Congratulations! You’ve set up your business, you’ve beefed up your branding, and you’re finally ready to get your product the exposure it deserves. Whether you’re an independent artist, a photographer, a jewelry designer, or some other kind of maker, publicizing your product in magazines is one of your best (and most lucrative) bets for gaining exposure –– but you can’t just call up Vanity Fair and ask them to give you a shout-out.
So, how do you master the art of product placement without hiring an expensive publicist? CreativeLive instructor and entrepreneur Andreea Ayers shares four simple tips for getting high profile magazines to spotlight your business.
1. Make A List of Dream Magazines
Before pitching your product, you’ll want to whip up a dream list of magazines –– and make sure to dream big. If you want your line of letterpress cards featured in Cosmopolitan, don’t be too shy to put the mag on your list. Think your jewelry would be great in Harper’s Bazaar? Add them. Andreea suggests starting with around 20 magazines, but reminds you to think outside the box. Consumer and trade mags might not be glamorous, but they’re a great way to expose your business.
2. Study Each Magazine
Once you’ve amassed a list of magazines, it’s time to do your homework. Get to know what type of audience they reach, and how they format their buying guides. What type of products do they usually feature? What’s the usual price-point? And how do they talk about those products?
“The more you study the magazine, the more familiar you’ll be with it, and the easier it’s going to be when you’re actually pitching,” Andreea says. You can even determine exactly which section of the mag you want your product featured in. Remember: editors love getting magazine-specific pitches rather than standard press releases, and a little research will go a long way in forging a personal connection.
3. Figure Out Where Your Product Should Be Featured
Now that you have a copy of your dream mag’s editorial calendar, it’s time to figure out how your product fits into their schedule. Every magazine approaches product roundups differently –– some will run a monthly guide for their readers, some will wait until a big holiday rolls around, and others will do a yearly roundup (think Oprah’s Favorite Things). You’ll need to determine the best time for your product to be featured, and one way to do this is by accessing the magazine’s editorial calendar through a simple Google search. Just make sure to pitch your product 30 days before the calendar’s “space closing” date, which is the cut-off for advertisers to submit their pitches. (P.S. If you can’t find the magazine’s editorial calendar, directly request their media kit in the “Advertising” section of the website.)
Is Good Housekeeping dedicating February to organization and de-clutter? Might be a perfect opportunity to place your line of chic journals and notebooks! Remember, you’re more likely to get a response from editors if you pitch on-topic, and you’re definitely more likely to annoy them if you pitch off-topic!
FYI, many magazines follow the same formula when it comes to their editorial calendar, so you can predict what they may want ahead of time. Here’s a cheat-sheet that Andrea goes by:
- January: wellness, weight loss, resolutions
- February: Valentine’s Day gifts, travel
- March: springtime fashion, products and gardening
- April: Earth Day, eco-products, tax tips
- May: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, graduation
- June: Father’s Day, graduation, summer style
- July: summer entertaining, barbecues, Fourth of July, weddings
- August: back to school
- September: cool weather fashion
- October: Halloween, breast cancer awareness
- November: Thanksgiving, recipes, holiday gifts
- December: holiday gifts, parties
4. Pitch Your Story
The key to pitching success is telling an engaging and relatable story that connects to a magazine’s readers. People want to buy products that tell stories, and editors want to publicize products that their readers will relate to on a personal level. If you need inspiration, some standard story templates from Andreea are “Gift Stories” (e.g. “Gifts That Give Back”), “Timing Stories” (e.g. “Preparing Your Garden For Spring”), and “Solves A Problem Stories” (e.g. “Add More Carrying Space To Your Stroller”). If your pitch both sells your product and tells a story, you’re good to go.
For more valuable business tips from Andreea, check out her extensive 3-day No Nonsense Publicity course with CreativeLive.