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Writing for is a great way to publicise the work you’re doing and get your messages out to a large audience.

And you don’t have to be a media specialist to write for us – we encourage submissions regardless of occupation or experience!

Any third sector organisation or community group in and around Birmingham can submit an article for Update Online. So, if you’ve never written an article before, here’s a brief guide to get you started:

What should I submit?

Anything that is of interest to the voluntary sector in Birmingham – we encourage contributors to think outside the box!

Some of the more popular topics with our readers include:

  • ‘Good news’ stories
    Did you recently put on a successful community event? Did you and/or your organisation complete a project? Or maybe you are just about to launch one that you feel will make a real difference in your community. We are particularly looking for any ‘good news’ that demonstrates the dynamism and vibrancy of Birmingham’s third sector.
  • Best practice
    Are you an expert in your chosen field? We get regular contributions around a range of topics including project management, marketing, management and more!
  • Case studies
    Often volunteers like to write about their experiences – or perhaps one of your service users has an inspiring story to tell.
  • Campaigns
    Use Update Online as a platform to campaign on an issue you and/or your organisation is passionate about.

Top tip: Please include any multimedia you have (video, audio, images etc.) as this encourages readers to really engage with your content

How should I write it?

Use a natural, lively style of writing that will capture the reader’s attention. Sticking to short, concise sentences often enhances readability.

An introduction and conclusion will help to frame your article and make it easier to read.

Then outline facts: what, who, where, when? The main body of your article should be broken up into paragraphs, preferably with regular sub-headings.

Top tip: the first line of your paragraph should summarise the rest of the paragraph; ideally someone should be able to get the point of your article by reading first paragraph sentences and nothing else!

Try to use one or more of the following as part of your article:

  • Case-study(s)
  • Statistics and evidence
  • Short quotes

Once you have completed your article, proof-read it and check that it conveys the intended message.

Top tip: Reading articles to yourself out loud might sound silly but it’s a really effective technique for proof-reading.

There’s no minimum or maximum word count, although the most successful articles are mostly between 600-1200 words. It is recommended to split lengthy articles up using sub-headings to improve readability and comprehension.

Where possible, include some good quality, digital photography. This will help bring your piece to life. The best photographs of people are those showing facial expressions or action. Try to avoid standard poses to camera such as line-ups or presentations.

Articles about your organisation is a useful resource to impress funders and to share with trustees, volunteers, staff and service users – make sure at the end of your articles you include some sort of ‘call to action’ and the contact details of your organisation.