We like to say we are 50,000 Soda Citizens talking about the news together.
COLAtoday is a community-driven conversation. The best way for us to know what is happening in your world is for you to make sure we are aware of what all you have going on.
From social media messages and direct emails to press releases and event listings — our product is built around a back-and-forth conversation, and we’re grateful for those people doing great things and every response and scoop sent our way. And, because of the nature of our product, we receive *a lot* of messages.
We put together this guide to help you navigate our product so that you are better able to share your story ideas and be featured in our newsletter, website + social channels. The content we decide to cover is based on overall relevance, diversity, and timeliness. We’ll get to this more later, but if you want to skip ahead, you can guarantee inclusion with some of our paid content opportunities.
And, if you’re finding us online and haven’t signed up for the newsletter, consider doing so here. The email is our primary focus at COLAtoday, and subscribing is the easiest way to get used to what we include and how we present information daily.
Here, you’ll find all the different components that make up our email newsletter each day, along with a description of how they work and tips for how you can tailor your pitches to us. ⬇️
Here’s what to know to make your submission stand out + help our team determine whether it’s a good fit for our audience.
Make your case for why it’s relevant: Why should the reader care?
Links: Please include the most relevant links to allow our readers to dive deeper. This includes other articles, videos, and related upcoming events on the topic.
Artwork: Highest resolution possible. We ask that you have permission to publish any submitted artwork in our product. Please provide attribution and let us know what we’re looking at.
Pick a date: In a perfect world, what day would be the most relevant to our audience for this information to run?
Sooner the better: Our team works ahead (we are planning junkies). Items sent the day of or day before are less likely to get published.
Below, you’ll find all the different components that make up our email newsletter each day, along with a description of how they work and tips for how you can tailor your pitches to us.
Editorial pitches + questions – [email protected]
Event, job, digs (real estate), celebrations + deal listings – [email protected]
Branded content, sales requests + rates – [email protected]
The Conversation is our version of a traditional news or entertainment article.
They’re similar to traditional news stories, but we aim to make the information more casual and digestible for the reader and more… you guessed it… conversational — breaking it up with quick facts, numbers, photos and quotes. When selecting topics to use, we try to pick ones that have the most relevance, and the largest impact for our audience.
Like any media company, we work with embargoes. If content is embargoed please be very specific regarding permission and the publication date. If you’re pitching on behalf of your business or client, please make the case for how your information fits into a local or national trend or other current topic.
Conversations are often accompanied by an Engagement Module – essentially an interactive question, quiz, or poll. Looking for public input? Whether it’s voting on a new logo or getting feedback on a new offering – Engagement Modules are one of the ways we invite readers to share their thoughts on a topic.
⚠️ Pro-tip: If you are pitching a Conversation, you’ll need to make a case for the local impact, relevance and newsworthiness of your news.
A News Note is meant to be a quick summary of a piece of news. Each day we curate a selection of newsworthy and entertaining topics by succinctly explaining the basics and then linking to another source — news outlet, press release or website — for more detailed information.
News Notes are typically prepared the day prior to publication. Some News Note categories we use regularly are ComingSoon (a new business or restaurant opening in our city), List (our city or a local business was on a national list), Number (a relevant number that relates a news story), and Soda Citizen (highlighting a local resident).
⚠️ Pro-tip: We can more easily include your news if it already lives somewhere online. Send us the link when you contact us.
Post of the Day (#COLAtoday) or Quoted
The Post of the Day, labeled #COLAtoday in the newsletter, is the section of the email where we showcase the pulse of our community through photographs and social posts published by the community, using the hashtag #COLAtoday. We use an image of a social post, credit the source account and provide a few sentences to give more context.
Sometimes we use this space for a feature called Quoted, which highlights a quote that represents a larger piece of content or that provides valuable commentary on something happening in our community. Quoted incorporates a graphic of the quote, source credit, and a few sentences of additional context.
⚠️ Pro-tip: When you make social posts on behalf of your company or organization, make sure and tag us using #COLAtoday and/or @COLAtoday.
This is where we preview things to do in Columbia and tell readers how to participate in the community. Each day we curate a selection of events going on the same day and then outline a few events in the coming days (called PlanAheads). MustDos give readers the basics — what, when, where (and a little bit of why) — and then link out to more information on the web.
⚠️ Pro-tip: We prefer to highlight more unique, one-off events. If you are pitching an event that is recurring (weekly/biweekly/monthly), you’ll need to make a case for what makes it special. If you have a specific place where you would like to send readers, specify the link.
This is a monthly roundup of relevant event happenings in Columbia. PlanAhead listings give readers the basics — what, when, where (and a little bit of why) — and then link out to for more information on the web. PlanAheads are published at the end of each month, for the following month.
⚠️ Pro-tip: If you have multiple events you’re interested in us considering, send them all at once, as far in advance as possible.
Paid event listings
We can’t promise that any MustDo or PlanAhead events you pitch will be included, though all will be considered based on relevance. However, you can guarantee inclusion by purchasing a listing via our website. (You can also purchase jobs, digs, celebrate and deal listings.)
Purchasing a listing gets you the following:
- Event will be listed on our website until the day after your event ends.
- Event will be listed in the PlanAhead.
- Event will be featured in the MustDo section of our newsletter (2) separate times.
- Ability to select the (2) dates you’d like to be included in the MustDo section.
- Choice of URL for redirect for ticket or additional event details.
⚠️ Pro-tip: If you have multiple events come up throughout the year, we also offer discounted rates when you purchase a package of listings.
We go out daily and tell stories through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, often as a substitute for more traditional coverage. Our social channels have large, engaged audiences. For better or worse, social media is where many people are getting their news, so we are committed to meeting them where they are. Some options for coverage include Facebook and Twitter posts, Instagram stories and Instagram feed posts (which always come with more context about the person/business/event that is being featured).
We strive to show our readers the most relevant news as it happens on social. We can cover sneak peeks or breaking development news right on social media. (Instagram story walkthrough of a new restaurant, Facebook gallery of a new hotel, etc.)
⚠️ Pro-tip: We push out all the components of our newsletter — Conversation, News Notes, Post of the Day, MustDos — on social channels daily. We also curate for our own site from social media platforms (especially Instagram). When you make social posts on behalf of your company or organization, make sure and tag us using #COLAtoday and @COLAtoday.
While we can’t promise that any pitched content will make it into the newsletter, website or social, you can guarantee inclusion by purchasing branded content. See a full breakdown of those opportunities here.
Purchasing branded content gets you the following:
- Co-created content in our voice, in a way we know will connect with our audience.
- Ability to select the desired target date for publication.
- Choice of URL(s) for redirect for additional information and details.
- Content approved by you before publishing.
- Content to be published in our newsletter.
- Content to live forever on COLAtoday.com as applicable.
- Content to be shared on COLAtoday social media.
⚠️ Pro-tip: If you have multiple pieces of content you would like created throughout the year, we also offer discounted rates when you purchase a package of branded content.
If you want to push your branded content regionally across other 6AM City markets, we can do that too in a cost efficient manner.
We invite readers to share their own writing with us through our Voices platform, which is a community publishing program where we invite contributors to be published on COLAtoday.
If you’d like to submit a Voices article for consideration, you can do that here. If you’re interested but don’t know where to start, here are some examples of different Voices pieces we’ve published in the past. After submission, our team will get back to you promptly.
⚠️ Pro-tip: We would be happy to answer any specific questions about our community contributor platform or hear specific pitches for content. Submit here.