A couple of weeks ago, I attended my second workshop hosted by seasoned magazine editor and freelance writer Amy Flurry. Her book, "Recipe for Press," is all about how to be your own publicist, promoting your small business all on your own. I had so many aha! moments when I attended my first workshop with Amy about a year ago (just look at how inspired I was afterwards!) For the longest time, I naively thought that every person or business featured in magazines were sought out by editors, not the other way around. I'd been waiting to be discovered when what I really needed to be doing was hitting the pavement, peddling my products over e-mail. Because according to Amy, that's what everyone else is busy doing, whether they hired PR representatives to get results or are doing it all by themselves.
And even though Amy's workshops and her book are super informative and inspiring, I still haven't reached out to any publications -- a whole year later! Partly because I haven't felt "ready" to do this yet. I wanted to check a few things off the list before dangling my products in front of any fancy magazine editors. On the list: a professional-looking website, a range of different products and a wholesale catalog, to name a few. But I've come a long way in a year, and I feel like most of these things are in place and ready to go.
Also? Reaching out to fancy editors and putting it all out there in black and white is downright scary. What do I say? What if they say no? The fear of rejection is a powerful thing. But insecurities and doubts are going to have to be pushed aside this year, because I think I finally feel ready to get out there and start peddling.
At Amy's last workshop, I picked up her new Pitch Wheel, a genius little spinner that helps us business folk remember what kind of editorial content editors are looking for each month and how much lead time we need to give editors before we pitch. During my time as an intern at "Cooking Light," (many, many moons ago), I was surprised to learn that magazine issues are put together months before they hit stands. So this little wheel is going to really be helpful as I start planning what to pitch this year. Fingers crossed I get a bite!
A few tips I've picked up from Amy:
- Photography is everything. Great photos will not only grab editors' attention, but they'll also be ready to use for the Web and in their magazines -- win-win! When in doubt, choose a white background...and hire a professional to take a few photos of you in action or behind your desk while you're at it!
- Tailor your pitches. Don't send the same pitch to every magazine editor out there; personalize each one the best you can. Amy writes more about how to write the perfect pitch in her book.
- Think like an editor. What kinds of stories would an editor publish in April? Answer: articles about organizing your home and spring cleaning, Easter decor and recipes, pastel-colored spreads, etc. Pitch according to a magazine's editorial calendar and you'll have a better chance of getting featured.
Thanks to Amy* for always inspiring me and motivating me to take the next step with my business! You can buy her book online [here] and the Pitch Wheel [here], for those of you who are interested. Are any of you small biz owners who have successfully landed a magazine spread in the past? I'd love to hear how you did it and any advice you may have! -- Natty
*Please note that I am not affiliated with Amy Flurry, her book or the Pitch Wheel in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.