Pitch and Style Guide

Thank you so much for your interest in pitching our online publication. This guide will give you a sense of the kinds of pieces we’re looking for, how to pitch them, and how to navigate our grammar, mechanics, and inclusivity standards.


01. Pitching Guide

02. Grammar, Mechanics, & Inclusivity


01. Pitching Guide

ABOUT US

Wethos builds tools for independent creatives & strategists to team up and make more. We’re on a mission to put more money directly in the pockets of the people doing the work. 

Freelancing can sometimes feel like a race to the bottom. Especially as gig-economy mindsets take hold, we continuously cross paths with brilliant entrepreneurs who aren’t getting the tools or education they need to make the transition from employees to employers.

What if we can build a better path forward? One that’s powered by a diverse group of talented people who create and share meaningful jobs, who value collaboration over competition, and who believe their business — no matter how small — can play a big part in advancing social and economic equity for their communities.

STORIES WE COVER

Our online publication touches upon four main themes encompassing the types of articles that we publish. For independents embarking on building their own creative studios, making the journey from employee and employer can be a daunting one. We hope to encourage conversation around knowledge, research, and narratives that support and inspire the work of creative independents. 

Our publication covers four main categories:

  • Growth: Advice that educates and equips independents to run and grow their businesses successfully.
  • Collaboration: Learnings about what leads to great teamwork and how to achieve it.
  • Leading: Resources that inform how we can dismantle toxic workplaces and build more equitable work environments.
  • Insights: Fresh takes on industry trends at the intersection of culture, tech, and creativity.

STORIES THAT INSPIRE US

For feature-length pieces, we’re looking for surprising narratives at the heart of what it means to be an independent creative today. Stories that subvert the usual trends and names. Our online publication is a space for building new horizons as much as it is a space for sharing practical advice. Fascinate us with stories of unexpected teamwork, game-changing projects, and seismic movements. Now more than ever, we’re looking for your subversive ideas to challenge industry norms.

We especially encourage pitches from Black and Indegenous writers, writers of color, women and non-binary writers, individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community, writers living with disabilities, and others with lived experiences in marginalized communities.

There are so many pieces out there that we admire, but we’ve gathered a few here to spark your imaginations. Take a look to see what we’re drawn to:


02. Grammar, Mechanics, & Inclusivity

BASICS

Write for all readers. Some people will read every word you write. Others will just skim. Help everyone read better by grouping related ideas together and using descriptive headers and subheaders.

Focus your message. Create a hierarchy of information. Lead with the main point or the most important content, in sentences, paragraphs, sections, and pages.

Be concise. Use short words and sentences. Avoid unnecessary modifiers.

Be specific. Avoid vague language. Cut the fluff.

Be consistent. Stick to the copy patterns and style points outlined in this guide.


GUIDELINES

Abbreviations and acronyms

If there’s a chance your reader won’t recognize an abbreviation or acronym, spell it out the first time you mention it. Then use the short version for all other references. If the abbreviation isn’t clearly related to the full version, specify in parentheses.

  • First use: Network Operations Center
  • Second use: NOC
  • First use: Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
  • Second use: UTC

If the abbreviation or acronym is well known, like API or HTML, use it instead (and don’t worry about spelling it out).

Active voice

Avoid passive voice. Active voice is stronger and more self-assured. (Passive example: Whenever possible, use active voice.) In active voice, the subject of the sentence does the action. In passive voice, the subject of the sentence has the action done to it.

  • Yes: Marti logged into the account.
  • No: The account was logged into by Marti.

Words like “was” and “by” may indicate that you’re writing in passive voice. Scan for these words and rework sentences where they appear.

One exception is when you want to specifically emphasize the action over the subject. In some cases, this is fine.

  • Your account was flagged by our Abuse team.

Capitalization

We use a few different forms of capitalization. Title case capitalizes the first letter of every word except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. Sentence case capitalizes the first letter of the first word.

When writing out an email address or website URL, use all lowercase.

Don’t capitalize random words in the middle of sentences. Here are some words that we never capitalize in a sentence.

  • website
  • internet
  • online
  • Email

Contractions

(We are = we’re. They are = theirs. Etc.) This helps us sound less stiff and much, much friendlier.

Emoji

Emoji are a fun way to add humor and visual interest to your writing, but use them infrequently and deliberately.

File extensions

When referring generally to a file extension type, use all uppercase without a period. Add a lowercase s to make plural.

  • GIF
  • PDF
  • HTML
  • JPGs

When referring to a specific file, the filename should be lowercase:

  • slowclap.gif
  • MCBenefits.pdf
  • ilovedonuts.html
  • Ben-twitter-profile.jpg

Numbers

Spell out a number when it begins a sentence or for numbers less than ten. Otherwise (including for ordinals) use the numeral.

  • Ten new employees started on Monday, and 12 start next week.
  • I ate three donuts at Coffee Hour.
  • Meg won 1st place in last year’s spelling bee contest.
  • We hosted a group of 8th graders who are learning to code.

Sometimes it feels weird to use the numeral. If it’s an expression that typically uses spelled-out numbers, leave them that way.

  • A friendly welcome email can help you make a great first impression.
  • That is a third-party integration.
  • Put your best foot forward with the all-in-one Marketing Platform that grows with you.

Numbers over 3 digits get commas:

  • 999
  • 1,000
  • 150,000

Write out big numbers in full. Abbreviate them if there are space restraints, as in a tweet or a chart: 2k, 150k.

Dates

Generally, spell out the day of the week and the month. Abbreviate only if space is an issue.

  • Saturday, January 24
  • Sat., Jan. 24

Percentages

Use the % symbol instead of spelling out “percent.”

Ranges and spans

Use a hyphen (-) to indicate a range or span of numbers.

  • It takes 20-30 days.

Money

When writing about US currency, use the dollar sign before the amount. Include a decimal and number of cents if more than 0.

  • $20
  • $19.99
  • ¥10
  • €500

Time

Use numerals and am or pm, with a space in between. Don’t use minutes for on-the-hour time.


  • 7 am
  • 7:30 pm

Use a hyphen between times to indicate a time period.


  • 7 am–10:30 pm

Specify time zones when writing about an event or something else people would need to schedule. Abbreviate time zones within the continental United States as follows:

  • Eastern time: ET
  • Central time: CT
  • Mountain time: MT
  • Pacific time: PT

When referring to international time zones, spell them out: Nepal Standard Time, Australian Eastern Time. If a time zone does not have a set name, use its Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) offset.

Abbreviate decades when referring to those within the past 100 years.

  • the 00s
  • the 90s

Punctuation

Apostrophes

The apostrophe’s most common use is making a word possessive. If the word already ends in an s and it’s singular, you also add an ‘s. If the word ends in an s and is plural, just add an apostrophe.

  • The donut thief ate Sam’s donut.
  • The donut thief ate Chris’s donut.
  • The donut thief ate the managers’ donuts.

Apostrophes can also be used to denote that you’ve dropped some letters from a word, usually for humor or emphasis. This is fine, but do it sparingly.

Colons

Use a colon (rather than an ellipsis, em dash, or comma) to offset a list.

  • Erin ordered 3 kinds of donuts: glazed, chocolate, and pumpkin.

You can also use a colon to join 2 related phrases. If a complete sentence follows the colon, capitalize the 1st word.

  • I was faced with a dilemma: I wanted a donut, but I’d just eaten a bagel.

Commas

When writing a list, use the serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma).


  • Yes: David admires his parents, Oprah, and Justin Timberlake.
  • No: David admires his parents, Oprah and Justin Timberlake.

Dashes and hyphens

Use a hyphen (-) without spaces on either side to link words into single phrase, or to indicate a span or range.


  • first-time user
  • Monday-Friday

Use an em dash (—) without spaces on either side to offset an aside.

Use a true em dash, not hyphens (- or –).

  • Multivariate testing—just one of our new Pro features—can help you grow your business.
  • Austin thought Brad was the donut thief, but he was wrong—it was Lain.

Ellipses

Ellipses (…) can be used to indicate that you’re trailing off before the end of a thought. Use them sparingly. Don’t use them for emphasis or drama, and don’t use them in titles or headers.

  • “Where did all those donuts go?” Christy asked. Lain said, “I don’t know…”

Ellipses, in brackets, can also be used to show that you’re omitting words in a quote.

  • “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, […] a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Exclamation points

Use exclamation points sparingly, and never more than one at a time. They’re like high-fives: A well-timed one is great, but too many can be annoying.

Quotation marks

Use quotes to refer to words and letters, titles of short works (like articles and poems), and direct quotations.

All punctuation marks go within quotation marks. They go outside parentheses when the parenthetical is part of a larger sentence, and inside parentheses when the parenthetical stands alone.

  • Christy said, “I ate a donut.”
  • I ate a donut (and I ate a bagel, too).
  • I ate a donut and a bagel. (The donut was Sam’s.)

Question marks within quotes follow logic—if the question mark is part of the quotation, it goes within. If you’re asking a question that ends with a quote, it goes outside the quote. Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes.

  • Who was it that said, “A fool and his donut are easily parted”?
  • Brad said, “A wise man once told me, ‘A fool and his donut are easily parted.’”

Semicolons

Go easy on semicolons. They usually support long, complicated sentences that could easily be simplified. Try an em dash (—) instead, or simply start a new sentence.

Ampersands

Don’t use ampersands unless one is part of a company or brand name
.

  • Ben and Dan
  • Ben & Jerry’s

Text formatting

Use italics to indicate the title of a long work (like a book, movie, or album) or to emphasize a word.

  • Dunston Checks In
  • Brandon really loves Dunston Checks In.

Don’t use underline formatting, and don’t use any combination of italic, bold, caps, and underline.

Leave one space between sentences, never two.

URLs and websites

Avoid spelling out URLs, but when you need to, leave off the http://www.


INCLUSIVITY

Ability and disability

Every person is a whole person — no matter how they interact with the world. Focus on what they need to do, what tools they use, and avoid making assumptions. If a person’s situation, medical condition, illness, or injury is relevant to the content, be as specific as possible and avoid inserting value judgements about their circumstance (for example, use has multiple sclerosis, not is afflicted with or suffers from).

Just like with language around race, gender, or other identities, it’s always best to ask people how they identify rather than assuming. For help finding appropriate or accurate language, see the Disability Language Style Guide from the National Center on Disability and Journalism.

Avoid describing people as disabled, handicapped, or confined to a wheelchair.

Avoid terms that contribute to stigmas around disability or mental illness: crazy, dumb, lame, insane, psycho, schizophrenic, or stupid.

Avoid terms that contribute to stigmas around sensory disabilities: blind spot or tone deaf.

Age

Avoid referring to someone’s age, unless it’s relevant to what you’re writing about (for example, when referring to benefits that are available to people of certain ages).

Don’t use women or older relatives as a substitute for novice or beginner. For example, don’t say something is so simple your mother can use it.

We prefer older person or senior to elderly.

Gender

Make content gender neutral wherever possible, and strive to write in a gender-fair way. If you’re writing about a hypothetical person or if you’re unsure of the person’s pronouns, use they or them instead of he/she.

Avoid words and phrases that indicate gender bias, such as irrelevant descriptions of appearance.

Use descriptors of gender identity or sexual orientation as modifiers, not as nouns (for example, transgender person, cisgender person, or lesbian woman). Avoid guessing sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. When in doubt, either reconsider the need to include this information or ask the person you’re referring to how they identify and what terms they prefer.

Use different sex instead of opposite sex (because this recognizes gender as a spectrum, rather than a binary).

We support using they or their as singular pronouns.

Avoid guys as a way to refer to mixed-gender groups.

Don’t make assumptions about marital or family relationships (for example, use spouse or partner instead of husband and wife; use parent instead of mother and father).

For more detailed guidance, see the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Style Guide or the GLAAD Media Reference Guide.

Nationality

Avoid using citizen as a generic term for people who live in the United States. Many government programs serve non-citizens and individuals with a wide range of immigration and visa statuses.

How you refer to the public is largely dependent on context. Feel free to choose from any of these words: people, the public, users, or folks.


Be as specific as possible. Depending on the situation, you may want to say something like people who need healthcare or people who need to access government services online.


Use citizens for information related to U.S. citizenship, for example, when describing who is eligible to vote in federal elections.


Be careful with Americans or the American public. These terms are ambiguous and are often used as synonyms for citizens. In most cases, the public is equally clear and more inclusive. That said, referring to Americans or the American people can be useful if you want to inspire readers or take a more patriotic tone.


Race, ethnicity, and religion

Avoid using words, images, or situations that reinforce racial, ethnic, or religious stereotypes (even stereotypes that may appear to be positive). Avoid the term non-white, or other terms that treat whiteness as a default.

Don’t make assumptions: ask how people identify themselves, and be aware of complexities within racial, ethnic, and religious identities. For example, not all Arabs are Muslim, and many nationalities and ethnicities include various religious practices and traditions.