Episode 003: Show Notes
Ever wonder how to get your business published by “O” Magazine, “Entrepreneur” or “Forbes”? Or maybe you’d like to get a spot on your local new station or even "The Today Show"? It can get overwhelming figuring out who to reach out to, what to say and how to make the perfect pitch. Well, today on The Strategy Hour Podcast, our friend Rachel Hofstetter (a former editor of “O” Magazine and CMO of Chatbooks) will walk you through the entire process.
She shares her three key factors in perfecting your pitch, what to say in your emails, and how to stand out from the crowd. Getting proper PR for your business can have a huge impact in your reach and credibility, so making sure your efforts don’t go to waste is key. After this episode you’ll have the tools to start reaching out to small and big name publications to get your business noticed.
The Benefit of Being Published and How It Can Help Your Creative Business
Oftentimes in business, you put energy into something that just doesn’t pay off. However, this isn’t the case when it comes to getting published. Carving out time, even as little as 30 minutes a week, can lead to just the traction you were looking for.
Why seek out press? The instant credibility you get, obviously.
Need another reason? How about some additional revenue.
Recognition and press can have the added bonus of driving up sales, and boosting your legitability overnight — yes, we just made up a word.
From Rejected to Accepted
How you submit or reach out to a magazine, or other forms of press, changes depending on exactly what it is that you are looking to accomplish. Although the purpose and the format may change, there are a few things that will stay the same regardless of your situation.
It’s about time you paid attention to what Rachel calls the “give, give, get” formula. Giving more and expecting less may just give you just the edge you need. Let’s not drown in the crowd of endless submissions. Regardless of what you aim to achieve or who you are pitching to, if you follow the "give, give, get" formula, you are sure to stand out.
Who Gets Better Press? - The Product-Based or Service-Based Biz
Whether you are selling a product or your services, establishing a solid PR strategy is worth its weight in gold. Spend time perfecting your pitch and find new ways to stand out against the crowd. There is no shortage of news, so establish your voice and give good story.
Drawing the Line Between Personal and Creepy
When crafting your pitch, you have to strike a balance between making it personal and keeping it professional, without it sounding like an automated email. In this episode, Rachel shares how to create a connection with the editor without sounding like a complete cyber-stalker. Know who the heck you are talking to. Know their background. Know what they like. Pitch things that are relevant to their column. Don’t blind email 50 people and expect a response. Many times those minute details are not as important as relatability. Find the common thread and pull on it. Stuck? Refer back to Rachel’s plan of "give, give, get".
Make The Editor’s Job Easier
When you are pitching — give abundantly. This is especially true for you product folks. Send them what they need and quit complaining about those overnight shipping charges.
Anticipate what they will need and make their job as easy as possible. Don’t just offer your help. Give before they ask. Make their job so easy they have no reason but to ask you to do it all again.
Another thing to keep in mind is speed. The media is often in a hurry, so you have to be on time and prepared. And give a little grace when it feels like you've had to hurry up and wait. The media works on a completely different schedule, often working 6-months or more in advance.
Who to Contact and Where to Find Their Details
When pitching to a magazine, actually buy a few copies and read through them. Shocking, I know, but it’s one of the best places to start. Contact information for editors can be found on the mast head. Don’t forget to always double check with a second source to make sure you have the right contact person. For smaller newspapers or blogs, it may come down to actually finding individual emails the old-fashioned way — let me Google that for you.
Here's the email formats she mentioned!
- Meredith: FirstName.LastName@meredith.com
- Hearst: FirstInitialLastName@hearst.com
- Conde Nast: FirstName_LastName@condenast.com
- Rodale: FirstName.LastName@rodale.com
- Time Inc: FirstName.LastName@timeinc.com
- NBC: FirstName.LastName@nbcuni.com
- Inc: FirstInitialLastName@inc.com
- Forbes: FirstInitialLastName@forbes.com
- Yahoo: FirstInitialLastName@yahoo-inc.com
- New York Magazine: FirstName.LastName@nymag.com
- Huffington Post: FirstName.LastName@Huffingtonpost.com
- Bonnier: FirstName.LastName@bonniercorp.com
- Entrepreneur: FirstInitialLastName@entrepreneur.com
- USA Today: FirstInitialLastName@usatoday.com
- Sunset: LastNameFirstInitial@sunset.com
- Reader's Digest: FirstName_LastName@readersdigest.com
- Buzzfeed: FirstName.LastName@buzzfeed.com
- Daily Worth: FirstName@dailyworth.com
It’s All About The Story
Every pitch needs a great story. It should be something that grabs attention, but gives the reader actionable steps they can take away from your “story”. Never forget the hook. There has to be something that creates a spin on the story idea, something that is bound to hook readers and draw them in to find out more. Without a specific hook, the story idea may sound good, but not good enough to turn heads and land you the deal. Our brains are hardwired to search for more information, so it is critical to get down to the specifics and add in that little extra. Need ideas for spin? Listen to the episode above, hello.
What To Do When There Is No Reply
Editors are often swamped with the sheer number of submissions they receive, so don’t fret if you hear crickets. When the relationship is still fresh and you haven’t heard back yet, one really easy follow up is to send a repeat email in case it did not go through the first time and provide a little bit of extra information if it is available. This acts as your “one free follow up”, and does not overstep the courtesy you provide for the editor. Whatever you do, DO NOT send the follow up email the next day unless it is time sensitive. Just calm down, lady. Follow up in a week. This gives the editor some room to reply. You can’t anticipate what their life is like — they may be on vacation, home with a sick kid or just plain busy.
- Learn how getting published can give your creative business the credibility it needs in a crowded marketplace. [0:02:42.9]
- Get the details on Rachel’s “give, give, get” formula and how it will help your emails land in accepting hands. [0:05:05.0]
- Find out why, when it comes to PR, it does not matter if you are a product or service based business. [0:10:14.7]
- How can you make your pitch emails personal, but not creepy? Get Rachel’s tips on finding your edge, with a personal touch. [0:13:01.9]
- Rachel shares her top tips for making an editor’s job easier and how this can help you land a feature. [0:17:31.4]
- Learn Rachel’s tricks on finding contact information and who to reach out to when you are looking to get published. [0:21:04.0]
- Find out how to create a sexy spin to your story idea by adding a catchy and specific “hook”. [0:27:49.2]
- Get Rachel’s tips on what steps to take when you do not hear back from editors, and how to continue growing the relationship from your end. [0:35:53.7]
- Rachel breaks down her step-by-step process for writing an email that is short, concise, detailed, and to the point. [0:39:47.2]
Remember that editors are people too. Relate to them on a human level.
Tell everyone about your piece. Re-tweet it, add it to your email signature, add it to your website.
- Keep the “give, give, get” formula in mind every step of the way. Give like it’s a friend, give a good story, and take advantage of whatever you get.