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Last night I attended my first PRSA Phoenix New Pro’s event! The topic was “Working With Freelance Writers.” The panel of writers included Georgann Yara (Arizona Business Gazette, The Arizona Republic), Joe Bardin (Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times), and Shelly Everson (Go Gilbert!, So Scottsdale!, Green Living AZ).

All three of them provided great advice on everything from email pitches, to the follow up, and how to get your client placed in their articles! Some key advice from each panelist:

Shelly – (fun fact – Shelly and I interned for the same person, Kim Ott at the city of Flagstaff and we have a mutual friend/old co-worker, Jessica!)

  • Send the facts in an email pitch, you can follow up with the complete information once she gives you the ok (she gave props to our Alison Bailin Batz for doing this perfectly!).
  • Know who and what magazine you are pitching. Tailor pitches to each section in a magazine – not to each magazine (she praised another HMA-er, Katie Snyder, for doing this last week).
  • Send hi-res photos! The pitch that has great hi-res photos will get picked up every time over a great story, without photos.

Georgann –

  • She is not on Twitter – so Twitter pitches do no work for her. And mass email pitches don’t work, either.
  • Don’t pitch an angle that makes a client unique if your client is not willing to talk about it! It is wasting your time, your client’s time and her time.
  • She reads every single email, and tries to respond to most. So don’t give up on getting through to her. Plus, she doesn’t think the follow up emails are annoying.

Joe –

  • Like Georgann, he is not interested in mass email pitches. If it does not look like it is tailored to him and what he does, he is not interested!
  • Not interested in beat writers. If it is something that someone else is writing about, chances are he will not. He is looking for the different side of the story.
  • One thing he loves to write about is interesting people. He is looking for the person that is interesting, with a really great one of a kind story.

This was definitely one great PRSA New Pro’s event! It was so great to see friends (Stephanie and Caitlin) and meet so many new ones!

Kelly Potts
Kelly Potts
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

1 Comment

  1. With shrinking newsroom staffs, freelancers are an essential part of our media relations efforts.

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