Doing the math: Why attending Health Journalism 2013 adds up for one freelancer #ahcj13

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

A look at some of the issues, sessions and ideas to keep in mind for those planning to attend Health Journalism 2013, the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

I’ve been looking forward to the AHCJ conference in Boston since the last one ended. I say this for three reasons.

First, my results from the Freelance PitchFest last year paid for my trip to Atlanta. I came away with one new publication that led to three assignments. The first assignment alone more than paid for my roundtrip airfare, the hotel, conference fee, and all expenses. My second and third assignments were clear profit, and I have an ongoing relationship with this new publication.

Second, I met a lot of great AHCJ members. One of those members helped me land an assignment with a second publication.

So, when I total it all up, my expenses last year were about $1,200, and my revenue since then from two new pubs is $7,000! That’s some significant ROI.

Third, I’m looking forward to the freelance sessions. The freelancers I met last year had terrific ideas about how to promote myself on the Web and with social media, how to pitch ideas that sell, and where to turn when I need advice. I learned how to use Twitter to my advantage for sources and article promotion.

In one of the sessions last year, there was a lot of discussion about the value of using the Web to promote your brand. At the time, I didn’t even have a website. Now my site not only promotes my work, but it gives me a convenient way to demonstrate to new sources that I cover a wide range of health care topics in depth.

Third, I’m looking forward to having the conference in Boston because I can drive or take the train. And I can stay with friends or family. My expenses will be lower and so it’ll be interesting to see if I can top last year’s totals!

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