serve as a guide.

A few ideas on what we're looking for:

  • Crunchy content that embraces the difficult challenges faced by modern media publishers both big and small. We want to share both the highs and lows of building an audience and business online.
  • Perspective, and point of view, and personality. Have a voice. Have a thesis. Have an angle.
  • Readers should take something away from your story beyond "Now I know more about X."
  • A deep understanding of the ins and outs of the online publishing and content industries.
  • Stories that don’t have a natural home elsewhere. You know when you go on Twitter and ask “Who’s gonna pay me to write about [thing you can’t stop thinking about at the moment]?” We want to get as excited about your obsession as you are, so bring us those stories.

We primarily publish two different content styles:

Briefs: Punchy 400-800wo stories, interviews, and columns highlighting the innovators and innovations in online publishing and content marketing. These stories are published both in our weekly newsletter and on our website. We publish our newsletter every week, so we're always looking for regular columnists and ongoing partnerships with writers!

Originals: Longer 1000-2500wo feature articles, creative essays, and how-to guides covering the highs and lows of freelance editorial, nonfiction storytelling, and brand journalism. These stories will be published on our website and excerpted in our weekly newsletter.

We can work with these:

  • Thoughtful or critical commentary on content marketing, brand journalism, storytelling, and freelancing
  • Narrative interviews and Q&As with fascinating writers and editors
  • Dissections of creative products and business models
  • Breakdowns of new techniques and approaches to audience building and online storytelling

We don't want to read:

  • Ghostwritten articles (you should be the original author)
  • Top "whatever" lists
  • Self-promotional marketing pieces or product plugs
  • Poorly-researched or regurgitated content
  • Reviews of products or services you're affiliated with
  • Fluffy clickbait

A few questions we're hoping you can help us answer:

  • What do freelance writers (and assigning editors) need to talk more about? What should we shut up about?
  • What gets you giddy about building an audience?
  • Who's a writer that inspires you? Why should others be inspired by them?
  • How is content marketing, journalism, and online publishing evolving? What will "media" look like 5 years from now?
  • What can individual entrepreneurs learn from larger companies? What can brands learn from creators?
  • How can creators scale their business without scaling themselves?

At some point, once we’ve built up a body of good freelance work, we'll add to this page some concrete examples of good pitches that we accepted.

Why you should write for us

We recognize that great quality doesn't come cheap, and that exposure won't pay your rent. We also want to support great writers in promoting and growing your own audience.

We're happy to send you a detailed contract if we end up working together, but here are the highlights:

  • We'll pay freelancers decent rates. Briefs will be paid a minimum of $250, and Originals will be paid a minimum of $650.
  • We'll pay you fast. Upon signing, you'll get 50% of our agreed rate immediately. You'll also get the remaining 50% paid on acceptance of the final draft—no need to wait until publishing to get paid. All freelance contributors will be paid within 10 days of invoicing.
  • You own your work. Each accepted submission remains your sole property. We get 90-day exclusivity to publish your work. After that, just cite us anywhere else you publish.
  • We'll do our best to support you. We offer freelancers full professional editorial support at no extra cost (we are an editorial service, after all).

Ready to get started?

We're accepting pitches on a rolling basis. Send us your pitch at

Be sure to include the basics: your contact info; the focus and goal of your story; a proposed word count; details about any research, reporting, or interviewing you’re planning; and your answer to the question “Why am I the person to tell this story?”

We can’t respond to every single pitch, but if it’s something we’re interested in you’ll hear from one of our editors.

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