Travel and culture website AwesomeMitten.com is a one-stop site for everything a Michigander needs to get the most out of life in the Mitten State. The popular site receives more than 400,000 visits each year, has upwards of 133,400 followers on all of its social media platforms, and is a featured website of the Pure Michigan campaign. It has also provided several Professional Writing students with an opportunity to launch themselves as freelance writers to begin to build their professional portfolio.
One student and freelance writer is PW senior Stefani Chudnow. She first learned about Awesome Mitten during WRA 341 [Nature, Environmental, and Travel Writing] when several reps from the site came to class to give a presentation. Stefani was extremely interested and submitted an inquiry on the “Contribute to The Awesome Mitten” page on the site. That led to an interview with the site’s creator, and her first piece was published a month later. Since then she has become a regular contributor.
Stefani appreciates the flexibility she has a freelancer with Awesome Mitten. “I like that I can write whatever I want to,” she says. “I have a lot of freedom … and an excuse to travel around the state when I’m writing my pieces.”
Her favorite piece she has written so far is “7 Stories of Unusual Michigan City Names,” which was posted in August 2017. For this assignment, Stefani researched unique city names in Michigan (including Bad Axe, Christmas, and Colon) and told readers about the history behind those intriguing names.
Another piece Stefani wrote focused on Michigan’s Adventure, a popular theme park. She traveled there in June, took some pictures, and got to “experience the park as a blogger.”
Stefani feels she has learned a lot from her freelancing experiences. “There are a lot of important aspects that you don’t necessarily think about, like SEO [search engine optimization], how your piece will come across on a social media site, and how to best come up with a title for people to want to click on your piece,” she says.
Stefani also says the site provides an interesting addition to her resume; so far, every interviewer she has spoken with has been impressed by it. She encourages her fellow PWers to do freelancing work to help them figure out what they want to do in the future. Her experiences have certainly done that for her, she remarks.
Another PW student working for Awesome Mitten is senior Hannah Bullion. Hannah serves as the social media manager for the site, which is a continuing, paid position. She originally got connected to the site through PW alum Vaughn Springer, who also writes for Awesome Mitten.
In addition to serving as Awesome Mitten’s social media guru, Hannah also writes feature articles. To date, her two favorite pieces she has written are “Ultimate Guide to Brunch in Michigan,” and “Most Instagrammable Spots in Michigan,” about places in Michigan with great opportunities for out-of-this-world pictures. Hannah says that her experiences with the site led her to seek out opportunities to do social media work with other companies. “I have been able to work with two other brands, one of these being High Five Threads, an apparel brand out of Traverse City,” she says.
Hannah also appreciates the way her work with Awesome Mitten has given her a newfound appreciation for her home state. “It has opened up an entirely new viewpoint on Michigan to me,” she says. “I have more of an interest in Michigan and would like to continue [working for] Awesome Mitten.”
Go towww.awesomemitten.com to check out more cool articles by these and other current PW students and alums, including Joel Heckaman, Becky Harris, Jackie Mitchell, and Samantha Ward. For more info on becoming a freelancer for the site, go to www.awesomemitten.com/about/contribute/.
Written by Heather Haely
November 28th, 2017