Name and News Organization: Kate Michael, KStreetKate.net and The District Dish Beat: DC topics (People, places, events, charities, businesses) Job Title: New Media Personality Length of Time in this Role: 3 years Web Site and/or Blog: K Street Kate/ The District Dish Twitter Handle:@kstreetkate
Mopwater: What kind of stories/people/companies are you most interested in covering, and in what context? KM: Both the online magazine and talk show feature the best of DC, lifestyle stories that highlight the real District of Columbia and its eclectic neighborhoods.
Mopwater: What’s the best pitch you’ve gotten recently and why? KM: A unique and interesting business (trapeze school) moved into the area and featured lessons with the instructor who taught “Carrie” on the trapeze episode of Sex and the City. We booked him immediately to tell people about the trapeze school on The District Dish!
Mopwater: What’s the worst pitch you’ve gotten recently and why? KM: The sister of a local woman asked me to do a feature on her because she was “so nice” and “people should know about her”… I’m not sure why.
Mopwater: What’s the easiest way to get ignored by you when pitching? KM: Forget to take out the name of the other publication you were pitching when you were cutting and pasting your pitch.
Mopwater: What’s your preferred method of contact? Phone, email, your web site, your twitter account, your Facebook? KM: Email and twitter, equally. My actual e-mail is listed on my facebook page, so why use a facebook message?? Read the full story
Happy Hump Day. As promised, I spoke to Sarah Caron, a “real live” freelance writer to get some thoughts on how best to work with freelancers. Sarah divvies up her writing time between Parenting/Children, Cooking/Food and Technology. You can check out her blog for more of her insights.
But after chatting (typing) with Sarah, I noticed that there’s a pretty common thread coming from reporters, whether they are freelance writers or staff reporters. Always remember that writers are people. Always respect the writer’s time. Never practice spam-pitching (pitching off topic, sending releases blindly). Media relations are all about the relations! So develop relationships with your media contacts, this includes freelance writers.
Sarah Caron’s Dos and Don’ts
Do Take Time to Read the Writer’s Former Work
As with any writing professional, PR people really need to take the time to understand a writer’s role at publications and who they are writing for. This can easily be done with a little research or even just asking the writer.
Don’t Pitch Off Topic
Freelancers can be an excellent resource for PR professionals, especially if they write for multiple publications online and in print. However, it’s important that the PR pros take note about what the freelancer writes about and only sends along pitches that really fit their topics of interest. Trying to twist a subject to fit the writer’s interest seldom works if it’s not a natural fit. One important thing to realize though is that there are different types of freelancing: there is contract work, where you write on a regular schedule for a publication. There is also one-off work, which is most often garnered through pitching. And pitches take time. Read the full story
Freelance 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. Read the full story
Whether you’re a journalist or PR professional, you should be using Pitch Engine. It’s another one of those great 2.0 applications that makes all of our lives easier. Pitch Engine allows journalists to browse thousands of social media press releases, and gives publicists the chance to house their SMPRs online for free. The press releases are easy to link and share on Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, Technorati, etc. You can even upload photos, video, and audio.