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I attended a Collective 101 ‘Pitch to the media’ masterclass to have a stickybeak at what takes place and to mingle with entrepreneurial peeps in Sydney.
These intimate events are run by the popular go-to guide Collective Hub and run for a couple of hours, usually on a week night. It’s the first time I’d been to one, so I was quite intrigued.
Based in their office on Kippax street, the event kicked off at 6.30pm and we were greeted by friendly faces and a small selection of goodies. Luckily one of the gifts was a diary, because we are halfway through the year and I’m still not very organised. There were also some food treats from Eat Fit Food, and a couple of copies of the Collective mag.
Chief Operating Officer Allan Fletcher was the main speaker for the night, taking us through the dos and don’ts of how to pitch to the media.
Allan has worked for some of the biggest publishing companies in the world (including the BBC, ACP Magazines and Bauer Media Group) in both the UK and Australia. So, if someone knows a good story when they see one, it’s probably him.
As I’ve worked in PR agencies and you could say, ‘heard it all before’, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But after a while I realised that some of the things mentioned, do slip by at times, especially when we are trying to do a million things a day and keep up with the next new thing.
The talk started with the basics of pitching a story idea, such as researching the publication and knowing who you are talking to.
Important things to remember before pitching include:
Allan revealed some of the well-written and successful emails they’ve received at the magazine and then some of the poor, strange and somewhat cheeky emails that didn’t even get through to the ‘cut’ or ‘keep’ pile.
It’s amazing what some people think they can get away with!
Then, after the presentation, each member of the group had a chance to get up and pitch their business to the crowd. From doggy apps to cool charity initiatives, the level of confidence in the room was quite impressive.
I still find it hard to get up and speak in front of a room of people so I can’t imagine how it feels when you are a one-man band, trying to make people buy into your ideas. Pretty ballsy!
The friendly atmosphere helped though, and the group was around 20–25 which made it easier to speak up and network.
To quote Allan here, it’s worth remembering that;
“you only meet people doing amazing things if you step outside of your everyday”.
If you want to know more about these events or fancy popping along to one, head over to Eventbrite.
Follow the Collective hub on Instagram and look out for new dates.
This is a question I asked myself when I took a job within a content marketing agency, just over 5 months ago. I now feel like I know the answer and therefore decided to share my thoughts.
Content marketing is the talk of the town, the cherry on the cake or some may say the future of Marketing. I read an article recently that was all about what we could expect from content marketing in 2016 and one of the main points covered the rise of thought leadership. I asked myself the question – Well is this new? PR professionals have been ghost writing on behalf of clients for a very long time or media training authoritative figures looking to voice their opinion.
Although PR is usually poking out of the ‘traditional’ marketing bin, it also plays an invaluable role when it comes to content marketing. Why? well take this as an example: you have produced an Infographic that ticks all the boxes of the client brief. Great work! It’s now probably going to be uploaded to a page on a website hidden within the main website and nobody will find it, (apart from the google bots of course).
PR people remind content teams to focus on the public. What stories are the most interesting? How are current events shaping our industry, and where can we get involved to tie in with trends? By working collaboratively, PR brains can bring fresh insights, creative angles, and a greater perspective of the public into content marketing production. A PR’s goal is to share a story that is so compelling that members of the media eagerly want to publish the story on their front page. If content marketers crafted equally powerful stories for owned media channels, consumers would eat it up.The distribution vehicles may vary, but the results are the same – good stories that engage your targeted audiences.
Brands are now realising they can also be publishers themselves, so this means they produce news- worthy or thought provoking articles that gain attention. Who are the best people to make this work? Those with a PR brain tend to be able to come up with creative and unique ideas that are sure to gain attention, or know exactly how to work with influencers so that the content spreads further.
From my own understanding, content marketers are obviously good at thinking about the end goal and taking people through a ‘marketing funnel’ and PR professionals are the ones who can see the ‘bigger picture’ and possibly reach ‘blue sky’ ideas without thinking about the dollar value.
As Jo Swan from Chocolate PR in the UK recently pointed out “Some marketeers, who are largely data and ad centred, believe that PR can take too much effort to generate ‘earned’ media, so better to just pay for exposure instead (Some content marketers prefer to create content, then pay for it to get featured via advertising, but here you lose what content marketing is supposed to be about and the credibility that could be gained through PR).
With figures showing that 66%* of UK marketeers see producing engaging content as their top challenge, PR and content marketing may have just established their relationship.
The website AWOL is a great example of a brand using their own online publication to speak to an audience. Qantas, decided they needed something that would provide thought-provoking and engaging content to appeal to Millennials.
Westpac have caught on and started doing the same. With the Cusp
What I am trying to say here, is, if you work in PR or if you work in content marketing, don’t rub the two off against each other because in my opinion, they support each other and the collaboration should be embraced.
All examples are from Australia but please feel free to share your examples with me in the comments below.
When I first arrived in Sydney, I was desperately trying to seek PR and Social Media freelance gigs to keep me busy until I found a stable and secure job role. You would think it would be pretty straight forward within in our connected online world but I found it a lot harder than expected. Nina Hendy is someone I have followed whist being in Australia (or you could say stalked ;-) ) as she provides fantastic advice on how to network, approach journalists and create the content people want to read.
I received an email about Nina’s new project The Freelance Collective and instantly wanted to know more. The guest post below explains why and how this community for ambitious freelances in Australia all started.
Freelancing Made Easy
Spruiking yourself as a freelancer can be difficult, not to mention expensive. Aside from that, it’s not something that comes easy to most of us.
I’ve been freelancing for more than a decade, and have a bit of experience in the delicate art of self-promotion. And it hasn’t been an easy road, let me tell you.
I started out with a decent LinkedIn profile, learning that the summary section is best used to sell your skills, while upgrading my subscription to a LinkedIn Premium account (which costs more than $700 a year) gave me the ability to see who was looking at my profile. It bought in a little work, which was great.
Upgrading my ordinary website to something more professional was the next step. While it is possible to build a site for free, it wasn’t my core strength as a journalist and wordsmith, so I made the decision to outsource this task to a website developer. It ended up costing a lot more than I thought it would, but I was thrilled with the results. It’s pretty different to what others in my field are doing, and I decided to update my red typewriter logo while I was at it.
My name and number was listed on a few sites like mUmbrella and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance under their freelance listing section, but it only gave me the chance to list a bit of a brief blurb on what I do and my name and number, which made it pretty tough for a potential client to decide whether I was the right fit for them.
While my organic search results in Google for my name were great, I was finding it impossible to get found if someone was searching for a freelance journalist or wordsmith. So, I made some enquiries into hiring an SEO expert to help with this, who quoted close to $1000 for the work. And given I didn’t want to take a paid advert as a journalist because I didn’t think it was a good look to have to take an ad as a journalist, the SEO expert wasn’t able to give me any guarantees that they would be able to get the results I was going for.
It presented an interesting case for an entirely new approach to marketing as a freelancer, and prompted a series of video conferences with others in my network and website developers to see if the idea in my head could actually solve a massive problem for others just like me.
Why not build a place for freelancers to actually create their own profile page; tell their story in a compelling way, provide links to their social media feeds, website, and samples of their work?
A New Idea
The Freelance Collective was born, giving creative freelancers across 23 industry sectors the chance to join, and sit back and let the clients find them when they’re in the market for someone with their skills. Freelance PRs, bloggers, copywriters, photographers, website developers, journalists, editors, marketing folks and those in related fields are jumping on board, excited about the possibility of telling their story in their own words and letting the clients find them.
The other beautiful thing about The Freelance Collective is that it gives quality freelancers real visibility in a cluttered and confusing freelance market. What a freelancer ‘does’ and the service they offer can be pretty broad, after all.
Aside from that, somewhere along the line, freelancers have become a faceless economy. I believe this has come about because a client will hire a content marketing agency to create a series of blogs, for example, who will then outsource the actual writing work to a freelancer. Usually, that freelancer completes the work and sends it in to the content marketing agency, not speaking to the client at all. The problem with this is that the client forking out for an expert to write for them has absolutely no idea who actually did the work, and whether the freelance is an expert in writing about startups for example, or someone based in India who has absolutely no clue about the Australian startup scene, except for what they’ve read online.
But profile holders on The Freelance Collective are vetted to ensure they’re good quality. They also have to be based in Australia and be available for work.
We wanted to level the playing field, too, so freelancers aren’t required to add in how much they charge or where they’re based, because the best freelancer for a client based in Sydney could well be living in the back of Ballarat.
It costs $9/month to sign up to The Freelance Collective and we’ve got weekly freelance tips and advice, and a private Facebook page for profile holders to bounce around ideas, find collaborations and feel like they’re part of the freelancing community.
Nina Hendy is the founder of The Freelance Collective – Australia’s home for creative freelance talent.
Follow Nina on Twitter @NinaHendy