Write an Article
Anyone may submit to Engage and MPI Potomac FYI any original article that he or she has written. It will be published and edited at the discretion of the Engage and MPI Potomac FYI Editors. Statements of fact and opinion within the newsletter are the responsibility of the author only and do not imply an opinion of the officers or members of MPI/MPI Potomac. Avoid one-sided or promotional pieces. Articles are to be informative and/or educational and be beneficial to the MPI Potomac membership as a whole.
Types of Articles Accepted
The better columns contain real news and information. The worst articles don't. Try to avoid fluff in your content. Try to keep article length to less than 500 words or less, but don't let that limit you. Your article will be edited as needed.
Tips on Writing Your Article
- How To: Give tips and hints on how to complete a certain task. For example, "Five Tips on How To Reuse Centerpieces from your Annual Conference." Get quotes and input from experts and your colleagues.
- A Day in the Life: This type of article looks at how many people in one field go about their day. For Instance, "The Day in the Life of Decorator." Interview a handful of contractors and compare and contrast their work day.
- Q&A: Interview a well-known personality in the industry or with an impact on the industry. Ask him or her questions and write replies. Simple question and answer article.
- Education, Information, and Updates: Maybe you found a new way to cut costs at your latest meeting? Or perhaps you found a little known short-cut to get better service from a supplier? Write a story about it. Get quotes and input from experts, if applicable.
- Monthly Columns (Travel Column, Technology Corner): Have you heard about a new tool or technology in our industry that others might find interesting? We want to hear all about it. Is there anything new going on in the travel world such as the recent Passport Rulings?
Your article should include the five Ws and H: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Begin with the strongest of these elements, the one that has the most benefit to MPI Potomac members. This grabs the reader's attention faster.
Style, Grammar & Puncuation
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Try to keep sentences to 20 words or less. No paragraph over five to seven lines. Short "sells" to readers.
- Hook readers with a strong lead, use active voice (Bad: She is participating. Good: She participates).
- Write strong headlines. They draw the reader to your article. Headlines need to tell what the story is about and be short enough to be scanned. Bad: Winners Named. Better: MPI Potomac Wins Award.
- Be specific. General statements are dull.
- Use simple words. They are stronger. For example, use "cut" instead of "reduce," or "tell" instead of "inform."
- Write tightly. Avoid clutter. Get to the point and purge useless words.
- Have someone else proof your work.
- Be consistent.
Article Guidelines Musts & Must Nots
- Capitalize official names and proper names and titles when they precede a name. Do not capitalize titles after a name or geographical area. Correct: President Mickey Mouse. Correct: Mickey Mouse, president of ABC company.
- Do not use a comma before "and" in a series of three or more. Correct. Peanut butter, jelly and bananas.
- Do not use explanation points unless necessary. Use to express high degree of surprise or strong emotion. Most cases only need a period.
- Spell out contractions if you are not familiar with them or unsure how to spell them. Okay: isn't. Better: is not. Do not use colloquialisms.
- Use a person's full name on first reference, last name only on secondary references.
- Numbers from zero to nine are spelled out. Numbers 10 and higher are written as numerals. Sentences beginning with numbers must be spelled out. Dollar figures can be written as numerals. Correct: $16 or $1 million.
- Spell out symbols in text (Bad: %. Good: percent). Use symbols (%, $) in tables.
- Times: 10:00 a.m., 3:30 p.m., midnight, noon.
- Spell out months. Use Arabic numerals without rd, th, st, nd. Wrong: May 25th. Right: May 25. Use year when needed for clarity. Correct: February 25, 2003
- Spell out abbreviations like street, road, avenue.
- Spell out acronyms on first reference then use capital letters on secondary references. Correct: Meeting Professionals International is a membership organization. MPI is based in Texas.
- After city names, use standard two letter abbreviation for states. Correct: Springfield, IL.
- Punctuation always goes on the inside of quotation marks. Correct: "Do you want to go to the zoo?" Or, "It will be a great year," said Mickey Mouse, president of ABC company.
- Have someone other then you proof your article.
- Be consistent.
- All submissions should be sent 6 weeks in advance of the copy print. Submissions need to be received by the 20th of the Month. (ie: January 20th deadline for the March Potomac Memo).
- All submissions should include a byline to include full name, company and committee. For example: Megan Smith, National Writers Association, Co-Chair, Publications Committee
- Please include a headshot (if available)
- Submissions should be done via Word document unless submitting a graphic or advertisement.
- Articles need to be in Times New Roman font at size 12 and double-spaced.
- Articles MUST be edited and print ready when sent to email@example.com for inclusion in the Potomac Memo.
- Articles may not include marketing of any kind!
The Publications committee reserves the right to edit articles due to space needs. If the Committee is not aware that you are submitting an article and we run over on copy for that particular month your article may be held for a future edition. We will be sure to inform you if this occurs.
All submissions MUST be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
for inclusion in Engage and MPI Potomac FYI. If articles are sent elsewhere we can’t guarantee placement. Questions? Please direct them to the Publications Committee.