My French Life™ article checklist & style guide
This post contains the My French Life™ article structure for all writers, as well as our house style guide.
Please refer to this before submitting articles.
1. How to use this document
The article checklist lists elements that must be contained in all articles submitted to the magazine.
The style guide is designed as a reference for writers and editors, to ensure that consistency and quality are maintained across the entire publication. It outlines how My French Life™ handles certain stylistic elements.
Please also refer to ‘Your guide to MyFrenchLife™ and our community’ (a separate document) for more information on our audience, and how to submit.
ORIGINAL & EXCLUSIVE
All articles contributed to My French Life™ – Ma Vie Française® must be your original work.
Material submitted for publication to My French Life™ are not to be re-produced in anyway anywhere else. If you have a blog or website, we encourage you to write an introductory paragraph and link through to the article. We can provide examples to help you do this.
My French Life™ does not publish articles that could be perceived as promotional.
Articles are to be a personal perspective on all things French. We do welcome advice and personal recommendations; however the article should be very clearly expressed as such. We will return (or ignore) any article we feel does not adhere to these principles.
Publication of all articles submitted is at the discretion of the editorial team at My French Life™.
2. Article Checklist
Please ensure your article contains each of the following elements:
1. WORD LIMIT: Articles were to be between 400-550 words until recently. However Monsieur Google continuously makes changes, and doesn’t tell anyone (;)), so we would now prefer >750 words. For feature or deep er articles >900 is recommended. If you wish to exceed this limit, or you are unsure, then, please first seek approval from the editorial team.
2. WRITING FOR THE WEB & SEO
- Use shorter paragraphs and sentences.
- Include at least 2-3 relevant internal links (to articles on MyFrenchLife.org).
- Include at least 2-3 strong, relevant external links. It’s best if these links are ranked highly (check web ranking on Alexa.com).
- Each pitch will be allocated one primary keyword or phrase, and may also be allocated a secondary one. These are to appear at least three to four times throughout the article, with the main keyword in the title and a sub-heading if possible.
3. TITLE: The title is to be in sentence case, however do not use full stops in the title. The title is very important! It should attract attention and entice the reader into the article.
4. SUB-HEADINGS: After the first or second paragraph start using sub-headings.
5. KEYWORDS: The My French Life™ keywords are:
• French • France • français • française • francophiles • Expat (or expat) • Blog (or blog)
6. KEYWORD PLACEMENT: Please include at least one of the My French Life™ keywords within each of the following:
- The title
- The article opening
- Each section of body text
7. REFERENCES: We encourage writers to reference other material such as quotations, statistics, or whatever works in your piece. These must be properly referenced, by use of citations at the base of the article, or links placed behind key words or phrases.
Please use Chicago referencing style.
8. INVITE INTERACTION & SOCIAL MEDIA: Finish your article with a question, in order to encourage reader interaction. E.g. ask what the future will hold for your particular issue; will it be resolved. Invite the reader into the conversation – encourage them to speak about their experiences and to share tips.
Don’t forget to respond to audience comments made about your article on our site, and interact on our Facebook page and Twitter account. You will be notified of comments on our site by email – please check your spam filter just in case.
Be sure that you have ‘liked’ and ‘followed’ our social media accounts before submitting your first article. Get involved and enjoy yourself! Please also make sure we have all your social media addresses as well.
3. Style Guide
1. SPELLING: Writers are to use their own native spelling (USA, UK, Australian etc.). Editors will sub-edit articles accordingly.
To read more on the differences between Australian, British and American spelling, click here.
NB: We capitlise the following:
- Francophone and Anglophone
2. NUMBERS: In general text, spell out numbers zero to ten; use numerals thereafter (e.g. nine, ten, 11, 105, 1968) – however numerals may be used in article titles.
Write 4-digit numbers without a space: e.g. 1000, 2349; and numbers greater than 10 000 with one space: e.g. 11 000, 23 490.
3. TIME: 3am (not 3 a.m.)
4. DATE: Wednesday 26 June 2013 – do not use commas or ordinal numbers. Numbers under ten are to be numerals when written as a date: e.g. 2 November.
5. CAPITALISATION: Use sentence case (minimal capitalisation) for titles and sub-headings. Always capitalise company and publication names according to the company’s preference.
6. ITALICS: Use italics ONLY for non-English words. (Note: this does not include names of people or places.)
e.g. vin chaud; joie de vivre but rue Henri Monnier; Françoise Sagan; etc.
7. QUOTATION MARKS: Use single quotation marks for book, film, song titles etc., or for emphasis. Use double quotation marks ONLY for spoken words (e.g. verbal quotes, dialogue etc).
e.g. ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe’; Zola’s ‘The Gin Palace’, but “I think therefore I am”.
If a sentence contains quoted matter, the final full stop should be placed inside the closing quotation mark.
e.g. Duras said in a 1990 interview, “I don’t like tender people. I myself am very harsh.”
If a quote fragment is contained within a sentence, place punctuation outside the closing quotation mark.
e.g. Anna said that updating the style guide was a “difficult and tiring task”.
8. REFERENCES: If possible link to your source within the text of the article: place a hyperlink behind a relevant word or phrase. Footnotes may also be used. List these at the base of the article, using Chicago referencing style.
Within the text, if the footnote falls at the end of a sentence, the number is placed after the full stop.
e.g. Sartre claimed “the destiny of man is placed within himself”.?
9. ACRONYMS: Full stops are not used between the letters that form an acronym. (e.g. The UN, not the U.N.)
10. LINKING: Place hyperlinks behind relevant words, rather than as a URL. Do not link terminal punctuation (e.g. full stops, quotation marks, colons).
11. COLONS: the first word after a colon is not capitalised.
12. PERCENTAGES: write as % in headlines and copy. When a percentage value under ten is given, write it as a numeral: e.g. 4% rather than four per cent.
13. TRADEMARKS: When writing MyFrenchLife™, the ™, signifying Trademark, is to always be included. MaVieFrançaise® is to always have the ® for Registered Trademark after it. Both of these symbols are to be found in the ‘Special character’ menu of WordPress, which you can find by clicking the Omega symbol in the formatting toolbar.If you find that something within our style guide is missing, please let us know. We suggest you refer to the Guardian Style Guide for more on spelling and grammar.