Publishing your story to NowPublic is easy once you've understood how we define news, keywords and trends, our Top 10 Must-dos, and a few of the other finer points of the biz. In case you're the kind of person who likes a bit more detail, we've also gone the extra mile below to spell out exactly how we'd like to see the story present from top to bottom.
Not to belabour the point, but did we mention that Web readers have the attention span of a gnat and therefore if your lead paragraph is a whole lot of throat clearing and backing into the subject and more about you than what they're looking for, they'll be out of there faster than you can say "missed opportunity"? Our point is, get to the point and make sure the keywords in your title and subtitle appear here to, otherwise the headlines won't connect with the material that follows.
If you were riding an elevator and someone said, "What is your article about?" and you had two floors to answer, what would you say? That's the lede. We know you'll want to set the scene and offer some background, but resist that urge. If you boiled the 600 words down to 50 what would they be? Now write that.
Make them want to read it. Hit the highlights and imply there is more valuable information coming that can't be missed. "Burying the lead" is when you spend 5 paragraphs talking about a resort location and its amenities and the menu and then in the 6th paragraph tell readers it was blown up today by militant terrorists killing 100 people and no transit in or out of the country is possible due to a lockdown. That's the lede.
Articles should be minimum 250 words in length, but that's really short and more to accompany a video or slideshow, so we'd prefer at least 400 and we won't let you post anything longer than 600 in order to save you from yourself and loss of focus. Online readers rarely stick with something longer than this, or go to a subsequent page, so think small and interlinked rather than long and scroll-happy.
Remember the keywords lesson? We weren't kidding. Articles should be targeted around one or two keyword phrases to optimize the likelihood of being found by readers searching with them. You may be saying to yourself, "How can I, an artist, and serious journalist, be expected to write a story in such cramped quarters?" Trust us, you can do it.
This is haiku journalism - small brushstrokes, big impact. Just as the short story is harder to write than the novel due to its smaller canvas, so too is the concise and focused article so don't take on the history of the western world, write an article on the history of a single building in that world. Under promise and over deliver. Oh, and keep paragraphs to 3 sentences or about 50 words. Don't write in huge blocks of intimidating text as this tends to put off the visually-challenged Web reader. Besides, you're usually on to a new idea by that time anyway.
Oh, and one more thing, don't write an article just to have an excuse to drive traffic to your own website by linking to it - this is flagrant self-promotion and our least favourite kind of faux-journalism. If you've written something really solid, readers will click your byline and see your website listed on your profile page.