/  2024   /  Quick chat with Theresa Miller

Quick chat with Theresa Miller

You’ve been working in media training and communications for many years. What do you love about what you do?

I learn so much about different industries – more than I often did as a journalist. I media train a lot of academics and hear about their cutting edge research in medicine, engineering, AI, science etc – including research that could solve some of our most pressing problems, from climate change to mental health issues. They give me reasons to be hopeful. In exchange, I give them the skills to be great media talent – so they can speak clearly, succinctly and in plain English. I demystify the media – so experts gain the confidence to not just answer a journalist’s questions but also get across their message.

What have been the highlights of your career so far?

I’ve been very lucky. Among the many great reporting gigs I’ve had was working in Switzerland for CNN and The European Business Channel. For one story, I bungee-jumped out of a cable car in the Swiss Alps and drank champagne in an ice cave. I’ve interviewed Prime Ministers, celebrities and tracked down criminals on Australia’s Most Wanted. During the 2000 Olympics I was a media advisor to Sydney’s Lord Mayor and met everyone from overseas dignitaries to Ian Thorpe and Kylie Minogue (whom I love). I media-trained the band members from INXS before they went on tour to find a new lead singer. I’ve also written a couple of books and been on the other side of the microphone promoting them.

Now I love meeting people from all walks of life, hearing their stories and helping them share them with a wider audience.

What do you enjoy about freelancing?
Working on weekends and slaving away at my computer until midnight, of course! Well, no – not really. But I do like being my own boss and setting my own hours. I often have the mornings off for yoga or walking the dog and I don’t have to ask the boss for time off to be with my family.

But I do like being my own boss and setting my own hours.

What skills do you think are the most important for freelancers to acquire?
Networking, digital marketing, editing your own website and asking clients for a 50 percent deposit up front.

Why do you think the Summit is important for freelancers?
It’s important to occasionally swap our trackies and ugg boots for pants and skirts with zips, and shoes with heels. It’s also super important to make new contacts, have conversations with other grownups and learn new things to help your business run a little more smoothly.

What learnings are you hoping that people will take away from your session?
I’m hosting a panel called ‘Nail Your Pitch’ and will be very interested to hear from three esteemed editors and producers how freelance writers and PR practitioners can get cut-through when pitching a story or article.

The conference theme is all about futureproofing your career. What steps are you taking to futureproof your own?

While I love running media and presentation skills workshops face-to-face in boardrooms and training seminars, I have just launched an online course which I’m proud of. It’s more affordable and accessible to anyone who wants to learn the art of successfully handling a media interview or speaking on a panel, podcast or presentation. Now, I need to learn how to successfully market it.

Do you think the future is exciting for freelancers, and if so, why?
Yes, definitely.

Thanks to technology, we are in the era of disruption. Not long ago, big media outlets and advertising agencies yielded all the power. Now we can strike out on our own, carve out our niche and give damn good service to our clients without all the overheads, red tape and politics inherent in big organisations. It’s a great time to be a freelancer. I wish I’d had the courage to do it sooner.

Thanks to technology, we are in the era of disruption. Not long ago, big media outlets and advertising agencies wielded all the power. Now we can strike out on our own…

What are you most looking forward to at the Summit?
I’m looking forward to the welcome drinks, catching up with friends, meeting new people, and learning new, creative and valuable ways to run my business and do more of what I love.

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

Find out more about Theresa on her
profile page or via his website.

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