*FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY – NOT TO BE CIRCULATED WITH ANYONE OUTSIDE OF ESC UNITED*
While we are more than happy for you to express yourself freely in your articles and editorials, the website thrives as a whole when a consistent style and format is used across all of the posts we make. Here is a quick, brief guide on how to format articles effectively and what to look out for when writing.
What is considered newsworthy?
In short, any piece of new information that you feel is relevant to the contest, its alumni, upcoming events or interesting trivia relating to Eurovision can be used as a starting point to an article, but the most important focus areas are;
- National final, artist and song selection news
- Updates on contest information
- New dates for the Eurovision calendar
- Any gossip or rumours that could be of interest, so long as they are not libellious or obviously fake news
- Important updates in the careers of Eurovision alumni (ideally new releases or ventures, not what they had for breakfast!)
- Reviews and throwback articles
- Opinion pieces and editorials
If you are unsure whether something would make a good article or is worth reporting then please speak to Sean – generally, most things will be suitable for our coverage!
How to write an article
From the main dashboard (escunited.com/wp-admin), hover over “New” on the top bar and click on “Post”, or alternatively hover over “Posts” on the left-hand menu and click on “Add new”.
Once inside the main editor, it should look similar to this;
If you have used WordPress before, this all should be pretty familiar to you, but if not, here’s a quick rundown of everything you will need.
- Toolbar – this runs along the top of the editor and provides all of the formatting options you may need, including making text bold, italic, using bullet points and numbered lists, quotation blocks, text orientation and positioning, hyperlinking and colour. If for any reason you do not want to see the full range of options, click on the toolbar toggle button (it’s the only one with a box around it on the above image).
- Add media (above the toolbar and editor) – click on this to open the media library, where you can upload an image to use in the article or set the featured image for the article’s header. You should have access to this regardless of role, but please contact Sean if you do not see this.
- Auto-post on social media (top right) – this comes into play after your article is published. Click on the green button marked “Customise and schedule social media posts” to share the post on Facebook and Twitter. More on that later.
- Publish (right hand side) – this is where you can save a draft of your article to complete later, preview how it will look on ESC United or publish. You can also change when your article publishes so that you can schedule posts throughout the day.
- Format – used only when you wish to change the focus of the article to that of a video, e.g. for Matt’s video articles.
- Categories – this puts the post into various categories based on the content of the article. It is important that you at least select both “Breaking News” and “Latest News” – without doing this, the article will not display on our main page or in the ticker bar at the top of the website.
- Featured image – This sets the main image that will be used to open the article and on social media. Click on “Set featured image” to upload a suitable image or select from the library of previously used images. You must ensure a suitable featured image is in place before publishing or sharing articles.
- Tags – The only other option you need to worry about, right at the bottom below the editor. This adds searchable tags so that the article will show up in certain key word searches. Separate tags for the article with commas and click add when done.
How to format the article – the ESC United way!
There are a couple of little things to remember when formatting an article for our website.
- Make sure to break up your text into small paragraphs (no more than a few lines each, unless going in-depth into a subject for an editorial). This makes it easier for our readers and makes it quicker and easier to read articles.
- Use our branding – where appropriate format the word “you” as #YOU, particularly if provoking an opinion from the reader. This should be bold, italic and coloured in gold, which is the colour indicated to the right.
- YouTube video links will automatically embed if you post the link into the editor. When embedding a social media post, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, copy the embed code from their website into the post where you would like it to appear. NOTE: You must be using the “Text” editor for this particular task, otherwise the embed link will not work.
- If writing an editorial/opinion piece, it is important to state at the top of the article that the views expressed do not necessarily represent ESC United as a whole or the other staff. It might not seem like much but this allows for freedom of expression while still offering respect to whichever element of the contest is involved in the article and can help keep us out of hot water with delegations/artists/the EBU. We are happy for you to express your opinion how you see fit but please try to avoid any colourful language or personal jibes which would bring the website into disrepute.
- Especially if your article is sparse on information, consider adding a short paragraph about the countries’ history in Eurovision. Answer some of these questions: How did they do last year and who was their participant/entry? How long have they been using a national final/internal selection? Have they qualified for the grand final recently or has it been a long NQ streak? Etc.
- End an article by asking for the readers’ opinion on a certain subject, and also link to our forum, for example; What do #YOU think of the songs in this selection? Share your thoughts with us in the comments, on our forum HERE or on social media! Link to our main forum or to a specific thread on the article’s subject; for example the Swedish thread for anything relating to Melodifestivalen.
There is a lot more to cover relating to article writing and WordPress, but as a starting point this guide will help you to cover the basics!
How to share your article on social media
ESCUnited uses the XPoster and Blog2Social plugin to share our new content directly to our Twitter timeline and Facebook page. The plugins are rather simple to use and you can follow along below to use them. NOTE: If you accidentally publish the article without using the plugins, please contact Connor or Sean with the desired caption to get the post removed and replaced.
Follow these steps:
- Make sure that you have completed your article – Title, content, Featured image, categories, and tags
- Go to XPoster and set a social media caption for the post – for example “Portugal’s #Eurovision 1994 representative Sara Tavares has passed away at age 45. #Portugal” and copy this text for later.
- At the bottom of the XPoster box add #url#, as this will add the article’s URL to the X post.
- Hit publish post and send out to the world
- Click on “Customize and Schedule Social Media Posts” under the Blog2Social dropdown.
- Click “delete text” or backspace pre-formatted text and paste your social media caption.
- Click on the green share button at the bottom.
- And you’re done!
Remember – try to capture the readers’ imagination when creating the caption for social media – you know how easy it is to scroll past something on Twitter or Facebook! We don’t do clickbait, but try to be more imaginative than a statement, for example “Melodifestivalen participants announced” is not as enticing as “Sweden releases the star-studded line-up for Melodifestivalen 2022, and there are some very familiar faces…”
What if I’m still unsure?
All you need to do is ask – there are a number of writers who have been with us for some years now who will know the website inside-out, and would be more than happy to talk you through anything you are unsure about! Working together to produce the best content we can will only help all of us to grow and perform as a website.