Evelyn Tipacti's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti PR Advice from the Media: Your Questions Answered Our monthly Spotlight series focuses on journalists and opens the door into their lives as members of the media in their respective newsrooms.

Since the year began, we’ve gotten some great advice regarding how to best pitch them so we’ve decided to do a midyear roundup of the best responses we’ve received to the questions we’ve asked in 2015.

The journalists featured are:

  • George Putic, Science and technology Reporter, Voice of America

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?

Think about why your story would interest the general public. Are you sending out a release because it’s your job or because you really have a story to tell? Some press releases that come across my desk would only be of interest to a specialist niche.  Repeated emails from the same company that are of no interest eventually get spam filtered or deleted without reading. (Chris O’ Donnell)

If you want to pitch a story idea, you should make sure that I’m in charge of writing about that particular subject. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

Give me stuff that moves the science and technology forward and looks visually interesting. (George Putic)

If someone’s pitching you, what should they always do and never do?

If it’s got a local tie, tell us that in the subject line of your email (we love local). Creative ideas that spin off of current events are always welcome. Do some quick research on the writer before sending your pitch. Resist putting the “urgent” status on email. Keep the initial message short and on-topic (bullet points highlighting the details are extraordinary)…Please, please, please do not sign your email XOXO. (I see this more often than you would imagine). (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

They should always read their pitch and check for grammar mistakes…They shouldn’t call me unless we’ve arranged an interview. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

Never pitch as if you’re trying to sell a product…Keep in mind that VOA’s audience is very international and that something interesting for the US audience may be less interesting for viewers in Africa or South-East Asia. (George Putic)

Keep a press release short and to the point. Remember we’re in the news game so put what is new or important in the title or high up in the release. Editors go gaga over nutgrafs that include the words “biggest,” “first,” “fastest,” “only,” so figure out what is unique or different about your company, product or event and tell me that. (Chris O’Donnell)

How can someone reach out to you to start a good working relationship?

Someone in PR can get to know me and develop a relationship by reaching out to me via email. Letting me know what types of experts they can put me in touch with is also very helpful. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

A phone call is usually best as I receive hundreds of emails every day. But do some research in advance. I’m a city hall reporter so don’t make me feel bad by having to tell you I have no interest whatsoever in your virtual education conference. (Chris O’Donnell)

Social media connections are invaluable. Follow writers and editors on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Establish a professional relationship outside of the pitch. That way, when you do propose a topic, your name/company is familiar. (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

I know it’s hard but please try not to use jargon in interviews. If I’ve done my research, I can usually keep up but I’m also looking for quotes I can use in my story.  The best sources are those who can talk in lay terms. Avoid pseudo talk and terms like “synergistic.” Please. (Chris O’Donnell)

Offer a sentence, or three, giving the reporter an idea of your client’s position on the topic. Just saying so-and-so is a psychologist with 20 years experience doesn’t show much. But, if you say all that and add a short paragraph outlining where the expert stands on the subject the reporter is covering, the writer can better decide if the expert may be a good fit. (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Members who reach out to me should provide me with their background information, and why they are experts in that particular field. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

If you can, invest in a good web camera and find a place with a nice backdrop where you can sit at your laptop. As many of the interviews are done via Skype you’d want to look good on screen. (George Putic)

What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

I prefer to work with experts who are patient and who can explain complex topics in layman’s terms. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

Not too verbose. TV is a fast-paced medium so two-minute answers to questions create a lot of headache for reporters. (George Putic)

University professors tend to be good sources. They typically have a genuine interest in the subject and are honest when asked a question they are capable of answering.  Consultants or authors can be excellent sources but sometimes give the impression they just want to get their company name out there. (Chris O’Donnell)

I’ve yet to find any group of experts off-putting. It’s less about the type of expert, and more about the person. Some experts approach their pitches better than others (ex: reaching out when you aren’t well versed on the topic doesn’t really benefit you, or the writer). (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Do you use social media at work?

Facebook and Twitter are now inextricably woven into my day. Elected officials, like anyone else, can’t help but tell the world about their doings and all kinds of news ensues. (Chris O’Donnell)

Social media is excellent for crowdsourcing, understanding what interests readers most and even finding expert sources or story ideas. (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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Fri, 22 May 2015 10:08:17 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/22/pr_advice_from_the_media:_your_questions_answered http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/22/pr_advice_from_the_media:_your_questions_answered Our monthly Spotlight series focuses on journalists and opens the door into their lives as members of the media in their respective newsrooms.

Since the year began, we’ve gotten some great advice regarding how to best pitch them so we’ve decided to do a midyear roundup of the best responses we’ve received to the questions we’ve asked in 2015.

The journalists featured are:

  • George Putic, Science and technology Reporter, Voice of America

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?

Think about why your story would interest the general public. Are you sending out a release because it’s your job or because you really have a story to tell? Some press releases that come across my desk would only be of interest to a specialist niche.  Repeated emails from the same company that are of no interest eventually get spam filtered or deleted without reading. (Chris O’ Donnell)

If you want to pitch a story idea, you should make sure that I’m in charge of writing about that particular subject. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

Give me stuff that moves the science and technology forward and looks visually interesting. (George Putic)

If someone’s pitching you, what should they always do and never do?

If it’s got a local tie, tell us that in the subject line of your email (we love local). Creative ideas that spin off of current events are always welcome. Do some quick research on the writer before sending your pitch. Resist putting the “urgent” status on email. Keep the initial message short and on-topic (bullet points highlighting the details are extraordinary)…Please, please, please do not sign your email XOXO. (I see this more often than you would imagine). (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

They should always read their pitch and check for grammar mistakes…They shouldn’t call me unless we’ve arranged an interview. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

Never pitch as if you’re trying to sell a product…Keep in mind that VOA’s audience is very international and that something interesting for the US audience may be less interesting for viewers in Africa or South-East Asia. (George Putic)

Keep a press release short and to the point. Remember we’re in the news game so put what is new or important in the title or high up in the release. Editors go gaga over nutgrafs that include the words “biggest,” “first,” “fastest,” “only,” so figure out what is unique or different about your company, product or event and tell me that. (Chris O’Donnell)

How can someone reach out to you to start a good working relationship?

Someone in PR can get to know me and develop a relationship by reaching out to me via email. Letting me know what types of experts they can put me in touch with is also very helpful. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

A phone call is usually best as I receive hundreds of emails every day. But do some research in advance. I’m a city hall reporter so don’t make me feel bad by having to tell you I have no interest whatsoever in your virtual education conference. (Chris O’Donnell)

Social media connections are invaluable. Follow writers and editors on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Establish a professional relationship outside of the pitch. That way, when you do propose a topic, your name/company is familiar. (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

I know it’s hard but please try not to use jargon in interviews. If I’ve done my research, I can usually keep up but I’m also looking for quotes I can use in my story.  The best sources are those who can talk in lay terms. Avoid pseudo talk and terms like “synergistic.” Please. (Chris O’Donnell)

Offer a sentence, or three, giving the reporter an idea of your client’s position on the topic. Just saying so-and-so is a psychologist with 20 years experience doesn’t show much. But, if you say all that and add a short paragraph outlining where the expert stands on the subject the reporter is covering, the writer can better decide if the expert may be a good fit. (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Members who reach out to me should provide me with their background information, and why they are experts in that particular field. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

If you can, invest in a good web camera and find a place with a nice backdrop where you can sit at your laptop. As many of the interviews are done via Skype you’d want to look good on screen. (George Putic)

What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

I prefer to work with experts who are patient and who can explain complex topics in layman’s terms. (Kasia Fejklowicz)

Not too verbose. TV is a fast-paced medium so two-minute answers to questions create a lot of headache for reporters. (George Putic)

University professors tend to be good sources. They typically have a genuine interest in the subject and are honest when asked a question they are capable of answering.  Consultants or authors can be excellent sources but sometimes give the impression they just want to get their company name out there. (Chris O’Donnell)

I’ve yet to find any group of experts off-putting. It’s less about the type of expert, and more about the person. Some experts approach their pitches better than others (ex: reaching out when you aren’t well versed on the topic doesn’t really benefit you, or the writer). (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Do you use social media at work?

Facebook and Twitter are now inextricably woven into my day. Elected officials, like anyone else, can’t help but tell the world about their doings and all kinds of news ensues. (Chris O’Donnell)

Social media is excellent for crowdsourcing, understanding what interests readers most and even finding expert sources or story ideas. (Kristi Gustafson Barlette)

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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Media 411: How to Connect with ProfNet Experts As a Non-Traditional Journalist ProfNet has been connecting journalists with expert sources since 1992, but did you know ProfNet is not limited to mainstream media? Whether you write for a blog, company website or newsletter or are a freelancer, book author or content marketer, ProfNet can be a valuable tool.

PR Newswire Media How-To focuses on making the most of PR Newswire for Journalists’ tools for freelancers. Catch up on previous how-tos and try our free media tools for yourself by signing up at prnmedia.prnewswire.com.

In today’s fast-paced, social media-connected, content-driven world, traditional journalists aren’t the only ones writing for various platforms. Bloggers, authors, content marketers, internal communications pros and other non-traditional journalists are also tasked with providing compelling and engaging content to their audiences. And they often find themselves facing the same challenges identifying credible and reliable sources as a print or broadcast journalist.

Traditional news reporters and editors frequently use ProfNet’s query service to help them find experts for their stories. ProfNet receives approximately 80-100 queries daily, which it then sends out to corporations, small businesses, non-profits, universities and other organizations in search of subject matter experts who will fit the needs of the reporter making the submission.

However, contrary to what you might think, ProfNet is not limited to mainstream media. Whether you write for a blog, company website or newsletter or are a freelancer, book author or content marketer, ProfNet can be a valuable tool.

Bloggers: If you have a blog, ProfNet can connect you with sources so you can write informative and fun entries. From food to kids, we’ve got you covered.

Corporate writers: Traditional writers are not the only ones who can submit queries. If you write for a company’s website and need expert sources, ProfNet is here to find them for you no matter the topic.

Authors: For anyone writing a book, especially non-fiction, expert commentary may be necessary. You can...

To continue reading, please click here.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Thu, 21 May 2015 15:17:13 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/21/media_411:_how_to_connect_with_profnet_experts_as_a_non-traditional_journalist http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/21/media_411:_how_to_connect_with_profnet_experts_as_a_non-traditional_journalist ProfNet has been connecting journalists with expert sources since 1992, but did you know ProfNet is not limited to mainstream media? Whether you write for a blog, company website or newsletter or are a freelancer, book author or content marketer, ProfNet can be a valuable tool.

PR Newswire Media How-To focuses on making the most of PR Newswire for Journalists’ tools for freelancers. Catch up on previous how-tos and try our free media tools for yourself by signing up at prnmedia.prnewswire.com.

In today’s fast-paced, social media-connected, content-driven world, traditional journalists aren’t the only ones writing for various platforms. Bloggers, authors, content marketers, internal communications pros and other non-traditional journalists are also tasked with providing compelling and engaging content to their audiences. And they often find themselves facing the same challenges identifying credible and reliable sources as a print or broadcast journalist.

Traditional news reporters and editors frequently use ProfNet’s query service to help them find experts for their stories. ProfNet receives approximately 80-100 queries daily, which it then sends out to corporations, small businesses, non-profits, universities and other organizations in search of subject matter experts who will fit the needs of the reporter making the submission.

However, contrary to what you might think, ProfNet is not limited to mainstream media. Whether you write for a blog, company website or newsletter or are a freelancer, book author or content marketer, ProfNet can be a valuable tool.

Bloggers: If you have a blog, ProfNet can connect you with sources so you can write informative and fun entries. From food to kids, we’ve got you covered.

Corporate writers: Traditional writers are not the only ones who can submit queries. If you write for a company’s website and need expert sources, ProfNet is here to find them for you no matter the topic.

Authors: For anyone writing a book, especially non-fiction, expert commentary may be necessary. You can...

To continue reading, please click here.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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0
Media 411: Protecting Your Work Online

In this era of hacking and online security breaches, journalists are trying to protect their content and sources more than ever.

Chris Ip of The Columbia Journalism Review wrote an article with suggestions for protecting one’s work. If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend reading it below. It's worth your time.

**************************************************************

DIGITAL SECURITY POST-SNOWDEN has become a staple of the reporter’s toolkit. If you want extra layers of protection for your work but aren’t sure where to begin, your first move as a Gmail user should probably be with the service’s two-step verification. CJR also spoke with several cybersecurity experts to put together an essential set of tools for journalists, starting with the simplest and ending with the safest. All of them are open source or included with most operating systems.

1. Secure your hard drive
Mac: Filevault
Windows: Bitlocker

Both of these tools encrypt your entire hard drive, making data impossible to access if your computer is stolen. And both are included free with many versions of your operating system.

2. Send safer email
Enigmail with email client Thunderbird

Using PGP (“Pretty Good Privacy”) encryption, these tools ensure that only your email recipient will be able to read your message. Anyone who intercepts the message will just see a string of nonsensical characters. Cameran Ashraf, a digital safety trainer for Global Journalist Security, calls it “about as good as it gets for secured electronic communications.”

3. Make it easy for sources to chat…
Cryptocat

CJR heard Cryptocat called “the gateway drug of encryption” when we first covered it in 2013, for its easy-to-use, intuitive interface. It’s a…

To continue reading, please click here.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Thu, 14 May 2015 14:57:14 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/14/media_411:_protecting_your_work_online http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/14/media_411:_protecting_your_work_online

In this era of hacking and online security breaches, journalists are trying to protect their content and sources more than ever.

Chris Ip of The Columbia Journalism Review wrote an article with suggestions for protecting one’s work. If you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend reading it below. It's worth your time.

**************************************************************

DIGITAL SECURITY POST-SNOWDEN has become a staple of the reporter’s toolkit. If you want extra layers of protection for your work but aren’t sure where to begin, your first move as a Gmail user should probably be with the service’s two-step verification. CJR also spoke with several cybersecurity experts to put together an essential set of tools for journalists, starting with the simplest and ending with the safest. All of them are open source or included with most operating systems.

1. Secure your hard drive
Mac: Filevault
Windows: Bitlocker

Both of these tools encrypt your entire hard drive, making data impossible to access if your computer is stolen. And both are included free with many versions of your operating system.

2. Send safer email
Enigmail with email client Thunderbird

Using PGP (“Pretty Good Privacy”) encryption, these tools ensure that only your email recipient will be able to read your message. Anyone who intercepts the message will just see a string of nonsensical characters. Cameran Ashraf, a digital safety trainer for Global Journalist Security, calls it “about as good as it gets for secured electronic communications.”

3. Make it easy for sources to chat…
Cryptocat

CJR heard Cryptocat called “the gateway drug of encryption” when we first covered it in 2013, for its easy-to-use, intuitive interface. It’s a…

To continue reading, please click here.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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0
A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer On Tuesday, May 12, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer," with Dawn Papandrea (@DawnPapandrea), a full-time freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

Papandrea, who often uses ProfNet to help her find sources, gave us a rundown of what her workday is like, the importance of not being distracted, taking time off, mistakes to avoid and much more.

If you're a journalist, blogger or content marketer in need of expert sources (or "real people") for your articles, try sending a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free.

Dawn, can you please tell us about yourself and about your work as a full-time freelancer?

I've been a full-time freelancer for about a year. I work mostly w/ online pubs and brand content. I started out as an editor about 15 years ago, and began freelancing on the side about 6 years ago.

What’s the first work-related activity you do to start your day as a writer?

I list out my deadlines, phone call appointments, follow ups I have to do, and from there, I prioritize my to-do list. Each day varies, but the bulk of my writing gets done early in the morning. From there, I do calls, marketing, etc.

How do you balance the several assignments you have to finish, especially if you just write in the morning?

I try to stay a day or two ahead on everything so that I have wiggle room if life gets in the way, or a source falls through. It's funny that I'm a "morning writer" now, but I find that it's when I can pound out those word counts. But, of course, on those multiple deadline days, I'm sometimes writing in the wee hours, too.

What do you do when a source falls through?

First off, I always try to have a backup on hand just in case. ProfNet helps with that. But for those last-minute source flake outs, I may resort to begging my friends for help and social media helps, too!

What type of editorial calendar do you use, and how do you decide how many assignments to take on for the week?

I use old school pen/paper for my calendar. I try to figure out how long assignments will take, and go from there.

Do you ever have deadlines for the same day?

Yes, deadlines do seem to travel in packs. Luckily, the bulk of the work is done before I actually sit down to write.

Do you find it hard to take vacations as a full-time freelance writer?

I joke around saying I'm the toughest boss I've ever had. But I do make time for vacations and mental health days.

Where do writers find brand content work?

We're in a time when brands are their own publishers, with editorials staffs and everything. For those interested in brand content, check out @customcouncil. One last brand content resource for writers: www.jennifergregorywriter.com/articles/&...

Do you work every day?

I do at least some work every day, but I *really* work 4-5 days per week. Meaning, I might have to do a quick phoner or write up a blog post over the weekend, but I try not to work Fri-Sun.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?

Fav parts of the job: Flexibility, being my own boss, writing about things that interest me, etc. Least fav part: The constant hustle. Even at your busiest, you should be looking for more work to sustain your business.

I have to ask – have you ever forgotten an assignment or mixed up a deadline?

I’m a stickler for deadlines, but I’ve been guilty of marking the wrong date on my calendar once or twice. It happens.

Where's your most productive place to write? (Some don't like writing at home, because they get too comfortable.)

I do 95% of my work at the desk in my kitchen. It's where I'm most productive. But I do like getting out. 

How long did it take for you to be able to establish yourself as a full-time freelance writer?

I freelanced on the side for about 5 years before going full-time, so I had a good base to help me ramp up. I don't think it needs to take that long, but getting steady work before you take the plunge will make the transition easier.

What are the most common mistakes freelancers make, especially those just starting out?

Common mistake: Not reaching for the stars. Start out with smaller pubs, but keep trying. One great clip can open doors. Also, not picking your battles carefully, and complaining about editors on social media. They will find out!

How can someone with little experience start getting assignments? What do they do first?

Starting out, you have to stand out with a great pitch. Editors are desperate for fresh ideas, packaged in a unique way. To improve your odds, study the publication and tailor the idea for it specifically. So many writers don't do that.

How do you develop your relationships with editors?

First and foremost, by doing consistent good work, plain and simple. Make your editors' jobs easier, and they'll love you. Also, if there’s a chance to connect with editors in person or even on the phone, that goes a long way, too.

In your experience, should you ever call an editor or is email really the best way to start communicating? Social media?

Getting on the phone is appropriate to talk through a complex assignment. But for pitching, making intros, email all the way. I do like social media as well (esp. Twitter/LinkedIn), but be smart about it. Editors don't want to feel stalked.

How does a new freelancer ensure they’re getting paid appropriately? Is there somewhere to go to check for info like this?

I think you have to work for rates that are right for you. Some might say not to take less than $X, but it's all subjective. That's not to say you should give your work away, but if something translates into a good hourly rate, go for it.

How do you deal with distractions?

I truly make a conscious effort to avoid distractions. Being disciplined is key for succeeding at this.

How do you handle working with a child or little ones in the house who aren't old enough for school or aren't in day care?

That's tough. I did it up until my youngest started kindergarten this year. I worked during naps, late at night, etc. If it's truly your business, though, it's important to get help (or pay for help) so you can be productive. Confession: I still do conference calls in my bedroom with the door closed when the kids are home. Boys are noisy!

What should all writers, both new freelancers and those in the biz for a long time be doing every single day?

Marketing. You have to sell yourself every day. Whether it's pitching, blogging, connecting via social, you have to market.

For more freelance writing tips, pls. check out my recent post: linkd.in/1KJLVwI 

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Wed, 13 May 2015 15:13:23 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/13/a_day_in_the_life_of_a_freelance_writer http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/13/a_day_in_the_life_of_a_freelance_writer On Tuesday, May 12, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer," with Dawn Papandrea (@DawnPapandrea), a full-time freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

Papandrea, who often uses ProfNet to help her find sources, gave us a rundown of what her workday is like, the importance of not being distracted, taking time off, mistakes to avoid and much more.

If you're a journalist, blogger or content marketer in need of expert sources (or "real people") for your articles, try sending a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free.

Dawn, can you please tell us about yourself and about your work as a full-time freelancer?

I've been a full-time freelancer for about a year. I work mostly w/ online pubs and brand content. I started out as an editor about 15 years ago, and began freelancing on the side about 6 years ago.

What’s the first work-related activity you do to start your day as a writer?

I list out my deadlines, phone call appointments, follow ups I have to do, and from there, I prioritize my to-do list. Each day varies, but the bulk of my writing gets done early in the morning. From there, I do calls, marketing, etc.

How do you balance the several assignments you have to finish, especially if you just write in the morning?

I try to stay a day or two ahead on everything so that I have wiggle room if life gets in the way, or a source falls through. It's funny that I'm a "morning writer" now, but I find that it's when I can pound out those word counts. But, of course, on those multiple deadline days, I'm sometimes writing in the wee hours, too.

What do you do when a source falls through?

First off, I always try to have a backup on hand just in case. ProfNet helps with that. But for those last-minute source flake outs, I may resort to begging my friends for help and social media helps, too!

What type of editorial calendar do you use, and how do you decide how many assignments to take on for the week?

I use old school pen/paper for my calendar. I try to figure out how long assignments will take, and go from there.

Do you ever have deadlines for the same day?

Yes, deadlines do seem to travel in packs. Luckily, the bulk of the work is done before I actually sit down to write.

Do you find it hard to take vacations as a full-time freelance writer?

I joke around saying I'm the toughest boss I've ever had. But I do make time for vacations and mental health days.

Where do writers find brand content work?

We're in a time when brands are their own publishers, with editorials staffs and everything. For those interested in brand content, check out @customcouncil. One last brand content resource for writers: www.jennifergregorywriter.com/articles/&...

Do you work every day?

I do at least some work every day, but I *really* work 4-5 days per week. Meaning, I might have to do a quick phoner or write up a blog post over the weekend, but I try not to work Fri-Sun.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?

Fav parts of the job: Flexibility, being my own boss, writing about things that interest me, etc. Least fav part: The constant hustle. Even at your busiest, you should be looking for more work to sustain your business.

I have to ask – have you ever forgotten an assignment or mixed up a deadline?

I’m a stickler for deadlines, but I’ve been guilty of marking the wrong date on my calendar once or twice. It happens.

Where's your most productive place to write? (Some don't like writing at home, because they get too comfortable.)

I do 95% of my work at the desk in my kitchen. It's where I'm most productive. But I do like getting out. 

How long did it take for you to be able to establish yourself as a full-time freelance writer?

I freelanced on the side for about 5 years before going full-time, so I had a good base to help me ramp up. I don't think it needs to take that long, but getting steady work before you take the plunge will make the transition easier.

What are the most common mistakes freelancers make, especially those just starting out?

Common mistake: Not reaching for the stars. Start out with smaller pubs, but keep trying. One great clip can open doors. Also, not picking your battles carefully, and complaining about editors on social media. They will find out!

How can someone with little experience start getting assignments? What do they do first?

Starting out, you have to stand out with a great pitch. Editors are desperate for fresh ideas, packaged in a unique way. To improve your odds, study the publication and tailor the idea for it specifically. So many writers don't do that.

How do you develop your relationships with editors?

First and foremost, by doing consistent good work, plain and simple. Make your editors' jobs easier, and they'll love you. Also, if there’s a chance to connect with editors in person or even on the phone, that goes a long way, too.

In your experience, should you ever call an editor or is email really the best way to start communicating? Social media?

Getting on the phone is appropriate to talk through a complex assignment. But for pitching, making intros, email all the way. I do like social media as well (esp. Twitter/LinkedIn), but be smart about it. Editors don't want to feel stalked.

How does a new freelancer ensure they’re getting paid appropriately? Is there somewhere to go to check for info like this?

I think you have to work for rates that are right for you. Some might say not to take less than $X, but it's all subjective. That's not to say you should give your work away, but if something translates into a good hourly rate, go for it.

How do you deal with distractions?

I truly make a conscious effort to avoid distractions. Being disciplined is key for succeeding at this.

How do you handle working with a child or little ones in the house who aren't old enough for school or aren't in day care?

That's tough. I did it up until my youngest started kindergarten this year. I worked during naps, late at night, etc. If it's truly your business, though, it's important to get help (or pay for help) so you can be productive. Confession: I still do conference calls in my bedroom with the door closed when the kids are home. Boys are noisy!

What should all writers, both new freelancers and those in the biz for a long time be doing every single day?

Marketing. You have to sell yourself every day. Whether it's pitching, blogging, connecting via social, you have to market.

For more freelance writing tips, pls. check out my recent post: linkd.in/1KJLVwI 

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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0
Upcoming #ConnectChat: A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer Our next #ConnectChat, “A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer" will feature Dawn Papandrea (@DawnPapandrea), a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

If you’ve ever wondered what a freelance writer does, what a typical day is like, then this is the #ConnectChat for you. Dawn will tell us what her day to day responsibilities are as a freelancer, how she books assignments, her tips for getting started in the business and much more.

The chat will take place Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 3-4 p.m, EDT.

To submit questions for Dawn in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @editorev.

We'll try to get to as many questions as we can. Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

 

About Dawn Papandrea

Dawn Papandrea is a Staten Island, NY-based freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

She also covers the content marketing industry and creates branded content for a number of clients. Her publishing credits include Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, CreditCards.com, University Business magazine, and many more.

Other titles include ASJA member, Oxford comma enthusiast, deadline slayer, and word count warrior.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

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Mon, 11 May 2015 11:00:45 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/11/upcoming_connectchat:_a_day_in_the_life_of_a_freelance_writer http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/05/11/upcoming_connectchat:_a_day_in_the_life_of_a_freelance_writer Our next #ConnectChat, “A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer" will feature Dawn Papandrea (@DawnPapandrea), a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

If you’ve ever wondered what a freelance writer does, what a typical day is like, then this is the #ConnectChat for you. Dawn will tell us what her day to day responsibilities are as a freelancer, how she books assignments, her tips for getting started in the business and much more.

The chat will take place Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 3-4 p.m, EDT.

To submit questions for Dawn in advance, please email profnetconnect@prnewswire.com or tweet your question to @ProfNet or @editorev.

We'll try to get to as many questions as we can. Of course, you can also ask your question live during the chat. To help you keep track of the conversation, we’ll use the #connectchat hashtag. Please use that hashtag if you are tweeting a question or participating in the chat.

If you can't make it to the chat, don't worry -- a transcript will be provided on ProfNet Connect the next day.

 

About Dawn Papandrea

Dawn Papandrea is a Staten Island, NY-based freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

She also covers the content marketing industry and creates branded content for a number of clients. Her publishing credits include Family Circle, Parents, WomansDay.com, CreditCards.com, University Business magazine, and many more.

Other titles include ASJA member, Oxford comma enthusiast, deadline slayer, and word count warrior.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Breaking Into Freelancing and Book Writing

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of moderating “Breaking Into Freelance Writing and Book Writing,” a free webinar featuring Randy Dotinga, president of American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA); and Dawn Papandrea, a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

Dotinga and Papandrea touched on first steps, the financial aspects of freelancing, the biggest mistakes people make, legitimate expectations, how to connect with editors, relationships with other freelancers, and much more.

If you missed the webinar, you can listen to the complete recording here: cc.readytalk.com/play?id=h05yvn

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

Randy Dotinga

  • Beginners can establish themselves in local community websites, op-eds, or blogs.
  • Anyone can freelance. Most editors are concerned about whether you are a talented writer, not about a fancy degree or college.
  • Check in with an accountant and get an idea of the quarterly payments and business expenses you can deduct from taxes.
  • Freelance part-time on the side of a full-time job. This can help you build clients for the long run.
  • Some stories are "quick hits" and shouldn't take up too much time. Don't limit the types of stories you can take on.
  • Cold pitching stories isn't reliable income. It’s better to spend time developing a client base to make money immediately.
  • Working in a newsroom is the best bet for college grads. There's more opportunity for mentorship and broad experience.
  • Editors are more likely to respond to a person they know and trust. It helps your application stand out.
  • Don't assume freelancing is easy. Investing in conferences to grow your network is part of finding work.
  • Build a connection and mutual trust with the editor before asking for deadline extensions or other conveniences.

Dawn Papandrea

  • If you're seriously giving freelance writing a try, make sure you have a steady stream of work available.
  • Freelance writing is a business. If you treat it like a hobby, you can get taken advantage of.
  • Helping others makes it more likely they will return the favor. Share others' work and they will share yours.
  • Prepare financially by saving for taxes and other expenses in case a client falls through. It takes self-discipline.
  • Educate yourself on how to negotiate terms, market yourself to clients. Make sure projects make sense to your business.
  • College grads should learn foundational journalism skills first before jumping into freelancing.
  • Never have a chip on your shoulder. It’s possible to make it as a freelancer. Go the extra mile for repeat business.

General Tips

  • Find ways to meet people in person and build relationships. Social media can be a great place to start establishing a connection.
  • Find story ideas by joining writers groups and reaching out to experienced freelancers. Learn from others and industry experts.
  • As a freelancer, there is no tax taken out of paychecks. You may need a business license -- things freelancers don't expect.
  • Be flexible and learn the ropes of what is acceptable and what isn't. Read the contracts and protect your rights.
  • Set work hours and stick to them. Be organized, stick to your deadlines and know realistically how long a project might take you.
  • How to land your first job: 1) target who you want to write for; 2) figure out whom you're supposed to pitch; 3) find a mutual connection.
  • Be resilient. Sometimes you get rejections, sometimes no response at all. Thick skin is crucial.
  • Don't get taken advantage of, but be flexible and easy to work with to maintain steady work.
  • Don't be rivals. Freelancers need each other for tips, support, finding sources, etc.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Thu, 30 Apr 2015 09:20:38 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/30/breaking_into_freelancing_and_book_writing http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/30/breaking_into_freelancing_and_book_writing

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of moderating “Breaking Into Freelance Writing and Book Writing,” a free webinar featuring Randy Dotinga, president of American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA); and Dawn Papandrea, a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, and family topics.

Dotinga and Papandrea touched on first steps, the financial aspects of freelancing, the biggest mistakes people make, legitimate expectations, how to connect with editors, relationships with other freelancers, and much more.

If you missed the webinar, you can listen to the complete recording here: cc.readytalk.com/play?id=h05yvn

Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

Randy Dotinga

  • Beginners can establish themselves in local community websites, op-eds, or blogs.
  • Anyone can freelance. Most editors are concerned about whether you are a talented writer, not about a fancy degree or college.
  • Check in with an accountant and get an idea of the quarterly payments and business expenses you can deduct from taxes.
  • Freelance part-time on the side of a full-time job. This can help you build clients for the long run.
  • Some stories are "quick hits" and shouldn't take up too much time. Don't limit the types of stories you can take on.
  • Cold pitching stories isn't reliable income. It’s better to spend time developing a client base to make money immediately.
  • Working in a newsroom is the best bet for college grads. There's more opportunity for mentorship and broad experience.
  • Editors are more likely to respond to a person they know and trust. It helps your application stand out.
  • Don't assume freelancing is easy. Investing in conferences to grow your network is part of finding work.
  • Build a connection and mutual trust with the editor before asking for deadline extensions or other conveniences.

Dawn Papandrea

  • If you're seriously giving freelance writing a try, make sure you have a steady stream of work available.
  • Freelance writing is a business. If you treat it like a hobby, you can get taken advantage of.
  • Helping others makes it more likely they will return the favor. Share others' work and they will share yours.
  • Prepare financially by saving for taxes and other expenses in case a client falls through. It takes self-discipline.
  • Educate yourself on how to negotiate terms, market yourself to clients. Make sure projects make sense to your business.
  • College grads should learn foundational journalism skills first before jumping into freelancing.
  • Never have a chip on your shoulder. It’s possible to make it as a freelancer. Go the extra mile for repeat business.

General Tips

  • Find ways to meet people in person and build relationships. Social media can be a great place to start establishing a connection.
  • Find story ideas by joining writers groups and reaching out to experienced freelancers. Learn from others and industry experts.
  • As a freelancer, there is no tax taken out of paychecks. You may need a business license -- things freelancers don't expect.
  • Be flexible and learn the ropes of what is acceptable and what isn't. Read the contracts and protect your rights.
  • Set work hours and stick to them. Be organized, stick to your deadlines and know realistically how long a project might take you.
  • How to land your first job: 1) target who you want to write for; 2) figure out whom you're supposed to pitch; 3) find a mutual connection.
  • Be resilient. Sometimes you get rejections, sometimes no response at all. Thick skin is crucial.
  • Don't get taken advantage of, but be flexible and easy to work with to maintain steady work.
  • Don't be rivals. Freelancers need each other for tips, support, finding sources, etc.

Whether you're just starting out or are an experienced writer, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Journalist Spotlight: Christopher O'Donnell, Tampa Tribune Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Christopher O'Donnell, the Tampa city hall reporter at the Tampa Tribune, the second largest daily newspaper in Florida. 

A proud Brit and Londoner, O’Donnell moved to Florida in 2001 and abandoned a career in programming to go into journalism.

He also covers the Tampa Bay Rays’ battle to get out of their stadium contract at Tropicana Field.  Before moving to the Tribune, he was the education reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune where his reporting on the poor behavior of some substitute teachers led the school district to tighten its hiring and retention rules.

His beat reporting was recognized as among the best in the state by the Florida Society of News Editors.

We hope you find Christopher's SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

Christopher, you originally had a career in programming – what led you to journalism?

Programming was a job I fell into by chance and one that I thrived in despite my mediocre math skills. Moving to the United States, gave me the opportunity to pursue a new career. I had always loved writing and choose journalism because it combined that with my passion for current affairs and politics.

What challenges did you face when you left London to work here in the United States?

Like driving on the right, it was relatively easy to adapt to the different spelling and that singular nouns take singular verbs even if they imply more than one person. What took a while, however, was to figure out how government, elections and politics work here. The idea that a sheriff or a school superintendent is elected is still somewhat strange. The biggest difficulty was understanding the culture well enough that I can confidently use cultural touchstones in my writing. Imagine an Englishman barely acquainted with baseball with being asked to convey the significance of Opening Day at Tropicana Field. That was me. I will confess that the odd phrase of English-English does slip into my copy. Carpark anyone?

Can you tell us about your first job as a professional journalist?

I was hired by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune following a successful internship. After a couple of months of being a GA, I was assigned a geographical beat covering a rural old-Florida community upon which development was encroaching. It was tough as there was no press releases, arrest records or meeting agendas to prompt stories. But I unearthed amazing stories like a woman who entered a contest to train a wild mustang in 100 days and a man who won the gig to design the showjumping obstacles for the Beijing Olympics. The beat taught me how to talk to people and show an interest in their community. I learned that stories can be gleaned over coffee (well tea for me), in the thrift store or on the church doorstep. 

What news do you currently cover?

My current beat is covering Tampa city hall, a beat that include politics, budget, transportation, emergency services, real estate development, culture and the regeneration of the city’s poorest areas. I also cover the Tampa Bay Rays stadium dispute with the City of St. Petersburg.     

Are your stories usually assigned or do you make suggestions as to what you cover?

I come up with about 98 percent of my stories.  It’s usually only on the rare days that I’m not elbow deep in a story that my editor might ask me to pick something up.

What stories do you like covering the most?

It’s hard to choose one. I like feature stories because they usually allow more creativity in the telling. I like the rush of breaking news. I like picking up a complex issue and breaking it down for our readers.

Is there something in particular you like the most about what you do?

I never know when I leave for work exactly how I will be spending my day. Plans are rearranged at a moment’s notice when news breaks and that keeps everything fresh and exciting.

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?

Think about why your story would interest the general public. Are you sending out a release because it’s your job or because you really have a story to tell? Some press releases that come across my desk would only be of interest to a specialist niche.  Repeated emails from the same company that are of no interest eventually get spam filtered or deleted without reading.

If someone’s pitching you, what should they always do and never do?

Keep a press release short and to the point. Remember we’re in the news game so put what is new or important in the title or high up in the release. Editors go gaga over nutgrafs that include the words “biggest,” “first,” “fastest,” “only,” so figure out what is unique or different about your company, product or event and tell me that. 

How can someone reach out to you to start a good working relationship?

A phone call is usually best as I receive hundreds of emails every day. But do some research in advance. I’m a city hall reporter so don’t make me feel bad by having to tell you I have no interest whatsoever in your virtual education conference.

Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

I know it’s hard but please try not to use jargon in interviews. If I’ve done my research, I can usually keep up but I’m also looking for quotes I can use in my story.  The best sources are those who can talk in lay terms. Avoid pseudo talk and terms like “synergistic.” Please.

What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

University professors tend to be good sources. They typically have a genuine interest in the subject and are honest when asked a question they are capable of answering.  Consultants or authors can be excellent sources but sometimes give the impression they just want to get their company name out there.

Can you tell us about your most memorable or most challenging assignment?

I had heard gossip that the legal department of the school district I covered was expensive and wasteful but proving that was not easy. After using outside attorneys for years, the district had created its own legal department arguing that the move would save money and provide a better legal service. I went through budget records going back six years and found that not only did costs soar to pay for two staff attorneys and two legal aides but that, even with in-house staff, the district continued to spend more than $100,000 per year on outside attorneys.

Is there a best part to being a journalist and having your specific role?

Covering a city as large as Tampa involves so many different communities, each with a different history and character, and all with different needs. Being in Florida also means there is no end of out-there stories to spice things up.

Do you use social media at work?

Facebook and Twitter are now inextricably woven into my day. Elected officials, like anyone else, can’t help but tell the world about their doings and all kinds of news ensues. 

What has changed from when you began your career?

To the benefit of all, many more public agencies now post records online such as city budgets and code enforcement violations. Social media has made it easier for grass-roots groups and activists to communicate to a wider audience and have a bigger impact on issues.  That has made it easier for journalists to find non-official sources, a definite benefit.

Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Hard to switch off when you have this job but I love spending time with Maya, my 12-year-old daughter, and my girlfriend, Tiffany. I am a football (soccer) fanatic so an indulgent couple of hours for me is watching NBC’s coverage of games from England while drinking tea. I also love cycling, movies, curry and reading.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query


0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/23/journalist_spotlight:_christopher_odonnell,_tampa_tribune http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/23/journalist_spotlight:_christopher_odonnell,_tampa_tribune Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Christopher O'Donnell, the Tampa city hall reporter at the Tampa Tribune, the second largest daily newspaper in Florida. 

A proud Brit and Londoner, O’Donnell moved to Florida in 2001 and abandoned a career in programming to go into journalism.

He also covers the Tampa Bay Rays’ battle to get out of their stadium contract at Tropicana Field.  Before moving to the Tribune, he was the education reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune where his reporting on the poor behavior of some substitute teachers led the school district to tighten its hiring and retention rules.

His beat reporting was recognized as among the best in the state by the Florida Society of News Editors.

We hope you find Christopher's SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

Christopher, you originally had a career in programming – what led you to journalism?

Programming was a job I fell into by chance and one that I thrived in despite my mediocre math skills. Moving to the United States, gave me the opportunity to pursue a new career. I had always loved writing and choose journalism because it combined that with my passion for current affairs and politics.

What challenges did you face when you left London to work here in the United States?

Like driving on the right, it was relatively easy to adapt to the different spelling and that singular nouns take singular verbs even if they imply more than one person. What took a while, however, was to figure out how government, elections and politics work here. The idea that a sheriff or a school superintendent is elected is still somewhat strange. The biggest difficulty was understanding the culture well enough that I can confidently use cultural touchstones in my writing. Imagine an Englishman barely acquainted with baseball with being asked to convey the significance of Opening Day at Tropicana Field. That was me. I will confess that the odd phrase of English-English does slip into my copy. Carpark anyone?

Can you tell us about your first job as a professional journalist?

I was hired by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune following a successful internship. After a couple of months of being a GA, I was assigned a geographical beat covering a rural old-Florida community upon which development was encroaching. It was tough as there was no press releases, arrest records or meeting agendas to prompt stories. But I unearthed amazing stories like a woman who entered a contest to train a wild mustang in 100 days and a man who won the gig to design the showjumping obstacles for the Beijing Olympics. The beat taught me how to talk to people and show an interest in their community. I learned that stories can be gleaned over coffee (well tea for me), in the thrift store or on the church doorstep. 

What news do you currently cover?

My current beat is covering Tampa city hall, a beat that include politics, budget, transportation, emergency services, real estate development, culture and the regeneration of the city’s poorest areas. I also cover the Tampa Bay Rays stadium dispute with the City of St. Petersburg.     

Are your stories usually assigned or do you make suggestions as to what you cover?

I come up with about 98 percent of my stories.  It’s usually only on the rare days that I’m not elbow deep in a story that my editor might ask me to pick something up.

What stories do you like covering the most?

It’s hard to choose one. I like feature stories because they usually allow more creativity in the telling. I like the rush of breaking news. I like picking up a complex issue and breaking it down for our readers.

Is there something in particular you like the most about what you do?

I never know when I leave for work exactly how I will be spending my day. Plans are rearranged at a moment’s notice when news breaks and that keeps everything fresh and exciting.

What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?

Think about why your story would interest the general public. Are you sending out a release because it’s your job or because you really have a story to tell? Some press releases that come across my desk would only be of interest to a specialist niche.  Repeated emails from the same company that are of no interest eventually get spam filtered or deleted without reading.

If someone’s pitching you, what should they always do and never do?

Keep a press release short and to the point. Remember we’re in the news game so put what is new or important in the title or high up in the release. Editors go gaga over nutgrafs that include the words “biggest,” “first,” “fastest,” “only,” so figure out what is unique or different about your company, product or event and tell me that. 

How can someone reach out to you to start a good working relationship?

A phone call is usually best as I receive hundreds of emails every day. But do some research in advance. I’m a city hall reporter so don’t make me feel bad by having to tell you I have no interest whatsoever in your virtual education conference.

Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

I know it’s hard but please try not to use jargon in interviews. If I’ve done my research, I can usually keep up but I’m also looking for quotes I can use in my story.  The best sources are those who can talk in lay terms. Avoid pseudo talk and terms like “synergistic.” Please.

What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

University professors tend to be good sources. They typically have a genuine interest in the subject and are honest when asked a question they are capable of answering.  Consultants or authors can be excellent sources but sometimes give the impression they just want to get their company name out there.

Can you tell us about your most memorable or most challenging assignment?

I had heard gossip that the legal department of the school district I covered was expensive and wasteful but proving that was not easy. After using outside attorneys for years, the district had created its own legal department arguing that the move would save money and provide a better legal service. I went through budget records going back six years and found that not only did costs soar to pay for two staff attorneys and two legal aides but that, even with in-house staff, the district continued to spend more than $100,000 per year on outside attorneys.

Is there a best part to being a journalist and having your specific role?

Covering a city as large as Tampa involves so many different communities, each with a different history and character, and all with different needs. Being in Florida also means there is no end of out-there stories to spice things up.

Do you use social media at work?

Facebook and Twitter are now inextricably woven into my day. Elected officials, like anyone else, can’t help but tell the world about their doings and all kinds of news ensues. 

What has changed from when you began your career?

To the benefit of all, many more public agencies now post records online such as city budgets and code enforcement violations. Social media has made it easier for grass-roots groups and activists to communicate to a wider audience and have a bigger impact on issues.  That has made it easier for journalists to find non-official sources, a definite benefit.

Finally, what do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Hard to switch off when you have this job but I love spending time with Maya, my 12-year-old daughter, and my girlfriend, Tiffany. I am a football (soccer) fanatic so an indulgent couple of hours for me is watching NBC’s coverage of games from England while drinking tea. I also love cycling, movies, curry and reading.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents to find an expert you can quote on virtually any topic. The best part? It’s free! Start your search now: Send a query


0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
PR 411: Tips for Getting Hired in PR

Who doesn’t want to work for a great PR company? If you’re looking for work in the field, Charles Lankester, senior vice-president with Ruder Finn, provides 11 tips for PR job-seekers.

PR Week’s article, “How to get hired by a PR firm in 2015,” shares Lankester’s advice, also seen here below:

Over the past week I heard of two cases where very academically bright candidates delivered poor quality (read: dreadful) interviews. Book smart and street stupid is a dangerous combination in 2015, in any industry. I thought I would share a few notes on how to maximize your chances of getting hired into a PR firm.

1.    Understand what public relations is in 2015. It’s not about building relationships, events or making connections. It’s increasingly a data-driven, carefully planned and strategic business that should deliver measurable business outcomes.  You must be able to define public relations from an industry standpoint—and ideally offer your own definition.

2.    Understand the industry. Read the trade media. Learn about the latest campaigns, client moves, industry trends, client wins and losses. Get to know the industry lexicon. Have an opinion on campaigns. Did any of them impact or impress you? Why? Why not? Again, it is vital to have a point of view.

3.    Research your potential employer. Find out where they do business, who are their biggest clients and research their strategy/positioning. Immerse yourself in their world. Research and understand their product and service names. Find out about their latest developments, people moves, hires, client wins. The more you sound like an insider, the more impressed we will be.

4.    Getting the interview. It’s always better to be introduced via a friend of the firm or a client, but we tend to be a fairly egalitarian industry. We have also all "been there" looking for work. Hint: research the CEO/MD of the office where you want to work and email her/him directly. Establish yourself as an individual with the boss vs. be one of many CVs sent to him/her by the HR department. Hint: Don’t wait for a job to be advertised! If you like and respect the firm, write in and seek an interview. This kind of "can do" initiative and approach always impresses.

5.    Social and digital insight. You must understand this area and have a point of view. What new knowledge or insight can you bring? What are the hot three social media platforms in China that we should care about? Why? If you write a thought piece like this you will automatically be in the Top 5 percent of candidates. But is has to be good and it has to be original! We also look carefully at your social media profile, so have a decent LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter presence.

 6.    Make a big effort with your first communication. Be memorable.

To continue reading, please click here.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here: Send a query.

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Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:05:51 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/16/pr_411:_tips_for_getting_hired_in_pr http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/16/pr_411:_tips_for_getting_hired_in_pr

Who doesn’t want to work for a great PR company? If you’re looking for work in the field, Charles Lankester, senior vice-president with Ruder Finn, provides 11 tips for PR job-seekers.

PR Week’s article, “How to get hired by a PR firm in 2015,” shares Lankester’s advice, also seen here below:

Over the past week I heard of two cases where very academically bright candidates delivered poor quality (read: dreadful) interviews. Book smart and street stupid is a dangerous combination in 2015, in any industry. I thought I would share a few notes on how to maximize your chances of getting hired into a PR firm.

1.    Understand what public relations is in 2015. It’s not about building relationships, events or making connections. It’s increasingly a data-driven, carefully planned and strategic business that should deliver measurable business outcomes.  You must be able to define public relations from an industry standpoint—and ideally offer your own definition.

2.    Understand the industry. Read the trade media. Learn about the latest campaigns, client moves, industry trends, client wins and losses. Get to know the industry lexicon. Have an opinion on campaigns. Did any of them impact or impress you? Why? Why not? Again, it is vital to have a point of view.

3.    Research your potential employer. Find out where they do business, who are their biggest clients and research their strategy/positioning. Immerse yourself in their world. Research and understand their product and service names. Find out about their latest developments, people moves, hires, client wins. The more you sound like an insider, the more impressed we will be.

4.    Getting the interview. It’s always better to be introduced via a friend of the firm or a client, but we tend to be a fairly egalitarian industry. We have also all "been there" looking for work. Hint: research the CEO/MD of the office where you want to work and email her/him directly. Establish yourself as an individual with the boss vs. be one of many CVs sent to him/her by the HR department. Hint: Don’t wait for a job to be advertised! If you like and respect the firm, write in and seek an interview. This kind of "can do" initiative and approach always impresses.

5.    Social and digital insight. You must understand this area and have a point of view. What new knowledge or insight can you bring? What are the hot three social media platforms in China that we should care about? Why? If you write a thought piece like this you will automatically be in the Top 5 percent of candidates. But is has to be good and it has to be original! We also look carefully at your social media profile, so have a decent LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter presence.

 6.    Make a big effort with your first communication. Be memorable.

To continue reading, please click here.

Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. All you have to do is fill out a quick form telling us what you’re looking for, your deadline, and how you want to be contacted, and we’ll send it to the appropriate experts in our network. The best part? It’s free! Get started here: Send a query.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Media 411: Instagram for Journalists

Are you a journalist who doesn't use Instagram?

You may be a bit apprehensive and may not want yet another tool to learn. If you don’t use Instagram, below are several articles that may change your mind.

Instagram can be an excellent tool for journalists:

Are you a writer in need of experts? Send a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free! Just submit your request here: Send a query.

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Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:54:07 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/09/media_411:_instagram_for_journalists http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/09/media_411:_instagram_for_journalists

Are you a journalist who doesn't use Instagram?

You may be a bit apprehensive and may not want yet another tool to learn. If you don’t use Instagram, below are several articles that may change your mind.

Instagram can be an excellent tool for journalists:

Are you a writer in need of experts? Send a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free! Just submit your request here: Send a query.

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Transitioning to Freelancing and Book Writing On Tuesday, March 31, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Transitioning to Freelancing and Book Writing," with Randy Dotinga (@rdotinga), president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA -- @ASJAhq).

Randy discussed the difficulties writers face when embarking upon a freelance career, the financial preparations that are important to make, time management and first steps.

He also touched upon how an expert should approach writing a book for the first time and many other issues facing those who want a career as a freelance writer. 

Please follow @ProfNet and @editorev on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.

Randy, can you please tell us about yourself?

I've been a full-time freelance writer since 1999. Before that, I was a daily newspaper reporter. It's amazing that I've been doing this since 1999, considering that I'm only 25 years old. But moving on...

I'm now president of @asjahq. We're 1,200 freelance writers and non-fiction authors from North America and beyond. We think of ourselves as the voice of independent writers and a resource to help writers survive and thrive.

What is the most difficult part about transitioning to FT freelance writing?

Having to hustle in a very different way than you do in a newsroom. Personal connections are more important too. It can be difficult for writers who are used to a lot more structure and predictability.

Is there something people making the transition should expect that they may not have thought about before?

Be ready to keep track of finances in a whole new way. You are now a business & need to think like one re: taxes, etc.

How should one start preparing financially for the switch?

Save money! Get your health insurance in order if you’re leaving a job. Understand how self-employment taxes work. An accountant can be helpful, although you may not need one, since you’ll be making quarterly tax payments.

Can you please elaborate?

If you have a staff job, you pay taxes every paycheck. The IRS wants taxes over year from self-employed types too! When you're self-employed, you pay taxes quarterly. You estimate how much you owe & write a check to our pals at IRS.

Is a 100% switch necessary or can you adequately work as a freelancer while also pursuing other interests?

You can definitely be a part-time freelancer, and lots of people do that. No need for full-time!

What sort of business savvy do you have to have to be a freelancer?

You need to always think about the money you’re making: Are you making enough per week, per month, per year? Know about business expenses and how to take every single one that you can: Conferences, books & magazines, your phone

Time management is very important – what advice do you have for those who may not have great time mgmt. skills?

I’m not the best person to ask, since I’m pretty ADHD. (SQUIRREL!) But...

If you don’t have good time-management skills, set a firm schedule. 9-5 weekdays, maybe. Make yourself follow rules.

Should you quit your job before starting or is a building a base a better idea first?

Definitely build a base! Use all the free time you have: Time before and after work, vacations, weekends. Some people don’t want to spend the time since they don’t want to be working all the time. Too bad. You have to do it.

What advice can you give an individual leaving college and pursuing a career as a journalist?

I'd suggest a staff job. You learn so much on the job that's crucial for a journalism career!

Journalists who’ve never freelanced often don’t know how to get started with a freelance career. What’s the first thing they need to do?

Go to a writers conference like ASJA’s, coming up April 30-May 2 in NYC! Other conferences are almost as good. If you can’t go to a conference, download conference recordings to give you insight. Did I mention that it's important for freelancers to be self-promotional at all times?

What sort of topics are covered at these conferences?

We talk about networking, marketing, craft of writing & making it in various genres of journalism. It's a mix of sessions about the business and the art of freelancing (and book writing too).

How can you make yourself stand out from so many other writers?

Make editors’ lives easier: Have good pitches. Be reliable. File your stories on time. Be low on drama.

What are some of the top mistakes that writers make when they try to transition into freelancing?

Don’t forget the personal touch. 99% of my work has come because I knew someone or knew someone who knew someone. If you work in isolation & are constantly cold calling (or cold e-mailing) editors, it's very tough to break out. It makes a big difference to an editor when you can drop a name in the subject line of an email pitch. You stand out.

Doctors, professors and many other experts want to write their own books but also don’t know what first step to take. What do you suggest?

Think about your expertise. If you’re a doctor, you need a medical writer. You could try the Health Writers Association. There are associations (with author/freelance members) for just about every genre of journalism. ASJA is made up of all types of independent writers, so you could try us to get hooked up with a writer.

How do people transition from freelancing into book writing?

One big tip: Learn how things work: Understand what a book proposal is. Don’t write the whole book first. Write about a topic you’ve already written about. Draw upon your existing work and save time.

What sorts of journalists should NOT try for a freelance career?

Those who aren’t flexible, who like things very planned-out and predictable.

How do you make personal connections when you have a staff journalism job?

Conferences are important to help you meet editors. But you can also use social media to meet editors and writers. Remember, it's important to meet writers too. Other writers are often the source of tips about freelance gigs.

I think there's a misconception out there that freelancers don't usually like to help other freelancers, perhaps due to fear of competition. What's your perspective?

True to an extent. But many successful freelancers are generous, and not just to be goody-goody. Connections=success. Also, freelancers can't take every gig they hear about. We often refer editors to other writers. For example, you may get offered a story for Cat Fancy but you're allergic to cats. You can pass it on.

Is it possible to make a living as a freelancer?

Yes! It's an absolute myth that it's impossible. We have members making 6 figures a year. Not everyone will succeed at freelancing. It's hard work. But plenty of writers survive AND thrive.

Randy, can you please tell us a bit more about the ASJA conference in NY? Website? Registration info?

It's from April 30-May 2 in Manhattan. The public is invited! For schedule and registration: www.asjaconferences.org/asja2015/ 

Are you a writer in need of experts? Send a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free! Just submit your request here: Send a query.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:39:05 -0500 http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/02/transitioning_to_freelancing_and_book_writing http://www.profnetconnect.com/evelyntipacti/blog/2015/04/02/transitioning_to_freelancing_and_book_writing On Tuesday, March 31, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Transitioning to Freelancing and Book Writing," with Randy Dotinga (@rdotinga), president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA -- @ASJAhq).

Randy discussed the difficulties writers face when embarking upon a freelance career, the financial preparations that are important to make, time management and first steps.

He also touched upon how an expert should approach writing a book for the first time and many other issues facing those who want a career as a freelance writer. 

Please follow @ProfNet and @editorev on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.

Randy, can you please tell us about yourself?

I've been a full-time freelance writer since 1999. Before that, I was a daily newspaper reporter. It's amazing that I've been doing this since 1999, considering that I'm only 25 years old. But moving on...

I'm now president of @asjahq. We're 1,200 freelance writers and non-fiction authors from North America and beyond. We think of ourselves as the voice of independent writers and a resource to help writers survive and thrive.

What is the most difficult part about transitioning to FT freelance writing?

Having to hustle in a very different way than you do in a newsroom. Personal connections are more important too. It can be difficult for writers who are used to a lot more structure and predictability.

Is there something people making the transition should expect that they may not have thought about before?

Be ready to keep track of finances in a whole new way. You are now a business & need to think like one re: taxes, etc.

How should one start preparing financially for the switch?

Save money! Get your health insurance in order if you’re leaving a job. Understand how self-employment taxes work. An accountant can be helpful, although you may not need one, since you’ll be making quarterly tax payments.

Can you please elaborate?

If you have a staff job, you pay taxes every paycheck. The IRS wants taxes over year from self-employed types too! When you're self-employed, you pay taxes quarterly. You estimate how much you owe & write a check to our pals at IRS.

Is a 100% switch necessary or can you adequately work as a freelancer while also pursuing other interests?

You can definitely be a part-time freelancer, and lots of people do that. No need for full-time!

What sort of business savvy do you have to have to be a freelancer?

You need to always think about the money you’re making: Are you making enough per week, per month, per year? Know about business expenses and how to take every single one that you can: Conferences, books & magazines, your phone

Time management is very important – what advice do you have for those who may not have great time mgmt. skills?

I’m not the best person to ask, since I’m pretty ADHD. (SQUIRREL!) But...

If you don’t have good time-management skills, set a firm schedule. 9-5 weekdays, maybe. Make yourself follow rules.

Should you quit your job before starting or is a building a base a better idea first?

Definitely build a base! Use all the free time you have: Time before and after work, vacations, weekends. Some people don’t want to spend the time since they don’t want to be working all the time. Too bad. You have to do it.

What advice can you give an individual leaving college and pursuing a career as a journalist?

I'd suggest a staff job. You learn so much on the job that's crucial for a journalism career!

Journalists who’ve never freelanced often don’t know how to get started with a freelance career. What’s the first thing they need to do?

Go to a writers conference like ASJA’s, coming up April 30-May 2 in NYC! Other conferences are almost as good. If you can’t go to a conference, download conference recordings to give you insight. Did I mention that it's important for freelancers to be self-promotional at all times?

What sort of topics are covered at these conferences?

We talk about networking, marketing, craft of writing & making it in various genres of journalism. It's a mix of sessions about the business and the art of freelancing (and book writing too).

How can you make yourself stand out from so many other writers?

Make editors’ lives easier: Have good pitches. Be reliable. File your stories on time. Be low on drama.

What are some of the top mistakes that writers make when they try to transition into freelancing?

Don’t forget the personal touch. 99% of my work has come because I knew someone or knew someone who knew someone. If you work in isolation & are constantly cold calling (or cold e-mailing) editors, it's very tough to break out. It makes a big difference to an editor when you can drop a name in the subject line of an email pitch. You stand out.

Doctors, professors and many other experts want to write their own books but also don’t know what first step to take. What do you suggest?

Think about your expertise. If you’re a doctor, you need a medical writer. You could try the Health Writers Association. There are associations (with author/freelance members) for just about every genre of journalism. ASJA is made up of all types of independent writers, so you could try us to get hooked up with a writer.

How do people transition from freelancing into book writing?

One big tip: Learn how things work: Understand what a book proposal is. Don’t write the whole book first. Write about a topic you’ve already written about. Draw upon your existing work and save time.

What sorts of journalists should NOT try for a freelance career?

Those who aren’t flexible, who like things very planned-out and predictable.

How do you make personal connections when you have a staff journalism job?

Conferences are important to help you meet editors. But you can also use social media to meet editors and writers. Remember, it's important to meet writers too. Other writers are often the source of tips about freelance gigs.

I think there's a misconception out there that freelancers don't usually like to help other freelancers, perhaps due to fear of competition. What's your perspective?

True to an extent. But many successful freelancers are generous, and not just to be goody-goody. Connections=success. Also, freelancers can't take every gig they hear about. We often refer editors to other writers. For example, you may get offered a story for Cat Fancy but you're allergic to cats. You can pass it on.

Is it possible to make a living as a freelancer?

Yes! It's an absolute myth that it's impossible. We have members making 6 figures a year. Not everyone will succeed at freelancing. It's hard work. But plenty of writers survive AND thrive.

Randy, can you please tell us a bit more about the ASJA conference in NY? Website? Registration info?

It's from April 30-May 2 in Manhattan. The public is invited! For schedule and registration: www.asjaconferences.org/asja2015/ 

Are you a writer in need of experts? Send a ProfNet query -- it's easy and free! Just submit your request here: Send a query.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
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