Tuesday 25 August 2015 4:24 pm

How to write for City A.M.'s Expert Voices pages

City A.M. is all about business with personality – and now we are looking for the biggest personalities in business to make their voices heard.

Our Expert Voices section is the place for thought-leaders and key industry figures to get their point across on the issues that matter. We want the movers and shakers of the ever-evolving business world to hone in on the main talking points and trends that are important to them and their peers.

But what should I write about?

If you are an expert in your field or the person people always turn to for a view on a certain topic then that’s probably a good place to start. We are looking for anything that has an impact on business – which includes technology, government policy, economics and much more besides. Think about what would be interesting to your workplace, Twitter network or wider peer group.

OK, so how do I write it?

  • Keep things concise. We have a 450-word limit for our online contributions because our analytics shows that people often lose interest after that point. If you do need to write more, think about splitting it into different posts.
  • Tie what you write to something topical and in the news. The sooner you can write about a news event after it happens, the more likely people are to read it. Conversely, if you come to something a week after everyone else was talking about it then you are going to have to offer something pretty exceptional to get people interested again.
  • Make sure you are doing something original. Don’t simply offer the same view as everyone else. Use your own industry knowledge or original research to add depth or a different perspective.
  • Give your piece some structure. It sounds obvious but you need a beginning (what it is about), a middle (the meat of your viewpoint) and an end (why it’s important). You also need to grab your reader’s attention right from the outset, starting with the headline.
  • Avoid it feeling like a stream of consciousness. Focus on one thread and make that point clearly. Don’t be tempted to cram too many different themes into one piece.
  • Think a bit about what has prompted you to write this piece – and make sure that is clearly stated in the headline and first paragraph. If you were doing a search in Google or Twitter for something related to what you were writing what terms would you use? Make sure those are included.
  • We don’t want to sound like a teacher, but: remember to check your spelling and punctuation and double-check or cite any facts. Readers will lose trust in what you are saying if you get things (or words) wrong, plus….

Does someone check my piece before it is published?

All content is checked before it is approved. We are keen to avoid heavily editing articles because we are conscious that this is your view and we don’t want to misrepresent you. However, the team may need to work with you to ensure the piece is ready to be published.

In some instances, we will send your piece back with a note on what needs to change. You’ll then be able to make those changes and resubmit it. We obviously reserve the right not to publish anything, regardless of the reason, but we will always endeavour to work with the author to get something ready for publication.

You may not always agree, but please respect any decision not to publish.

Anything else I need to worry about?

You need to adhere to our terms and conditions – but you knew that already, right?

The most important things to keep in mind are:

  • Don’t use this as a forum to launch an attack on companies or individuals. And avoid anything that is potentially libellous or defamatory. If you’re not sure, feel free to email contribute@cityam.com for advice.
  • Stay away from anything that could be perceived as hate speech, sexist, racist, homophobic or abusive. That doesn’t stop you from having spiky views – just avoid going too far.
  • Don’t plagiarise or infringe someone else’s copyright. Make sure it is all your own work or clearly cite when it isn’t.
  • This isn’t the place to hammer home the virtues of your business. We offer sponsored content opportunities for that.
  • Avoid the temptation to allow your political persuasion to take away from the reasoned argument you are making. Aim to convince readers with your narrative rather than through political point scoring.

Will my piece go in the paper?

The newspaper’s The Forum section runs slightly differently and you would need to discuss your ideas with our Business Features Editor Tom Welsh to be featured in the printed version of City A.M. But if your piece is timely and has an original angle, there is a high chance that it could run in the paper too.

Can I publish my piece elsewhere?

We would prefer these pieces to be exclusive to us. If you do want to publish them elsewhere, such as your own blog, we ask that you only publish the first three paragraphs and then link to your article on cityam.com for the rest of the piece. That helps ensure that readers are all directed to the same place.

Do I get paid for my contributions?

Unfortunately not, but hopefully you’ll feel that the opportunity to get your views out to a wider audience is worth the effort.

How do I get started?

Simply get in touch via contribute@cityam.com, telling us a bit about yourself and the sort of thing you think you’d be good at writing about. We can take it from there.