A guide to submitting opinion pieces to Mumbrella

Mumbrella Official logo- use this one-Symbol_RGBWe welcome interesting comment pieces from anyone, and 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.

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? What difference will it make to our readers’ working lives or careers? What impact will it have on media/ marketing/ creative/ production industries? 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. Don’t write about the trip, write about the ideas.

If you’re writing a piece inspired by a conference you’re currently visiting – be it Cannes, SXSW or otherwise – there’s no need to draw us a word picture of your surroundings. What we hope to bring to readers is the new thought or lesson that the event has inspired. Our readers have little interest in the weather conditions unless your piece is a searing takedown on industry junkets. The expiry date on articles based on a trip to a well known event is short, so if you’re going to submit something, it’s better to try to do it while the event is still going on.

7. 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?)

8. Ideal length

Write it tightly, ideally 600 to 800 words.

9. 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 who are directly involved. Our readership work across the communications sector and may be unfamiliar with the detail of your own specialism.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. How to improve your chances of publication.

Sometimes our time-pressed news desk will have to choose between more than one great piece. Making it as simple as possible to post, can improve its chances of getting up. Mumbrella is based on WordPress. If you want to submit an article in both plain text and html formatted with any links you’d like to include, then this can help us post more speedily.

If you want more clarification on these guidelines, or to submit an opinion piece, contact our Opinion and Features editor (preferably during the afternoon, after our daily news email has gone out) Josie Tutty on +61 (0) 2 8296 0211 or email josie@mumbrella.com.au.

Mumbrella Official 24 Hours With Logo

24 HOURS WITH… For information on how to submit a profile piece to Mumbrella’s ‘day in the life’ section, 24 Hours With… email vivienne@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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