Getting the press on your side

ReporterI was asked to do an interview a few weeks ago by a freelance writer, Jackie, on tactics and trends in business cards. There are tons of crazy examples out there, but as Guy Kawasaki points out on his blog – sometimes a simple solution is the best solution.

This post isn’t about business cards at all, but about how I should best deal with my new freelance writer friend. So I asked her three questions and here are her responses.

Q1: Is it appropriate to pitch story ideas to freelance writers like yourself or should that be saved for known editors of interest? (in other words do freelance writers have the freedom to write what they want to?)

A1: It is appropriate to pitch ideas to freelance writers. Most have the freedom, and incentive, to generate story ideas. If a writer isn’t coming up with ideas, they’re waiting for editors to assign them work. A more proactive approach nets more assignments and therefore more paychecks. That being said, pitching to the appropriate editor is a more direct tactic, and might work better in some situations.

Q2: How do you know if your writer is the one you should be talking to?

A2: I would ask the writer what publications they’ve written for and what kind of work they typically do; most have a specialty or two. It’s a waste of the writer’s time, as well, to receive pitches outside of their expertise, so I think most would be happy to refer you.

Q3: What is the best way to pitch a story idea to you?

A3: It’s always good to ask how a writer prefers to receive pitches, whether via phone, email, etc. Many prefer email, but a follow-up phone call usually doesn’t hurt. Also, make it brief, to the point and include all the relevant information. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a press release that lacks crucial information (like contact info) or one that requires lots of of time and effort to wade through. If a quick scan doesn’t provide the basics, it will probably get tossed.

Bottom line: Since we preach that you should run your sales efforts, and sales funnel, like your own personal business, cultivate editors and writers so that when you have a meaningful press release your story has a chance of being heard around the world.

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