Samantha Partington, Freelancer

In today's Freelancer in Focus, Samantha Partington talks about the perseverance required by freelancers to find exclusives without the support of a national brand, discusses the impact of her work on mortgage switching penalties and reveals the lengths she would go to in a curry making challenge.
Samantha Partington, Freelancer

What do you freelance about?

Personal finance and lifestyle.

Do you specialise in any particular areas?    

Mortgages, property and the housing market.

Are you happy doing corporate work?

Yes, I work for Hometrack, a company owned by Zoopla that specialises in property data and clever automated tools for banks and building societies. My work is on their website. I also write thought leadership pieces and blogs that appear in the trade press. I’ve also worked with Simplify the national conveyancing group to produce newsletters and write content for their in-house mag.

How can PRs help you with your work?    

Check in from time to time to see if I need any help, send relevant press releases, flag topics they think may be of interest and if I do a Twitter (X) shout out for something, only reply if it’s relevant.

Tell us about the pieces of work you’re most proud of, or any recent highlights?    

I recently worked on a story for rounding up 13 lenders’ rules on locking into a mortgage deal but being able to switch away if rates fell before the deal kicked in. I uncovered that one bank would charge the borrower a full early repayment penalty if they changed their mind, even though the deal had yet to take effect. My relentless pressure and hard line that they would become the story resulted in a U turn and they scrapped the policy potentially saving borrowers tens of thousands of pounds. I still got a great story but did some good in the process.

When you’re telling a story, what’s the most important thing to remember?    

Who is my reader and why do they care. 

Congratulations on your success at the 2023 Headlinemoney Awards! How did you feel when you were announced as the winner?

Amazing. I was up against journalists who have the support of a national desk. I’m on my own, finding exclusives to win pitches, which is no mean feat without a national brand behind you.

Why are peer-judged awards such as the Headlinemoney Awards important to freelancers?    

They are a hard bunch to impress so winning their approval means a lot.

What advice would you give to a new freelance journalist?   

Don’t get overwhelmed trying to write for lots of titles. Pick one or two and give them your loyalty and support and they’ll eventually give it back. Use LinkedIn to find corporate work – literally just put a shout out to say you’re looking for opportunities. And keep doing it. It only takes one to get people referring you. 

Sum up your time as a financial journalist in three words:

Freedom, rewarding, stressful (at times).

If you were up for an award for any hobbies/activities outside of work, what would you be likely to win, and why?

Amateur curry maker – no recipe is too big or complicated to take on, I’m fully prepared to destroy my kitchen in the process and I make enough to feed an army.

Finally, if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Funnily enough – a lamb curry of some sort but one someone else is making. I can’t do those dishes for the rest of my life. 

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