How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

Lesson 13/30 - Audience Growth Strategy: Press (with Brigitte Lyons)


How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft


Lesson Info

Audience Growth Strategy: Press (with Brigitte Lyons)

- [Megan] We are going to talk about one more audience growth strategy today. And this one I'm also particularly excited about. So we're going to talk about press. And again, press is this idea of getting your products featured in blogs and magazines and newspapers. And I know not all of you were thinking about press as a strategy, but as Tiffany mentioned, this is also a great secondary strategy that can support your SEO efforts. So again, I like to bring in people who know way more than I do about this stuff. So I'm going to go ahead and bring up Brigitte Lyons. Come on up here Brigitte. Brigitte is my personal PR guru, anything I know about press I know from Brigitte. So instead of me telling you what she knows, I just wanted her to tell you what she knows. But why don't you tell us a little bit more about what you do. - [Brigitte] Yeah, so I do PR and digital marketing consulting. And I do a mix of PR where I'm out in full service and writing pitches for people and sending them out...

and lining up coverage. And I also do a lot of training, where I'll train people up on how to do PR for themselves, because I really do believe that you can be empowered to do it yourself. And there's reasons to hire somebody to do it for you, but you never have to. So if anyone tells you you have to hire a publicist, they are lying to you to take all your money. So that's what we're here to talk about. - Yeah. And Brigitte is… I love Brigitte, she's excellent. And Brigitte actually helped me land one of my products in Elle Décor magazine which was a huge goal of mine, and she helped me make that happen, so she really does know her stuff. I'm actually just going to go ahead and hand things over to you, and I'm going to have a seat again. - Awesome. Well, it's so great to be here with you today. And I love being back at CreativeLive, talking about how you can get the media coverage of your dreams. So this is something like I said that is absolutely 100% possible for you at any stage in your business. I know we're here to talk about how you can build up while you're still building your craft and building your skills, and I think a lot of people hold themselves back because they feel like they're not ready yet, they have to get their websites in a better shape, or their photography in better shape, or sell more, "I have to be famous first before I do PR." And that is absolutely not the case. I've help people at the beginning stages of their careers do everything from contribute to, which I know is a little different, but that was actually someone who watched my CreativeLive class, went out and pitched, and was paid to write for So you can do that kind of stuff from doing this. People have gone into CNN, people have gone into Refinery29. I know that's a big goal for a lot of people with products, and that's something that people I've taught have done as well. So no matter where you are at right now, you can absolutely achieve this. And the reasons you might want to are because, when you get media coverage it's like an endorsement for your product. So Tiffany was just talking to you about search, and so a lot of people who come to your website are cold traffic, they don't know you, they haven't necessarily seen you before, and they want to know, "Can I trust you?" Or maybe they read in a magazine a recommendation to your product or to your website, and they're like, "Oh my gosh, I have to check that out. I love Elle Décor, so of course I'm going to check out Megan Auman." It's like a referral or an endorsement. The other thing that PR can do is drive traffic, whether it's foot traffic, if you actually have a physical location, local media is a great way to get people coming into your shop. But online, that link drives traffic back to your shop, so it's really important that way. I also do a lot of SEO as part of my PR work, those things work together. So I always tell people that when you're doing PR, you're actually doing SEO and you don't even know it, so that could be a huge benefit too. And then the last thing of course is that media coverage can really help you drive up sales, not just by driving traffic, but you can add a little as seen in tag with your product that's been featured, and that can really help people who land on your sales page convert from browsers to buyers. So if you can show that kind of proof, that you've been picked and endorsed by the media, it can really help you drive up your sales. So that's what we're going to be talking about today, is, how do you get there? And I want to get you ready so that you can start submitting your product to the press and give you the elements you need to do that. So the first thing is, we're going to talk about what makes a blogger editor really excited to cover your product. What are they looking for? They're getting hundreds of submissions every week, some people at the top magazines are getting hundreds every single day. But there are definitely things that you can do to make your submissions stand out, and they're really simple, they're not complicated, but they're things that people don't know about, and so it can really help you boost your results that way. We'll also talk about what magazines and blogs are the perfect fit for your product. So when I start working with people for doing PR for the first time, they're often like, "Well, I don't really know who to pitch, I don't know what's out there." It's not your job to be looking through the media all day, that's my job, that's one of those reasons that people hire people like me. But it's actually really easy to build a media list, and so I'm going to share with you how I actually get started with somebody when they're brand new, and I'm in a brand new industry. How even I have to figure it out going from scratch. I don't have this media database in my head, although I do have a subscription to one, but usually you want to have an idea of what you're doing before you go in there. And then we'll also be talking about who you should direct your pitch to. So once you've built up that submission, built up your media list, what is it that you actually put in your pitch? And a pitch a simply an email, so I'm going to be sharing who you send that to and giving you a template for writing that email that will really make your submission stand out. Okay, are we cool? I'm just curious, how many people here are considering in the studio, are considering doing press outreach? Okay, awesome. And has anyone done it before? One. Okay, all right. So we've got a green group, but that's cool because this is something that I do all the time. So the most important thing that I can impart on you today is that bloggers and editors are constantly on the lookout for a new product to feature. Finding new product to feature in their magazines and in their blogs is literally their job, that's what they're paid to show up at work and do. So I often will hear from people who say, "Well, I haven't been featured before. So how do I get started?" Or, "People haven't heard about me, so how can I do that?" And that's actually really great for an editor to be able to break new product to their readers, that's their job and it's in their best interest. So that's why I say at any stage you can start doing this, because you don't actually have to have huge name recognition. What you really want to have is something that is going to capture their eye, that's going to be appealing to their audience, something that they haven't seen yet. And so this is actually a benefit to you when you're first getting started, is that you can be that person, they can be the person that breaks you, and that can be really exciting for an editor to do with a new product. So what are they looking for? Because you can't just send any product out to any magazine and expect that it gets covered. And the most important thing to realize is that you and a person working in the media, you have actually a customer in common. The person who is buying your work should also be the person who is consuming that media. So when you pitch a magazine what you want to figure out is, "What kind of media is my customer consuming? Because then it's perfect for that editor to slot my product in." Or with a blogger, who is the person that they're reading? And the ways you can figure this out are first looking for an aesthetic fit. So can I see my product in the pages of that magazine? Can I see that blogger running that kind of piece in their pages? Does it look like the other things that they feature? You shouldn't be ever held back because you say, "Oh, they featured a product like mine before," that's when you want to dive in, that means they're looking for work like yours. So that's actually a really positive indicator and a positive sign for you. Competition actually can help you in that way. The other thing you want to think about again is that common audience, so the person you're trying to sell to should also be the audience of that media, and that can be a really good way to find a match. So if you're looking through the pages of a magazine, you can say, "Can I see my customer? Would they like this magazine? Would they like the kind of coverage? Would they like this design blog? Would they like this stationary blog?" Whatever it is, can you see them consuming it? And the last important piece is price. So no matter what price point you're at, generally speaking a media outlet will have sort of parameters for the price point of the products that they'll feature. A really clear example could be like Cosmo versus Vogue. Cosmo is like for younger women, it's often kind of fast fashion or less expensive buys, so you might see products in there at like the $20 to $50 range, whereas Vogue is very high fashion, exclusive, off the runway. And so if you have a product in that $1,000 price point, you probably want to be pitching Vogue. But I think that shows you that no matter where you're priced at, there is going to be immediate outlet that's going to cater to your customer. So it's just important to really keep that in mind though when you're looking through again what they're covering, are the other products in your price point? And that's when Megan and I worked on the Elle Décor pitch, it's really important for us to match the products that we're pitching of hers and what we're recommending to the prices that are in that magazine already. So how do you get coverage? Well, this is actually more simple than you could ever possibly think, you ask for it. Another big misconception is that you need to wait for the press to come to you, or that people get magically discovered. And sure, I've talked to people who that's happened, I've had clients who have actually hired me because they've said, "Gosh Brigitte, I got this piece of media coverage, it really boosted my sales, and now I need to figure out how to get more of it. I don't know what to do." And so they've seen the results, and they've decided to go for the outreach. But really the best way to get coverage is just to put your product out there consistently in front of the people whose jobs it is to find more product. And really specifically I recommend a pretty particular approach when you're doing PR for yourself. I've done a lot of experimentation and training people how to do PR, and there's different models for this but this is the one that I find is the easiest for people to maintain and gets them the best results, and that is to set a goal for yourself to pitch one media outlet each week, so each working week. I don't know if you work 52 weeks in a year or 48 or some weird number like 30, you take half the year off, [inaudible] But if you can set a goal for yourself, that, "Every Tuesday morning I'm going to set aside like two to four hours to send out a pitch," then by the end of the year you could have 48 pitches out, and that can be really powerful in getting results. I find that when you're doing pitches really, really well, maybe one in five will get accepted, which is why you want to have quantity, you want to make sure that you're out there doing consistency. So what does this look like? It really looks like emailing one blogger or editor each week to introduce them to your work. Now, after about six months or so you can actually go back to an outlet and send them another product or another angle. So let's say you have a product and you send them some sort of Valentine's Day themed pitch, maybe then for the holidays you can send them a gift guide pitch, that's an example of how you can go back. So you don't necessarily need 52 media outlets in a year, maybe you can cut that in half and go back a second time later in the year. But if you are introducing your work consistently and then building that relationship, that's how you get coverage. Speaking of relationship building, that is a big part of PR, and that is why people often hire publicists. But it's actually really easy for you to build up those relationships now, because most media people are on social media. People in the media are disproportionately active on Twitter, so if everybody is giving up Twitter I think media people are like, they're like, "We can't quit because it's our job, news breaks on Twitter." And so that can be a really great place to connect with people after you've sent them a pitch, you can follow them in Twitter and retweet their articles, say, "I love that piece that you did." And it's a way when you send them a pitch again in six months they recognize your name and they're even more likely to take a second look at it. So that's a way to build that outreach as you go. And again, you only need a couple of hours a week to do this. So, the best opportunities to get press for your product. This is a big question I get from people a lot, where should I be pitching? And to answer that question, we really do need to understand why you're doing PR. Because the best opportunities for you are going to be very context specific about what your goals are. So, why are you doing PR? Well, most people do it to get their work in front of more people, media can introduce you to a mass audience. We talked about this already, but earning endorsements from those influencers your customer trust is so important because the customer is really the key at what media matters to you. Again, you want to drive foot traffic or online traffic to your store. So if you actually have a local shop or you sell somewhere locally, doing local media is a great option for you, doing TV, we're not really talking too much about TV in this in this presentation, but all of this really kind of works for TV as well. But TV or newspaper or a local magazine or even local bloggers can really help you there. Or, are your people mostly coming to you online? If you're selling online, then the link is king, so you really want to look for media that will link back. And so that it can actually be a balance of like, do I want to work on magazines exclusively, or maybe I need 50-50, magazines, bloggers for the prestige and then the traffic? And then you really want to convert that into sale, so you want to think about what mast heads, if I were to say "as seen in" on a product page are really going to wow my customer, what will they have name recognition with? That's important. To get the most out of your product PR program, that's why you really need to focus on that media that your customers know they can trust. And so this means your outreach really needs to be customer-focused and not pure industry-focused. And I think this is the hardest thing to get in the habit of, because a lot of makers are looking at techniques to build their products or maybe business advice like this, and they're looking for things that are appealing to them and their peers. But you really want to be focusing on, "What is it that my customer is looking for? Are they looking for an outfit to wear to a wedding? Are they looking for birthday cards for kids? What is that that they're looking for and what media would they be paying attention to for that?" And so that's why I like to do some exercises that actually help you mirror what your customer might be doing. So a couple of those exercises, I actually want you to kind of follow along with me for this for a second. If you can just think about somebody who's bought one of your products or if you're brand new and you haven't been selling yet, somebody who can really envision buying one of your products, try to bring a picture of that person into your mind. And then imagine that that customer is at the grocery store, so they're out running errands or standing in the checkout line, they've got ingredients for dinner, they're like half distracted, but they're standing on the checkout line, what do you think would catch their eye? Would it be the gossip brag? Would it be a home decorating manual? Would it be a magazine that has a bunch of recipes in it? Would it be something like real simple with 15 minute hacks? What would it be that you think that person would catch…catch their eye in that line? And then another thing you can think about is like you're at the doctor's office, or you're at the salon and you're waiting, you're sitting in the waiting room and there's a stack of magazines in front of you, again you're in your customer's shoes here, so thinking about in that case, what do you think they would pick up and flip through while they're waiting? What are they being drawn to? And you can actually do this, I do this all the time when I'm working on products. I'll go shop at different grocery stores, and I've had clients in the wellness space, and so for them I actually had a natural foods co-op they used to shop at, and so I went there and said, "What are the media outlets in my natural foods co-op?" Because they're different than a mass chain supermarket. And so the media outlets they were carrying there were different than some of the other ones that you might be familiar with if you go to like a Safeway or a Myer or wherever you are in the country, they're very different. But if you are somebody who you're like, "You know what, I have this busy mom, she's probably at Target a lot." Then go to Target and figure out what are the things in the checkout line there. So you can actually mirror this behavior, or you can go to a bookstore and look at the shelves, and just literally sit and flip through them that way. And then the last one, and a really powerful one is search. So when your person is looking for ideas online, which is where most of us are now looking, you really want to think about, what are those search terms that they're typing into Google? What are those phrases that they're doing to solve their problems? So you actually start working on this research, and this is where we're talking about like search and PR can go together really well, because you can figure out, what are those terms? And then look and see what comes up. So I did a really quick sample search around natural fragrances I think because we were working with somebody who has a natural fragrance line recently. And so I just wanted to see, so what I did here is I pulled up, I used Google Chrome, and so I did an incognito window. So you want to do if you can the incognito or private, because the way searches work is they link your results to your personal activity and the emails that you get. If you don't remember this, it's not a big deal, but it can help. So I went into a private browser, and did a search of national fragrances, and these are the first things that came up. So you can see there's this, Well+Good" article comes up and is profiled really highly, so clearly they have an ad. There's a TreeHugger which is an online site, really focused on natural products and natural living. And then there's a product listing in Sephora. What I couldn't fit on the screen is the very next article on here was from Vogue. So if I were actually selling a natural fragrance and putting together a media list, I would put TreeHugger, Well+Good, and Vogue on my media list. Because I would say, "Wow, this is what my customers are coming across when they do their research, so I can look at these and try to find opportunities to pitch my product. Is there space for them?" So is that making sense? Does anybody have a question about how you do the mirroring and the modeling? Okay, so what we're looking for once we start building up this media list are, one, usually one of three opportunities. There's other kinds of media outreach you can do, but these are the best product-focused kinds of opportunities. So the first and the easiest are gift guides by far, because this is when editors and bloggers are out there frantically looking for products to recommend to people to buy, people who are looking at gift guides are in buying mode, so this is really one of your most powerful times. It can be around any holiday, whether it's the Christmas season or Hanukkah or Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, so if you can find any gifts guides, those are really powerful. And again, thinking about those three tips, so is it an aesthetic match for your product? Does it seem to speak to your audience? And does the price fit within the price of the other products in the gift guide? - [Female] Just because it's not at all my realm of knowledge, when would a magazine be prepping for like their Christmas gift line? Do you want to message them in August or...? - That is a wonderful question. Six months in advance. So for Christmas you usually want to have your pitches out by mid-July at the very latest. And this is all print pitches, I actually have a slide of this at the very end, but I'm glad you stopped me. So all print pitches you want to plan six months out. So if you're sitting at a time of the year and Mother's Day has just passed, you're like, "Oh my God, I wish I had pitched Mother's Day." Don't kick yourself, put that on your calendar for November, because Mother's Day is in May, but in November pitch Mother's Day, or maybe October prep Mother's day, you might need some photography or something if you have a new line coming out. So you can remind yourself to do that next year. So I always feel like don't ever kick yourself for missing an opportunity, just put it on your calendar for the next year. The other one is product round-ups. This is actually Megan's Elle Décor placements, and so you can see here that what they did is they did a trend piece on brushstrokes. And she at that time had a textile line, so this is one of Megan's pillows up here, and they pulled her product for this round-up that they were doing. And so you can absolutely pitch yourself to be included in a round-up, and the way you want to do that is just introducing yourself. And if you can identify a trend coming up, that's great, or you just kind of share your product. And we're going to talk about the template specifically for doing that in a little bit. So round-ups you can pitch. And the last thing you're looking for are like single features on products. Usually in a print magazine you'll find these in the front, they call it the front of the book. So at the very beginning the magazine will have lots of little features on up and coming artist, or new product that's out there, so you can absolutely pitch yourself for inclusion there and we'll talk about who you send that too. Or any kind of online placement where it's focused in one piece. So generally your best bets are to look for any kind of media, whether it's a blog or a magazine is really what we're focused on right now, gift guides, product roundups or product features, if you see that and then they have those audience aesthetic price matches with you, you know you found something really great to be reaching out to. And just remember, if this starts to feel overwhelming, you only need to identify one of these each week. So you don't need to build a media list of like 20 or 30 and spend all this time planning, you can just sit down on a Tuesday and say, "I'm just going to try to do one customer search modeling, poke around for maybe 20 minutes until I find something that looks like a good match," and then take the next steps that I'm going to share with you to send out that pitch. So it's really that simple, you don't need to spend a ton of time on this to get it done. Okay, so the question back to this, if you're submitting a product to a magazine you want to reach out to one of two people. The first is the relevant, like assistant editor. If there's no assistant, it can be the main editor. But what I want to emphasize here is you want to go as low down on the totem pole as possible. So I'm going to show you a staff listing, what it looks like. But let's say it's a magazine, and they have a fashion editor and an assistant fashion editor, it's that assistant that you want to reach out to always, as low as possible, or a market editor. A market editor at a magazine is the person who is responsible for pulling product for gift guides and product round-ups. So whenever you see a market editor on the masthead, which is a staff listing of a magazine, you're like, "This is an awesome person to be reaching out to." And you can find these online. So this is from Kinfolk. This is a little bit old, so I don't know if this is current and up to date, so if you're looking and like, "I want that person." You should go Google it make sure it's right. But Kinfolk magazine for example has their team listing on their website, so you can go and see they have the name and the editors here. And actually, I didn't scroll down, so all these people at the top, managing editor, editor in chief, founding designer, you don't want those, you really want to find the person who is in charge of the section that you would be in, whether it's fashion, jewelry, accessories, home, décor, whatever feels most relevant it's going to be really specific to that magazine, you'll be able to figure that out. And then this is a masthead, so this is Sunset magazine, and this is their masthead. Again this is a little older, and here you can see really specifically how it's organized, and you can look and try to find, like here is food, so you have food editor, associate editor, recipe editor. So if you have a food product for example or you're doing recipes, you'll be like, "Oh my gosh, I'm going to submit that to the recipe editor." Here in garden, Sunset's really a lot about like outdoor living, like it's West Coast, so there's garden editor, associate editor, and garden design assistant. So actually if I had a garden product, I'd either reach out to this Joanna, associate editor, or Lauren, the design assistant. When there's two that looks fine, just send it to one of them. The email addresses, I didn't put a slide together on this, but to get their email you can usually Google like "email addresses at Sunset" to try to see what they look like. If you can find one email address, you know that they're all structured the same way. Often it's like first, initial, last name@sunset. Or, you can get the phone number, their general, direct phone number, and just call and say, "Hey, can you give me Joanna Silver's email address?" And 9 times out of 10 they'll give it to you, so that can save you a ton of time, a ton of time. So that's how you find the right person. For a blog, it's usually just the blogger. They'll often have a submission or a contact page that will tell you how they want you to reach out to them. If you can find someone's direct email address easily, I like that. But if they're really clear, like, "These are our submission guidelines," it's actually best to follow them, because they're usually a one or two person team, and they're using that to manage their workflow. Okay, so you've got your media list, you've got your…you're ready to start pitching. So the next question is, what do I put in this email? What do I send to them? I know how I'm pitching, what do I do? So, I have this template that I've put together that literally can work for just about any sort of pitch. So I'm going to share with you the template and then I'm going to share with you a pitch that I wrote for Megan that we sent out for her, so you can see how this goes into practice, and so you can have a model that you can look at. This template is, like I said it's something you can totally customize for your product, it works with just about everything. So top to bottom, every…one of the most important things in your pitch is actually your subject line, because the subject line is what gets somebody to open it, it's just like a headline on a piece of content. If somebody doesn't like the headline or the subject line, they're never going to read past it. And my hack, my trick for subject lines is that you want to make it sound as much like the tone of the blog or the magazine that you're reaching out to. So if you find a sample article where you're like, "Oh, this is a product round-up, I love it," just try to play Mad Libs with that headline and make your own. If they're using alliteration, use alliteration. If they use "10 Ways to Style a Blank," do "5 Ways to Style a Blank." Be really literal and kind of copying, steal like an artist, steal that headline, copy it, twist it, use it. That is going to be your best way to get in, because what happens on the other end, if I'm an editor and I'm reading that, I'm like, "Oh, that looks like it fits." Like already you've sent me this cue that you're paying attention, that you're going to be a good match for me, and it makes me much more excited to see what you're going to say. Then you go into it. So as much as possible we're sending out direct emails to people, and you always want to address them by name. So just hi, use their first name. But this is important because a lot of people will actually…this is so gross, send BCCs, like they'll put in 20 to 50 editors in one email and just BCC them all, and be like, "Hi there," and not address them by name. And it's like, "I know what you're doing, you're lazy." And I'm like… So if you just put their name, it's like one of those things, this is where there's these little, unconscious signals that you're sending, that you're like a touch above everybody else they've heard from. And then the first paragraph is also very important, so what you want to do here as much as you can is wet their appetite, hook them into the idea. So what you don't want to do is say, "Hi Jane. I'm Brigitte, I'm a PR consultant, I've been working in the industry for 15 plus..." let's see, too many years. "And I've been reading what you're writing, I love what you're doing," no, none of that. Usually you'll write that all out and then you have to cut it, and you want to start with something that's really specific. So let's say you want to pitch for instance like a Mother's Day gift guide, you might say something in your hook like, "People often struggle to give their mom something that feels really meaningful. Well, this Mother's Day what if you blah-bleh-blah," something that's going to lead into your product, so you get right to the point. You can even look at their past coverage again and model the ways that they intro their articles, and have a little bit of fun with the copywriting there. Once you've wet their appetite and told them what it's about, then you can do your submission. So this is where you actually introduce your product and say, "I have this wonderful product that moms love, it's made of blah-bleh-blih, blah, it costs dih-dih-dah," include your product information there. So I'm going to show you again exactly how this looks. So you have a couple of sentences that talk about your product and its price points. And then to close it out, you can either offer to send a product to them. So, samples you never have to send them, it's totally a personal choice whether you send them, and it can really depend on how one of a kind your product is, the photography you have available, like whether they want to photograph it, the prestige point of the outlet. If Oprah comes to you and says, "I might want to include that in my magazine," you might say like, "Take all the products, please take it." But if it's a smaller blogger, you don't have to do that, or even a small magazine, you can say, "I actually have these hi-res images, can I send those to you instead?" And 9 time out of 10 that's totally fine. Most people nowadays don't even want to get product. Another thing about samples, never send them unsolicited. So a lot of people will say, "Oh, send a pretty box with your product in it to an editor." That stuff ends up going home with interns or being thrown out, just please don't throw away your product that way, it really hurts me when people do that. So unless they said, "I love to receive your product," don't send it that way. So that can be just a little trick for you. So if you want to say, "I'm happy to send you a product for a shoot," you can. Or you can say, "I'll be happy to send you hi-res images," and then you just sign off here. Okay, let's look at how that works out. So this is a pitch that we wrote for Elle magazine, and we did this a few months ago. Again this is like six months in advance. And so we were trying to look and figure out what it was about the coverage that's happening in the media that would really work with Megan's product? And we came up with this idea of growing-up grunge, because she's got steel, bold pieces, she's got some chokers, pendants, all of that stuff that's coming around again, and Megan's work works perfectly I think for that aesthetic. So we came up with this grown-up grunge idea, so you can see we used a little alliteration, and I think that's because we copied it from Elle. And Christina was the name of the editor we pitched. And so our hook, "The 90s are back in full force! And no style quite epitomizes the 90s like grunge. From lip dresses to dark lips, it's all coming back again. And while that's all fine and well for teens, what's a grown-up grunge princess to do?" So we haven't even yet started talking about Megan's product, we're just giving them an idea of something that we know they're going to be covering this trend, and we're just trying to show them how we might fit in editorially and give them an idea. Then we talk about Megan's products. "If you're covering the 90s revival in the September fashion issue, I'd love to send you some jewelry pieces that are a grown-up twist on the grunge trend. My line is handcrafted in America using sustainable materials and eco-friendly processes available at a variety of price points," and then we actually listed a couple online and at retailers across the US. So we packed a lot of information into just a few sentences. One of the things is we wanted to talk about how it's a handcrafted using sustainable materials, because we don't really care if they cover Megan's product in a grunge feature, we just want them to look at Megan's product and to file it away for something to do. So sometimes these things don't come to fruition immediately, but they'll say like, "Oh, I really like that," and they'll save it. Or you'll go back to them later, and they'll be like, "Oh my gosh, I remember you. Let's do a piece. I'm doing another piece." So if you can kind of slip in other pieces of your product that might make it interesting, that's really helpful. We also talked about the different range of price points, we picked her stackers because they are lower, so they're doing a really quick piece on that, you know that can be helpful, all the way up again to her best-seller. And here we're just linking to product pages on her website, so you don't have to have a media kit, like it can be helpful to have all those media materials, but you have shops, so just link to your pages, I'm sure your shops have already beautiful photography that shows off your work really well, and it probably has great product descriptions, or you're working on them after this class. And so just link to your shop pages, it doesn't have to be more complicated than that. And then you can tell them where it sold. So if you sell on Etsy or Shopify or on your own website or if you're on a major retailer, you can mention that. We talked about it. And then the closing is, "Whether you're looking for noir stacking rings or modern statement jewelry, I'd love to provide samples or images for a product round-up, trend piece or photo shoot. Thanks. Megan." So she's just wetting the appetite. We didn't actually get a response from this one, like full transparency. - You never actually sent the email, really full transparency. Look at her just giving me a look. Yeah, that's an important part, you actually have to, you can't just write the pitch, you have to hit Send. - I'm like, they're still doing grunge, I'm going to go home and send that. - This is why I went from doing it myself to just straight up hiring Brigitte, because clearly I forgot to hit Send. - That's a really good pitch. - It is a really good pitch. - Oh man. Okay, well that kind of turned me off my game a little bit. - Sorry. - No. But you can see how just a few paragraphs, we packed in a ton of information about why somebody might want to include it, gave them some story ideas, linked to it. And now too we can actually go back to them if they didn't do that like I said in six months and pitch another idea. And we can follow this Christina, I'm following her in social media, and so we can connect with her and try to build up that relationship in the meantime. So, how is that template feeling? Do we feel like we can try it? Any questions? Yeah? - Just to clarify, you wouldn't put actual images in the email? - That is a great question. No, never. A lot of people have really intensive spam filters set up, so you never want to embed images which kind of like it sucks. [inaudible] That's kind of a bummer because you have a product, and that's what you want to shine, you don't want your words and your fun language to shine, you want your product to shine. But the problem is, if you embed images or even put on attachments, usually it doesn't get through to them. And I've done tests, you don't even get a bounce back email, so you will never know. So it's always better to link. So you can link like I said direct to your website, or you can link to like Dropbox if you want to send them. If they ask for high-res images, you can be like, "Here's a Dropbox link," or a Google Drive link or something like that. That's a great question. - So does that mean that from our website email, if there's like a logo, banner at the top of all my emails, just scratch that and go straight from like…plain email? - Plaintext email. - No logos or anything? - No logos, yeah. I would keep them as minimalist as possible for sure. And also if they see something like that, they might think that you've signed them up for your email list, and that would really upset an editor. So I wouldn't even want to give the hint that… - As plain as possible. - Yeah, yeah, exactly. That's a great question. Any others on the pitch? Yeah. - So, in regards to the different strings, say like Elle magazine and like a blogger, let's say like an Instagram blogger or something like that, what's the difference in pitching it? Are we going to want to be like more casual and more specific to their content and less like, "This is what's hot right now," because they might not be posting that type of content, so… - Yeah, yeah. I think your hook should really be context dependent on the person you're pitching. And I always like to refer back to a sample. So let's say you're like…this blogger does a ton of product round-ups, I would actually look at a product round-up and just try to take my cues from that. - Right, kind of duplicate that. - So what are they doing there? What kind of hooks do they do? What kind of information do they include? But your tone, even with an editor it doesn't need to be formal, it actually probably should be a little bit more...I don't want to say playful, but it should have personality as much as possible because their magazines have personalities. So if you can match their tone, that's like another way to send that cue. And so you never have to be, "Dear, Mrs…," we don't need to do that, we can be pretty casual about it. - Cool. - Yeah. Any others? Okay, awesome. So we talked about this briefly, but the one thing about magazines is that they do produce their content six months in advance. This is a really hard and firm deadline, you cannot pitch a magazine two months before the issue, just don't do it, because it's a waste of your time. Because what happens in those months before hand is they get printed, and they get put onto trucks, and they get distributed across the country or across the city or wherever they're going, so they have distribution schedules that they have to meet. Sometimes you'll see if you look at their editorial calendars, they have later deadlines, those are for advertisers, this is not for us. They will let you pay to get in at the last minute, but they certainly won't accept it for free. So just be really clear about that. Bigger bloggers, if you're pitching a big blogger a holiday gift guide, it's really important just to give enough time for them when they might be thinking about it, so like a month before it runs is probably fair for something like that. So a bigger blogger, a month is usually good. Yeah. - For bloggers, if people ever ask for compensation, like, "Oh yeah, you can be in my round-up of gifts, but it's like a $100 to get in," or whatever. Does that ever happen, would you just say, "Oh no, that's not my jam?" - Yeah, that does happen. It happens a lot too in specific industries like wedding, fashion can be one unfortunately. There are some industries where that's really notorious for happening. And that's why we think this is up to you, like it's not free PR if you have to pay for it. And advertising is okay, if you feel like this makes sense to try or it's the perfect match, that can be a marketing decision you make that you never have to and you should never feel bad about saying no. - Okay. - About that, I thought that kind of Google rules, that if it is advertising that it doesn't really help with your SEO, or it's not supposed to? - Do you know, the thing with SEO is about how the links are structured. And so if this link isn't structured as a no-follow, I don't know if that's true, although I will say in the U.S. there's FCC rules where they have to disclose, and a lot of people don't always disclose. But as a product person if they don't disclose you're actually on the hook for it, so that's an important thing to know. And I think you have a question too. - Yeah, so with magazines producing content six months in advance, does that mean that when we are planning our submissions we submit six months in advance or do we need to submit seven months in advance so that they're ready six months. - Yeah. Six months is usually okay. - That's when you start submitting those. - Yeah, I wouldn't wait. So if you're going to do like a holiday gift guide, I wouldn't probably wait until the end of July, I would do it in the beginning of the month, but you should be fine with six. Great question. So the finishing touches. So your pitch is ready to go, you're sending it out, this is like the icing on the cake. So the first thing I want to say is, always, always, always, always, always, always follow up. I can't even think of more than like a handful of pitches that I've sent out that I've gotten a yes on the first email, it usually always comes in the follow up. And that's because these people are really busy, so they're getting hundreds of submissions, and if you follow up they might have really loved your product and they kind of forgotten about it, or said, "Oh, I'm going to get back to that later," and didn't. So if you follow up that can be really helpful, and your follow up literally can be like a reply, and just say, "Hey, I'm wondering if you wanted to see this product?" If you have another angle to suggest to them or something else that's happened, you can add a note, but it really can be just one sentence, just make sure that you do follow up. The other thing again is to use your social media to build a relationship with that new media contact. So a lot of journalists and editors are on Twitter, but also Instagram is huge especially for people who are involved in products, they're probably doing the shoots that they're styling and the products that they love. Pinterest can be a great place to connect with them, and so sharing their content or commenting on their content is really great. And you would be surprised how few people actually do that, and some of the top editors have really small follower counts, so you can really stand out that way. But even if it's big, think how great you feel when someone compliments your work, right? They're human, they're doing really hard jobs actually for usually low pay, so they love compliments, give them to them. And then again going back to them with a new pitch idea in six months can be really helpful in building that relationship for you at your time. So what I'd love to urge you to do is just to get started, to set a date with yourself and make sure that this is in your schedule, that you commit to once a week just spending a couple of hours. The first time you do it it might take you a little longer, but as you go you can actually take some of those pitch ideas, because not all of them will be accepted. So let's say we have Megan's grunge idea for Elle, we can actually if that doesn't get accepted in two weeks we can tweak it and send it out to somebody else. So you can actually repurpose, I like to create one document of just pitches and notes of where I've sent them, and then you can go back and repurpose things and send them out. So once you get started it gets a lot easier and faster, which is why I like the one a week, you're like in a groove, you're not like, "Wait, what do I do? How do I find this person? Oh, I don't know what to write and say," it just becomes very natural and part of your process. Okay, well, I think we're going to take questions. I also wanted to mention that I have a CreativeLive class which is a simple PR, Pitch Your Product. And so it is a class that's specifically around this, some of these slides are actually taken from that, I built this out from that. And it goes a lot more into what could go into a media kit and submissions and a few different kinds of pitch styles that are more on you, like profiles and podcasts and things like that. So it can be something you can check out too. - Awesome. And don't forget that if you buy this class that you're watching, in your Quick Start guide we also have those really simple steps to get started. And because I hang out with Brigitte a lot, they're literally all based on what she just talked about. So don't forget you have that as well. So we do have a couple of online questions, and I think Sarah did you have a question? - [Sarah] Oh yeah, I did. I was wondering, when you were talking about connecting with editors through social media, do you mean through the magazine's account or through their personal account? - Personal if you can. Yeah, definitely it's usually better to connect with a specific person who'd be covering the product. - Okay. - One of the other tricks you can use is, if you go to say like a magazine's Instagram account, and then on Instagram you click on that little down arrow and it gives you other recommended people, a lot of times some of the editors will start to show up. You see, you click on one of those editors, you click on the down arrow, and usually more editors start to show up. And you kind of follow the rabbit hole till you get to the ones that don't have a ton of followers, and that's a really good way to do that. - Yeah, you can go down that rabbit hole. - For a long, long time. - Just try this, give yourself a couple of hours [inaudible] - Do you ever use anything like LinkedIn to find contacts, to keep contact? - I have actually. So I have gone to LinkedIn because you can search by the media outlet, and see who works for that. So that is a super great way to do it. I've never emailed somebody through LinkedIn. I have tweeted people and said, "Hey, I have a story idea for you, can you DM me your email address?" Like a couple of times, that's kind of a last resort, but there have been a few people who've been really hard to get a hold of, and usually they're willing to do that for you too. - Awesome. So I think we have a couple of online questions, let's take a look at those. They'll show up on their own. - Do you have to have a huge following or product line to be featured? Nope, absolutely not. So this just can be a great way to get yourself built up. In terms of how many products you actually have to sell, I don't think that actually really matters. There's lots of people who have really thriving businesses and they're super focused on one core product. And so if that's what you're focused on, I could think of kick-starters this way. Kick-starter products get featured all the time, and it's just this one core product, so I wouldn't worry about that. The things you want before you do press really are to have some good product photography, whether it's styled shots or on white backgrounds, and you do want to have somewhere you can send people to. So you want to have your website up and running, or an Etsy shop. - And Etsy shop, yeah. - Shopify. You want to have a site up and running, and you want to be able to start selling to people. So all of that backend stuff you need to sell, you need for press, but beyond that this can be a way to build up those initial sales, there's no real reason to wait. - Yeah, and you really don't have to wait till you have your own part of that. An example I showed you of my cozy cuff, all the press I got on that I was selling on Etsy at the time, and they just literally, every link was like, So if you aren't ready with your own website, that doesn't limit you from doing press. - Let's take a look at the next question. Is it okay to pitch items that are sold from print-on-demand sites? Oh, that's interesting. I mean it's your own product in those sites, right? I'm not as familiar with those. - Yeah, so I'm going to speak to this one. It is okay and you certainly could. And I actually have seen some places where they've done round-ups like this. I can think of some design blogs where they were like, "Our eight favorite pieces from Society6, eight favorite rugs." So you can do that, the challenge with selling through any of these sites is that you make so little money. So one thing I'd recommend, if this is how you're selling is to look into something like…there's a company called Printful, it's the, and that site is actually a print-on-demand but it integrates with your Shopify, and you sell from your Shopify, and you get to set the final price point so you make a little bit more money and it's still print-on-demand. So if this is the strategy that you're using, I'd look into something like that, and then pitch that because you're going to end up making more money. You make so little off of these that then you're doing a lot of work for not a lot of profit. But technically yes you could use them. - I hate that, don't do that. - Okay, let's look at our next question. - Do you always submit via email or does snail mail have a better or worse result? - Oh, you want to talk about postcards? - Yeah, we can talk about postcards. I mean nobody mails a letter to pitch anymore. Although I'm old enough to remember faxing my pitches in, so that used to be a thing I used to do. Also physically clipping, like getting up, an hour before work and cutting out coverage out of newspapers and stuff? So thank God we don't do that anymore. Yeah, but postcards are a really fantastic way to follow up on your pitches or introduce... Megan's done it a lot. Well not a lot... - I think we used a postcard as part of our Elle Décor strategy, right? - Yes. - It was a postcard coming out of the trade show strategy. So that is…a postcard is a great way to reach out to a lot of editors where you can get that quick, aesthetic hit without having to…because you can embed the picture. So sometimes if I'm doing a campaign and I actually think we're about to work on a postcard campaign again, and they get a lot of emails, I bet they get far less postcards. And I've also had…I did have…I didn't get a feature, but I had a poll from Oprah magazine based on a postcard that I sent. So it really does work. - And it's cheaper than like, we talked about, just sending product in, into the abyss, like a postcard, I don't… It's like quarters to print. I mean it's so cheap. - Yeah, basically it'd cost you less than a dollar for the printing and the stamps. And you can literally have that same, you know there's not as much room for text, but it's like, "Hey, I'd love to send you samples or hi-res images, here's how to get a hold of me." - Do you do that combined with email or do you just do the postcards as kind of... - Some of each. You can use either/or. So sometimes I've just done postcards, usually then that's centered around a trade show, but this one we did some email outreach and now we're going to follow up with some postcards. - Yeah, so we did emails and then it was like a couple of months later, we're going to do postcards, and it's just another way, like the social media, like keep yourself on the radar. But again, it has a benefit of like you can actually show them your product, so it's awesome that way. - All right, perfect. And I think we have one comment left. - [inaudible] fear of success. - Should I read it? - Yeah, go ahead. - Okay. Press like this brings me a fear of success. I like the idea of it, but then I start playing "what if" games in my head. You know I have a client who I was actually just meeting with yesterday, and she said the same, exact thing. And I think that with the outreach, that's the benefit of the strategy, is just starting it and starting it slow and not putting pressure on yourself to do this huge thing. But I think that it does bring up a lot of vulnerability for people when they're sending out their work. - It does. And I think the thing to remember is that you get to control how many orders you take. So even if you're making things to order, so you don't have stock and you're making something to order, and you suddenly get this flood of orders and it starts to feel overwhelming, you mark the product as sold out, and you put an email capture that says, "This is sold out right now, join my mailing list and you'll be the first to know when it's available again." So suddenly, all right, you don't have a flood of orders you can't handle, you have a flood of people on your email list waiting to buy. So that's a great way to handle that, where it doesn't matter, you can get all the success in the world and you can deal with it that way. - Genius. - Perfect. So if you guys have more questions about press, remember Brigitte does have not just one but actually three more in-depth classes on CreativeLive. And so you guys definitely want to check those out if this is an avenue you want to explore more. So let's go and say thank you to Brigitte, and we really appreciate it. Perfect. And really quickly, I just want to remind you guys that the same strategies we were talking about for email capture, with search, works really well for press as well. So maybe you're going to do the pop up, definitely make sure that you're getting people on your email list during checkout.

Class Description

Are you a maker in the first phase of starting a business? You have a great business idea or beautiful product to sell, but not enough time to focus on both your craft AND selling your product. Well, this class is for you. 

Considered one of the most respected crafters in the business, Megan Auman will show you how you can concurrently work on your craft, grow sales, and focus on marketing initiatives that will get customers in the door. Megan is a designer, metalsmith, educator, and entrepreneur who has built a multi-faceted business around her passion for great design and sustainable business. Her designs have been featured in Design Sponge, Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, and more. 

In this class, she will show you:
  • The who, where, and when of your business; who you should be selling to, where you should sell, and the right time to launch 
  • How to adapt your business and your product line as your business grows 
  • How to make money in the beginning stages of your business that allows you to justify spending more time on your craft
Learn the essential skills needed for having a successful craft business. There's no better time than now, so reserve your spot and turn your craft into a profitable business.


Kristen Girard

Fantastic class! If you have never taken a Megan Auman class, this is the perfect one to start with. It filled in some knowledge gaps that I didn't know I had. Lots of great basic knowledge that I haven't been able to find elsewhere. Super helpful!

Maike Armstrong

First of all, it's so fun to learn from Megan! She is so motivating and enthusiastic – making you feel great about your business even when you are just starting out. The class is well put together, easy to follow and has simple, actionable steps to follow in order to actually move forward. I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself!

Shelby Anderson

Megan's class has given me such a great start and very practical how-to's for starting as a solopreneur. I've been so overwhelmed by all there is to do and all the tips, tricks, and knowledge; she was great at explaining and giving some real life and real time examples of how to step out and be great as a creative. Thank you Megan!