“Stories are about people,” said Barbara Duarte, Sun-Sentinel reporter, as she opened our November meeting. Barbara gave us her tips on using storytelling in our writing, while Robyn Lindars, successful food blogger at GrillGirl.com, described how she blogged her way onto the Food Network, the Today Show and other outlets.
Everyone enjoyed the speakeasy vibe of the Apothecary 330 as these two ladies revealed the secrets to crafting great stories and setting your blog up for media success.
Are you writing about people?
Even food critics write about people in their reviews said Barbara. Don’t forget to write about the people behind the story, even if you’re writing about food or fashion.
Take a cue from the good stories you find in movies or books. They’re all about conflict or struggle. Use that in your writing to describe a person’s passion or the struggles they overcame to pursue their career or open their restaurant, for example.
Paint a picture
Use all of the senses to paint a picture that puts the reader there. Barbara advised us to describe sounds, smells and the surroundings to add another element to stories. Whether you’re interviewing someone or describing your own experience, pay attention to what’s around you and immerse your reader in the experience.
The next speaker, Robyn Lindars, did a deep dive into her own experience as a female grillmaster who blogged her way onto TV with some media savvy.
Make it easy to be found
You may know about SEO and how to use keywords, but are you choosing keywords the media might be using? Think of the words journalists might use to find someone like you and put these words in your blog’s title tag and META data. Robyn optimizes for “female pitmaster,” for example, because it applies to her and there are so few of them.
Also, sign up as a media source on HARO (Help a Reporter Out). This is a site reporters use to find sources to interview for their stories.
Get to know the media
Create your own media opportunities by building a list of reporters that cover your topic. Follow them on social as well to understand what they talk about. Once you get more familiar with their work, reach out to them with story ideas with you as the subject matter expert.
Connect with casting directors online
Did you know casting directors can be found on LinkedIn? Robyn used this to her advantage and advised us to do the same. You can find casting directors for the Food Network and a variety of other channels with a simple search. See what shows they work for and let them know your area of expertise.
Create events and partner with complimentary businesses
Is there an event you can create related to your topic or business? Events can also help build media opportunities. Robyn noticed many of her female friends were hesitant or afraid of using grills and created a women’s grilling clinic to help them. By asking a local dealer of Weber Green Egg grills to host it and then getting media coverage, she made it a win-win for both her and the business.
We’re grateful to both Robyn and Barbara for sharing their expertise with us and look forward to seeing more from them online. Visit their websites and connect with them on social media.
Robyn Lindars: female pitmaster at GrillGirl.com, Twitter: @grillgirlrobyn, Facebook: GrillGirl
Barbara Duarte: stories on Sun-Sentinel, multimedia journalist website, Twitter: @babicorb
Support the Lighthouse Foundation’s Holiday Toy Drive
The Blogger Union is also working with the Lighthouse Foundation. Help us support their Holiday Toy Drive on December 17th by visiting them online at thelittlelighthouse.org or The Little Lighthouse Facebook page.