The goEast community is the go-to source for outdoor inspiration, beta, news, and stories. But we need your help and knowledge to do it! We’re excited to work with experienced writers, and we also welcome new writers and passionate outdoor enthusiasts to pitch us—we’re willing to work with you to shape your writing and ensure it meets goEast’s high standards.

Interested in telling a story around the Northeast’s great virtual campfire? We’re always looking for new voices, new stories, and new points of view. Reach out to our editors—Tim Peck and Doug Martland—if you have any pitches, questions, or suggestions. Email them at editor@ems.com.

Contribute Flyer

HOW DO I WRITE?

Pitching stories (sending us the idea that you want to write about, how you want to write it, what it would include, etc.) is encouraged. It’s preferable to simply writing an entire story for submission. With pitches, we’re able to work with you to make sure that it fills a hole we’re looking to fill and that it’s correctly written and formatted before you take the time to write it (we don’t want you to waste your time!). We also send out a monthly email highlighting the type of stories we’re looking for which you can subscribe to here.

Send your pitches, as well as any questions, comments, or concerns to our editors here. When we receive pitches, we will work with you to determine the story, provide feedback, and give you a deadline. It’s possible that we will edit and work with you on your submission before it’s accepted.

Once any story is accepted, either on deadline or off, you give Eastern Mountain Sports exclusive publishing rights of that story, with your clear identification as the author, as well as the ability to edit and alter your story in any way we see fit. For more details, see here. Writers submitting content of any kind agree to these terms and conditions.


WILL I GET PAID?

We want to keep our writers adventuring—it keeps you happy, gives you even more to say, and adds to goEast’s deep pool of experience and expertise! Contributors who are not EMS employees* receive Eastern Mountain Sports gift cards for their work.

  • Roughly 90% of the content on goEast is paid at the Tier 2 rate—a $75 gift card. The most common Tier 2 pieces are listicles, destination guides, how to choose, book reviews, and opinion pieces.
  • The remaining 10% of pieces are longer, more complex features that are paid at the Tier 1 rate ($100 gift card). Our most prominent Tier 1 pieces are our Alpha Guides. Other examples include special assignments, complex features, and multi-component articles (i.e., an article with an accompanying reel).
  • All payouts are left to the discretion of the editors, based on the amount of work involved, time needed, and more. If you have questions about which tier your article will fall in, please ask the editors before you write an article.

Gift Cards for an article published during any month are mailed out at the beginning of the month after it’s published. So if you write an article in September that gets published in October, you’ll receive your gift card at the beginning of November.

*Contributors who are Eastern Mountain Sports or Bob’s Stores employees are eligible to have a $150 (Tier 2) or $300 (Tier 1) bonus (pre-tax) added to their paycheck. Email us for more details.


WHAT CAN I WRITE ABOUT?

We are accepting pitches and submissions to fill a handful of categories on goEast. The main categories are:

Upper-Right

EMS goes local! These are largely “guides” to specific regions, localities, hikes, trips, etc. within the Northeast. These have a strong informational and educational component and combine to make an ever-expanding Northeast outdoors guidebook, written by the experts: you. While entertaining stories are great, these must have a strong educational component around their location—more than just a setting for the story. If you were to go someplace for an activity, these should give you plenty of information on how to do it. Length and style can vary because they don’t focus on a story.

“Alpha Guides”

Alpha Guides are highly detailed guides to specific “classic” Northeast objectives. They’re designed to include everything you need to know to take on that hike—a one-sheet guide to the objective that’s “better than beta.”

“Explore Like A Local”

Think you know your hometown? These guides are centered around a specific Northeast mountain, outlining the best activities to do there and the best way to spend a long weekend. They include the best hikes, camping, paddling, skiing, breweries and food, etc.

Gear 411

Gear can sometimes be the most exciting part of adventuring outside, right? Here’s your place to talk about it. We want reviews, suggestions for what to pack for a day hike, tips for maintaining your muddy boots, how to use gaiters, what to look for when making your next sleeping bag purchase, etc. We want to teach people about how to use their gear.

“Kitted Out”

These are a gear list for a specific type of activity and should include everything you need to get out there, including specific item recommendations. Think of these as packing lists for specific activities.

“How to Choose”

These guides give readers a sense of how they should shop for a specific item. What are the differences in a particular category? How do you choose one from the other? If you’ve never shopped for a sleeping bag before, these will give you an explanation of how to choose the right one for you.

“Gear Nerd”

This is the bread and butter of goEast. Gear Nerd articles are techy, “nerdy” explainers of gear technology, fabrics, materials, and more.

MyAdventures

The people are what make the outdoors great. This section is full of their stories—and your stories! These can be personal anecdotes, features of impressive adventurers, Q&As with cool people, opinion pieces, and more. Length should be in the medium to long range, very few will be short. It’s possible to have some overlap between MyAdventures and other sections depending on the content of the story.

“Summit Views”

Speak your mind. Summit Views is your place for expressing your opinion on outdoor-related topics.

Learn

One of the biggest benefits we can have for each other as a community is the opportunity to learn from one another. This is the place for that. The Learn category can include any tips, tricks, skills, how-tos, or explainers to help make our adventures better (and that doesn’t have to do with gear or specific locations—those fit in the Upper-Right or Gear 411 categories).

“Camp Chef”

Camp Chef articles are primarily recipes for car campers and backpackers, designed to be cooked with only the tools and equipment you would have there.


PHOTOGRAPHY

Great photos are essential to having a high-quality piece of writing. We won’t accept a piece of content without them. All stories, upon submission, are expected to include a minimum of two high-quality, high-resolution (1400 x 600px  minimum) photos to go with the story. Landscape photos are best. You must also have taken or otherwise own these photos and have legal permission to give them to us for use.


STYLE GUIDELINES

These guidelines will help us maintain a consistent level of quality and a constant voice throughout our content, but also allow your voice to shine through loud and clear.

VOICE

We want to have conversations with our readers, not talk down to them. Think of this as a virtual EMS store. You walk in on a Friday night before your big trip, pick up a couple of last-minute items and, at the register, strike up a conversation with one of the guides who asks you where you’re going and then proceeds to recommend the best lean-tos for you to stay in. Except here, you’re the store guide.

Show the reader how enthusiastic and excited you are about what you’re telling them, how much you love your outdoor experiences, and how much of an expert you are. Leave them with little doubt that you knew what you were talking about.

GRAMMAR/STYLE/FORMATTING PREFERENCES

Even though we have skilled editors ready to get your content into publishing shape and optimize it for the web, we like our writers to align as much as possible with our grammar standards, so the editors can focus on content rather than form. We generally follow the Associated Press style, with some notable exceptions or highlights. You can find those changes, as well as some of our more important preferences here.

Headings and Subheadings

These are guideposts for readers. They help deep readers stay on track and help scanners find the content that they find most relevant. Use them not merely to break up content, but to orient people for what’s coming next and keep them engaged.

In headings, use title case, capitalizing everything but conjunctions, prepositions, and articles (unless any of these start the heading). Periods aren’t good for headings, but a question mark can work wonders. The same guidelines for headings also apply to subheadings.

Lists

Lists are great and make some things far easier for readers to get through and make sense of. Be sure that your list follows a consistent syntax so it doesn’t look disjointed.

Names and Events

Capitalize only the formal names of places and events.

Bold and Italics

If you need a formatting cue for emphasis, then choose italics, but use it sparingly. There is, however, an exception: use italics for the names of published books, periodicals, newspapers, works of art, climbing routes, full-length film titles, and television shows.

Abbreviations and Contractions

Generally speaking, we like them because they’re more conversational. But if one in particular is not broadly familiar to readers (especially in the case of some acronyms), then spell it out the first time you use it in a piece. Never abbreviate Mount or Mountain (e.g., Mount Washington, not Mt. Washington).

Periods

There is only one space after a period, not two. Two spaces was the rule back when typewriters were used, but not with computers. If you do it, get familiar with the Search and Replace feature before you submit your piece.

Oxford Commas

Yes, please, and thank you.

Ellipses

Ellipses show that part of a sentence has been omitted. They shouldn’t be used in place of an em dash (—) or to create drama. You can also use ellipses to abbreviate quotes, indicating that some material has been left out.

Hyphens

A complex beast. We generally prefer one word over two hyphenated words, simply because hyphens can make it harder to read long text. A hyphen is often necessary when an adjective can also be an adverb, to avoid confusion (e.g., half-laughing; late-blooming). Avoid using with most compound adjectives, where the meaning is unambiguous without a hyphen. Don’t hyphenate words beginning with non, unless the second word is a proper noun. And don’t hyphenate after pre, post, semi, anti, mega, micro, sub, over, super, under, and the like. To paraphrase the old comma rule: if it’s clear without, leave it out. You don’t want to look like that guy who still hyphenates “e-mail.”

Em Dashes

Em dashes help give readers a natural pause in their reading—and they can be used to set off a parenthetical statement. However, they shouldn’t have spaces around them, and two hyphens do not make an em dash.

Exclamation Points

We see them as a bit of a writing crutch. In a hyped-up world, good writers can communicate enthusiasm and emphasis, perhaps even more strongly, without using exclamation points. Please avoid.

Numerals

Spell out one through nine in narrative text, and spell out a number if it’s the first word of a sentence. Spell out first, second, third, and so on. For time, use numerals and “a.m.” or “p.m.” For dates, use numerals without nd, rd, st, or th. Place a comma between the month and the year and following the year, when all three are mentioned (i.e., “On January 1, 2012, something happened.”) Do not place a comma between the month and the year when the day is not mentioned (“Something happened in January 2012.”).

Cardinal Directions

Capitalize north, south, east, or west only whe used in reference to a proper region. You take the trail north, but we live in the Northeast.

Pronouns and Inclusive Language

Rather than using “one” as a pronoun, it’s better to be specific (I, you, he, she, we, they). “One” sounds preachy. When referring to an unspecified person, change the sentence into the plural or rewrite it without using pronouns. Also, avoid gender-specific titles—e.g., rather than “outdoorsman,” use “outdoor enthusiast.”

Links and Keywords

When referring to another website, link as appropriate. Remember, in today’s SEO world, links to other sites are great. But don’t link from words like “click here” or “to learn more.” Instead, write as you normally would and then simply highlight and link the most relevant keywords—and be sure to enable the “open link in new tab” option when it’s available.

EMS Product

Without turning your entire story blue, linking to product on EMS.com is great. Try to have at least one or two products somewhere in each story, using and linking the full name of the product as it appears on EMS.com. With product-based listicles, do not turn the subhead into a link—restate the product and place the link in the first sentence of the text (and, obviously, don’t link to products outside of EMS.com).

Exceptions to the Rules

There might be exceptions, but they really are exceptions. If you have questions, ask the editors at editor@ems.com.