Who’s a fan of Guy Fieri and all of his fabulous cooking works? (raises hand!) Well, boy do I have a story for you! Grab a cup of coffee. It’s a good one.
I’ve been working as a freelance writer for Military Spouse Magazine and a few other publications (online and print) for a little while now and I really enjoy the fact that it lends itself to interviewing and delving into the lives of others – especially when I am inspired by how they persevere, like when I interviewed a group of Army wives who called themselves the “No Hubby Clubby” . They all lived in Hawaii, (as did I), and were away from their families, so they had banned together to get through yet another one year deployment with their husbands in a war zone. It was a humbling experience to hear their stories and a proud moment for me as a writer when the article came out.
Then there are the stories that are just plain fun, like when I interviewed Guy Fieri, the Food Network star, for another piece in Military Spouse Magazine. It really was one of the highlights of my year, but not just because it was Guy Fieri – it was because I managed to get the interview all on my own…with the help of social media. It was, to put it simply, amazing, and that is why I felt it was worthy of a share here.
This is how it all came together…
I attended Operation Home Cooking, an event centered around honoring Military Spouses, in Washington, DC back in November 2011. This event takes place as a part of the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show and because we had such a fantastic day, naturally, I wrote a blog post talking about the event. It really was such a fantastic event to honor Military Spouses and quite frankly Guy was extremely entertaining to watch and his affection for his son Hunter (his sous chef for the day) was so endearing. So much so that I felt compelled to write about it and share the pictures that I took of Guy with his son as they worked together on stage.
Then, as all bloggers do, I tweeted out the post and mentioned Guy Fieri… and wouldn’t you know…his PR company saw it and retweeted it saying they loved the photos of Guy with his son Hunter! I’m sure I put Guy’s Twitter handle in the tweet thinking it would be cool if he saw it and retweeted it but I never in my life imagined anyone connected to him would give it a glance let alone a retweet. Although, I suppose that’s their job, to keep tabs on what’s said about Guy.
So after that interaction on Twitter I gave it some thought and realized that I had the potential to connect with Guy on a piece for Military Spouse Magazine. I knew that he had a passion for our community and that he had a passion for families cooking together based on his presentation at the cooking show and the fact that he runs his Cooking with Kids Foundation. I also knew that our magazine had been working with other chefs featuring recipes and advice for families on cooking so I realized that Guy was a natural fit for an article.
Now the question was…could I turn that random Twitter interaction into an interview?
You all know the answer to that question, but the important things for you to know are that I did my due diligence and looked further into who to contact at the PR agency. I then drafted a formal email that included a mention of the tweet and the idea I had for featuring Mr. Guy Fieri in Military Spouse Magazine and why I felt he would be a good fit for our publication.
I truly believe because of my professionalism and follow through, I that is why they came back with a yes . Had I attempted this conversation through various 140 character tweets or shot off a quick email without much thought, it might have gone in a different direction.
I’ll never forget when I heard these words over the phone…
“Hi Nicole! Are you ready to rock n roll?!” in an enthusiastic and friendly voice that could only be the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives star. I imagined he was walking around with his sunglasses on the back of his bleach blonde head working his way to his next meeting or event and…
I. was. dying.
But thankfully, he was super friendly and easy to talk to, so the interview went well.
Getting this interview was simply amazing. I’m still in awe with the fact that writing a simple blog post and then promoting it via Twitter led to an opportunity for an interview with the dynamic, friendly, and down right hilarious Guy Fieri. I am in awe of the experience altogether.
What I can tell you that I learned from this is that when you see an opportunity arise, take a chance and go for it. It is possible that you will get a ‘no’ but it is equally as possible that you will get a ‘yes’.
It’s not to say that you should be stalking celebrities on Twitter or their PR companies asking for interviews – please, please do not do that. Not only is that rude, but it’s completely unprofessional.
But, if something happens organically as this scenario did, don’t be afraid to take a chance and see what happens. Present yourself professionally, propose something that is beneficial to you as well as them – in my case, Guy was able to feature several recipes in the magazine and talk about his Cooking with Kids foundation and offer tips for families to make it work in their homes as well as share his passion for the military community. On my end, I got to tell my editor that little ol’ me secured a high profile feature for their magazine! And, I had a chat with Guy.
Not too shabby.
The beauty of blogging and social media is that it has opened doors that we otherwise might not have opened for ourselves, which is why I am sharing this story with you. I didn’t write this for bragging rights (although I will say that chatting with Guy on the phone for 20 minutes was quite thrilling! Ok, so maybe I did want to brag juuuuuuuust a smidge.) But honestly, the primary reason I wrote this because I want you all to believe that you can pursue and reach your goals. When opportunity knocks, fight off those little voices that say you can’t and most importantly, do the legwork, present yourself professionally, then, go for it.
Blogging truly can be a stepping stone for other things – and this story is a testament to that.
**Oh and if you’re interested in reading the article, it’s in May’s issue of Military Spouse Magazine – which may still be on the shelves of military base commissaries and local bookstores near bases. I can usually find issues at my local bookstore.
Has blogging brought something new and exciting to your life?