Maybe you've found yourself in a similar situation.
You know the direction the piece needs to take and you understand who to gear the article toward. But beyond those two key elements, do you know what the editor expects when you turn in the final copy? And, do you know what basics to expect from the publication?
In a situation like this, you may want to have a checklist handy. I use a similar list with my high school journalism students. It's a good tool for defining expectations. I break my list into five categories:
So here's what my checklist looks like:
- Demographics - who is the intended reader of the piece? Age group?
- What information will they want or need to know? Sometimes I write a tagline to summarize the article.
- Word count
- Writing style
- Photographs, artwork, infographics, video required
- Fee - How much will you be paid? What expenses are included? Will they pay a kill fee?
- Invoicing method - Do you need to submit an invoice? When does the publication make payments?
- Rights - What rights are included in this contract?
- Experts - Are there certain experts the editor would like you to speak to? How many expert opinions do you need? Should you show contrasting opinions?
- Reader or personal anecdotes - Should they be included?
- Specific statistics
- What's the primary goal of this article? To entertain? persuade? Inform?
by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of her work at her website.