If it’s Friday, then it’s a magazine masterclass in Chester.
I ran the first in a series of new-style workshops today, hosted by Meltdown, in which we got to grips with some of the thorny issues of making it as a magazine journalist.
Such as, you ask? Well, try signposting, pitching editors and, the thorniest of all — money.
Magazines matter, I think. They educate and inform; they define the age in which we live.
That’s why our discussion moved from Nineties Britpop and Loaded to Monacle‘s spin-off brands and the rise of the indie magazine as celebrated by Stack Magazines.
It was a lively debate with four super-keen wannabe hacks [pictured above], all of whom brought loads of experience, ideas and enthusiasm to the session.
Here’s a taster of some of the take-away tips of the day …
If you’re going freelance, then you will need:
An ability to generate lots of ideas and pitch them successfully, turning your ideas into hard cash
An ability to take old ideas and recycle them or spin-off fresh ones with different angles. Either way, you need to refresh quotes, rewrite intros and concs, and check with editors re copyright contracts
Some business sense and a basic grasp of accountancy to keep your own records
Thanks to the attendees and for the great feedback, such as:
Fantastic session, I throughly enjoyed it! Great seeing you all again and meeting some new faces.
I ran a taster session for my media-medira writing workshops with Tracy North of Outwrite PR.
It was a lunch event for the West Cheshire and Noth Wales Chamber of Commerce (WCNW Chamber) and the theme was how to get your story across.
There was a great response from people on the day with lots of questions and follow ups via Twitter but, for anyone who missed it, here are my top tips for making your news story or blog post stand out from the crowd.
Your story has to be worth reading. And to be worth reading it has to have a hook or an angle, that is something timely and compelling that makes it stand out.
So you need to think differently. But how?
1) Find the news hook — think why now? What is the one piece of news you want to share? Eg. You’re launching a new product next week? You’ve just won an award? Your business is celebrating its first anniversary? If no hook, then no story.
2) Put a human face on it — think how can your build empathy with your readers? Simple. People love to read about people, so don’t be afraid to personalise your story and share your own personal experience.
3) Offer your expert views — can you explain a complex subject in a concise yet informative way and without blinding people with jargon? Great. Then put yourself forward. After all, the media thrives on comment.
4) Elevate your story — think about how your story fits in with national/international trends and events? Eg. Budget statement last week? How did the Chancellors’ announcements impact on your business? Greek debt crisis? How does this relate to what’s happening in your business?
5) Just say it — think about how to make your point clearly and concisely. My pet hates include waffle intros, lack of follow-up details and exclamation marks.