I presented to the Freelance Austin group today. Good times. I never feel like I’ve prepared enough when I’ve been asked to speak, but then I remember that 15 years of freelancing and hiring freelancers might just be enough preparation.
The attendees seemed to tolerate me. It surprised me that most of them were already plugged into social media, especially blogs. This is good news for writers, especially, because I believe blogging can demonstrate your ability to write, your passion and knowledge for a subject, and your traction with readers.
The gist of my message can be boiled down to a few things.
1. Build your brand with social media. Don’t be scared to get a little personal but be sneaky strategic about it.
2. Pitch yourself, not your story idea. Chances are editors have lots of story ideas; what they need are professionals to write about it.
3. Go beyond magazines you can get on a newsstand. There are millions of magazines out there for every niche you can think of. Seek out custom publishers, especially. They have clients with nice budgets and lots of content needs.
That’s just my two cents. I also had to bring up my pet peeves – call the editorial office with questions, don’t just wonder…. read the magazine to see what they usually write about…. don’t take rejections personally; editors are busy people. Hopefully this inspired some of the Freelance Austin members to go out there and get some new work.
I hope to be hiring soon, so if you’re an Austin freelance writer/illustrator/photographer/designer, please make sure I know about you.