How To Get Covered By Freelance Writers (Part 1)

hp-mainFreelance writers are really a publicist’s secret weapon.  Building relationships with freelancers can be a great way for PR pros to get coverage for their clients, because freelancers often write for multiple publications. And if a particular publication folds, a freelancer will often have relationships with editors at other outlets that publish similar content. The main downside to working with freelancers is  they are often much harder to reach than staff writers or editors, because they don’t have a permanent home at any given publication. But hard to find or not, freelancers present an awesome opportunity for publicists.

Why They’re Great

Freelance writers are generally passionate about the subjects they cover. They have to be since they are usually working outside the comfort and security of a staff reporter position.  Freelancers, generally speaking, are self-motivated go-getters who hustle their content to editors until they get someone to buy.

They’re a great resource because they’re often hungry for content. Since freelance writers aren’t on staff, the more they write, the more money they make. Simple as that.

Freelancers can write for more than one publication.  A business writer could easily freelance for Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and their local Business Journal.  Many often do.  This bodes well for publicists and people looking to get coverage because you can go “multi-outlet” shopping when working with a freelancer.  The down side is that you could work with a freelancer on a story for months only to have them pitch it without success. But that’s the gamble.

How To Spot Them
When reading through your local publications, take note of the title in the byline. A byline will rarely if ever explicitly say Joe Shmoe, Freelance Write, and  freelancers  most likely won’t be listed in the masthead. Instead,  look for titles like “Special to [publication name],” “Contributor,” or “Contributing Writer” to clue you in.

How To Reach Them
This can border on stalking, but could also be considered resourceful. Plus, I’ve never met a publicist who was afraid to reach out to people in order to get a client covered. If you’re subscribed to HARO (which you are) pay attention to the freelance writers who cover your industry and especially those that cover your industry and your region.  Take down their email address and approach them with care.

These days, most journalists are using social media to market themselves, since they are in the business of getting writing work after all.  Google them. Find them on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. If you find them and send them a message in one of those online hangouts, you’ve got an instant entree to communication.

But as always, pitch with care.

Tomorrow, in part 2,  I’ll give you an anecdote or two from a freelance writer.  She recently shared her list of do’s and don’ts for working with freelancers like her.

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