How to Pitch: Kim Foley MacKinnon, Boston-based Freelance Travel Writer
February 8, 2019
Throughout my career in destination marketing and travel public relations, I have encountered some truly amazing people. Over time, cool encounters transform acquaintances into friends. I’m so pleased that my friend Kim agreed to be interviewed.
Kim Foley MacKinnon is a Boston-based freelance food and travel writer who loves to travel the globe but is equally happy to come home and write about all her favorite places in New England. Her writing credits include the Boston Globe, Food Network, Forbes Travel, Cruise Critic, Global Traveler, USA Today, and her most recent book, 100 Things to Do in Boston Before You Die.
I caught up with Kim recently on one of her adventures away from home. She had some great tips for all travel PR pros looking to sharpen their approach.
Based on your experience as a successful freelance travel writer – what types of stories are editors seeking these days?
I think editors are always looking for well-written, well-researched articles with a unique spin. I write for a wide variety of outlets and I haven’t seen any one trend my editors are after, but if I can present them with a solid idea, tackling a place in a new way, it’s often a hit.
How should a publicist tailor his/her pitch to you to make it as useful as possible to you?
Do your homework. Know what I write. Read what I’ve written. Don’t pitch me things that have no relevance to my work. It’s not hard to find out what I’m up to. I post links to all my stories on my website and social media accounts.
Do you see value in “trends” or “stats”-based pitches from publicists, or do you feel like you already have a handle on the trends, so these are a waste of time?
I’m happy to receive pitches on travel trends. There are always things I haven’t thought of, heard of, or make me consider something in a new way. I feel like the more info I have, the better.
What elements influence whether or not you read an emailed PR pitch?
Again, relevance. If it’s travel- or food-related, then I’ll take a look. Why would anyone pitch me on politics, tech or sports? I don’t cover those topics, yet these are all recent pitches in my inbox.
The pitch needs to make sense to me immediately. If I can’t tell where the hotel/attraction/restaurant is right away, I’ll move on. It is shocking to me how many pitches I get with no city/state/country given in the lead. Hotel X may be great, but if I have to Google where it is, well, I won’t.
The more personal the pitch, the more likely I am to read and respond to it. It’s true, flattery will get you everywhere. If someone says, I read your story on X and I think this pitch would be right up your alley, I will be more inclined to spend time considering it.
How important are individual publicist or destination social media feeds to you as a travel writer? Do you ever find inspiration or story ideas in them, or is it just a lot of white noise in your world?
You never know when inspiration will strike, so I do keep my eye on a bunch of different feeds. Often for me, it’s a casual post or comment that catches my attention, when I want to know more about what I’m seeing or reading.
What’s still on your personal (yet editorial) bucket list?
No matter how many places I go, my travel wish list never seems to get shorter! It just changes. High on my list right now are Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica. I want to go on safari. I want to sail down the Nile. I want to ride on the Orient Express. Our world is so full of amazing places and I still love the anticipation of experiencing new adventures.
As you can tell, Kim is one travel writer you need to follow on Twitter and Instagram @escapewithkim.
Interested in learning how to pitch other travel writers? See our How To Pitch series here.