Trending Topics Guidelines

Last Updated: 5/29/23

Trending Topics are a somewhat special area of our Wealth of Geeks publishing empire. They fall more towards our Entertainment articles, but in some cases also overlap with our News articles. They're designed to drive a lot of traffic to the site by promoting and increasing our presence on our MSN syndication. They're produced fast and furious, but still to Wealth of Geeks standards.

Below you will find two main sections – Trending Topics and Trending Topics Agency Resources. Both are important to read and understand if you want to work on trending topics. You also will need to watch and respond to the weekly video tips put out by the Trending Topics Editing Team.

Trending Topics Instructions

We want trending topics to draw readers in to our articles on MSN, but we want to make sure we're giving them every reason to keep coming back to us, following us on social media, and reading articles. We don’t want them just to be reading our MSN articles but also be interested in the broader Wealth of Geeks website and all of the rest of the cultural and financial reporting we’re doing.

We also want you to write articles you’re excited about and that you’re excited to share.

Don't be afraid to include personality in your pieces! You can use “I” or “we” when talking about things.

Break the 4th wall — but try not to be mean. Let readers take cheap shots in the comments. Think playful snark in the vein of Jezebel, The Cut, Slate, and Vice — just without the political slant.

We’re sitting at the Inn at the crossroads between culture, entertainment, finance, food, and travel, overhearing what’s trending. It’s your job to take the conversations and turn them into blog post-style articles, telling the reader in your own words about what’s trending.

General Info

Pay Rates as of Feb 01, 2023

Trending Topics Article $20 Bonus:
Trending Topics 10 Item Slide Show $30 100 posts in 1 month $500
Trending Topics 20 Item Slide Show $60 AP quality bonus $75
Team Wonder Women SEO Article $150

* We know learning our process can take some time, so to help with the fact your first few might take you some extra time, we’re offering a bonus to new writers after they complete 20 articles.

Trending Topics (TT)

These are a mix of explainers and reaction posts, mixing breaking news with trending discussions on social media. These cover a wide variety of topics but are mainly focused on entertainment and lifestyle. These are meant to be written and read quickly – think: the listicles you click through when you’re bored at work.

We are not accepting new trending topics article pitches. Any new work needed will be published in the Slack channel or on the Assignments tab of the Trending Tropic Tracking Sheet.


  • You can use the first person when writing trending topics, and personal commentary and adding personality to your posts is encouraged.
  • Tweets can be embedded into these posts, and other messages on social media can be quoted/linked to.
  • Unlike other sections of WoG, trending topics writers load their own posts into WordPress. Message Max on Slack to gain access if you do not already have it.


Lifestyle Trending Topics (TT-AP)

These are based on press releases we are sent that we believe would make a great crossover between TT and AP. If articles turned in are high enough quality, they’ll be published on AP and are worth a $75 bonus if accepted to AP.

What I’m looking for are pieces that go beyond what is just delivered in the press release. So many people are sent the same press releases every day, so we’re looking for a unique WOG-style angle on these press releases. Include outside research to expand beyond what’s included in the press release to expand on the story.


  • Follow AP Style
  • Follow WoG News writing guidelines
  • Article writing guidelines below
  • Word count needs to be between 800 and 1300 words
  • 95% + score on Grammarly Premium
  • 1 additional source beyond the press release
  • Follow regular submitting rules for Trending Topics (see below).

Press releases and temporary headlines will be shared in the TT – AP Assignments tab on the Trending Topics Tracking spreadsheet. There, you’ll find a link to the press release we’re asking you to base these articles on.

To claim, please fill in the date claimed and the writer box.

Please claim only one assignment at a time. All assignments should be turned in within 24 hours of claiming.

Here are a few examples, but I would like to see at least one additional source used with these.

Team Wonder Woman SEO (WW-SEO)

  • Instructions are found here.
  • Ananyaa runs these. See #team-ww-seo Slack channel for more information
  • For claiming topics, see the Slack channel.

Article and Slideshow Writing

For all articles and slide shows, you should follow the writing guidelines found in the Wealth of Geeks Writer’s Hub (password: WOGROCKS). This is also pinned in the Freelancer Onboarding channel in Slack.

  • This includes:
    • Lizzy’s Guidelines you had to learn for TCA
      • You can find a playlist of her training videos here
    • AP News Style Guidelines
    • Wealth of Geeks in-house style guidelines (listed in Writer’s Hub)
    • Linking to sources:
      • This includes Reddit threads and tweets
      • Tweets can be embedded
      • When sourcing a Reddit thread, you only need to link to the thread once in your article.
        • Can be organicially or using the following phrase at the end of your article: This thread inspired this post
          • Link to Reddit using the word “thread”
      • Anything that isn’t common knowledge needs to be linked to.
        • If you had to look it up, cite your sources
      • Please avoid linking back to competitors. See WoG Guidelines for full details.
  • Censoring articles to meet MSN standards
    • No profanity, not even in quotes. Please edit quotes/names to clean them up.
    • This includes changing anyone named “Dick” to Richard or referring to them by their last name only.
      • Yes, MSN’s censors are that sensitive.
      • These aren’t our rules, and we would really love it if we didn’t have to follow them.
      • Articles are rejected from being added to the MSN feed if they don’t pass the profanity check
    • We cannot publish the following words: Smoking, vaping, nude, cocky


  • Posts should be a minimum of 450 words
  • Posts should be broken up into different sections using H2 headings.
    • If you’re making a list, each number/item should be its own H2 heading
  • Each section should be 250 – 300 words maximum.
  • Lists should be in ascending order (start with 1)
  • Do not end your list with “finally,” “concluding,” “the last on our list,” or anything that states or implies the reader is finished with the article. We want them to keep reading.
  • If writing a reaction post, you can either embed social media posts or paraphrase/quote the posts.
  • Please link to at least two Wealth of Geeks articles inside your article
    • The headlines/URL of the link you’re using should be as close to the word you’re using to anchor the link to as possible.
  • Make these boxes are checked on all links:


Slide Show

  • Watch Lizzy’s video for a tutorial
  • Loaded into WordPress the same way you would an article or list, including a short intro.
  • Adding slides:
    • Slide title should be formatted as H2
    • Picture (1600 x 900/16:9) immediately follows (see below for image sourcing) underneath the slide title
  • If your list is numbered, please use ascending order
  • Do not end your list with “finally,” “concluding,” “the last on our list,” or anything that states or implies the reader is finished with the article.
  • Please link to at least two Wealth of Geeks articles inside your article
    • The headlines/URL of the link you’re using should be as close to the word you’re using to anchor the link to as possible.
      • These are the links that are in green in the examples below.
  • Make these boxes checked on all non-WOG links:
  • If invoicing for a TT slide show, you should have a minimum of 10 slides
    • Note: If you have a list of 5 things but still have 10 slides, this counts as 10
  • Examples:


  • If you’re looking for an easy checklist to follow when submitting, click here.
  • Run through Grammarly before you submit to fix typos, grammar, etc. You should be scoring 95%.
  • Save in WordPress as a draft once completed
  • Add “This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks” to the end of the article or slide show.
  • Check only the “Trending Topics” category under “Categories”
  • Under any article, the following needs to be filled in:
  • Choose two slide shows from this list to fill the middle and end slide show
    Also, link to TWO similar articles that would drive more readers to WoG (aka up next links)

Slide Show links:

  • For slide shows, please add TWO links and fill in the ‘more articles’ box:
  • Add Featured Image (see sourcing instructions below)
  • Add your article headline and link to the Trending Topics Article Tracking spreadsheet on either Trending Topics or WW-SEO tab (whichever is appropriate) when completed
    • Put a few rows below the last line of text in case other people are also adding info to the doc

Image Sourcing

We use IMDb and Shutterstock for our articles, listicles, and slideshows. There are photos in our Media Library that you can use, but please verify the size! Some will be smaller than 1200 x 675, or not meet 16:9 ratio requirements. Do not use these.

Note: We are working on clearing these out of the library and appreciate your patience in the meantime!

Picking a Featured Image

  • Use horizontal photo for feature photo set to 1200 x 675, 1600 x 900, or anything 16:9 ratio
    • Use close-ups of emotive faces
    • Feature photos don’t have to depict something exactly from the article (unless you’re covering movies/TV). You can capture a mood or detail that summarizes the article and capture people’s attention.
    • MSN will fail any article with a lead image that’s provocative or violent. No guns, cigarettes, bikinis, cleavage, etc.
    • Doing a slide show? Use one of the photos from your slideshow as your feature. Just make sure it’s “clean.”
      • Do not use a stock image of people watching TV, at the movies, etc.
    • If you have a list of movies, TV shows, etc., please use film stills instead of using red carpet stock photos.

Picking Slide Show Images

  • Use horizontal photo for feature photo set to 1200 x 675, 1600 x 900, or anything 16:9 ratio
    • Photos inside the slideshow should be of what the list is about. If you’re listing 10 movies, the 10 slide photos should be of those movies you listed.
      • Don’t use stock photos for entertainment slide shows, such as people watching TV. Choose either an image from your slide show or a different scene/still from one of the movies/shows/etc in your slide show.
      • Don’t use promotional posters for slide images.
    • Can be added to the article using the “add media” button:


  • Can be used for movie/TV articles, lists, and slide shows.
  • You will need to take screenshots to save photos or use the Image Downloader extension if you’re using Google Chrome
  • Credit needs to be given to the studio or network that produced the show/movie.
    • If information isn’t already on the photo, Google: “[movie title] movie distributor” to find this information


  • You will need to be emailed an invitation to join our Shutterstock account.
    • Message Nicole if you haven’t been sent an invitation.
    • Note: You will already need a Shutterstock account. Create this before following the link in the invite we send you. The invitation is for your account to join our team’s account rather than having all of WoG trying to login to one account.
  • Photos from Shutterstock will be too large and can be resized/cropped down before downloading.

Adding to Media Library

  • You must add a description to the photos you’re adding to our media library! Even if it’s just the movie title or the emotion in the picture. This helps give us the ability to reuse photos (and find them!).
    • When adding a photo to WordPress, no matter if it’s a feature or a slide, the caption must read: Image Credit: Source.
      • If using Shutterstock – Image Credit: Photographer/Shutterstock.
      • If using IMDb – Image Credit: Network or Studio (ie Netflix, Hulu, 20th Century Fox).
      • If you cannot find the network or studio on IMDb, you will need to search “[movie title] distributor”
    • Yes, you need to include the period in the caption.

Trending Topics Submissions Checklist

Before you turn anything in, double-check this list to make sure the article is as ready as you can make it.

Trending Topics Agency Resources:

Agency Writer Guidelines and Info

TT Agency Assignment Sheet

TCA Video Tips

Unsure how to execute your Trending Topics assignment? Watch these videos.
If you still have a question afterward, reach out to Lizzy.

WOG Movie Repeats and Word Resource

After you've published 10,000 articles, you start to notice some patterns emerging.
Here are some great ways to say the same thing without boring the reader.

Yes, everyone knows The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects have unexpected endings. Literally everyone. So…
Here's our list of a few TV shows and movies we lean on too much – let's avoid them, please!
Consult these lists before you start writing.

Please ensure that you understand these guidelines as posted, before proceeding to the next section.

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