/  2024   /  Quick chat with Kate Barracosa

Quick chat with Kate Barracosa

You’ve been a journalist and editor for many years. What do you love about what you do?
I pursued journalism because I loved reading and writing and it seemed like the most logical choice of career path. I still love both of things but, over the years, my favourite part of my job has been working with other brilliant, creative people to figure out the best way to tell a story to do it justice: how do we get the headline right? Is this better as a video instead of a written piece? Or even a TikTok?

What have been the highlights of your career so far?
I’m currently leading the Officeworks content team at Medium Rare Content Agency, and that is by far the highlight. The team is so passionate and we work across so many different streams of content that it’s a constant creative challenge. Prior to working with Officeworks, I was the digital editor for Qantas Travel Insider and that afforded me some truly amazing opportunities in the pursuit of stories, like being the only guest at a luxury lodge in New Zealand in the middle of winter. I’ll never forget that vast, starry sky.

Have you always worked inhouse? What do you like about working with one of Australia’s largest media organisations?
I’ve only ever worked inhouse. I started at Fairfax as a cadet journalist, then moved into magazines with Pacific Magazines before joining Medium Rare Content Agency almost eight years ago. I’ve been able to work with multiple clients in all sorts of different roles over that time, and been given the chance to learn from different parts of the business which is a huge plus.

What is important for people to know about custom publishing?
That we’re balancing two just-as-important needs: telling a great story that offers value to our readers and supporting a brand to achieve its goals. Any piece of content we create needs to do both.

What skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?
Building relationships is essential, with potential sources and editors.

An understanding of how your story might work on different platforms is an important skill, too. If a writer can share how their idea could come to life across a magazine, Instagram and an EDM, it demonstrates that they have researched and understand the content ecosystem – and a piece that can be promoted in a range of ways will ultimately get more eyeballs.

What are you hoping to communicate in your session?
While custom publishing has its own quirks, ultimately what editors and publishers want from freelancers is the same as consumers: well-researched, clean copy that adds value to our readers’ lives by offering new information or giving them the tools to try something new.

What learnings are you hoping that people will take away from your session?
I hope people come away feeling confident about their next pitch and with some clear ideas on how they can cut through editors’ email inboxes! And, in regards to custom publishing, a better understanding of how to establish whether their idea will fit within the brand’s overarching goals and vision.

The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career. What steps are you taking to futureproof your own?
Gaining a deeper understanding of content platforms has been essential, and staying up-to-date with when and how these changes will take effect. What worked on Instagram a year ago doesn’t necessarily work now so I work hard to stay abreast of how platforms are changing and what content they’re prioritising, and how our content can fit into that while still staying true to our point of view. I’ve always found that the little bits of knowledge you pick up along the way will work in your favour. During the COVID lockdowns, TAFE was offering free courses and I used some of that time to do a Python HTML course – way, way out of my comfort zone at the time, but something I figured would be a useful skill in digital media. Within six months I was putting it to use in my day-to-day job for a new client. It pays to stay curious!

Do you think the future is exciting for freelancers, and if so, why?
Freelancers are such an important part of the content puzzle and while it’s tough out there, there are so many opportunities that didn’t exist in this industry a decade ago.

What are you most looking forward to at the Summit?
Meeting many of the freelancers I’ve spoken with over email and phone for many years face-to-face!

Kate is a Day 2 panelist for Meet the editors – how to nail the pitch.

Find out more about Kate on her
profile page.

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