Do you ever wonder how magazines and blogs find all of the products that they feature in their articles? Some of them come from the research efforts of the writers and bloggers. But a lot of those ideas come from business owners pitching their products. You, too, can pitch the media and see your products featured in magazines and blogs!
Before You Pitch: Build a Media List
While you could run out and start emailing any blogger or magazine editor you can find, the best approach to pitching the media is a planned one. Read on to learn how to find the right places to pitch your product.
Know Your Customer
The best place to start is with a clear understanding of your customer. Who is she? What other, similar products or brands does she love? Know the answer to these questions can help you determine which magazines or blogs she’s reading.
There are several ways to find this information:
- Look at your Google or social media analytics for demographic information.
- When someone favorites an item in your Etsy shop, check to see what other types of items she’s favoriting.
- After a customer makes a purchase from your Etsy shop, look to see what other types of activity she’s had on Etsy.
- Search for similar items on Pinterest and see what types of boards they’re grouped on.
Create a List of Ideal Media Outlets
Google your target customer’s favorite brands to see where they’ve been featured. Major brands will likely be featured in national magazines and big blogs; smaller competitors will probably be in local or online magazines and blogs with smaller followings. You'll want to keep a list of these media outlets because you'll be pitching to them!
Your list can be anywhere: in a notebook, in a text file, or in a spreadsheet. I like the spreadsheet approach because I can easily track extra information, such as the dates I pitched and followed up and whether I received a response.
Identify Specific Contacts
Now that you know which magazines and blogs you want to pitch. You should also know that blindly sending an email to a generic email like “[email protected]” is unlikely to generate a response. The best approach is to find a specific editor's contact information.
A magazine has a masthead that lists all of the staff roles and names. It can usually be found somewhere within the first few pages of the print issue or online. If you’re selling clothing, jewelry, or something similar, look for fashion or accessories editors. Record their names in your list.
Most blogs have an about or contact page with email information. Many even include a “how to pitch” page. Read these instructions and make some notes about them in your files. They are unlikely to respond if you don’t use the format they prefer. If more than one person runs the blog, pinpoint the most relevant editor for your product.
Locate Email Addresses
There are several ways to find email addresses online. Try these:
- Google the editor’s name and workplace, for example, “Jane Doe Vogue magazine” or “Jane Doe Vogue magazine email.”
- Search LinkedIn or Twitter for the editor’s name. If you receive too many results, include the publication name or city. You can send a direct message to the person asking for their email address.
- Some people are harder to find than others. If it's taking you too long, take a break and try searching for another person.
Write and Send Your Pitch
Now it’s time to create your pitch! Pitches are like resumes and cover letters. The “guts” can remain the same, but you should tailor each one to the specific recipient. Take into consideration a blogger’s specific rules for receiving pitches or a magazine’s timeline. Don’t pitch beach accessories in June, because a magazine’s lead time is several months—they’ve already got your product covered!
Write an Open-Worthy Subject Line
Your subject line should be descriptive and explain exactly what you're pitching. Keep it concise and compelling so the recipient knows what you’re pitching and wants to read the message.
Create the Pitch
It goes without saying that your pitch should have perfect spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If writing’s not your strong suit you should consider asking someone to proofread your pitch.
A good pitch has several components:
- A total length of fewer than 10 sentences.
- Address the editor by name.
- Introduce yourself and your brand in a sentence or two.
- Explain how your product is a good fit for the editor’s magazine or blog. If they’ve featured something similar in the past, mention that! It’ll help spark interest.
- A call to action to trigger the editor to respond to you. This could be a question or a personal note.
Remember that editors and bloggers are sometimes pitched to hundreds of times a day and are super busy, so your pitch needs to stand out! I once found that the editor of a magazine I was pitching was a big fan of Bon Iver, a band that went to the same college that I did. I made sure to mention that coincidence! Doing something like this makes the editor open up a bit more and increases the likelihood of them taking the time to check out your website.
After the Pitch: Following Up
If you haven’t heard back from the editor after a week, you MUST follow up. The secret sauce of pitching is the follow up.
Send a Follow up Message
Oftentimes editors and bloggers have already decided in their minds that they would like to work with you, but they don't have the time to respond to your email and they forget! Your prompt follow up gives them a gentle reminder. You're also giving the ones who are on the fence a chance to look over your website again.
Remember, this is an essential step that most people don't do. Make sure you do it! You’ll stand out.
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again
If you still don't hear back, it's okay to move on to the next editor or blogger. Sometimes they simply aren’t working on any articles where your product would be a good fit.
Responding to an Editor
If you DO hear back, you'll want to answer any of the editor’s questions quickly. Editors and bloggers work on tight deadlines!
Some editors may require samples, and if it's within your budget to give away a couple of products, do it! Shipping with USPS is fine.
If your product is expensive, you can mention to the editor that you'll be including a prepaid return label and packaging that they can use to send the item back to you. Some magazines will not return items, but you will know this ahead of time, and can make a decision if you want to pursue the opportunity further.
Submitting Images and Details
Editors may want high resolution images that are suitable for printing. This usually means a quality of 300 dpi or better, but the editor will be specific about what she wants. You can usually email digital files.
Other requested information may include pricing details and where to buy your product. Give them all the information they need in a timely manner and editors will love you! They’ll also be more likely to work with you again in the future.
Wait to See if You’ll be Featured—and Send a Big THANK YOU!
After sending the samples it may take a few weeks to hear the editor’s decision on whether they’ll feature your product or not. Sometimes they'll decide to hold off on featuring your product until another time.
More often than not, though, they'll mention which magazine issue your products will be featured in and thank you for your submission! Remember that editors and bloggers are always in need of content to feed to their readers. In a way, you're helping them do their job!
When Your Feature is Published
The waiting game begins when the editor says your product will be featured. Hopefully the issue or blog post arrives soon! Once it’s been published, scan it into your computer or take a screenshot of it. Be sure to:
- Share the feature with your existing customers via social media or your email newsletter.
- Store a copy of the feature for your portfolio.
- Include the feature on your website.
Being featured in a magazine or on a blog will help build trust and desire in your brand. Keep at it and you’ll be well-known before you know it!
What tips can you share on pitching to blogs and magazines?
What has worked for you and what hasn't?
Share in the comments! I'd love to hear your story!