Karla Walsh on the importance of doing your homework [Pitchfest, vol.1]
What makes her a Pitch expert?
In addition to being the Associate Digital Food Editor over at Better Homes & Gardens [yes, that BHG, with 4.2 million likes on Facebook], Karla is also freelance health, relationship and wine writer with years of Pitch experience: both as the pitch-er and the pitch-ee.
What I think is super about Karla:
In addition to being a super human, Karla's kind-heart and generous spirit light up rooms. Full disclosure: she's my friend, my secret mentor and a terrifically talented writer.
We share a love of cheese, the internet and puns. I mean, she's joyful, insightful and sharp as hell. What's not to love?
How do you describe your job?
By day, I'm the ssociate digital od editor at Better Homes & Gardens. From caramel drizzle-filled recipe demo videos to stories about the latest food trends, I work with our Test Kitchen and editors to generate unique ways to inspire fans to visit our site and try our dishes. also team up with other staffers to host our annual blogger event in New York City. By night, I co-host cooking classes at Cooking with Alessandra, lead wine education sessions at Vino 20 and write freelance stories. (You can find my work on Shape.com, FitnessMagazine.com, n Runner's World and more.)
What do you like most about your gig?
No two days are alike! Social media and searc algorithms are constantly changing, as are the needs and desires of our followers and fan. I'm an extrovert and love to keep busy, so I feel like I thrive in the fast-paced world of digital media.
What's the toughest part of your gig?
We rely a lot on data to inform ur content creation. Finding that happy mix of what pleases our social followers and those who are searching on Google is a fun challenge.
Now let's talk about the PITCH...
The best pitch you ever sent included this super thing:
When pitching my freelance story ideas to editors, I always include relevant research and try to craft the pitch itself as close as possible to the distinct voice of the publication.
The best pitch you ever received included this super thing:
When working in print editorial at Fitness Magazine, I'd receive hundreds of pitches a week for products, books, DVDs, etc. The ones that stood out included references to projects we'd recently worked on that seemed relevant to the item that was being pitched. (For example, if I have recently written a story about the "Top 50 fiber-filled foods to add to your diet," the PR rep mentioned that and explained why his brand's new fiber-rich protein bar might be a fit for something in the future. This exemplifies a familiarity with the brand...and that he had done his research.)
What makes a total pitch?
Thoughtfulness, service, creativity, and most importantly, relevance.
How do you craft a personal pitch?
As mentioned above, it's wise to include something that speaks to the fact that you've done your research about the brand or the individual you're reaching out to! Personally, I also try to infuse a bit of myself into a pitch, whether it's a friendly intro or a brief sentence about my experience that relates to the topic.
Top secret tip for a pitching beginners?
Don't do it via phone. Emails are always preferred in my book so I can flag it and refer to it later!
What makes you feel most confident?
Completing a project—whether it's a story or a home renovation—and being 100 percent confident that I put forth my best effort. Oh, and a fabulous pair of shoes!
What are your favorite resources on the internet?
Besides BHG.com, you mean? :) I like to stay up-to-date on the latest via Google Trends, Facebook Signal and Google Alerts. When I'm not working, I enjoy visiting NPR.org, Spotify and xo-lp.com, of course!*
* I did not pay sweet Karla to include XO-LP, but what a great friend she is for doing so.