How do you write for the media? In part two of our four-part guide, we look at the planning and writing of articles for the media.
Planning and writing articles
In the planning phase:
- Think about your topic and what you want to say
- Research your topic and develop your own ideas
- Organise your information into a series of logical steps – bullet points are fine at this stage
- Summarise your idea and put it into one short, sharp, shiny paragraph. Create an unforgettable headline for it
- Use this paragraph as your email ‘pitch’ to the editor of the media outlet you consider most appropriate. Put your fabulous headline in as the subject line, then press send!
- If the editor rejects your pitch, ask why. You will learn a lot about what editors want and why your idea didn’t meet their needs if you are brave enough to ask the question
- Take this information on board and decide whether to rethink your idea and try again with the same editor (ask them if they would like you to!) or whether to pitch it to the editor of the next media outlet on your list
- Don’t begin writing an article for a specific media outlet until you have the go-ahead from the editor and make sure you both agree on word length and deadline
In the writing phase:
- Expand on each bullet point, using a simple analogy, example, or fact to support each point if necessary. Note: Create your own analogies/examples and if using quotes, facts, or anecdotes from your research, make sure you appropriately attribute them
- Avoid over-explaining or telling too much fine detail
- Write an introduction and a conclusion – these are sometimes best written when you have finished writing the body of your article
- Review, edit, refine. Use Spellcheck (check that your version of Word is set to Australian English). If grammar is not your thing, a program like Grammarly may be useful
- Ask a friend or colleague to read your finished article. Consider whether or not to edit it in line with their comments or suggestions
- When you are happy with your article, submit it to the editor by the deadline. If there is any possibility that you won’t meet the deadline, let the editor know as soon as possible
Our next blog will look at the process of planning and writing opinion pieces.
Need help writing articles for the media? Contact 64 Media.
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