To have the chance to spend a whole weekend with a national working journalist and with the opportunity for you to talk about you, your business and your stories NEVER happens.
Jill Foster has been a freelance feature writer and editor since January 2008. Formerly, she was Associate Editor at Femail on the Daily Mail. Before joining the Daily Mail, she was commissioning editor and feature writer on The Mirror for four years.
She has written for a variety of publications, including the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Red, Fabulous, Look, Glamour, Real People, Woman and Woman’s Own.
Her specialisms are interviews, human interest stories, lifestyle and health features.
Jill trained at London’s City University after winning Cosmopolitan Magazine’s journalism scholarship in 1997.
Ten things Jill will talk to you about on my new year retreat in January 2022:
- What is a story for the nationals and what’s not? A story about you running a race locally for a charity and making several hundreds of pounds, is not a national story, or that you have been in business for five years. However, something where you or your business has done something remarkable, unexpected or outstanding; or where you have been involved in an event that links to a national story, may do.
- Her daily routine around pitching to the nationals. Each morning when she wakes up, she listens to the radio, or watches news shows and gathers ideas to pitch to editors, based on events that are happening that day, or things that will be appearing in the news agenda over the next week. Then if an idea is taken up, she will interview people, write up the feature and send it in. On occasions when a story re-emerges, she will make use of unused case studies done previously. She may pitch two or three things a day, but not too many, because otherwise she would be overloaded getting them written in time for publication.
- How she chooses her stories. Jill likes human interest, and much of her writing has been for woman’s magazines, or sections in new papers. She will choose stories that are interesting, thought provoking, fun, serious – something with an edge. She has written about surgical menopause; drastic weight loss; young children and internet porn; going out in curlers…. She chooses stories that are linked to whatever is being talked about at the time – current news, both popular and serious.
- What she needs from business owner. She will interview you, asking a lot of questions, and she will expect to have photographs of you and if your story is a journey, she will want pictures from different times on that journey. She also needs you to be honest about what you can and can’t do. She also needs to know that if other people are involved, their photos can also be used, and this is something you need to have sorted out before you talk to her.
- What she’s not interested in? Jill isn’t interested in people who just want to sell their brand or their products. She is interested in stories, NOT sales.
- Does she work in collaboration with other journalists writing about other things? Yes, Jill often collaborates with other journalists. She may have come across someone who has contacted her directly but knows that the story isn’t right for her, then she can pass the story onto another journalist who is working on that type of story.
- Where journalist can be found online? The place to find journalists online, is on Twitter. Go onto Twitter daily, and start following the journalists that work for the outlets that you’d like to be mentioned in. Look for the people you would like to tell your story. Also, interact, don’t just bombard them with your information. Post things yourself, so they can see you are enjoying the platform, and that you have something interesting to say. Comment on their features, saying how much you enjoyed them, and why. If you see a journo request, leap at the chance straight away.
- Is timing important and is it a matter of luck? Timing is important, but if you are regularly following people, and keeping up-to-date with what’s happening in the news, or in your professional news, you will be aware of what’s happening. It is partly a matter of luck as to whether you are picked for inclusion in an article. All you can do is supply whatever the journalist asks for, in as much detail as possible (without rambling).
- What makes as good PR contact for her? Someone who responds to contacts very quickly, and fulfils the brief when asked. A person who does what they say they do and can deliver expert information if needed.
- What are some tips for topical stories for 2022.
There will be a lot of celebration around The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, to celebrate her 70-year reign.
UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 July.
April: 40th Anniversary of the beginning of the Falklands War.
July: 75th anniversary of the Roswell Incident, New Mexico.
August: 25th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales
Oct: 100th anniversary of the BBC being founded.
If you’d like to have the chance to interact with a national working journalist, then book your space soon – they are limited.