Who, what, where and how much per word? The questions on almost every freelancers’ lips… Today (Sat) award-winning journalist Donna Ferguson answered them all for a group of lucky WiJ members, sharing her best kept strategies for freelance success during the sold-out workshop in central London.
Donna tackled everything from cost-effective pitching, dealing with rejection, taxes, and finances, to how to foster friendly relationships with sometimes frosty editors.
Approaching the practicalities of pitching, attendees were asked to do a ‘backwards pitch’ – imagining the pitch that may have led to an article they have enjoyed – an exercise that Donna encourages anyone interested in furthering their freelancing career to try at home.
Despite making it onto front pages herself Donna spoke of the importance of pitching for the slots which are usually written by freelancers and not being afraid to pitch an idea without having spent hours fully forming it in order for it to be turned down.
Editors who regularly commission Donna also disclosed their invaluable advice to other freelancers, which in a brief summary read: ‘Keep pitching we didn’t see your email’ and ‘read the section of the publication you’re writing for’.
She reminded aspiring freelancers that although it is often thought freelancers thrive solely on personal anecdotes and ponderings, that is not the case, with over half of her work coming from editors commissioning their own ideas.
Donna also revealed her way around the chicken and the egg dilemma – what came first, the celeb interviewee or the interview slot in the national newspaper? – detailing the etiquette required when neither celeb not publication will agree to do the thing without confirmation from the other.
The workshop was kindly hosted by Lansons at their St. Johns’ Street office in Farringdon, we thank them for their continued support.