WRITING for CIVICYork.ca

(Adapted from http://beabetterblogger.com/writing-guidelines/ )

Thanks for your interest in writing for CIVICYork. We’re always looking for interesting articles from York Region residents about York Region interests.

What type of writing are you looking for?

We’re looking for three types of articles; community reporting, community interest blog articles and storytelling.

Community Reporting

These are articles about community events and happenings.  You could attend a fundraiser, or a cultural event, a youth or seniors event.  Anywhere in York Region where residents are coming together to learn, share or celebrate our community.  We want to raise awareness of what is happening in our community and shine the spotlight on our citizens and agencies involved.

Community interest blog articles

These types of articles from your own personal perspective and narrative about what interests you and your peers.  We’re looking for many different perspectives to share; youth, seniors, immigrant, long-time resident, disabled etc. so that we can engage and interest and learn about our neighbours around us.

Storytelling / Oral History

This type of writing is about yourself.  Or perhaps about someone you interview and write the story for.  It is a personal narrative about something that is important and personal to you that you would like to share with others.

What topic areas should I write about?

CIVICYork posts articles about topics of social interest for residents of York Region.  We’re not really interested in the latest restaurant or night club, or reviewing the latest movies. We aim to raise awareness of social issues and Community Service Organizations in York Region.  We would like to read about topics that focus on your perspective as a member of your target audience ….

  • Children
  • Youth
  • Adults
  • Seniors
  • Newcomers
  • Canadian born
  • Disabled
  • Poverty
  • LGBTQ+
  • Women
  • Men
  • etc……

We’re looking for posts that inform our readers and raise their awareness.  Posts that inspire them to get involved in their community. Posts they can’t wait to share with their friends. Posts people won’t forget two seconds later.

How long should my post be?

The discussion about post length is not straight forward.  Longer posts perform better in SEO rankings, where shorter posts are easier to write and read.  Posts should generally be between 500 to 1000 words but depending on the topic and depth of coverage may be shorter or longer.  Whatever the length, always edit your copy and eliminate unnecessary words—your readers will appreciate it (and, as a result, so will Google).

What about links?

Your post can contain links to other, relevant things you have written, or to other articles that provide background or support for your claims, as well as links to other, relevant sources (blog posts of others, CIVICYork links, etc.).

Should I include photos / videos?

Yes, we would like you to include media, but ensure you are able to use them.  If you take your own photos, please ensure you get permission from any people in the photo. If you’re using a photo that you found on the internet, please ensure that is a Creative Commons image, be sure to provide its link so we can give proper credit to the owner.

To ensure they look the best in CIVICYork’s theme, please use images with widths of 640px or larger.

Where can I find Creative Commons use photos?

A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work.  The number of sites posting CC images is growing all the time. If you Google ‘free sites for images’ and you will get a listing of the latest sites.  Here is one site that lists 33 of the free image sites

You can also Google the topic or keyword of what you’re looking for and switch to the ‘Images’ Google tab.  Then in the menu click Tools, Usage Rights, Labeled for Reuse (see below)

What should I do after my article is published?

It’s expected you will promote the post on social media and email it to your friends and list of subscribers (if you have one). It’s also expected you will be active and timely in the comments section.

This bears repeating: It’s expected you will promote your guest post and respond to comments left to you in a timely manner.

Also, while you should never republish the post elsewhere, it’s perfectly okay for you to offer an excerpt of the post on your blog or social media site, and then supply a link where your readers can read the rest.

The article will be posted on;

You can repost it from here, or find the article on our website and share it to your own social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn or any other sites you are involved in.

Who retains ownership of my post?

You will always be credited as the author, but once your post has been published on CIVICYork it becomes the property of CIVICYork.

In short: You’re the author, but you’re giving over ownership to it.

This means you shouldn’t publish it elsewhere. It also means you shouldn’t take it, tweak the title, change a few words here and there, and publish it elsewhere.

Do you pay for guest posts?

Guest blogging for CIVICYork isn’t a paying gig. What you get is the opportunity to write for an up-and-coming blog, add to your writing portfolio, and expose your work to a growing audience.

Can I be a regular contributor?

If you prove to be a quality writer who actively promotes his/her guest posts and interacts with readers in the comments, we would love you to write on a recurring basis.

What will happen after I submit my pitch?

Once you submit your pitch, we’ll review it. If your pitch is accepted, you can go ahead and start writing.

After your draft is complete, you’ll send us a quick email and the editing process will begin. We’ll make comments and suggestions and send it back to you.

We’ll repeat as necessary until we agree it’s ready.

Please Note: Your post will not be scheduled for publication until it’s met our standards. Don’t feel bad, all writers get edited.

Anything else I should know?

  • Your post needs to be free of spelling and grammatical errors
  • It needs to be insightful, helpful, and worthwhile
  • It needs to be new and unique and not been previously published in any form
  • It should be written in a conversational style. In other words, the fewer similarities to Russian literature the better
  • It should keep paragraphs short. White space is your friend
  • It should break up sections using H2, H3, or H4 headings (like I’m doing on this page). This helps with clarity
  • Be prepared to send us a short bio of yourself with a picture. This will be added to your login profile and shown on the author information on all your articles

What are your expectations for guest bloggers?

We expect guest bloggers…

  • To be active in the commentssection during the 72 hours after their guest post is published (and to periodically check in afterwards)
  • To diligently promotetheir guest post during its first week, and to promote it periodically in the weeks and months to follow
  • To write thoroughly-awesome guest posts

Nothing too crazy, right?

Do I need to be an experienced writer?

We’re looking for people who have a talent or love of writing, no experience necessary.  However, if the content or style is not appropriate or right for our site, we reserve the right to not publish your article.

Where can I find more information or resources on writing for a blog?

There are lots of articles and free help available on the internet for blog writing.  Here are a few that we have found and used.  If you have others that you have used and found helpful, please send them to us and we will add them to our list.

Do you offer any training for Community Reporting / Blogging?

We are currently putting together a summer training course on Community Reporting / Blogging.  Please let us know if you would be interested in participating in this type of training by emailing info@civicyork.ca