"I'm not comfortable pushing products that I wouldn't buy myself"
Please provide a brief introduction to yourself & the titles you write for
I'm a trained actress turned writer, freelance writer and blogger who got into writing as a new mum. Home with my baby and lacking creativity in my acting work (which had dried up) I needed a new channel and potentially a way of being able to stay at home with the babe while I earned some money. My blog began over a decade ago and the rest of the work followed - I now write for national (The Daily Star Sunday) and local (Eastern Daily press and all Archant publications) newspapers, speak on television and radio and am writing a book on how to become a Mummy Blogger (working title is "Money for nothing and chips for tea") as well as a script with a big juicy role for myself - well it worked for Ben Affleck so perhaps it will work for Ruth Davies too, you never know. All of the above, plus having three more children who I indeed DO get to stay at home with while I work around them, has made me feel job satisfaction in a way I never knew possible. I knew I didn't want to do what I had been doing pre kids (jobbing actress and admin because, let's face it, being turned down for auditions doesn't pay the bills) and I'd thought that was my lot. I didn't think I had any doors open to me to do anything else even though I knew I could write. I simply hadn't realised I needed to open them myself.
Give us the inside scoop, what is your favourite part about working as an influencer and freelancer
I just love to write and find that I can waffle, in a good way I hope, about any subject while making it interesting. I've found my skill and so for me to be able to share it so easily is the best part of my job. The other is the lack of censorship when it comes to my own blog, I can truly be my own boss and even when it comes to my newspaper columns it's pretty similar. My voice, my opinions and no boss to cap in hand to. I feel it's a real responsibility to be able to provide things which influence and I take that very seriously having been easily swayed by the media as a teen and seeing a dark side to that I know only too well what media pushes can do detrimentally so I love that I can have a hand in swaying only good things. (I also get invited to really awesome parties - bit of kick back)!
What is it you look for from brands you're looking to feature, are there any particular price points?
I wouldn't say I have a price point I'd stick to but I'm not comfortable pushing products that I wouldn't buy myself no matter how much they cost. It falls back to that responsibility again and I have certainly known people in my industry who are very willing to plug anything if the price is right. For me, saying no thank you to things which aren't right is very important and being able to say I would happily put my hand in my pocket is a must. When working with brands I like to be honest about that and I also like brands to know me before they pitch. I was asked to review something wildly pricey recently which was aimed at Mum's who go out to work and need to leave their small babies. This isn't me and for my lifestyle I couldn't possibly recommend the particular product so it felt like they hadn't really researched. They liked my style of writing so in this instance I am very happy to lend my voice and write an advertorial but if I'm featuring something on my blog then it has to be relevant to me. I love when a brand tells me about their product, when they are excited and want me on board. I think a personal approach is always something which catches my eye and gets me excited about a product too.
What’s the most memorable approach you’ve had from a PR (good or bad)!
Too many good ones, great ones in fact, to relay them all as I have made friends for life working with PR companies and I think that's what makes a great PR person, Someone who is genuinely wanting to strike a friendship alongside work seems to just be part and parcel and that is one more bonus to my job. Of course there have been a couple of stand out horror experiences too but they're what make the best over a glass of wine stories!
If you could give a PR advice on what to do to get your attention and secure coverage with you - what would it be?
Just to know me and know that I'm someone you want to work with when you approach me. It's all very well looking at stats but actually sometimes the best person for the job isn't the one with the most followers or the biggest columns. I think it's assumed I'm the right person for a lot of things just because of the kudos of the papers I write for but I don't have a teenage boy (yet) so pitching to me something for that age range and sex is a bit pointless. I like a friendly, real approach rather than a copy/pasted email. I also think it's powerful to go in with all cards on the table - no one wants to work for free so offers which are fair and honest with clear guidance of expectation on both sides is a must.
Did you always know you wanted to get into journalism? How did you get into it?
I always knew that I wanted to write. Scripts primarily and books if I got the opportunity but it was a chance encounter that got me into blogging which ultimately led to working for national and local newspapers. I had won a competition on Twitter to attend what I now know is a press event at a restaurant. I had no clue, was sat next to a journo and we got chatting. I asked her how I could turn my writing into money as I wanted to create a job I could do from home with my children while expelling creativity and she told me, "Write a blog darling"! The rest, as they say, is history!
Tell us something fun that people don't know about you?
I'm really quite good at accents (thanks very much to my acting teacher at Italia Conti, Adam) and very often will just slip into one somewhere normal like the supermarket and pretend to be a character just for my own enjoyment. Bonkers but it keeps me acting - or nearing the funny farm, one of the two!