A Media Strategy to Make You Famous
authors Denise Grothouse | April 3, 2017
Editors and writers are under constant pressure to produce new, creative and compelling content for their publications. Both the traditional and digital online publications work at a dizzying pace, facing time and budget constraints just like any other business.
As a kitchen designer or a manufacturer in this industry, you possess a potential subject to be featured. By presenting new designs and innovative products in a professional and respectful manner, you can add your company to the featured list. It takes some upfront legwork to assure you are pitching your story to the right audience and careful crafting of correspondence to secure an editorial spot. Knowing the right people to contact is paramount and timely responses to editorial requests are essential.
Understanding the management roles of publications is crucial to navigating the publishing world. Below is a quick tutorial of the primary roles.
Publishers: Oversee the entire publication from start to finish. While they oversee all aspects, the publisher typically does not get involved personally in the daily activities.
Editors: A magazine can have one or many editors. They are responsible for all editorial content, but do not handle advertising. Editors assign work to writers and are the people to contact for submitting editorial projects or ideas for consideration.
Writers: Staff and freelance writers research and write articles for magazines.
Advertising/Sales: Sell and produce the advertisements in a publication.
DEVELOP YOUR MATERIALS
Every correspondence with an editor should include everything they would need to take the article to print. A carefully crafted storyline will allow the editor to run with your story; the editor should not have to contact you again for additional materials. You will need:
- A well written article, press release or pitch. For a press release or pitch, this should be approximately 150 words; for a project submission, summarize the project and why it would be a good fit for the publication, but consider adding ancillary materials such as a design statement with bulleted details and a product lineup.
- Only the best photography; if it is of questionable quality, omit it. High-resolution photography should be provided via a link to a photo sharing site like Dropbox or WeTransfer. If photography attributions are required, include them as well. Include a short biography about yourself and/or the company.
- A headshot if it is applicable to the subject.
- Your contact information including a phone number and email address.
IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE
Identify the publications that would be interested in your story. Every magazine has a unique structure and voice – ensure your recommendation blends seamlessly into their magazine by reading the issue and taking notes on the topics covered. Local magazines and national shelter publications are great places to start.
Once you have identified your target publications, take time to peruse their media calendar. The media calendar is the magazine’s schedule of topics they plan to cover and the related issue date. You can confirm if your story is relevant to a future issue and use that information in your email.
CREATE A CONTACT LIST
Create a list of the targeted publications and compile a list of the primary editorial contacts. The editorial contacts are often listed directly on their websites. Excel spreadsheets are excellent tools for keeping your contacts in order.
DO: Read the publications to understand the readership demographics and the style of the publication.
DON’T: Send an impersonal broadcasted email to multiple publications.
CRAFT AN EMAIL
Most editors correspond via email. Their inbox is a waterfall of incoming work to be done. Be respectful of their time and recognize you have about eight seconds to capture their attention. The subject line should concisely inform the editor of the content of the email and be compelling enough for them to read further. If they have a feature on “Kitchens of the Future” for a June issue, include a reference to that in your subject line. The email should be personalized and, if relevant, reference a prior article or issue that your suggestion builds upon. For example, a previous article on “Design Dream Teams” could be referenced if you completed an aging-in-place kitchen project working with a builder and architect.
Take time to craft the email, and if you’re trying too hard to make it work, then consider that is might not be a good pitch. Send the email individually to each editor on your list and personalize the emails. The afternoon is the preferred time of day for this. Create a list of the emails sent for your future reference and follow up.
DO: Proofread your email and ensure it has correct grammar and punctuation.
DO: Keep it around 150 words.
DO: Make sure you pitch the right story to the right editor.
DON’T: Send a broadcast email to all publications without personalization to the reader.
Articles can be published with or without prior notice to you; every publication works differently. Following up with the editor in a few days to assure they received your email is sound advice. It also provides the opportunity for you to ask if they are seeking information about a topic on their media calendar. Be helpful, professional and understanding if they feel your story is not a good fit for them.
DO: Respond to editors daily.
DONT: Ignore an email from an editor. Always respond promptly, with a thank you – even if the answer is no.
Developing a strategy to promote your company takes time, creativity and great organizational skills. Starting with a solid plan is the path towards editorial success. ▪
Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing. She specializes in digital and social platforms, and integrating them with traditional marketing and branding strategies. No stranger to the kitchen and
bath industry, she is best known for her work as chief brand officer of Grothouse, Inc., and president of the marketing company Perfect Six.