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What Your Personal Website Says About You

Professional-website-articleWhen’s the last time you checked in on your personal website and examined it from the perspective of an editor who has landed there after receiving your emailed pitch query? Since your page will define who you are as a writer, whether by design or default, it may be time to put some work into it.

We’ve culled advice from experts on what makes for an effective site, from must-have pages to the fancy add-ons you don’t really need. But before you get caught up in the design process, don’t forget the tedious but necessary process of checking your links:

[Freelancer Susan Barnes] puts all of her clips on her site over the past two years, and makes it a practice of always asking for PDFs of print pieces. [Carol Ticefounder of several web resources for writers] also emphasizes the importance of keeping your clips organized. “Once a year, I have somebody go through and make sure the links [to my work] are valid. If you have stuff you love, get PDFs or physical copies. Magazines go under, websites fold, and you’re going to lose that work.”

For more tips, read: How to Create a Writer’s Website That Gets You Work.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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Get a Literary Agent

Get a Literary AgentWork with a publishing consultant to find the right agent for your book and write a query that will get the deal done! Starting December 3, learn the best methods for finding a literary agent, how to choose the right agent for your book, the etiquette of seeking literary representation, and how to stand out among the numerous queries agents receive daily. Register now!

The Root Seeks Smart, Timely Pieces Affecting African-Americans for Its 60/60 News Cycle

Time has seen the news evolve from monthly and weekly reports on current events to the 24/7 news cycle. However, digital outlets like The Root, a hub of news, commentary and analysis from a thoughtful black perspective, aim to satisfy the masses that demand updates on a minute-by-minute basis. Managing editor Lyne Pitts calls this the 60/60 news cycle.

For writers pitching The Root, timeliness is just one component. Pitts recommends that freelancers focus on quality writing and reporting on issues in pop culture, politics and more that affect African-Americans. Stories should be about something current and the tone should be “very reactionary” and “smart in that reaction.”

Pitts adds that:

If you’re thinking it, we’re probably talking about it. That’s the way pitches need to be in terms of timeliness, focus and reaction to what’s going on. If you send me a pitch on Friday about something that happened on Wednesday, we may have already moved on.

For more on what editors are looking for, read: How to Pitch: The Root.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Breaking Into Content Marketing

Brand-Journalism-ArticleAnyone who considers herself a “serious” journalist might balk at the thought of working for the advertising side of a company. But facing the increasingly dire state of journalism today, many writers are hopping on the branded bandwagon, at least part-time.

There are the obvious benefits to content marketing, like a bigger paycheck and looser deadlines. But many journos may not realize the creative freedom they’ll have when it comes to writing copy:

As [James Del, the executive director of Studio@Gawker] told me, “Branded content — when done properly — is not supposed to be a slimy advertorial that forces a writer to bend [his] own viewpoint to that of a corporation. The best branded content is like any other arrangement between a patron and an artist. The topic of coverage may be decided on in conjunction with the brand, but the writer should be left to editorialize on that topic as they deem necessary.”

For more advice on transitioning into content marketing, read: 7 Reasons to Break Into Brand Journalism.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Pitch Parents, Parents.com With the Modern-Day Mom in Mind

Parents-ArticleParents, which focuses on millennial moms, is on the hunt for fresh new writers. The monthly mag offers plenty of opportunities for freelancers — it’s 70 percent freelance written, after all — who can write from personal experience in a friendly, nonjudgmental tone about everything from potty training to breastfeeding.

And if you’ve got experience writing for the Web (and can turn copy around quickly), you shouldn’t hesitate to send your pitches to the pub’s online counterpart, Parents.com:

A majority of the site’s readers are pregnant or moms with babies, so pregnancy and infant coverage are of particular interest. Deputy editor Diane Debrovner advises freelancers to clearly define which section of the website they see their piece fitting into when they pitch: “Getting Pregnant,” “Pregnancy,” “Babies,” “Toddlers & Preschoolers,” “Big Kids,” “Parenting,” “Food,” “Health” or “Fun.”

For more on what editors want, read: How To Pitch: Parents.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Connect With a Mentor

How-To-Land-Mentor-ArticleThe term “mentor” can mean different things to different people. Usually it’s someone in the same field as you, who has been in the industry longer and who can guide you throughout your career.

Finding a great mentor can be life-changing: he or she can inspire and motive you, expand your network and push you to achieve true career success. So how can you establish a real connection with someone you respect from afar? Well, once you’ve identified the mentor you want to approach, there are a few ways to handle it:

[Megan Dalla-Camina, positive psychology workplace expert], explains that you can seek an introduction from a mutual connection or send an email directly to the person and ask for 30 minutes of his or her time. “Be specific in your request,” she points out. “Open-ended requests can scare people off.” Tell your potential mentor what you admire about him and three things you want to ask during the 30-minute meeting. If the initial connection goes well, find out if your contact is willing to meet on a monthly or quarterly basis.

For more advice, including where to find a mentor, read: How To Land a Mentor and Boost Your Career.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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