Friday Q & A with travel writer Ianthe Butt
Ianthe is a freelance travel writer who reports on travel trends, hotels, emerging destinations and interesting people for a range of titles including Conde Nast Traveller, Conde Nast Brides, High Life, Atlas by Etihad, Sleeper and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine.
1. What makes you open an email from a PR?
Something which is clearly tailored for me, and the titles I write for, and not a round-robin.
2. Would you open emails from PR’s you don’t know?
Yes, but much more slowly than those I have an existing relationship with.
3. Do you answer your landline during a working day?
4. Do you like images within a PR pitch?
Yes. Images are essential for a lot of the design-led titles I write for. It’s hard for me to pitch most stories without a visual aspect, and renders don’t tend to cut it.
5. When is the best time for you to meet a PR?
Arrange on case-by-case basis. Once we’ve established there’s an idea which has legs by email/phone then will arrange to meet. As about 70 percent of my time is spent travelling (outside London) I don’t tend to do general catch up meetings.
6. And which day suits the most?
As above, dependent on travels.
7. What are your top 2 tips for a PR trying to secure coverage?
Unique story ideas or angles which haven’t been sent out to other journalists - as a freelancer I want to take in fresh ideas which editors and in-house writers have not already received themselves. Ditto individual trips rather than group press trips (which staffers are more likely to attend).
Be available/responsive for press queries. Sounds basic, but it’s amazing how difficult it can be to get information quickly. Freelancers are often commissioned for last-minute and quick turnaround pieces, say to take advantage of a trending topic online, or if a magazine up-pages before press. Make it clear who your clients are, and how to contact you.
8. Are you happy to be contacted via social media / what are the boundaries?
I use Twitter and Instagram for some information requests so it’s worth keeping an eye on these. In terms of pitching I prefer email. And no social media messaging at the weekends or outside of standard working hours please!
9. Spirulina or Sauvignon?
Sauvignon. Or, better still, gin. Or that on-the-rise drink that’s about to trend that no one’s heard about yet.
10. Stylist or The Spectator?