Tuesday, 11 January 2011

What is a Sidebar?

Elizabeth from Whitstable in Kent wants to know about sidebars. I sent away for article guidelines from one of the major weekly magazines and they say they want sidebars included with travel articles. What is a sidebar?

A sidebar is the term used for information which is relevant to an article, but which doesn’t appear in the main text. For example, when writing a travel article, the details of how to get to a town, or other information pertinent to the reader, such as the tourist office address and opening times.

These details appear to the side of the main text, usually in a box, to draw attention to the information. Sidebars can also contain quotes, polls and lists related to the article.

The term is used in both newspapers and magazines and is also now common in web design, where sidebars are used to make links stand out more readily against the text.

When submitting your article, the sidebar facts should be given on a separate page and clearly marked as additional information. Many articles, but particularly travel pieces, are enhanced by the use of sidebars. It is a good idea to mention in your query letter the type of additional information you intend to include.

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