tilllate editor Kevin McFarlane shares his top tips for journalists and PRs, as well as the importance of fresh ideas in the second of today’s editor interviews.
About the publication:
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
The magazine is aimed at the 18-35 year old demographic. Tilllate.com receives over 1 million unique visitors across Europe each month and we’re aiming the magazine to them every week.
What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
Predominantly based around dance music and clubland, the magazine also focuses on fashion, gaming and technology – if you like going out, gadgets, games, music and looking great, then tilllate magazine is for you! I have a great interest in everything I’ve just mentioned!
What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
We are the only weekly magazine in the sector, so our content is the most up to date and relevant. News is actually news!
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
There is no set formula, it really does come down to what we think looks best, what artist is deserving of a cover, basically who is making the most noise sometimes!
Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
Apart from yearly regulars like festivals, Ibiza, Miami Winter Music Conference etc, we will always decide features on merit on a weekly basis.
About you and freelance journalists:
Do you pay for contributions from freelance journalists?
I have a small budget that I use accordingly each week.
Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so, how?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have no problem with people contacting me directly. The pitch should just explain what an individual is wanting to write about and why they think it would be relevant for tilllate magazine. There’s a lot of re-hashed material out there, so fresh ideas are always most welcome and treated with the greatest respect and confidence.
Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
Honesty, passion and a clear understanding of a brief – word count, deadline etc.
Do you work closely with PRs?
It’s a very niche industry, but I do work very closely with good PRs, not as closely with some others though!
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
Be friendly, believe in what you’re selling and try to make your point quickly and clearly. It’s a hard job doing PR, but it’s also very evident who is good at it and who is not. The balance between genuine friendly chat and waffling on insincerely to get a pitch is a fine one. No ill tone intended here as they have an awfully hard job.
How should a PR approach you about their client?
Always by email, as part of a small team producing a lot of editorial content, I very rarely use the phone, unless I’m chasing something! Hypocrite!
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
What DJs are doing what, up and coming club nights or festivals, new game releases, technology to look out for etc.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
I’m always contactable, so I contact or reply to people at random times day or night. It’s the nature of the job. Each issue comes out on a Monday, I try to have confirmed content by the previous Wednesday. Only last minute essentials or breaking news would go in after that.
Describe a typical day at work: What are you editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet?
Commissioning work, subbing work, planning each issue, sourcing material for each issue, proofing work, promoting each issue, developing brand awareness at every point possible, in every way possible.
What interests you most about your job?
The music, I still get such a buzz from hearing new tracks or albums, whatever the genre.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I was previously the editor of M8 Magazine, for about eight years.
Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
I twitter via twitter.com/tilllatemag. I love Twitter, it gives everybody a voice and has changed the whole dynamic of breaking news and live reporting.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Always walk with your female partner to the inside! My late dad was a great man (I know, it’s not relevant, but learning manners should be essential in all walks of life!)
What media do you seek out first thing in the morning?
All social networks, news feeds, gaming feeds, technology feeds, chat rooms, Apple sites. Not just the morning, every hour then last thing at night, you can never get enough information. iPhones and iPads have ruined my sleep!
If you could time travel what time would you go to?
I would visit every country in every decade for as far back as I could. There’s just so much I would want to see. I’m guessing time travel wouldn’t involve flying, or then I would be scuppered!