This short guide will help you to avoid some of the pitfalls and steer you towards perfect copy.
Here are a few basic guidelines for our features:
- Wordcount: The magazine is online only which makes the wordcount less of an issue than it used to be when we printed an actual magazine. Nonetheless, please don’t go too far beyond the suggested wordcount. We feel that the ideal length is about 700 to 1,000 words for features.
- Your voice: Write the article in the first person (we or I). Introduce your organisation early on by saying for example, “We at …” or “My organisation …” Your role and the name of your organisation will be given at the end of the article, together with a website address so please supply those.
- Hyperlinks: We will add hyperlinks but do feel free to supply them yourself. Not too many though.
- Hype and superlatives: Avoid telling the reader how marvellous you and your projects are – they will judge that for themselves, Avoid using too many words like ‘stunning’, ‘exciting’ and fascinating’. (If your organisation is a commercial one, this is particularly pertinent and we may just delete overtly promotional references to what you do or sell.)
- Quotations: Try to limit quotations to those that illuminate an aspect of your work, For example, “Your project on prison literacy has changed my life, and I am now a published novelist” is fine.
- Jargon: Do not use it as it can bamboozle a reader from another branch of the arts sector. Everyone, from a dance specialist to a curator or theatre education practitioner, needs to be able to understand what you are talking about, so edit or explain accordingly.
- Arts councils: If you need to refer to an arts council please make it clear whether you mean Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Wales, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland or Creative Scotland.
- Keep it legal: It’s perfectly legitimate to criticise a person or organisation as long as you avoid personal attacks, libel or misrepresentation.
Cover what our readers are interested in. They want to read about:
- issues and practice of interest to arts managers – systems, new ideas and approaches, risks that paid off, etc
- policy and how it affects the arts – how local, national or funding policies have helped or hindered you, or how you’ve been able to take advantage
- artistic practice and how arts professionals support or respond to it
- business and developmental ideas including marketing, education, outreach, managerial styles and systems, etc
- initiatives which other arts managers might emulate, join or develop, such as regional, national or international partnerships, gaining funding from a new source, or breaking into new areas such as regeneration
- research which adds to our knowledge and may affect practice or policy
- new ways to engage people, whether audience, participants, schools, board members, stakeholders, etc
- the practicalities of working with particular groups, such as disabled or older people, corporate groups, rural communities, etc.
Please use your own style when writing. When your piece reaches us, we will make certain changes, editing it into our house style. We will add a title, usually three or four words long. Do suggest one yourself if you wish. We will then add a ‘standfirst’ or short explanation of the article in about 20 to 30 words.
We do not use italics or bold script.
We use double quotation marks for quotations from speech or writing.
Allergy alert: please do not use exclamation marks.
We need one image to illustrate the article. It must be landscape (rather than portrait) and can be fairly low resolution (100 to 500KB). We like to receive a small selection of images and tend to go for the colourful, quirky one.
We also need a colour headshot of the author(s) of the article. Again, that can be low resolution.
A note on copyright and re-publication
The copyright of what you write remains with you. Although we will not publish material which has already appeared elsewhere (except under very unusual circumstances, such as its having been published abroad), we are happy for others to republish your piece. However, we do request that any republication should carry the following line:
“First published by ArtsProfessional, day/month/year. www.artsprofessional.co.uk“
Examples of articles
Finally, you may find it helpful to see a few examples of some features from our website.
Two case studies:
Thank you in advance for writing for us.