In summary (tl;dr)
This blog features a range of stories and discussions about access to justice. You can see examples by browsing the blog.
- As a guest author, you’re sharing your unique perspective. We invite you to write in your own voice and from your own experience. All posts will be translated and posted in English and French so please feel free to draft your piece in either language.
- Our target post length is 1000 words. Some subjects will require fewer or more words. Be concise to ensure clarity and brevity.
- Use clear sections and headings in your piece. Creating an outline before you begin writing can be helpful in shaping the format of your post.
Key things to remember
- Use bullet points instead of long paragraph-style lists.
- Link to references or resource materials, wherever you can. We can also host documents if they’re not already online.
For more detail on submitting a post, including: additional style tips, our process for review, and promoting your work, please read on.
Some nuts and bolts
Legal Aid Ontario’s blog is a forum that features a variety of ideas and opinions on issues relevant to access to justice. We hope to foster social discussions, and to encourage broader literacy on access to justice through information sharing.
Content categories on the blog include (though are not limited to):
Indigenous, access to justice, accessibility, criminal law, domestic violence, duty counsel, family law, French language services, international, legal clinics, LGBT, mental health, national, public legal information, poverty, refugee and immigration law, technology, and youth.
As a guest author, you’re sharing your unique perspective. We invite you to write in your own voice and from your experience.
In drafting your pitch or submission, consider what qualifies you to write about this topic. Personal experience? Professional experience? Tell us a bit about yourself in the piece—particularly if this is your first time writing for us—and how this informs your perspective.
A note on exclusivity: As a guest author, you will retain permissions for your work, and you’re free to repost and share your piece however you would like to. In fact, we encourage you to do so! We ask only for a 48-hour window of exclusivity from the initial time of publication on legalaid.blog.on.ca as a courtesy.
Compared to print, reading on screen can be tiring and typically comes with many opportunities for distraction.
The following style guidelines have the dual intent of putting your work into an online-friendly reading format, and turning opportunities for distraction into valuable connect-the-dots moments where you can direct your readers to resources relevant to your piece.
Length and basic formatting
The typical target length for a post is 1000 words, give or take. Shorter form also works.
Compared to print writing, online writing is characterized by:
- Relative brevity,
- Many breaks in body text with section headings that guide the reader through the piece
- Images that create space between text, and illustrate the piece or a particular concept
- Shorter sentences and paragraphs where possible. Consider breaking up sentences and paragraphs when there is a lot of information. Keep conciseness in mind when you review your phrasing.
- Bulleted lists over long enumerations in paragraph format,
- Links and references to other pieces and types of content.
Drafting and editing your piece
- Be sure to visit the blog to get a sense of what we regularly post about and how pieces are formatted. You are welcome to draft your post in English or in French. Either way, your piece will be translated and posted in both languages.
- When drafting, consider how the topic you’re approaching can be split into sections with headings, and try to split long paragraphs where possible.
- Be cautious of use of jargon and esoteric words or concepts.
- When more infrequent words or terminology are essential, consider offering a brief definition, or linking to information (such as a related post or more detailed definition) elsewhere.
- If you know of relevant resources worth including, please hyperlink liberally throughout your piece – If you would prefer, you can send us links and we’ll integrate them into your content, or add a footnote or sidebar with the additional information if it doesn’t fit naturally within the body of your piece.
- Since your post will be published in English and in French, if you know of any equivalent resources or information that we can link to in the French version, please send these in with your post.
- If you have any images that would be fitting as feature images (the large image at the top and on the blog’s homepage) or a photo gallery for your piece, please share these with us.
- Questions? E-mail email@example.com
What we require to process your submission
- Your article
- A 50-75 word bio
- Ideally, but optionally, a photo of you. (A professional photo is preferable, but not required.
What happens after you submit
- Your submission will be reviewed
- Your submission will be discussed with members of the editorial team as needed
- You will be notified if:
- the piece will be posted as-is,
- we’d like to request changes to be made prior to approval or
- the piece is unsuitable for publication, and we will explain why.
This review process will take 3-6 weeks, not including revisions or final posting date.
If your piece is going to be put on the LAO blog editorial calendar for publication, you’ll be advised of the date. This may be the next available calendar opening, or, if the topic of your post is relevant to an event, observance, or any particular initiatives that would draw more attention to the post, the date may be later.
Please note that the decision whether to accept pieces rests with the editorial team.
Promoting your piece once it has been published
When we publish your work, we’ll be sharing it on our intranet to reach LAO employee readership, on our external website, and tweeting over a number of official LAO accounts.
If you’re interested in doing some self-promotion, consider these avenues:
- Tweet your piece (if you’re on Twitter). You can even tweet multiple times: Tweet from your personal account, and see if your organization will share the piece from its official account, if applicable. If you will be using Twitter accounts, please let us know where we can find you on Twitter so we can mention you in sharing your piece.
- Post the piece on Facebook.
- Post the piece on Linkedin.
- If you’ve seen related posts and discussions happening on other blogs, post the link to your piece in the comments with a short summary to contribute to the conversation.
- E-mail to your professional contacts, family and friends. Invite them to post and share a link to your post through their networks.
- Modify your e-mail signature to include a line directing people to your work, i.e. “Did you catch my recent published article?” Then hyperlink the title of the article to the link of the piece.
If you have any questions about the submissions process, or would like any feedback while you’re working on your piece, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in sharing your work and knowledge with the LAO blog readership!