10. Convention registration prices for members jump from $380 to $550 after June 1.
9. The host hotel, the Hilton Riverside, is running out of rooms.
8. Give back to New Orleans by participating in NABJ’s Day of Service.
7. Feed your body and spirit at the Gospel Brunch.
6. Dress to the nines for the Salute To Excellence Gala.
5. Shake your groove thang (and help a worthy cause) at the must-attend NABJ Sports Task Force Jam at the House of Blues.
4. Attend plenary sessions on the hottest news topics.
3. Brush up on skills and learn the latest in newsroom innovations at the workshops.
2. Meet dozens of employers at the Career Fair.
1. Meet and be with people who look like you and are doing what you’re doing, for advice and encouragement.
And yes, that is my daughter, Baby Digital, behind the mask!
The NABJ Media Related Task Force (MRMTF) held a members-only webinar with tips on how journalists and media professionals can transition their skills into six-figure salaries with less stress, fewer deadlines and more flexibility in a digital world via content marketing. Member Tenisha Mercer, a content marketer and brand storyteller and owner of HireAnSEOWriter.com, gave tips on how to break into content marketing and answered questions on being effective in that segment.
Maria Pitts Roberts of writing/marketing/social media consultancy RiaRob Media explained about the task force’s new media-related mentorship program for Mid-Level Career Journalists and Media-Related Professionals. The program will connect members to people within the MRTF membership to help with your transition. Click here to view the webinar.
The Media Related Task Force asks that you take this survey so they can meet your needs.
There were some questions that we weren’t able to get to during the webinar, so here are the answers from Tenisha Mercer.
A major food company asked me to write a 2000-word story for their website, but they didn’t want to provide a contract or work out details of pay. How should this be handled?
Answer: Definitely get compensated if it is not a part of your regular role. Something like, “Thank you for the opportunity to write the story, now what will the compensation be for this additional project?” And then leave the ball in their court and let them answer. Stay firm.
How important is it to establish a niche in content marketing? It is important if you want to command top dollar and land projects easier.
Answer: Niches like technology, medical and health care tend to be much higher paying. Clients pay even more for subject matter expertise. But if you do not know your niche, just get started! I did not know I wanted to specialize in SEO writing until I had several projects under my belt.
How can I get started?
Answer: I would encourage you to take advantage of NABJ’s mentorship opportunities or, shameless plug, enroll in my master class for Content Marketing for Journalists.
How different is content marketing writing from journalism?
Answer: Content marketing will not require sourcing, necessarily, and there is less of an advertising push. It is informative, but you are writing content for a different audience. The same principles of good journalism — accuracy, a well-written story and factual info are typically used.
What is the editing process for CM like?
Answer: Similar to any editing process, but depends on the type of project. If it’s for a large organization, it may have to go thru several rounds of approvals and revisions before it is finalized.
- Marriott Traveler
- VIDEO: Google 360 “Pearl”
- Cuervo Stories
- Visit California
- MEL magazine (created by Dollar Shave Club)
- VIDEO: Always #LikeA Girl campaign (created by Procter & Gamble)
- Van Winkle’s (blog for Casper mattresses)
- Red Bull
- Tablespoon (by General Mills)
- Nerd Wallet
- COURSE: Content Marketing for Journalists
- Udemy.com Course: SEO for Content Marketers: Boost Your Rank with Ahrefs
- Content Marketing company NewsCred, which hires freelance writers
- Content Marketing company Contently, also for freelancers
- The Content Marketing Institute, a great resource for job leads
The good news is that the television station has offered you the job. The next step is signing your contract. We were fortunate to have attorney Exavier Pope, Principal Owner of The Pope Law Firm, P.C., conduct the latest NABJ members-only webinar. During the event, Pope, who is also the host of #SuitUP Podcast and treasurer of the NABJ Sports Task Force, offered great advice to members on six key things to consider before putting pen to paper.
- Length of a Contract
- List of Job Functions
- Morals Clause
- Non-compete Clauses
In the latest NABJ members-only webinar, a panel discussed the importance of internships and why you need to get one and how you can maximize your intern experience. The event, hosted by NABJ Student Representative Wilton Jackson, featured veteran journalist Wendy Wilson, students Malika Andrews and Tierra Smith, along with recent graduate Clayton Gutzmore. They shared their experiences and answered questions. NABJ members can listen to the webinar here.
Wilson offered six golden tips on what it takes to have a successful internship here. We ran out of time but still had questions. So panelists Malika Andrews and Clayton Gutzman took a crack at them, below. Finally, our next NABJ members-only webinar, “How to Negotiate A Contract You Can Live With,” will be held on Tuesday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Attorney Exavier Pope will reveal six key things you need to include in your next contract.
What is the best way to follow up with an internship program regarding your application?
MA: I think an email is generally the best way to follow up. Remember, following up doesn’t necessarily have to be “when will you decide?” When I was applying for SJI, I sent Greg [Lee] (the coordinator) a Happy Thanksgiving email, a happy holidays email, happy birthday (okay, I didn’t go that far) — but I did send him a happy holidays note and “I look forward to hearing from you” note.
CG: Give it about two to three weeks before sending an email. Do your research first and find out how their process goes. If it’s not listed, ask before you apply.
What if you have 3-4 years of freelance experience? Would you recommend still going for internships?
CG: Yes still apply for internships. Apply for the internship you believe will take you to the next level. Internships that are different than your current line of freelance work. If you are good enough to freelance, you are able to still earn money while seeking new opportunities. Fellowships can also be something to seek out.
How does one find the hiring manager, especially if it’s at a big media corporation? I have tried LinkedIn, but that has not helped.
CG: Check the website. There should be contact information at the bottom or on a tab on their website. Call the station and politely ask. Check with your professors. If it’s a big company, they should know somebody that knows somebody.
I am in the process of applying to internships at local TV stations. What advice do you have to set myself apart?
MA: Find your voice and hone in on it. Are you a great features storyteller? Great. Hold that up. Can you edit as well as be in front of the camera? Say that. And be versatile- make sure you are more than just the face in front of the camera or the behind-the-scenes person.
Also, in your cover letters, make sure not to just say that this is why you want this. A lot of kids want it. Make sure you also say how you are a good fit for them and what sorts of things you bring to the table.
I have just received my first internship at a news station in Greensboro, N.C. I am extremely excited. What can I do to prepare for that internship now? What are the things that would make me stick out in the internship? What are some of the tasks of an intern at a news station?
MA: This may seem basic, but make sure you watch the station. Familiarize yourself with their content style and also the content they have already published so you make sure you aren’t pitching stories that double dip into what they’ve already done. Also, know the names of producers and talent!
As far as sticking out: be the person that goes above and beyond. If there is an assignment after your normal nine to five shift, stay late. Something on the weekend? Be there. And pitch stories! Don’t make your producer constantly come to you. Even if you get shot down, keep pitching. And remember, no assignment is too small. When I was at the local Portland TV station, we begged a producer to stay late so we could read off the anchors tape and cut out own highlight reels. That was really helpful for me to have.
How do you feel about tracking the progress of your work in the internship? Would it be too much to ask for evaluations from the people who I work with?
CG: I say give it time. Seek critiques on your second project. You will know a little bit more about how you are supposed to do work for the outlet.
I have just begun researching different graduate schools. Is there a time to do an internship while in grad school?
MA: I can’t speak from experience but from what I have heard, it depends. For instance, I know Columbia J-school doesn’t recommend it. They put you to work. I know [NABJ Student Representative] Wilton [Jackson] has done internships while in graduate school at LSU so I think it depends on your specific program and how many credits you take. It also depends if you can balance keeping your grades up and having an internship.
The latest NABJ members-only webinar, “Stop Putting Off Your Website,” Marissa Evans of the Texas Tribune offered her tips and tricks for creating a portfolio website. She critiqued two journalist websites — including mine — and explained the four elements every journalist’s website should have.
Evans answered questions about everything from best platforms to host a website to how much one should pay a designer. Click here to view the one-hour webinar. And below are links to some of the sites mentioned in the webinar.
- Marissa’s presentation slides
- Access to a downloadable website worksheet
- Marissa’s “Get Your Website Right” online course
We are working on the next webinar series for March and April under the hashtag #NABJSpringClean. These webinars will be all about things that are blocking us in our careers and what we can do to remove them. Topics we’ll cover include the need for internships, tips on job interviews and women dealing with Impostor Syndrome. We are still in the planning phases, so if you have webinar ideas, please send them here.
As the industry continues to reshape itself in the digital age, journalists are getting caught in the crossfire. So now is the perfect time to start or step up that side hustle. In this NABJ members-only webinar, panelists Dr. Sybril Brown, Tenisha Taylor Bell, Nicki Mayo and Benét Wilson shared how and why they started their side hustles and offered advice on what is needed to keep them going. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.
Below are some links to #SideHuste resources:
- The Common Sense Guide to Your own Side Hustle
- How To Make Time For A Side Hustle
- Side Hustle Nation
- Mistakes that Caused My First Side Hustle to Flop
- 99 Side Hustle Business Ideas You Can Start Today
- Black Enterprise Side Hustle Articles
- High-Income Business Writing-Podcast
And join us on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 11:00 a.m. EST for our next webinar in the #FreelanceFebruary series. What if you don’t want to become a freelancer and you want to look for a new job instead? Put your best foot forward with an online portfolio to showcase your work. Web sites, for all of their benefits, can be tough to sift through as ideas about technology and branding change every day.
In this webinar, hosted by Marissa Evans of the Texas Tribune, you’ll get tips on how to choose the best web platform for you, the do’s and don’ts of a quality website and best practices for putting your best digital footprint forward, including live critiques. Register here — your NABJ membership number is required. And look for our #SpringCleaningNABJ series of members-only webinars in March and April. Do you have an idea for a workshop? Send it here and it may be used.