Content Submission Guidelines

Since its inception in 2003, The Rail Media (formerly Sports Bar Marketing) has been delivering great content to restaurant owners, managers, and other industry decision makers every day. We’ve become a trusted voice in the hospitality industry, cultivating news from around the industry, reporting on trends, and tackling tough issues that affect bars and restaurants every single day.

Now we’re opening our doors to you.

We encourage and greatly appreciate thought leaders and industry professionals to share their innovations, experiences and ideas with their peers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. We believe that the restaurant industry grows stronger when we share our knowledge and experience, and The Rail Media aims to be the conduit of those ideas.

You can submit your content online using the submission form or by emailing Editorial. We also encourage you to review the following submission guidelines before hand. We've also created a short Contributor Guidelines reference sheet you can download.

Submissions that do not meet requirements may not be accepted for publication.

General Submission Guidelines

  • The Rail Media accepts the following content formats: News/Features/Blog, Video, Podcasts, Photo Slideshows & Infographics.
  • Content should be between 500-1500 words. Contact Editorial if you feel you need more or less space.
  • Do not submit content that is promotional in any way. Content should be informational, educational, entertaining, insightful or procedural.
  • When quoting others’ work, include attributions in the body text. This should refer to the author and publication, and a link back to the original post. No footnotes, endnotes or reference lists.
  • You may link back to your website/blog in the body text (in a natural, SEO-friendly way) and in your Author Bio. These may include track backs.
  • You should also link to outside resources in the body text in a natural, SEO-friendly way.
  • Include 3-5 subheads.
  • Use bullet points (when applicable) for easy scanning.
  • All forms of multimedia are welcome for embedding into a post.

Voice + Tone

  • Thought Leaders: We strive to be thought leaders in the industry, looking at major problems, rising trends, and innovative ideas effecting the restaurant industry.
  • Data Driven: Use stats and studies from reputable researchers when possible.
  • Problems & Solutions: Our readers love to know what they’re doing wrong or poorly, but be sure to give them some solutions to those problems, too.
  • Visual: Be as visual as you can in. All forms of multimedia are welcome to drive your message home.
  • Tone: Casual and friendly, like you’re talking shop with a friend over a few drinks.

SEO Guidelines

  • Headlines should include a keyword phrase and be under 8 words long (approx. 56 characters, including spaces)
  • Body text should include at least one link to another Rail story or landing page relating to the post content and keyword phrase
  • Body text should include at least one link to outside sources (blog post, video, podcast, infographic, whitepaper, downloadables, etc.)
  • The post summary should include the post’s keyword phrase and any alternate keywords while also accurately describing the post’s content.
  • The post summary should be between 150-160 characters (including spaces).

What We Need From You

  • Your byline
  • A short author bio (approx. 50 words)
  • Author headshot (JPG or PNG)
  • Your post (sent as a Word or Pages document)
  • Post Summary (approx. 150-160 characters)
  • A Hero Image (optional)
  • Any multimedia (photos/graphics/video/audio/social media) that should be embedded into the post
  • Proof of right of use for any stock images and video used in the post
  • Your contact info (for internal use only) 

Once received, Editorial will look over your submission. If accepted, you will be notified of its slated publication date.

A note on our editing process...

The Rail Media will edit your story for grammar, spelling, style and SEO, while doing our best to keep the tone and personality of the piece intact. We’ll try to work with the author on any edits, but cannot make promises they’ll get final editorial control. 

We generally re-write headlines and subheads to conform with our style guide and SEO best practices.

We don’t condone or actively practice censorship, but The Rail Media reserves the right to exercise editorial judgement.


  • You don’t need to be a restaurant or hospitality industry expert to be accepted on The Rail. The Rail Media accepts posts from a diverse group of people with varying background and experiences. You just need a fresh or interesting idea for a post and a computer to write it on. Content is all reviewed based on its merit, not the byline.
  • Our primary target audience are restaurant owners, operators and managers; secondarily are other restaurant staff. Keep this in mind when crafting your content.
  • We’re interested in any restaurant-related topic that our target audience would find useful and interesting. Examples include new restaurant technology, sports bar marketing ideas, restaurant financial tips, proven ideas for staff management, etc.
  • We love embedded multimedia, so feel free to get creative with your visuals.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Editorial.

Contributor Agreement

By submitting your content to The Rail Media you’re agreeing to the following items:

  • The Rail Media has exclusivity rights to the content being submitted. Submitted content cannot be reposted onto other publications until 30 days after it goes live on TheRail.Media and must have different headlines and subheads.
  • That you share your post on TheRail.Media on your social media accounts and newsletters.
  • That you have copyright permission to use any stock photos, audio and music embedded in the post.
  • The content is original and not plagiarized, and uses proper citations for works quoted. 
  • Work submitted may be repurposed for other project needs such as lead-gen PDF download handbooks and guides.
  • Certain posts may also be selected for cross-posting on our sister sites – and

In return, The Rail Media promises the following:

  • To give you full credit for the content you created, with links back to your site(s).
  • To promote your content on The Daily Rail, our daily restaurant industry newsletter that goes out to more than 32,000 readers every day. The Daily Rail scores a 39% average open rate.
  • To promote your content on The Rail Media’s social media accounts, including but not withstanding – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram – with mentions to your social account.
  • To promote your piece on our new SportsTVGuide 2.0 portal, which sports bars from around the US and Canada visit every day to see what’s on for sports.

Ready to get started? Click here to submit your story!