A majority of MediaShift posts are written by a group of contributors but we also regularly publish – and welcome – guest contributions.

Here’s a bit more about those guest posts, how they come about and how you might contribute one.

What is a guest post and who writes them?

Guest posts are unpaid contributions that come from our audience members – whether they be industry leaders, entrepreneurs, professors, researchers or even journalists who want to write about their work. They’re bylined pieces that come from the perspective of the author. They’re a close cousin to an op-ed or a letter to the editor, meant to showcase opinions, but also offer lessons learned and big ideas that warrant sharing. The scope of these pieces varies. It could be something specific like an inside look at a project you’ve worked on, a takeaway from a report or study you researched, a big lesson you’ve learned or a unique perspective you have on a trend or news in the media and technology industry.

How to pitch

Send a short email to managing editor Courtney Lowery Cowgill that outlines 1) why the topic would be a good fit for our readers, 2) why the author is the right person to write the piece, 3) when we could expect the piece.

What makes a good guest post

In general, here’s what we look for in a guest post:

> Concise and focused. Posts should be about 800-1200 words and you should strive for tight writing and strong focus. Let the reader know early on why they’re reading the piece and keep to that focus throughout.

> Nothing too self-promotional. We don’t like anything that even hints at sounding like a press release – in its tone or in its content. We’d love to hear about your work or your product, but only if you give our readers something more – your hard-won lessons, your failures, your honest analysis, fresh insight or innovative idea.

> Transparency. It’s paramount to us and to our readers that you be very overt in letting us know where your interests lie. We know you’ll be coming at this from a particular standpoint, so don’t try to hide or even underplay that. We are just fine with opinions and perspectives, but please be straightforward, and fair-minded in how you present those. And be upfront about any conflicts of interest or disclosures.

> Authentic, conversational voice. Avoid jargon, industry speak, esoteric acronyms and formality. Be conversational and use your everyday language. The key is to make the piece accessible. Also, while it should be understood, we still have to say it: the piece must be written by the person with the byline – meaning no ghost-written pieces.

> Graphics. We ask that you assist us in finding interesting graphics to accompany the piece – whether that be photos of your team or your project, screenshots illustrating your work or charts and graphs that illustrate your points.

> Exclusivity. We’re not interested in guest posts that have appeared elsewhere or will appear elsewhere. There are exceptions to this rule, but you should be up front about whether the piece – or even a piece like it — has been published by or shopped to other publications.

The editorial process if your pitch is accepted

If your pitch is accepted, you’ll file the post into our publishing system and alert the editor that the story is ready for editing. From there, the editor will edit the piece, letting you know of any major changes that might need your approval or if you’ll need to rework the piece. From there, the piece goes through two, sometimes three, more editors and then is published on our site. Once published, we ask that you be available to interact in the comments section and join the reader discussion on your piece.

Examples

Key Lessons Learned After Launching the Daily Dot, by Nicholas White

Why Non-Profit News Sites Need to Act More Like Digital Businesses, by Mayur Patel
Lessons Learned From A Collaboration Without Borders in Latin America, by Eva Constantaras

The Challenges of Co-Creating Magazine Journalism with Reader Input, by Tanja Aitamurto

Collaboration Is a Key Pillar to Keeping Investigative Journalism Alive, by Denise Malan

10 Years Later: 10 Lessons Learned In Citizen Journalism at iBrattleboro, by Lise LePage and Christopher Grotke