Getting some media attention for your business is invaluable, but it can be a difficult and sometimes demoralising process. Use these 8 tips from a journalist to make your next pitch a successful one.
Selina Gordevich, associate editor at Modern Home magazine has this advice for small businesses about pitching to the media:
1. When you send emails, always take the time to find out the writer/journalist/editor’s correct name spelling. I am constantly receiving replies to my call-outs and general emails (which all clearly include my signature at the bottom and my name mentioned twice) which are addressed to ‘Selena’ or ‘Seline’ – I often delete these emails without reading.
2. If you’re looking to approach a certain magazine, it doesn’t hurt to look up the magazine website or buy the latest issue to see who the section editor or on-staff writers are, particularly because journalists are constantly moving around publications and companies. To this day, I’m still getting calls and emails about the sections I used to write at the Sydney Morning Herald – I haven’t worked there for over 2 years now.
3. For any fashion, accessory or home wares business it can be a good idea to have quality images to show-off and present your product or service. It may cost a bit, but it’s worth hiring a professional photographer to shoot your products in a lifestyle setting, particularly if you have a permanent collection – the photos can be used for years to come and can be also used on your website, in brochures etc. Also, most magazines these days prefer photos of products to be supplied as deadlines don’t often permit for studio shoots to be organised in time.
4. For every product, collection, range, service etc. journalist’s want the following info: product/style name, info about said product, RRP, stockist details (website and general phone number) and high res images or thumbnail images.
5. Be quick. If you receive an email asking for more information or RRP’s etc. reply ASAP – journos will move on to the next thing straight away if left waiting too long, we don’t have time to chase for information.
6. Be polite. Even a two sentence blurb on your product, service or business is a big deal, particularly in large magazines and newspapers. Always say thank you – I was contacted by a lovely lady who owns a small organising business, I included one of her products and as a thank you she sent another one of her products with a note reading ‘thanks for including ____. I hope you enjoy this ____ which is from my latest range’. This clever tactic meant she said thank you with another product from her business, as she knew there would be a possibility of further editorial on the new product.
7. Listen and read. When you talk to journalists, listen carefully and write down anything if you feel you may forget it, same with emails. Read emails thoroughly before you reply back, the answer to your question may be in the email and you may have accidently overlooked it. I always get replies to my call-outs asking for the deadline and the publication date of the issue – which is clearly written at the top of every call-out email I send. Same with phone calls – just two minutes ago I was asked about the on-sale date of the next issue, which I gave, only to be asked 10 seconds later ‘what was the on-sale date again?’.
8. Don’t take it personally. If you don’t hear back from a journalist straight away or they’re abrupt to you on the phone, don’t take it to heart – journalists have a high stress levels due to tight deadlines and constant requests.