Step 4: Create Your First Story
It’s time to start storytelling.
You’ve set up your new Vocal account—now it’s time to get creative.
Click “Create Story” on the upper right hand corner to begin a new story; or, if you're creating on your phone, click your avatar and select “Create Story.”
First things first: Your story needs a title.
To add a title, type it into the top of your draft where you see the ‘Title’ placeholder, and save your changes. Your title should be catchy, but also informative and concise enough to make it clear what the story is about.
Your story’s subtitle does a bit of the same—it should expand upon and support your title in some way, but it’s also a good place to throw in some extra creativity, humor or wordplay. Be sure you don’t skip over the subtitle; you won’t be able to submit your story without one!
Next, add a featured image or video.
In the placeholder box underneath the Title/Subtitle, you’ll see an option to Add an Image or Add a Video. To add an image, you can either click the image option and upload an eligible JPG, GIF, or PNG from your computer, or drag and drop the file into your draft. To add a featured video, click the video option and paste in the URL of the video and hit enter.
Our recommended size for the featured image is 1920px wide x 1200px tall—but as long as the image you’ve chosen comes from one of the sites on our list of favorite high-res stock photo sources, it will be large and high quality enough to make a great featured. You’re free to use a personal image if you’d rather; just know that our moderation team won’t accept images that are low resolution or copyrighted, or have borders or watermarks.
Now it’s time to start creating.
Below the Featured Image, you’ll see “Start writing…” This is the fun part—just be sure that you’re familiar with all of Vocal’s Community Guidelines before you get started.
A good story is equal parts creativity and structure. We’re all about playing around with formatting and styles, but it helps to start with a simple outline and build out from there so that your story will be readable and simple enough for readers to navigate.
Make your story more engaging by adding photos, products, videos, podcasts, and more. You can learn more about the types of media you can embed in Vocal here.
We recommend breaking up your story every 350-400 words or so to help in scrolling on mobile, increasing the chances people will read through the whole story.
Don’t ignore subheadings, either. Subheadings help organize your story and provide a nice shorthand for your readers to skim, or help them find their place again should they get sidetracked.
Edit and revise
The option to submit your story for review will be hidden until all the required fields in your draft are filled. Once you have a title, subtitle, featured media, and text content, and have saved all your recent changes, the Submit for Review button will become available to you.
Before submitting, we always recommend reading over your story. It's always best to be sure that you’re totally happy with your draft before you press submit.
When you’re ready, click the Submit for Review button, select the community you feel your story fits best, choose a few tags that you feel are most applicable, and choose to submit it to a Challenge if it's applicable. Then, complete the submission.
Congratulations! You’ve submitted your first story. Our moderation team will review the story within 24 hours, and if it meets all of our community guidelines, they’ll publish it on the most applicable community. If there are any edits that are needed before it can be published, they’ll send it back to you and let you know where it could use a little love. Then you’re able to make the edits and resubmit for review.
But once your story is published, what comes next?