A guide to submitting opinion pieces to Mumbrella

Mumbrella Official logo- use this one-Symbol_RGBWe welcome interesting comment pieces, from diverse viewpoints, not just our own. Here are a few pointers on what we look for.

1. Make a single point

The best pieces take a single point, and argue it well, rather than trying to cover too much ground. They also start with the answer, and explain why. They don’t simply ask a question. This includes the headline.

2. Have a different point of view

The most interesting pieces challenge established thinking. If most people would already agree, there may not be a great deal of point in writing the article.

3. Relevance

Why should the reader care about what you’re writing about? And why now? What difference will it make to our readers’ working lives or careers? What impact will it have on the industry?

Articles that speak to wider issues affecting a broad swathe of the industry are often well received, as are insights into relationships between one part of the industry and another.

4. Don’t sell. Don’t sell. Don’t sell

The opportunity in boosting your profile from writing the piece is about giving yourself a chance to position yourself as an expert – not to sell your product or service.

We are often offered comment pieces which argue that what the industry lacks is the product you happen to sell. No matter how well hidden that point is, we don’t publish them.

5. Headline

Although we often select our own headline based on fit and what we think will capture our readers’ attention, do think carefully about your own suggested headline as, at the very least, it will frame our own perceptions when we first come to the piece.

Don’t pose a question when you are actually making an argument for what the answer is. So don’t go for: “Why do millennials keep changing agency jobs every six months?” when you could go for “If you want to keep your millennial staff, give them a clear career path”. And so on.

6. Introduction

Make sure you have a snappy, straight-to-the-point introductory paragraph; that’s all you have to hook the reader in with. (Ask yourself: if the reader only looked at this one paragraph, would they now know the main point you are about to make?)

7. Ideal length

Write it tightly, ideally 600 to 800 words.

8. Keep it simple

Don’t unnecessarily speak in jargon. Where appropriate, explain concepts so that they are readily understandable to all professionals within the industry rather than the specialists directly involved. Our readership work across the communications sector and may be unfamiliar with the detail of your own specialism.

9. After publication, please join the comment thread

If you’ve done a good job, some people will probably disagree with whatever you write and say so in the comments section. But when you then engage in the conversation (in a non-defensive way), the tone of that conversation tends to be more respectful. So be ready to join the discussion.

10. Your picture

We’ll want to illustrate your article with a picture of you, in reasonably high resolution. Simple headshots are preferable, as is colour – black-and-white frankly looks a little pretentious. Everyone will know you put a filter on it. Our website design means that we prefer to use landscape-shaped images.

11. Improve your chances of publication

Pitch us first! We appreciate the time and effort that goes into writing up a full piece, so a pitch gives you a chance to float the idea before jumping into the real thing, and gives us an opportunity to give you feedback or shape the angle before it’s too late.

Sometimes our time-pressed news desk will have to choose between more than one great piece. Make it as simple as possible to post. Include relevant hyperlinks. Avoid PDFs at all cost.

If you want more clarification on these guidelines, or to submit an opinion piece, contact Brittney Rigby (preferably during the afternoon, after our daily news email has gone out) on +61 (0) 2 8296 0229 or email brittney@mumbrella.com.au.

While Mumbrella believes in paying journalists for their work, including freelancers, we do not usually pay for opinion pieces unless specifically commissioned for an agreed price ahead of time.

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