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Have an idea for an opinion piece for Sifted?

Here’s what we’re looking for.

By Amy Lewin

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 a piece 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 is much more intriguing.

A few examples that gone against “received wisdom”:

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 that made us laugh because it’s so… on point: “Founders, stop chasing after the limelight — just build your damn product”. 

Data, anecdotes, examples.

Make a point — then back it up. Find data from credible sources, include anecdotes from personal experience (like this post about why all companies should allow employees to take period leave), 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: “Fintech doesn’t need another banking app. We want software”) but if this is all about Silicon Valley startups, why are you sending us this?

Think about the counterarguments to your argument. Are there other data points or examples that support the opposite view? If so, you should address those. The best arguments give a nod to both sides.

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.

Managing and hiring talent, for example, is way too broad a topic to be discussed in 800 words — so just pick one element of it, like this piece: “Why a people person should be one of your startup’s first 10 hires”.

To give you focus, it can also help to be topical. Are people paying more attention to your sector than usual at the moment? Jump on the chance to share your perspective, like this from micromobility startup Beryl: “Now is the moment for European cities to get a move on and leave cars behind”

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. 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 our opinions team ([email protected]) and we’ll endeavour to get back to you soon.