How to Pitch Series: Kathy Buckworth, Canadian Travel WriterDecember 17, 2015
When you’re a travel writer the job can often keep you on the road – or in the skies, for days and even weeks at a time. Freelancer Kathy Buckworth has been in the business for 13 years as a writer, brand spokesperson and award-winning author, and has become an expert in balancing her many roles. She is currently working freelance for a number of Canadian outlets including Metro News, Vancouver Sun, Post City Magazine, CTV Canada AM and Sirius/XM Canada Talks.
Kathy sat down with us to share her insights on pitching busy-freelancers, with tips on the importance of providing advance notice for press trips and story ideas, the inclusion of social media in pitches and the issues Canadian editors are facing.
1. Do you have a particular type of story assignment or brand partnership that interests you the most?
I enjoy getting pitches suited to family travel, fitness travel, and skiing. I like working with brands that support my own brand (family lifestyle, fitness, etc.)
2. What elements influence whether or not you read a pitch?
I read most pitches, but find I really pay attention to them if something truly new is being introduced – either specific to that destination/partner, or in general. Travel stats are always great too.
3. When a publicist pitches you a travel related story idea, what should s/he consider before contacting you?
They should make sure they are pitching with plenty of time to place a piece, or to agree to a press trip. Our calendars are busy and editorial demands are sometimes months out. The more specifics they provide up front, the better.
4. Should PR professionals be incorporating social media ready content in their pitches for you? If so, what do you need?
Yes – they should be providing us with Twitter hashtags, account information, Instagram handles, Facebook links, etc. Suggested tweets are always helpful!
5. What types of story ideas excite you personally – and motivate you to pursue them further?
Story ideas that are centered around events or things that are special and unique to a location. Including some history is always interesting as well.
6. In your perspective – where is Canadian travel editorial heading?
It’s tough out there for editors – many have had their budgets cut substantially and they are paying freelance writers less and less. [The editor] needs to manage and marry brand partnerships with their core stable of writers in order to ensure everyone is adequately compensated. To clarify, if a publication is either paying very little, or nothing to writers for their work, they need to either a) accept that the writer may solicit a sponsor for the article so they can be paid, and a sponsor mention will be included or b) the publication can have the brands that they work with (advertisers) work with the writer. Writers need to be paid. Bottom line.
7. Being a freelance writer, do you find it difficult to split your time between press trips, broadcast appearances/media tours and regular writing assignments?
Yes. And even more difficult if there is little notice given of press trips, from a calendar perspective.
8. What has been your favourite place to travel for a story and where are you most excited about travelling in the future?
Skiing in the French Alps was amazing (have done it twice). I would love to see more of Europe, and one day travel to Australia.