Interviews have to be one of the most nerve racking scenarios that most of us have to go through during our working lives. Chances are that you are going to have to go through a whole host of interviews throughout your life; some of which will be successful and result in employment and some of which will be unsuccessful. Most of the time, the success of an interview is down to the way that you handle it so we thought we’d share a few tips with you that will help you get through your interviews with ease. [Read more…]
The lede is one of the most important components of an article. It hooks the reader, tells them what the article is about and encourages them to continue reading. Before writing the lede, ask yourself “What is this article about?” Go through your research and find the information, statistic or anecdote that best represents the article’s information and formulate your lede around it. Also check out “Driving Rules for Getting to the Point with Your Lede” and “Lede On, Hook Your Readers Every Time”
A good article has a great lede, satisfying conclusion, smooth transitions and an interesting angle. The ideas presented have solid supporting facts obtained from thorough research. A good article also has expert or anectdotal quotes and tight editing. Not to mention you get that satisfied-high-five-yourself-feeling after it’s completed.
Sources are everywhere – your neighborhood, local colleges and universities, Google, social media. Sources can be found through asking sources you already have “Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?” Professional organizations can also point you to sources, take care to anticipate bias from certain trade/professional organizations. The key to a great piece is compiling and utilizing a diverse mix.
2. How do you conduct an interview?
Essentially, an interview is simply asking a source questions and waiting for their response. As people have become more media savvy it has become difficult for interviewers to break through the barriers PR folks or media weary subjects set up. “How to Lose Control of an Interview,” “Email Interviews vs. Phone Interviews part one and two and “The Art of a Yes/No Question in Interviews” are handy references to look at the subject more in depth.
1. I don’t have clips, how can I pitch without them?
The old freelance writing catch 22. You need clips to get gigs, but without gigs you can’t get clips. You could always go the “write for exposure route,” but you risk writing for a less than stellar publication that may not last long enough to give you the clips you need. Instead, if you’re going to write for free, write for yourself. Create articles in your niche, with real interviews, real sources to showcase your writing. These are writing samples. They don’t count as clips as they are not published, but they will help you land a gig so you can begin to build a clip file.
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In my last post I talked about breaking news at your blog – or in reality, most of the time, breaking second-hand news at your blog. Most comments on said post lead me to believe that many of you, like me, don’t try harder than necessary to break news, but instead try to put your own slant on news of any kind. That’s smart since most of us don’t technically break stories.
Still, if you’re breaking brand new stories or slanting old stories you do need to find the news. If you’re at a loss for where to look, here are some ideas and some examples of where I search.
My day usually starts off with coffee and a news search. I also end my blogging days with news searches. I’m not overly crazed about posting breaking news, but I do like to stay on top of what’s up in my various niches.
My news schedule: Each morning and evening – and sometimes once midday I scan the news. Your schedule is likely different and that’s fine. I write for some clients who want fresh news often so my news searches happen more often.
Where I look for news each day:
My RSS feeds – I have a ton of news fed right to me. If you’re only subscribing to blogs, you’re not getting many new stories. You also should subscribe to news and better yet, organizational feeds (see below). There are tons of RSS readers you can use. Google Reader is a popular one, although I think Google Reader is boring and oddly set up. I also have blogs in my reader which I do browse because other bloggers hit news sources I don’t.
Google Trends – sometimes pays off sometimes not.
My email – I have news sent to me from PR Newswire. You can customize your news to meet your needs and have it sent to your email in real time or on a set schedule. I also have ProfNet opportunities sent to me, which I count as news. Learn how to set up your own ProfNet opportunity.
My HOT NEWS folder – My HOT NEWS folder is a little odd, but works. Many sites still don’t offer RSS or email newsletters, so I browse said sites every other day or so to make sure I don’t miss any important news. I made a simple bookmark folder and I fill it with sites that offer news, but not RSS. One example is WomenHealth.gov – why they don’t offer RSS I’ll never know. It could be I just can’t find it – in any case, I have many sites like this in my folder.
My annual schedule – Technically not all hot news is new news. I consider my own schedule a good source of news. At the start of the year I make an editorial calendar and pack it full of events and holidays. This is a good way to stay on top of news and event issues that people want to read about.
What I subscribe to: You can subscribe to almost anything via RSS but if you’re looking for breaking news or secondary news you should subscribe to more newsy, less bloggy sites. Of course what you subscribe to will depend on your topic, but here are some general ideas for where to find good new-related feeds…
- CDC RSS and podcasts
- World Health Organization
- RSS Feeds from USA.gov and Pueblo
- The New York Times
- Environmental Working Group
- U.S. Government RSS Library
- Topix – Topix is hard to manage in my opinion because there’s SO much news there and it’s not all new stuff. Some of what’s there are blog posts or content pieces that suck. Plus it’s so large that new stories happen every minute – it’s hard to keep up. However, it can be useful so I have one folder in my RSS dedicated to Topix.
- Your own brain – you can go to Google and type in any news search then subscribe to it. For example, I might go to Google news and type in “Green Building,” “Organics” and “Sustainable” then subscribe to whatever comes up.
Above are some ideas. When looking at your favorite news sites related to your own topic just check around to see if they offer RSS or email subscriptions.
For REAL breaking news stories you need to think outside the box. You won’t find actual breaking news at news sites or blogs. You need to put yourself out there. You can…
- Call up a person or company for an interview.
- Attend a real event – you know an offline event where actual people gather. I know it’s hard – just slowly step away from the computer.
- Answer a question – breaking news isn’t always profound and huge, sometimes if you have a question, “What % of organic cotton do those fake eco-Huggies actually use?” You can make it breaking news by finding the answer (if you can) and posting it. Odds are, if you have a question about something and you can’t find the answer online, others are searching too. Why not be the one to figure it out?
Where do you get your daily news?