Join OWA’s Editorial Mentorship Program
Are you looking to build a resume in adventure writing, photography, videography, or film? Hone your story-telling skills by working alongside our editorial team and build your resume with published work that will be shared across Outdoor Women’s Alliance® channels. Our goal is to help you learn how to broadcast your voice and vision within the outdoor community while boosting your bylines and portfolio for work in the adventure media industry.
Sound Good? Get the Details:
Our process is a mirror of what you might experience at any publication, coupled with mentorship to help guide you through the process so you’re prepared to pitch and present to editorial and media managers in the industry.
1. Participants submit story ideas (i.e. the pitch: a summary of a potential piece and why it matters) to the editors at OWA. Don’t draft up the story just yet! Our editors then work with contributors to refine ideas so they will best appeal to a specific audience.
Tip: Before you pitch, read a few of our published articles to get an idea of our voice, our flow, our style, etc. This is always a good idea with any new publication you intend to write for. (And don’t worry if you haven’t written a pitch before; ask us how!)
2. Your content will go through several rounds of editing, with feedback inline from our editors so you can see their process and discuss feedback and edits. Again, these rounds are part of the educational experience to help you produce published content that can help you break into the adventure media industry. Because of this, you should enter into the process with the understanding that your work will be edited, and to be open to feedback and edits. In other words, don’t fall in love with your first draft! (Important lesson when contributing to any publication!)
3. Our editors select successful pieces from program participants to publish on OWA’s site. This might be your first piece or a piece you work on after attaining a stronger grasp of documenting adventure for a specific audience. These published works give our participants real-world examples of work and bylines (a line on a published work showing you as the author) that can be shared within portfolios and used as you pitch to editors going forward.
If, after submitting a guest contribution, you find that you enjoyed working within the program and would like to continue your mentorship, we invite you to become a regular contributor. In addition to your own pitches, a regular contributor may also receive story assignments from our editorial team. Regular contributors also have a biography on OWA’s site with a photo, website, and/or social channel(s). A bio summary will appear on published pieces in place of a text-only byline.
Further, regular contributors who have successfully published multiple pieces on our site and are ready to dive deeper may have the opportunity (depending on program availability) to learn what it takes to appeal to content consumers (readers/viewers) through topics such as formatting pieces, SEO tweaks, photo optimization for online publications, etc.
Most publications include a set of guidelines that are specific to their organization that they ask contributors to adhere to when submitting work. Guidelines set expectations upfront, help ease the editing process for both the author and the editorial team, and keep an organization’s style congruent across all content, even when authored by different contributors.
These are OWA’s guidelines:
- All submitted content must be original and not posted elsewhere, before or after being published on OWA’s website, unless prior permission is given from an OWA editor.
- Submissions should demonstrate your best ability (whether written, photographic, or video), and (if relevant) be fact-checked and offer a balanced representation of the topic at hand.
Written pieces are between 500-1200 words in length. Content and story type will ultimately determine word count.
- Paragraph format is as follows:
- single space between paragraphs
- single space between sentences
- no indentation for the first line of a paragraph
Photo guidelines for all submissions:
- photos must be the author’s original photos or work from another photographer used with permission; please provide photo credit
- every photo should be clear (not pixelated), eye-catching, and well-composed; please do not apply HDR or unrealistic processing
- must be at least 1400 pixels wide (or tall, depending on orientation) and a minimum of 72 dpi
- for written pieces, one or more high-quality photos are required. Please let us know if you need help sourcing a photo for your story.
- Photo essays require at least five photos and story-telling captions for each (up to five sentences per photo).
- send photos separately via Dropbox or in a Google Docs folder
Video and film submissions must be a minimum of 1:30 minutes in length.
For all submissions: include a link to your website or preferred social media channel
Set yourself up for success before creating your content.
- Think in terms of Twitter:
- How can you capture attention and get your point across in the least amount of words, photos, or video content? When creating content less is more.
- Create professionally:
- For writers, this could mean thinking in terms of a magazine article: Does your piece read like a professional article or is it more like an informal blog post? Did you use complete sentences (or, if you used an incomplete sentence, is it purposeful and the exception rather than the norm)? Did you limit your use of exclamation marks (if any) to only instances when it is crucial?
- Get rid of passive voice, replace adverbs with strong verbs, delete cliches and redundant language, fact check units and measurements, pay close attention to spelling of names and locations, reduce adjectives, provide visual content that looks sharp (use free CC0 sites if you need help with quality photography/video shots or ask talented friends to collaborate)
- Write for online audiences + SEO:
- Use short sentences (less than 20 words) and short paragraphs (a really bold sentence can even be a paragraph on its own), write in present tense to bring the reader into the action (as though it is happening now), use section headers to make your story/article “scannable” (online readers tend to scan before they dive in — give them headlines to break up a “wall of text” and highlight different parts of your story)
Ready to get started? If you’ve read through everything up to this point on this page, and feel like you’re ready to start this journey, we’d love to hear from you.