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‘You will get ghosted, but keep pitching’ – Faima Bakar on going freelance

Faima Bakar on going freelance

Freelance journalist and JournoResources senior content writer Faima Bakar took part in our latest accessmatters session, sharing her experiences working on the Metro lifestyle desk (which sounds fantastic, by the way) and her move to freelance journalism.

You can watch the full discussion here, but first, check out Faima’s advice for going freelance if you’re considering making the jump…

Gather article ideas, even if you can’t use them yet

‘When I was a staffer at the Metro, I couldn’t freelance anywhere else, so I developed ideas I just couldn’t cover there. When going freelance, I started to write a list of ever-green ideas, things I could pitch. I would encourage all freelancers to do this. You can really take your time with them.’

Keep a note of everything before you forget

‘Always write down whatever ideas you have – in a Notes app, in a book, a spreadsheet. Definitely get organised and try to have everything in one place.’

Get the word out that you’ll be available for commissions

‘If you’re a new freelancer, make it known. When seeing out my notice at Metro, I started sharing that I would be freelancing the next month. Tweet that you’re looking for commissions, what you write about, your contact details. Doing this, three editors reached out to me quickly. Make it known to the journalism world what you’re planning to do. If they need someone asap, they’ll come to you.’

Save details of social media callouts from editors

‘Have a list for editor callouts – you might see people on social media calling out for stories, so copy and paste the tweet into a document for it and then you’ve got a list of editors and what they’re looking for.

‘You aren’t going to have work all the time, so go back to the list of callouts when you need to. I see if there’s anything I can offer them, or if there are stories I’ve done in the past that I could rework. For example, during Ramadan, Cosmopolitan were looking for stories, and I could write about sex and dating while fasting.’

Let people know when you’ve used their story

‘I got into a habit of sharing my story back with the PR who pitched it, because sometimes the PR doesn’t realise we’ve covered the story and they’ll pitch again.

‘If you ask someone for comment, always shoot the article back to them. They’ve given you their time, and they can share it as well – it’s good for both of you.’

Keep on pitching

‘If you’re freelance, you’ll have to chase people a lot – it’s a lot of back and forth. Pitch your ideas around – you will get ghosted, but you can’t take it personally. Give it a day or two, and then move on to pitching to the next one.’

Find more about Faima Bakar’s work here and follow her on Twitter @FaimaBakar.

Faima will be part of the next Vuelio virtual event ‘Building better relationships between PRs and journalists’ on 16 June 10.00 – 11.00 alongside her Journo Resources director and editor Jem Collins and Freelancing for Journalists’ Lily Canter and Emma Wilkinson. Sign up to join.

For more on ResponseSource’s ongoing work with Journo Resources, read more here.

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