5 Minutes With

10 June 2022

5 minutes with...

Margarita Mitchel Pollock

Freelance Journalist



"The PRs that get my attention are the ones that follow up- always follow up your emails! "

Please provide a brief introduction to yourself & the titles you write for

I'm an NCTJ Freelance print and broadcast journalist and have been for over ten years. I regularly write celebrity interviews for The Times and The Telegraph, as well as health and travel for The Telegraph. I also cover beauty and lifestyle across Prima and Hearst and product reviews for Evening Standard’s ES Best.

Give us the inside scoop, what is your favourite part about working as a freelance journalist?

I absolutely love my job and that no two days are the same. From interviewing a celebrity on camera to researching for days before writing up a health feature, to trying out the latest makeup and skincare launches to reviewing different locations around the world, I love the variety! I have built up quite an extensive black book of brilliant editors, PRs and fellow writers over the last ten years and genuinely love this industry. There is nothing else I'd rather do.

What advice would you give a PR pitching to get your attention and secure coverage from you?

Whenever I work across Hearst or Reach, I am inundated with more emails than I've ever seen in my life, I can barely keep up. The PRs that get my attention are the ones that follow up- always follow up your emails! I've had PRs reach out to me on my personal email when they couldn't get hold of me and they are the ones who will get the quickest response. Sometimes I'm so busy I just don't have time to get back to those that I haven't got a relationship with or I've not met before. Building a relationship with a journalist is incredibly important, reach out to them, follow them on social media, say hello to them beyond just trying to pitch a client. I have PRs I have used years after they first made contact with me simply because they took the time to build a relationship and I will then do my best to use them and their clients for quotes etc. Relationship building and following up are so important! My husband calls me the Fairy PR Mother as I love to include small businesses in my features as often as I can. Nothing makes me happier than helping a small company get coverage so if you represent a family or female led business, let me know. Also, chasing a few times is fine but don’t be overly persistent and don’t follow up too often when it comes to asking about publication dates, for most freelancers this will be out of their hands and they will be just as eager as you to see the piece published. Please don’t take it personally if a journalist doesn’t get back to you, it’s usually because they’re inundated and just don’t have the time even if they’ve worked with you before. A gentle nudge a few days later usually does the trick.

What’s the most memorable approach you’ve had from a PR?

I tend to favour a consistently warm and genuine approach. I've had invitations to wonderful events and have been lucky enough to receive some fantastic samples but if the PR doesn't take the time to build a relationship beyond that first initial contact, they can quickly become lost in the noise of the hundreds of emails I receive each day. Most memorable to me other than the superb CIJ who are consistently warm, approachable and helpful are PRs that take the time to build a relationship with me without being pushy.

It might sound strange but you'd be surprised how many PRs don't even send a simple thank you after a journalist has used their client or placed their product in the media, it always stands out when a PR takes the time to tag you in a post and send a follow up email. I know other journalists always find it surprising when PRs that have been featured don’t share the article online or on their social media so always try and share the love to stand out!

What types of products and price points are you personally looking to feature?

If you take a look at my Instagram you'll see I'm pretty beauty, wellbeing and skincare obsessed so that always does well with me but so does anything utilising new scientific research as I cover in-depth long form pieces for the Telegraph and Prima. I always want to hear from PRs who have celebrity clients who are promoting their latest film, etc book too as well as new hotel openings.

Tell us something fun that people don't know about you?

I've recently had a baby and hadn't intended to go back to work quite so soon but the freelance life is in my blood and I just can't help myself! I'm currently covering a lot of parent and baby reviews for the first time and loving exploring the huge world that is mum and baby journalism, all while the newborn naps!

Tell us who is your favourite celebrity that you have interviewed and why?

I loved interviewing Dan Aykroyd for The Times. I'm a child of the eighties and a huge Dan fan so that was a real highlight of my career so far. He told me all about his Grandfather's farm which was the place that inspired the Ghostbusters films. He was funny, charming and clearly a born storyteller, I could've spoken to him for hours.

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