Amy Schofield is online editor of MyChild, an education and parenting website for parents with young ones aged three to 13. The site covers children’s education, health and well-being.
This week, FeaturesExec caught up with Amy to discuss the website in more detail, how she works with PRs, and her journey to becoming online editor of MyChild.
About your publication:
Tell us a bit about MyChild:
Mychild.co.uk is an education and parenting website aimed at parents of children from three to 13 – those just starting school right up to those making the transition to “big school”. We provide educational resources, including downloadable worksheets, activities, learning games and SATs resources, SEN advice, parenting advice, competitions, reader Q & A’s, and expert advice.
How do you see MyChild developing under your editorship?
My aim is to make MyChild the hub for parents who are passionate about supporting their child’s education by creating a supportive community where parents can come to get practical educational advice and downloadable resources, as well as sound parenting advice.
How do you differ from other media outlets in your sector?
We offer educational resources written by experts, aimed at each different year group, and offer educational support across the National Curriculum. This is combined with the warm, friendly aspect of our parenting advice and question and answer section where parents can come for advice and support from other parents and experts.
Describe a typical reader for us:
MyChild’s typical reader is someone who is interested in supporting their child throughout their time at school. It’s someone who takes an interest in their child’s education, and wants to help their child to further unlock their learning potential in the secure setting of their own home.
What stories are you most interested in covering?
I am interested in covering stories to do with primary school education, government educational initiatives, children’s behaviour, child health, child safety, and positive parenting.
How does the editorial process run? Do you have specific days when you focus on different aspects or is the planning on a much more ad-hoc basis?
I have specific things that I need to add to the site each day and each week, including sending out a weekly ezine to our readers and a monthly ezine to our subscribers, but I like to keep the content as fresh and current as possible so if a good idea for a news story, article, or educational resource comes up, I go with it!
Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
We do use freelancers, but we tend to use content that is relevant and written by experts in education and parenting rather than commissioning more general articles. Much of the copy is written in-house.
Do you work closely with PRs?
I do work with PR’s for ideas for articles and news stories, and especially when it comes to organising MyChild competitions.
What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
Asking “Do you have time to talk at the moment?” is the best possible start as far as I’m concerned! You’d be amazed how many PR’s launch straight into it on the phone without asking if I’m free to talk, when I’ve got about eighteen different things going on that all need my attention.
Are you interested in press releases and, if so, how do you prefer to receive them?
I am, and I prefer to receive press releases by email. Preliminary phone calls don’t do it for me. I will read (almost) everything that is sent through, provided the subject line tells me that it is relevant to MyChild’s readership. If I’m interested I’ll get in touch and take it further.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & when is your deadline for contributions?
As MyChild is a website, the requirement for good, relevant content is ongoing.
What are your editorial duties/responsibilities at the website?
I am the online editor so I write, commission, edit, research and upload features, news stories and educational resources, do the social networking thing including Tweeting and updating our Facebook page, organise competitions, find mummy bloggers to feature, respond to reader enquiries, drink lots of coffee, the list goes on…
What is the best or worst thing about your job?
Best thing – being responsible for developing MyChild, writing all day, working for a website that I can identify with because I’m a mum of two boys who are both a primary school, and I work with a great bunch of people. Worst thing – fitting it all in with the being a good mum thing!
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
After I qualified and had my first son (almost at the same time) I started by freelancing for parenting titles and health titles including Pregnancy & Birth and Here’s Health, and also wrote for antiques magazines and websites. I worked as assistant editor at The Green Parent magazine for over three years, via working in film production, as well as freelancing for various consumer publications. After The Green Parent and prior to starting here at MyChild, I worked as a SEO copywriter for a number of consumer and specialist websites, and wrote a book with educational author Jenny Ridgwell about sustainability in food and textiles for GCSE students.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you want to write, write!
A phrase I use too often is…
In a minute (both as a parent and at work…)
If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?
I like to think I’d be using my days wisely and growing vegetables, baking, and creating a beautiful home while writing a best-selling novel, but I think the reality would be different. Maybe there’s actually a frustrated 50’s housewife in me struggling to get out, but I’m rubbish at housework so I doubt it.
What’s your idea of a relaxing day off?
A long lie-in, a long walk in the Sussex countryside with my family and a large glass of wine or three.