How to Pitch: Fran Miller, Luxury WriterJuly 30, 2020 | By: Janelle McKinsey
As we look to the future, to a post-COVID-19 world, travelers will want experiences again, and many a luxury writer will be there to write about them. It might seem like, with such economic downturn, the luxury sector has taken a hit, but that doesn’t mean luxury travel is dead. In fact, it may be a spot to focus some energy, due to its exclusive nature. In any case, it’s good to keep an eye on this world, and journalist Fran Miller has been part of it for years. With features in luxury publications and websites including Forbes and JusteLuxe.com, she has established herself as a freelancer who knows the luxury world inside and out.
Her coverage of her topics is as thoughtful as it is thorough, whether she’s writing about travel, dining, or wine. She maintains her principles and this genuine journalist is a reliable ally in the media world who will deliver on what she commits to – as long as PR agents reciprocate.
Maybe you think working with a luxury writer is somehow different, but rest assured, journalistic principles and practices apply no matter the price of the experiences covered. The same rules apply. It’s still work, even if it involves the occasional trip to a Michelin star restaurant or high-end boutique hotel – not that anyone is complaining about that.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Get to know your writer and make sure you are giving them exactly what they need, from what’s new to who to contact. A solid personal relationship will get you farther than anything else in this industry, so put in the time up front.
If you’re interested to know more about pitching to a luxury writer, read on for some Q&A time with Fran Miller to get to know her, and hopefully a budding relationship is on the horizon.
DCI: So, Fran, how did you get into luxury travel?
FM: I had been writing general human-interest features for local newspapers and magazines for several years, and when my two boys left for college, I decided I needed to kick things up a notch. I asked one of my local newspaper publishers if she would run a travel column based on my weekend jaunts. She agreed; we called it ‘Backyard Getaways,’ and things took off from there. Most of my travel at the time was intrinsically ‘luxurious,’ – Napa, Carmel, San Francisco – generally all high-end destinations. The luxury label simply became inherent to my coverage.
DCI: Is there a story you are most proud of in your career?
FM: I love it when I’m told that I’ve really captured an essence. Whether it be a person about whom I’ve written a profile, or a hotel property. Several months ago I wrote an article that I entitled “Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown is More Than a Hotel; It’s a Lifestyle.” I went this direction without realizing the hotel’s PR director and her team had chosen ‘lifestyle’ as their 2020 focus. “You cannot imagine how on point you are with this headline,” was her response. “My GM will be over the moon.” Love that.
DCI: Is there a story you wanted to write but an editor said no?
FM: Occasionally, but typically only because the story had been recently covered by someone else.
DCI: What sorts of things do you look for from a publicist, like a team member at DCI?
FM: I highly value responsiveness. I myself take the time to respond to each and every email I receive – even if it’s a quick ‘No thank you,’ and I appreciate the same from others. To completely ignore any form of communication is, I feel, disrespectful and unprofessional. I’ve learned that the hospitality industry, its PR professionals, and those of us writing about the industry comprise a very small group, and one is sure to encounter the same individuals over and over. It’s best for all of us to always be professional and polite. Today’s freelance travel writer might become tomorrow’s editor-in-chief of Conde Nast Traveler. You just never know.
DCI: How has luxury travel changed during your career?
FM: I haven’t been in this business for too long, but even in this short time, I’ve noticed a trend toward the desire for ‘bespoke’ and unique experiences. Travelers are not satisfied with a simple hotel stay and a great meal. They want to immerse themselves in everything that is unique about a destination.
DCI: What’s the best part about being a luxury writer? The weirdest part?
FM: The best part is obviously the perks – beautiful hotel stays, wonderful cuisine, and stellar wines. The weirdest part? Trying to explain to friends and family that this is work. They don’t get to see the part of the job where I’m glued to the computer for days-on-end after a trip or an assignment. Writing can be daunting, and good writing is not easy.
DCI: What’s the most important thing you want to give your readers?
FM: The feeling when they read my articles that they can imagine the experience. That they can envision what their stay/visit might be like, and that they can trust in the hotels, restaurants, and adventures about which I write. I hope that my articles inspire.
DCI: What would you let every PR agent know before approaching you?
FM: Generally, know which publications are in a writer’s wheelhouse, and don’t entice with a media trip unless one of those publications is suitable for your client. For a writer to pitch to publications other than those with which he/she has an established relationship is nearly futile. And personally, know that if your client is a fit for my publishing venues, and we end up working together, I’ll do my best to represent the interests of your client, and convey to readers all of said client’s wonderful aspects. I write to please.
Read all about luxury writer Fran’s travels on her site and get familiar with her work before you think about pitching her. She’ll thank you for it!
At DCI, we’ve spent 60 years creating relationships with the media and evolving to the digital landscape. We know what writers and editors want and we help destinations provide it. To learn more, get in touch with Janelle McKinsey a at [email protected] and begin making headlines with your destination today.