Recently, I received an invitation to participate in an upcoming panel discussion "Entrepreneurial Journalism: Making Yourself the Brand."
So, I asked some communications friends at the Freelance Alliance Happy Hour (10.16.12) if they had any insights to share on the topic.
Don Weitz, a Dallas PR/Marketing pro at Don Weitz International, shared this (not his) thesis project about entrepreneurial journalism. Weitz, who offers tours to Israel and Eastern/Central Europe, said to be successful as an entrepreneurial journalist requires a balancing act. Successful entrepreneurial journalists must juggle between being "all about 'me'" and "integrating the 'you the reader' aspect," he wrote in an email.
The bottom line is readers are more interested in how they "can benefit from your works than how you as a writer can benefit," Weitz wrote.
Mike Riccetti, courtesy of his LinkedIn profile
Michelle Tanner, who runs her own Dallas-based PR and Marketing Communications enterprise, offered a case study of a former high school classmate.
Houston-based food writer Mike Riccetti is the go-to-guru when it comes to dining. Riccetti "writes or blogs for three media outlets and is now the Zagat reviewer in Houston," according to Tanner.
She further states that he "developed his brand by publishing a book, and created a unique niche that proved valuable to many people. And that is the trick, finding a niche that is valuable to media outlets and getting those media outlets to hire you."
I mentioned this panel to a former TV news colleague and his advice was razor sharp: "Get a plan B."
He transitioned from television news management to becoming president of his city's Better Business Bureau.
And, one of our colleagues, who had an extensive television and radio background, has gone on to become a county judge.
From my perspective, entrepreneurial journalists must have stamina, determination and enormous survival skills. Oh, and a strategic plan helps.
As far as personal branding, there are tons of articles, blogs and other resources available to help you "sell your sizzle."
Looks like this panel discussion is going to be extremely fun and that's my favorite word. I'll post an update.
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.