EDIT: Helium is under constant change. Always check Helium’s webiste for their most current submission guidelines.
Helium is a content aggregator similar to Associated Content in many ways, but way it differs radically is the site layout. New Helium writers are often puzzled as to just how they are to navigate the sight and what links to click in order to put up just one article. Helium underwent another site update in September of 2010, but the basic steps of how to put up an article have not changed.
Helium does have an entire channel (or section) called “Writing for Helium” with content written by members and Helium staff, but it takes a few clicks to locate. In order to find the “Writing for Helium” channel, go to the left hand menu, select “Arts & Humanities.” In the next screen, again go to the left hand menu. Select the small red downward pointing arrow next to the word “Writing.” That will take you to list of subchannels in grey letters. Choose “Writing at Helium.”
Step One: Get to Title Finder
Log in to Helium with your username and password. At the upper right hand corner of the screen will be a row of small white words on a red stripe. Click on “My Helium.” This takes you to a page that should have “My Helium” at the top and your stats, including your star rating and avatar, on the right hand side.
On the left hand side, there is a menu also called “My Helium.” Click on the red words “Title Finder.” This takes you to the best search feature on Helium – and is also the quickest way to find a topic to write about and get to the “Write To” submission template.
Step Two: Find Topic
For this article, we’re going to assume that you know what topic or title you want to write about. Selecting a title or submitting your own title is an article in and of itself. Just for an example’s sake, let’s say you want to write an article about British singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel (And, quite frankly, who doesn’t?) Enter “Peter Gabriel” into the blank rectangle directly underneath the words “With all these words.” You don’t need to worry about the other boxes. Click on the grey “Search” button.
If you are a beginner to Helium, you also don’t need to worry about filling out anything else on the “Title Finder” page. Later on, you’ll begin to fiddle with the advanced search options. But that’s not necessary to learn now.
After clicking the “Search” button, you’ll be taken to a short list of available tiles having to do with Peter Gabriel. Oddly enough, this writer happens to have an article in all titles. But anyway, you are moved to write in one of the Peter Gabriel articles. Click on that title.
If no one has written to that tile (called an “empty title” in Helium-speak) you are immediately to the “Write To” template. If there are articles already written for the topic, you are taken to a page which shows the first four lines of each article. Locate the little yellow pencil icon. When you move the cursor over it, the words “Write To” should pop up. Click on the icon and you will arrive at the “Write To” page.
Step Four: Write Your Article
For this part, you need a word processing program like Microsoft Word. Use block paragraphs with a space in between each paragraph. Don’t use boldface or italics, because they will not turn up on Helium. When you are done, copy and paste.
There are ways to add links, but right now as a beginner you do not want to bother with that until you have the basic publishing steps down cold. Ignore all of the other icons, especially the spell-check icon. Trust your word processing spell check instead.
Step Five: Add to Template
Move your cursor down to the great big blank rectangle. Above this blank rectangle are a few icons. Ignore all of them except the little clipboard with a blue W on it. Click on it. A small screen will pop up. This is where you paste your article. If you have Microsoft Word, you may have at the top of the screen saying that the site wants to play a pop-up. Ignore it.
It may take a few seconds for the article to appear in the small pop-up screen. When the article is in the small screen, click on the white “Insert” button. This transfers the text onto the Helium template. But you’re not done yet.
Step Six: Filling in the Search Phrase
Underneath the text is a blank line saying “Enter Search Phrase.” This is what someone would type into a search engine in order to find information about your topic. Perhaps you wrote an article on Peter Gabriel’s Grammy-winning album “Passion” (1989.) If you were looking for a web site about this album, what would you type into Google? Type that into the blank bar.
Step Seven: Finishing Up
You are almost done. You just have to click on the small blank box under the red words “Helium Writer’s Agreement.” The box will turn black when you have successfully clicked it.
Sometimes you may have to enter a validation code in order to publish your Helium article. This step comes up about one every five articles that you submit to Helium. Just enter the funky-looking numbers and letters into the blank box next to it. The letters and numbers are so peculiar-looking in order to deter spyware.
Then you reach the final step – clicking on the great big green “Publish” button. It may take a few second for your article to appear on the Helium website. You’ll be taken to a blank white page and then a page that states you have successfully published the article. You then get sent to “Ratings”. If you want to publish another article, skip “Ratings” and go write back to “My Helium.”
This gets a lot easier the longer you are with Helium. Have fun!
Author has been a Helium member since 2007.