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Carolyn Moncel

Working with Freelance Reporters - A Winning Opportunity


by Carolyn Moncel

A few days ago during lunch, a business-owner friend needed some advice. A freelance journalist had approached her about doing an interview for a local magazine. Not having very much experience in working with the media, naturally she felt a bit reluctant, as she wanted to make the right decision in promoting her company. She wondered if she should decline the offer. My advice regarding her dilemma would apply to any small-business owner who found themselves in a similar situation: "Take caution but do the interview."


When it comes to working with freelance reporters, most business owners probably have some reservations - mainly because they may wonder if the freelance reporter is real. It's a legitimate concern, I guess, given the fact that some businesses will go to great lengths to access competitive data and gain market advantage - even using unscrupulous business practices to do so. It's no wonder that some business owners may worry that a freelance reporter requesting an impromptu interview could turn out to be a "company spy."


The fact of the matter is that most freelance reporters are experienced, talented and ethical professionals. The simplest way to allay this fear is to simply check out the reporter. Ask the freelance reporter to supply samples of his or her published work. Going one step further, contact the media outlet the reporter represents for verification. If the freelance reporter working for an established media outlet contacts you via e-mail, they will properly introduce themselves and likely will use the media company's e-mail address. Finally, prepare for the interview just as you would with any other staff reporter.


Moving beyond the concerns, working with freelance reporters can present winning opportunities for business owners. Here are five good reasons to work with a freelance reporter:


  • To build a long-lasting relationship with members of the media

  • To collaborate with the media in telling your company story to the public

  • To increase the chances of your story being syndicated across other media outlets

  • To conduct longer interviews so that the reporter can gain intimate knowledge of a subject matter

  • To gain a media insider - someone who can help you transform a great idea in a great story


While working on stories in the past, freelance reporters have told me exactly the angles needed so that the stories would be interesting to their readers. The freelance reporters were straight with me, and in doing so, showed me how to flush out the ideas so that I would have a better story to tell. Advice like that from media insiders are gifts because they help you hone your pitching skills so that you can present your company in a way that would make a great story.


In the end my friend did go through with the interview, and guess what? Her interview is scheduled to appear in the magazine later this spring. She's happy to have done the interview now because it gave her a better understanding of the types of news angles most journalists like.


The point that I'm trying to make is this. Working with a freelance reporter should not be viewed as only a cautious risk, but also as a tremendous opportunity to build a relationship with members of the media. When putting deals together in business, the most successful ones occur because there's a win/win opportunity for all parties involved. Don't miss out on creating a winning relationship with a freelance reporter.


Carolyn Davenport-Moncel is president and founder of Mondavé Communications, a global marketing and communications firm based in Chicago and Paris, and a subsidiary of MotionTemps, LLC.
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Do you have a media relations question? Ask Carolyn! Your questions could be featured in an up-coming article. If you enjoy reading the Shoestring PR articles then sign up for our monthly articles via email or visit our Mondavé Communications blog - it's free!

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