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27.8.13

New job site for journalists: Rachel’sList

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Finding a journalist or editor to help with your content marketing just got easier, whether you are creating an e-newsletter, website, white paper or e-book.

Online business Rachel’s List went live last week, posting jobs for journalists. It is the story of demand creating supply.

Lonely no more

Journalist Rachel Smith, the founder of Rachel’s list, began freelancing over 12 years ago. Lonely when she first started (there was no Hub Sydney back then), Smith sent emails to some fellow freelancers and organised a catch-up lunch over dumplings. “Other freelancers kept saying, hey, we want to come,” Smith says. The network built, and the email list got longer. The group began passing on assignments to each other, knowing they could trust each other’s work.

Magazine editors got wind of Rachel’s email list.  “Editors heard about it. One asked me to send a subbing job to the list. Someone picked up the gig,” Smith recalls. “And then the connection thing grew massively. For 10 years, it has been free for both sides.”

As Smith began spending more and more time working on her list, she realised it was time to turn her hobby into the main game.

Go Pro

Smith teamed up with a marketing specialist, Leo Wiles, who handles PR and marketing, and the pair backed themselves into a self-funded business based on the list.

Their website is friendly and easy to use. Editors register and post jobs – either full time, part-time or a particular assignment. Journalists pitch for them – usually very fast.

Editors pay for their listings these days, but the price – $100 – is well below other options such as Seek.com.au. “A lot of the jobs we get are two-day or three-day jobs. Editors are not going to throw it onto Seek, but they also haven’t got time to ring around,” Smith says.

Qualified journos

For journalists, registering with the site is free, but there is a catch: membership is approved. Smith checks to make sure applicants have are professionals (paid writers), with at least two years’ experience and a good track record. “That is a massive help for editors,” Smith says. “They know they will get applicants that can do the job, rather than being contacted by 300 people.”

For budding writers, Smith offers an entry level option and will pass on appropriate opportunities.

Pricing competition

One problem with job sites is that they can drive down market rates. With thousands of journalists out of work as a result of newspaper lay-offs, competition is intense.

Smith is aware of the issue. “I think that is always a risk. In the past, I have gone in to bat for journalists if the job was under market rates, and I still do that to some extent. But people can register and immediately put up their job on Rachel’s List. Freelancers have got to become tough negotiators themselves. It is difficult, but we encourage people to try to get to as close to market rates as they can because it helps us all in the end.”

Rivals

Rachel’s List is not alone in the market – newsmodo also offers a job matching service for writers and publishers. (More about newsmodo soon.)

Smith sees her huge database built over 10 years as a strong competitive advantage. “We’ve been connecting editors and employers with job-seekers for over ten years. We also have a huge database of loyal subscribers; editors, freelance job-seekers, full-timers who like to lurk and see what’s out there, who’ve been using our service for some or all of that time.”

And there’s more …

Journalists can post “Shout-outs” on the site: industry news, or requests for sources for particular stories, (something that has until now been the domain of SourceBottle).

Pitch-To-Me Call-Outs, in the Post A Job section, are free for editors who want to request story pitches or commission a specific story.

Smith and Wiles, who now have a team of four staff working with them, have much more planned. Wiles is moving to Brisbane to develop the business there, and Smith wants to build contacts in Melbourne.  She says: “We are hoping to come and hold meetings to reach out to Melbourne publishers.”

In future, Rachel’s List will be re-instituting the networking events that helped spark the business, offering training courses, and introducing e-books.

Photo: Rachel Smith, Founder, Rachel’s List Photo: H Tirant and D Macedo

 

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