Lucy Sherriff, editor of Huffington Post Young Voices, on launching a new platform for young people and why PRs should use the email subject line to catch her eye.
Describe Young Voices in five words…
Conversational, topical, engaging, political, millennial.
Who is your target audience?
Do you think young people are left out of political, social, economic and cultural discussions?
Absolutely. That’s the whole reason we’ve launched Young Voices. There seems to be this bubble around current affairs and discussions about Britain and its future, which totally excludes our youths. We’re aiming to bridge the gap and to involve youths in these conversations, as it is their future these conversations will determine.
What sort of feedback have you had about the site to date?
I’ve had some incredible feedback already, all really positive about the section. Young people have got in touch to say how brilliant it is that we’re giving them a platform and that they’d love to get involved.
You have also launched a Young Voices WhatsApp news alert service – tell us more…
By using WhatsApp to deliver news alerts we can deliver the best of our day’s stories directly to people’s phones; they don’t even have to look for it. It’s a really personal service that also provides us with a select audience that we can bounce ideas off and get feedback from.
What sort of content do you expect to feature most?
We’re going to be covering so many different areas so it’s difficult to tie it down to just the one. We’ll be covering lifestyle topics including budgeting and travel, careers advice, start-up businesses, mental health issues, feminism, LGBT-issues and religion. There’s too many to list! For the next few months, however, we’re focusing on young voters.
As for the type of content, it’s really going to be a whole mix – blogs, interviews, new stories, features, advice pieces, light-hearted listicles and videos.
What opportunities are there for PRs to help with content?
Lots. We’re always on the lookout for young people to profile in our Young Talent section, and we always need young entrepreneurs for our Young Entrepreneur of the Week series. We’re also keen to publish as much advice and tips as we can when it comes to careers, employment and apprenticeships.
Do you have any tips for PRs pitching to you?
Make sure you sell your story. Just as journalists have to sell theirs to readers, PRs need to sell theirs to journalists. Really make use of that email title – that’s the first thing I read, and often I’ll make the decision on whether to even open the email based on that.
I get around 300 to 400 emails a day, so my method has to be quite cut-throat if I’m going to get through them all!
Is there anything PRs should avoid doing?
Don’t approach me if you haven’t done your research. There’s nothing more frustrating when they evidently don’t know what the journalist covers. I’ve been pitched all kinds of stories which aren’t in the slightest bit relevant.
And finally, what life advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Blog, blog, blog. Even if no-one is reading it, it shows you’re committed to writing!
Lucy was speaking to Gorkana’s Jason Moore.