Monday, November 7, 2011

I'll Put That Bit There ... Part 4

Editors love bonus material - text that can be used to break up the page with further information, fascinating facts or practical what-to-do-next steps. These are referred to by a variety of names such as further information panels, boxouts, sidebars, or fact file boxes.

When you analyse a target publication, look out for these sections. Travel magazines practically always have them. This is where readers can find out which airlines fly to that destination, what the website address is for the local tourist board, or the websites for the tourist attractions mentioned in the article. Boxouts and sidebars are also used to provide extra quirky information. Take a look at the picture here - it's fact file at the end of a long article about Scotland, and is headed up as Top 10 Uninhabited Islands. This is extra information that does not appear within the main article.

If you see a magazine regularly uses these fact files, or boxouts, then you need to consider including one, or more, with your proposed article. And if you're targeting a travel magazine that has a standard sidebar of practical information for potential travellers with headings like:

  • How To Get There
  • Where To Stay
  • Where To Eat
  • What To Do
  • What To Avoid
... then you need to provide this information, with those headings, too.

But, you don't need to put this information in a box. Don't insert a Text Box into your manuscript, with a border all the way around, and then enter your information. Just give the information. 

The safest way to do this is to put this information at the end of your article, after your concluding paragraph. Drop down a couple of lines and then give your Further Information Panel a heading. So, in the example in the photo here, the writer would simply have typed the heading:

Top 10 Uninhabited Islands.

You do not need to put in parentheses afterwards (boxout information) or (suitable for a side panel). Editors are quite clever and will be able to work it out, especially if you're following the format that the magazine uses for every article within its pages!

Then, underneath this heading, type the information that you're giving. In this Top 10 Uninhabited Islands example, you'll see that the text is bullet pointed. How the text is displayed in the magazine is down to the editor, or the page layout designer. You can use bullet points, although personally, if my headings have a number in them I number each point - the last thing I would want to do is offer ten top tips and only provide nine! What you don't need to do is use a different font size, or even a different font. Stick to the same font and size you have used throughout the rest of the article.

If you want to offer another boxout, then simply give that a new subheading and write the information underneath it.

So, remember. Further information panels, side bars, boxouts, or whatever you want to call them, come at the very end of your article, and the information they contain does not need to be inside a box, table, or grid.

Good luck.