6 MINUTE READ
Fancy opening The Guardian or the New York Times or Woman & Home Magazine and seeing a huge feature all about li’l ol’ you?
As a PR (& Digital) Consultant, it’s my job is to place editorial features like that and here I’ll share some Insider Tips on how to do get yourself and /or your product/ charity/ blog featured in the printed press – so you don’t have to pay someone like me to do it for you (although if you insist on paying me lots of dosh I’d be happy to oblige )
So in the age of Information Overload and Fake News is a newspaper or magazine feature worth anything?
Not only will it raise your profile, but, studies have shown that printed editorial is more trusted and considered to have more credibility than adverts and most of the stuff that’s seen on the internet. And you get to send a copy of the magazine to your Aunty Daphne at Christmas. Win. Win.
Here are my Insider Tips on How to Get Featured in a Newspaper or Magazine
To illustrate let’s use Betty McKnitter, a fictitious (well if she’s not, I’ve gotta meet her) entrepreneur who churns out cute teddy bears from her garden shed in The Cotswolds.
1. Work out who you want to communicate with and what they read
There’s no point in being in Betty having a double page spread in Funeral Director Monthly when her potential customers read Woman’s Weekly, The Daily Mail, and Teddy Bear Times (yep, that’s a thing).
2. Come up with suitable storylines for the newspaper or magazines that you are targeting
There are endless potential storylines – here are just a few angles that are proven winners…
Topical– it’s National Teddy Bear Day soon (and yep, that’s a thing too) and Betty is giving away 100 teddies to the local hospital to celebrate.
Target: Local Press – The Birmingham Post and The Cotswold Times
Seasonal– Christmas is coming so Betty should get some fabulous photography of cute Christmas-looking teddy bears and issue to the journalists compiling the Christmas Gift Guides – or better still send a teddy bear along with some product information to say, journalists on 5 key titles that she is targeting.
Target: All daily and Sunday newspaper and Woman/ Home Interest and Lifestyle Magazines
NOTE – Timing it everything – most magazines will be working on their Christmas issues in August/ September and newspaper in October/November
Business– so now that Betty is churning out 10,000 teddies per year and has a turnover of £2 million – it’s time to place a business story. Betty should approach the Business Editor on a quality newspaper or a Business Magazine and highlight that she is the perfect example of a mumpreneur.
Target: The Financial Times or Global Woman Magazine
Human Interest– readers would love to know how Betty juggles her million pound business with being a single mom to Triplets – Tessa, Terry, and Teddy.
Target: Woman’s Weekly
Health and Fitness– How Betty Lost 5 stone thanks to yoga, making teddies and looking after the triplets.
Target: The Daily Mail or Woman’s Health or OM Yoga
Tragedy-to-triumph story– How Betty changed her life when she swapped Crack Cocaine for Knitting Teddy Bears
Target: Take A Break or The Daily Mirror
Celebrity– How Princess Meghan of Markle contacted Betty and to commission Harry & Meghan Teddy Bears as gifts for the rest of The Royals.
Target: Now Magazine or The Daily Mail
Love Interest Gossip– How Betty juggles briginging the triplets, running a successful business and being Brad Pitt’s new love interest
Home Interest– How Betty has transformed the back shed in her cute country cottage into a production line for teddy bears.
Target – Homes & Gardens
Local Interest– How Betty has taken on 10 local mums to help build her empire.
Target: The Cotswold Journal
One you come up with some storylines and where you would like to place them, get along to your local newsagent and buy a copy of all those newspaper and magazines and read them cover-to-cover (apart from the sports section). Look out for similar storylines to the ones you want to pitch and take a note of the name and email of the journalist who wrote those articles. If it’s not printed beside the article then check out the newspaper website for contact details of their journalists,. Magazines generally have a page featuring the names of their writers.
If you don’t have a name but want to pitch a story, try the Editorial Assistant or Features Assistant first, then move on to the Commissioning or Features Editor.
4. Make An Approach
There is no right or wrong way to approach a journalist. You could go all 21st century and connect with journalists on Instagram, Linked In and Twitter and build a relationship by liking and commenting and sharing their posts – but that could take ages.
Personally, I think the best way is to email the journalist, then follow that up with a phone call – even if you have never spoken before.
It is also worth keeping an eye on #journorequest hashtag on Twitter use to flag up editorial opportunities by journalists – especially from freelancers, who can be a bit more difficult to track down.
5. Tailor your approach
What works for Woman’s Weekly magazine won’t work for Vanity Fair so don’t send out a standard email – rather tweak it for the different editors and publications. Journalists can get hundreds of stories pitched to them each week so keep it short – they are not interested in your life.
Make sure you get the names of journalist and any features you are referring to correct.
Here’s an example of a pitch email.
I loved your recent article on Sally McBaker and think I’d be perfect to be featured in a future Meet The Maker Column.
I’ve created a £2m business producing hand-made teddy bears, which retail at £200 each, from my picturesque Cotswold Cottage
I have a busy life as a busy single mum, raising 8-year-old triplets and I recently dated Brad Pitt for a few months.
Attached is a photograph of me and the triplets and some teddy bears.
I hope this is of interest and will give you call in a few days to get your thoughts. If you need any more information meantime just let me know.
6. Follow Up
Be Patient – leave it a couple of days
Be Thick-skinned – don’t expect a reply. Journalists aren’t being rude – they are just busy and don’t have time reply to all requests and emails.
Be Persistent – phone them. Leave a voicemail. Email again. Then phone again. Give it at least 5 approaches before you give up.
To speed things up it’s often worth pitching to 2 or 3 journalists then giving the story exclusively to the first one who is interested.
Be Professional – respond to requests and questions IMMEDIATELY
Be Flexible – ask for and listen to feedback. The journalist might say National Teddy Bear Day is a bit boring, what I am really looking for something with a human interest angle – at which point mention the triplets, your recovery from Crack Cocaine and Brad Pitt.
AND REPEAT – until you get a hit.
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7. Bingo!! You’ve got a journalist interested – now make their job easy and ask for a credit
Respond quickly to requests. Provide any facts and figure that might help them and IT IS VITAL that you ask for a credit in the article. Send the journalist exactly how you want them to credit you and include your website and contact number
Having great quality images will often determine whether you get media coverage. If you have the budget get a professional photographer to take some pics of you, your product and maybe your workplace – you can use these for your website brochures, blog etc. For inspiration see what type of photography the magazines and newspapers your are targeting feature.
8. You Are In Print! Now Share the Love
Share a link to the feature through your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc and tag the newspaper or magazine and journalist (if appropriate) Also write them a thank you email and keep their contact details and get in touch if you think you have another storyline that might work for them.
9. Go for it – and let me know how you get on.
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