Have an opinion you’d like to share with Sifted’s readers? Excellent! Please read on…

Here’s what we’re looking for.

A punchy opinion.

We like starting conversations. There’s nothing better than a somewhat controversial or unusual point of view to get people talking about a subject.

So, don’t pitch us an idea about why it’s a good idea to talk to your customers early on (everyone knows that!) Pitch us an idea about why customers are stupid and should be ignored at all costs. That sounds much more intriguing.

Here’s a piece that goes against “received wisdom”: “Move slowly and build things”

And here’s one which ruffled a few feathers: “VCs are exploiting underrepresented people to solve their diversity problems”

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Personality and/or humour.

The best pieces come with a healthy dose of the author’s character. You’re writing this piece because of your experience — make sure you tell us about that. Don’t be afraid to be personal. Also, we’re not the FT; have a little fun. This is also not an academic essay; you’re allowed to use “normal” words and expressions.

Here’s a piece which made us laugh because it’s so… on point: “Let’s stop patronising startups”

Data, anecdotes, examples.

Make a point — then back it up. Find data from credible sources, include anecdotes from personal experience (like this: “What I’ve learned from a year of working with female founders”), quote others, refer to articles and blog posts.

As much as possible make your evidence relevant to European startups. We’re a Europe-focused publication. It is fine to have one or two examples from elsewhere (as in this piece: “Shiny moonshot tech is what healthcare needs”), but if this is all about Silicon Valley startups, why are you sending us this?

Focus.

It’s tempting to bite off too big a subject. It’s better to pick something quite specific and explore that thoroughly. Stick to making one point — not two or three vaguely related ones.

The startup ecosystem’s diversity problem, for example, is way too big to be discussed in 800 words — so pick just one element of it, like this piece does: “The pitching process is broken”

Here’s what we’re not looking for.

Self-promotion.

We’re looking at you, VC firms. It’s not very interesting to hear about why you think your latest investment is great. (Of course, you think that.) And we’re looking at you, founders. It’s also not that interesting to hear about why you think there’s such a big opportunity in your niche.

It’s okay to write about trends you’re a part of, but only if you place yourself within the bigger picture.

Pre-written pieces.

Please pitch us an idea. Send us a catchy title and outline the main gist of your argument in a few bullet points.

Don’t send us something you (or your client) have already drafted. That’s what Medium is for.

Housekeeping.

Photos.

Please send us a high resolution headshot of yourself — and any other images, graphs and charts to help bring the piece to life.

Length.

We’re looking for 600-800 words.

Editing.

Don’t worry if you’re not a Pulitzer Prize-winning author; it’s your argument and insight that will make the piece stand out. We’re good editors; we can whip words into shape, as long as the opinion itself is an interesting one.

The pitch.

So pitch us! Get in touch with Michael Stothard ([email protected]) or Amy Lewin ([email protected]) and we’ll endeavour to get back to you within a week.

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