Reaching real people with compelling articles
Articles on this blog are written, published, and promoted using a simple four-stage process.
Stage 1: Vetting the Research and Refining the Lede
This stage begins when we agree to move forward on your article idea, and ensures that the lede is credible.
Articles can take two or three drafts to complete, so the first step is to set up a document in Google Docs and then share it with Andrew for editing purposes. It should contain the following information:
- Your draft lede.
- Links to any research you are thinking about using.
- Links to any online tools you may wish to share with readers.
Andrew checks all research to verify its credibility. These are the appropriate types of sources:
- Peer-reviewed academic research.
- Freely-available government or corporate documents.
- Web pages belonging to organizations or people you intend to mention.
- Official press releases.
- Legally-obtained photos or video clips, unedited.
- Audio recorded with permission for online release.
During this stage, Andrew offers suggestions on how to follow these lede-writing instructions so that your refined lede has all the necessary elements and reflects your research.
Stage 2: Writing and Editing the Rest of the Article
The lede is always the first paragraph in a news story, and any claim it contains must be evident from the body of the article. The remaining paragraphs should be organized from most to least important, each one addressing a single key point. This stage begins when your research has been vetted and your lede is ready to go.
Share each article draft on Google Docs with Andrew. He will provide constructive feedback and help you fix any logical or grammatical errors. It normally takes more than one draft in order to complete this stage. Typically, fewer revisions are required with each draft. All article parameters must be met in order get published.
The closing step for this stage is to write a title that is both accurate and likely to attract readers.
Stage 3: Compiling the Byline and Marketing Information
This stage begins with registering as a content contributor. Registration enables you to update the written parts of your byline whenever you like. (If you are already a registered contributor, you will be asked to update your information. An up-to-date byline lends credibility to your articles.)
You will be asked for the following information for your byline:
- A three-sentence bio that describes your location and interests, like the one at the bottom of this page.
- Links to your website, Facebook, and/or twitter pages.
- An image to go along with your byline, unless you use a Gravatar (suggested).
You will be asked for the following information related to your article:
- Two or three hashtags relevant to your article, selected from this list.
- Any hashtags that you currently use to raise awareness about the issues addressed in your article.
- (optional) A large, original, text-free digital image related to your topic for promotional use.
Stage 4: Publishing and Promoting the Article
This stage begins when all of the information requested in Stage 3 has been compiled.
The finished article is published on this blog (ontheground.net). Andrew then pays to test-market and promote it on Facebook, and keeps you informed of the results.
When links to online resources and tools get used by readers, articles are allocated larger promotional budgets. If an article attracts both readers and comments, Andrew will pay to promote it a second time. Promotions are focused on people in your geographical area unless otherwise discussed.