This week we catch up with Donna Ferguson, editor of lovefood.com, the new website that aims to help you escape from the great mess of food websites, magazines, tv channels and everything else, and put it all in one place.
Who reads it and how many of them are there?
800,000 subscribers. Our stories may also be distributed on other partner sites, such as yahoo.com, as well.
What subjects do you cover? What stories are you most interested in covering?
We cover food and drink. We are particularly interested in food. We want stories about boutique niche food producers, boutique niche food suppliers and recipes by celebrity chefs and Michelin-starred chefs. We also like writing about kitchen equipment. We often do competitions/give away freebies and love to get samples.
What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
We publish a range of celebrity chefs’ recipes and are interested in top quality niche food producers and food suppliers.
How do you decide the content, front covers and headlines?
We look at what our readers have clicked on recently/what they enjoy reading and we also try to cover topical and seasonal stories.
Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
Yes all our articles are written by freelancers, except for recipes which are written by celebrity chefs.
About you and freelance journalists:
Do you like freelance journalists to get in touch with you directly to pitch ideas? And if so how?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas. These should include details of the guide entries you are planning to link to. We are looking for topical, interesting ideas for articles that will drive traffic to new and existing guide entries. Links to guide entries which are videos are the ones we’d like the most.
If you’re confused about what is a guide entry, look at the URL – it should either say guide or journal in it. Journal links are good to get in there, but the topic always needs at least one link to a guide entry, preferably more. It doesn’t matter when the guide entry was published.
Freelancer writers with web experience are preferred – please give a brief outline of your experience.
Name the three most important attributes that make a freelance journalist stand out for you and would make you use them again?
Mistake-free copy that uses hyperlinks correctly.
Someone who has clearly read other articles on the site and understands what we want.
Engaging, fun, humorous style; is prepared to put neck on the line when it comes to their opinions.
If you can, tell us about the best approach you’ve seen from a freelance…and the worst…
Best – Idea was really clearly laid out, topical, controversial, obviously understood the site and what the readers want. Links to the guide that would be used in the piece were stated in the pitch.
Worst – pitch was for an article on ‘10 non-specific objects of desire’ that the writer was willing to ‘compose’- utter gobbledy-gook!
Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
Yes it’s great to hear from PRs. We don’t do anything like that yet but we love getting press releases and information from PRs, especially those who deal with celeb chefs.
If you could make one change to the way PRs deal with you, what would it be?
More food samples would be awesome – we love getting them!
How should a PR approach you about their client?
What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Why their product/person/recipe is special.
When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
There is no particular deadline at present.
Describe a typical day at work: What are you editorial duties/responsibilities at the outlet (e.g. commissioning, subbing, features, interviewing)?
Commissioning and editing. Writing occasionally.
What interests you most about your job?
The pace and the variety.
Where have you worked previously, and how did you end up in your current position?
I have worked on a wide range of newspapers, magazines and websites. As well as being editor of lovefood.com, I am also editor of lovemoney.com.
Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
I’m going to start tweeting from @lovefoodeditor with requests for information (particularly recipes) from PRs and requests for freelance journalists to write articles.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Never give up.
What media do you seek out 1st thing in the morning?
If you could time travel what time would you go to?