Maria Perez

    • Member Type(s): Content Publisher
      Communications Professional
      Media - Freelancer
      Media - Broadcast
      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Student Journalist
      Media - Web-only/Blogger
      Media - Other
    • Title:Director, Online Community Relations
    • Organization:ProfNet
    • Area of Expertise:Media, PR

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    Bloggers and Copyright Violations

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 11:42 AM [General]
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    If you’re a blogger, you have probably linked to another blogger’s post at some point – because it was interesting or helpful, or you agreed/disagreed with its premise and wanted to comment on it.

    But you could be in danger of violating copyright law, and you don’t even know it. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to including other bloggers’ work on your own blog. It also doesn’t help that there is a dearth of clear and concise information online to help bloggers understand the law.

    In her recent blog post, “Legal Danger for Bloggers,” on the ASJA blog, writer Susan Weiner does a great job of explaining how bloggers can avoid violating the ”fair use” law.

    “Most bloggers know you shouldn’t copy someone else’s work and pass it off as your own,” writes Weiner. “However, I’ve seen folks who think it’s okay to copy an entire newspaper article on their blogs as long as they name the author and publication details in addition to linking online to the original article. This is not correct.”

    In the article, Weiner shares a few resources to help bloggers understand the law, as well as her own suggestion: asking the author for permission (as I did before posting this).

    It’s an easy and helpful read on a topic all bloggers should better understand.

    BuzzFeed’s Long-Form Editor: What Freelancers Should Know

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 11:10 AM [General]
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    Think long-form journalism is dead? Don't tell BuzzFeed that. The site recently hired Steve Kandell as long-form editor.

    So what does a freelance writer need to do to get involved with BuzzFeed's long-form content? Mainly, patience and a lot of ingenuity.

    "We’re trying to the find long, in-depth, exhaustive equivalent of the kind of quick-hit thing that the site does, in terms of people wanting to share,” says Kandell.

    Kandell also says he's open to pitches from freelancers. What does he look for in pitches? Just come up with a great idea, an interesting angle, and execute it well. There are no secrets or hoops to jump through.

    Read the full interview with Kandell on The Freelance Strategist:

    BuzzFeed's Long-Form Editor: What Freelancers Should Know

    Balancing Your Creative and Business Writing

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 2:48 PM [General]
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    If you read my blog regularly, you know I'm a big fan of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. I attend the ASJA's annual conference every year, and I respect the support and guidance they provide their members.

    ASJA also publishes a newsletter, The ASJA Monthly, that features articles written by the organization's professional journalist members; interviews with leading authors, journalists, editors, and publishers; reviews of books; reviews of technology, software, and apps of interest to nonfiction writers; and highlights of its members' accomplishments. It's chock-full of information helpful to any type of writer.

    I'll be spotlighting some of my favorite articles from the newsletter here on a weekly basis. I'll start with a great piece by Judy Mandel that shares seven tips for balancing your creative and business writing life:

    Balancing Your Creative and Business Writing - By Judy L. Mandel

    And if you're a freelance writer -- whether for magazines, books or some other type of non-fiction writing -- take a look at what ASJA has to offer.

    Guidelines for Bloggers Requesting Products

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 1:08 PM [General]
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    [This is an update to a previous post on guidelines for bloggers requesting products.]

    While ProfNet is a primarily a service that connects journalists with expert sources, bloggers who are in need of products to review or for giveaways can also use ProfNet. Here are our guidelines:

    To qualify for product requests:

    • Your blog must be up and running for at least six months.
    • Your blog must comply with the FTC blogger guidelines regarding disclosure.
    • Requests must not involve any type of fee, including advertising.

    In addition, a product request can only be transmitted once in any given month. Please keep this in mind when deciding on a deadline for responses.

    As for whether products need to be returned, some PR agencies can't send a product that won't be returned, so make sure to include whether or not you will return items, to prevent any misunderstanding down the line. Please note that for electronics and other "big-ticket" items (which we describe as those being valued at more than $200), we do require that you be willing to return those if the company or their PR agency requests it, as long as arrangements are made beforehand.

    Sending a query

    To submit a query, log in to your ProfNet account. If you have not yet registered for ProfNet, you can do so for free by visiting and clicking on the green “Sign up as a journalist” button.

    Once you’ve logged in, the query form will automatically come up in the middle of the page. You can also click on "Create Opportunity" in the upper left-hand corner to open the query form.

    The first time you submit a request for products, a ProfNet editor will contact you via your ProfNet inbox to ask if your blog complies with FTC guidelines and if you can guarantee that you will never charge ProfNet users for any reason. If you meet the requirements, we will distribute your request with the following sentence included at the end of the text: "This blog complies with FTC guidelines; there are no fees associated with this request."

    After we've distributed your query, we cannot distribute the same query again until a month after its original distribution date. We do this to prevent our users from seeing the same requests repeatedly, and it gives everyone a fair chance for visibility.

    Also, please note that we do not "cloak" product requests. We must include your name, the blog name and the blog URL in the query.


    We recommend distributing your queries to corporations, PR agencies, and small businesses to maximize exposure. You can find these industry limitations under "Institution Types" in the query form.

    Include your blog's statistics, like your number of Facebook fans, Twitter and Google Friend Connect followers, unique monthly visitors, Google PageRank, etc. This information helps company reps understand the potential for publicity.

    Provide a timeline. Let ProfNet users know how long they can expect to wait to see your review of their product. If they know ahead of time, they may help you promote the review once it has been published. And if you're requesting a giveaway, and expect the company to send the product to the winner(s), this information is particularly important to ensure a timely delivery.

    Identify your audience. Who are your fans? Are they mainly parents, teenagers, professionals, video gamers, or some other demographic? ProfNet users will appreciate that they did not waste their time (and yours) sending men's clothing to a women's blog, for example, and your readers will appreciate hearing about products they care about too.

    Specify what types of products you're interested in receiving. Even if you run a blog for women, you might not be interested in receiving makeup products, for example. Details like this are good to include in your query, because it helps companies determine which product(s) is appropriate for your blog specifically.

    Keep your query as concise as possible. Although there's a lot of information to include, do your best to keep it concise. No one wants to read a book, and users might end up skimming through it or not reading it at all if it seems too daunting. Queries are meant to be informative, not entertaining, so there's no need to write catchy headlines or include quirky comments.

    Tips from PR reps

    We asked PR reps via Twitter what they'd like to suggest to bloggers requesting products:

    • @MEPRagency suggests always reviewing products received: "Review products, good or bad."
    • @JennaSnacks: "Tell us exactly what you want, how you'll use it and where it will be promoted. URLs are helpful. And a concise and organized request is the most helpful."
    • @Narciso17 suggests being considerate of the other person's time. Ask them if now is an OK time to reach/talk to them. "Just taking into account that they also have a workload helps. A little bit of sugar goes a long way."

    Please note: If you are looking for products for events, you can do so by posting your request in our Promo Opps forum on ProfNet Connect. There is no charge to post.


    Six Secrets to Landing a Content Marketing Gig

    Thursday, November 8, 2012, 3:39 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    "The world of content marketing has become a go-to destination for creative types of all stripes. But what does it take to land a job?"

    That is the question posed by James O'Brien, a writer for the Boston Globe, in a recent article on The Freelance Strategist.

    "Content marketing has become competitive," writes O'Brien. "There are plenty of talented and tenacious writers all shooting for a chance to work on the next blog."

    So, how do you get the edge in an interview? Content marketing specialists share their secrets.

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