InterExchange Content Provider Guidelines
Congratulations on joining us as an InterExchange Content Provider! Before getting started with your content contributions, we request that you review the following guidelines.
Generally we seek three types of content: Articles, Photo Stories, and Videos.
Consider Your Audience
Before deciding which kinds of content you would like to create, please take some time to think about who will most likely be consuming this content. Most of your readers will either be prospective applicants thinking about whether the program is a good fit, or future travelers who have applied, been accepted, and are getting ready to travel on an InterExchange program.
What would you have wanted to know about the program before applying? If someone were a good fit but just needed a bit of a push or confidence boost, what would you tell/show them? What are some of the highlights of your experience and how can you convey them in such a way as to captivate your audience? What are some challenges and how did you overcome them? Why should someone apply?
Once accepted to your program, what kinds of information would have helped you plan? How could your article, photo story or video make planning more fun? What kinds of inside knowledge have you picked up along the way? Any suggestions for engaging locally in your host region? Tips for success in your role? How has your experience or thinking changed throughout the program? Any major changes in perspective?
- My Home Away From Home
- Apartment Hunting on a Working Holiday
- Connecting with Globetrotters on My Working Holiday
- Travel Challenges & Triumphs
- Documenting your first sport experience (i.e. watching “Aussie Rules Football,” “skiing for the first time in Whistler”)
- “Wildlife in Bushcountry of Australia,” or “Camping the Backcountry in Canada”
- A variety of topics could work: be creative and ask your InterExchange contact if you need guidance!
We may provide you with specific prompts that we’d like you to cover in at least one of your submissions.
If you’re interested in photography, we would love to publish your photo contributions. Rather than sending individual photos, however, we ask you to consider a theme and to tell a story using five to 10 photos with included captions.
Landscapes are nice, but the setting is only one small part of any good story. You need characters, activities, and feelings. People relate to challenges and to emotions more than they do with a beautiful mountain view.
Try beginning with a brief intro to set up your story. What kind of connection do you hope to make with viewers? What are you trying to tell them? Continue with the five to 10 photos. Try to let these convey your story but support your photos with brief captions.
- LENS series by The New York Times
- Scenes from Hong Kong, ‘Pearl of the Orient’
- Ramadan 2017 in the USA
Etiquette and Ethics
Before taking photos with your host family, school community or other human subjects make sure to ask if it’s okay. This can feel awkward at first, but it gets easier!
Don’t come into a job on day one and start snapping away – it’s better to settle in first and choose a day in particular, during which you can set aside some time for photos.
Also keep in mind that some individuals may not want their photos on a website. For this reason we have simple photo release forms that we provide to content contributors. If you’re shooting photos of children, you’ll need to get an adult to sign off on use of the photos.
You don’t need to be a pro to get good video content, but there are a few important things to keep in mind.
We’re looking for finished, edited video so if you’re not comfortable with a basic video editing function (Youtube; Windows Movie Maker; iMovie; etc.) this might not be the best choice for you.
As with other content, consider your viewers’ response; there’s a reason we’re so addicted to cute puppy videos on YouTube! Three minutes of landscapes out the car window will most likely be unusable, though it might make for some decent B-roll, or stage-setting footage.
Style and Tech Tips
Be Social Media Conscious
Are your videos going to end up on TikTok or a Twitter post? Are your pictures going to be on Facebook or Instagram? The answer should influence your shots. Try to follow these social media-specific tips:
Make sure the content corresponds to ideal aspect ratios
- For videos that will be posted to Instagram feeds, you’ll need to film in a 1:1 (square) aspect ratio.
- For videos that will be posted as Instagram Reels, as Instagram or Facebook Stories, or to TikTok, you’ll need to film in a 9:16 (portrait) aspect ratio.
Center all effects, words, and actions in the center of the video (as if you were shooting in a 1:1 aspect ratio)
- Sometimes we’ll need to edit a 16:9 video into a 1:1 aspect ratio.
- Even in a 9:16 Reels video, the preview is cropped to a 1:1 ratio, so any effects or action at the top or bottom will not be visible.
We prefer it if you don’t add music, and limit special effect filters. This makes the videos difficult to edit and may trigger copyright flags when published.
Be conscious of time. If you’re not providing raw, unedited footage, please remember the maximum duration of each format:
- 60 seconds for TikTok
- 60 seconds for IG feed post
- 15 seconds for IG Stories
- 30 seconds for Instagram Reels
- Between 1 and 15 minutes Instagram TV
- There is no maximum duration for Facebook videos
Horizontal Not Vertical
Rotate your phone horizontally if using a smartphone to shoot video. Vertical video is only great for Snapchat Stories; if you want standard 16:9 video to share on YouTube or another web-based platform, please film horizontally.
Whenever possible set the camera/phone down on a stable surface. Movement and shaking is noticeable and can even nauseate your viewers. If you’ve got $20 to spare, invest in a mount and a cheap selfie stick that will hold your phone steady; it will make your video look more professional!
If it’s impossible to use a flat surface hold the camera with both hands and keep your elbows down for greater stability. If you can, rest your elbows on a nearby object.
Your phone’s camera zooms into your subject digitally, not optically, which means that your photo may look pixelated if you zoom in too much. When you’re able, move physically closer to the subject you’re filming. You’ll also record better audio by moving in.
You should also avoid zooming in and out too much while filming; it can be distracting.
If using an iPhone, take advantage of the exposure focus lock (AE/AF Lock) feature. If your phone keeps adjusting and re-adjusting your exposure and focus while you shoot, tap and hold on your subject until you see the yellow AE/AF Lock banner appear. Adjust your exposure as needed, then tap the record button. This is particularly helpful if you’re shooting outside, when you’re most likely to have changes in the background or in your lighting.
As with still photography, you still want to be wary of backlighting. When you can, angle your subject so that the light source falls on your subject, not from behind them.
Editing is Key
If you’re looking to do some simple edits on your phone, try iMovie for iOS. You can also upload your footage from your phone to your computer and try using a free cloud-based video editor like WeVideo.