The Thing About Freelancers

June 24, 2009
 

by Melissa
Cathy recently wrote a blog about relationships that I completely agree with. Bottom line: If you don't have a good story or angle then it doesn't matter who you are “friends” with – they can't always help you. That being said, it's good to have a relationship with the right people when you do have that great story.
Lately in the journalism world, you make a relationship one day at a specific outlet and you are saying “see ya around” the next. But don't be disappointed because, if the relationship is solid, then the contact will resurface, writing for three different outlets that are applicable to three different clients. Laid off journalists are looking for work and pitching their writing capabilities any where they can. We see it on media briefings all the time. They ask: “How can I help you on other levels? Are you hiring?”
Don't underestimate the power of these freelance contacts. They can write for outlets ranging from TechTarget.com to Fortune Small Business to FOXNews.com to Woman's Day Online… Cultivating relationships is more important than ever. Tweet them, connect on LinkedIn, shoot them an e-mail, call or Facebook them – Just stay in touch! Obviously, I am not saying you should bother them every second of every day but make sure they don't forget who you are while they are out pitching articles. Continue to build your relationship, by relating to them and letting them know they can trust you. Why? Because they don't get paid if you don't deliver. Therefore, they must trust you.
The “T” word (as in trust) is monumental for a reporter when it comes to trusting a PR person with their paycheck. They want to know: Will they answer my questions? Will they get the information I need? Will the customer really be available to provide me with good ROI that my editor will like? Will they get me that photo? And, most importantly, will they do this to meet my deadline when the interview is Monday and I need this all by Thursday?
Some PR people aren't good at maintaining relationships with freelancers. Find the ones that excel at it because these days, the ones that can cultivate the relationships are the ones that will take the pressure off the internal PR/Marketing department to drive X amount of traffic to the website, reach X amount of prospective customers in the financial industry or get in front of that investor audience you've been looking for.

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