Q: Do I need a press kit?
Amy: You don’t need a press kit to score press. Period. Press kits are expensive to produce and become outdated quickly. And the truth is, most of the information an editor would look for in a press kit should be found on your website. Your money is better spent on a simple, well-designed, website and editorial-quality photographs of your products.
A Visit from Mary Logan Bikoff, lifestyle editor of Atlanta magazine
On Monday the talented Mary Logan Bikoff, lifestyle editor of Atlanta magazine, visited our Athens office and shared insights into pitching editors successfully. These juicy tips were just too important to keep to ourselves so we’ve worked up her seven best tips for pitching an editor in hopes that it helps get your idea or product closer to being published.
- Do your homework on the publication you’re pitching.
Know your audience, and the publication’s audience. Every magazine, blogger, or media outlet has a feeling or an essence about them, and are different in the content they run, issue after issue, and tone.
- Know your section.
Magazines and most online publications have multiple sections. Get to know them and begin to identify where you most likely belong. Is it a product placement in the “front of the book” section? Or is your story a better fit for a section that profiles small business owners? Knowing this shows that you’ve given thought and research before reaching out and editors appreciate that.
- Pitch to the correct editor.
Nothing says I didn’t do your research like sending a fashion idea to the food editor. Be mindful that editors receive many pitches in a day and you may end up lost in the bunch because your content is not relevant to who you sent it to.
- Personalize your pitch.
Doing 1-3 is the key to this tip.
- Keep it short.
Running on and on, or sending too much information, can also signal that you haven’t really put the time into what you are pitching to make it a concise and compelling idea. The perfect pitch length for the pages I pull together, which are shorter in length than the “well” or feature section: three sentences.
- Respond in a timely manner
Respond quickly to an editorial inquiry, even if it is just to say “I’m working on it and will get back to you by the end of the day.” People get passed over all the time for a failure to respond in a timely manner. We move quickly because other editors are waiting on us. So if I don’t hear back within a reasonable time frame, I may have to move on to someone who I can find quickly or I know will call me right back.
RFP: What year did you graduate from RFP?
RFP: Describe your position.
I’m the marketing & communications associate for a local meal kit company in Atlanta called Garnish & Gather. (I met the founder through Amy, and that’s how I was connected to the open position!) We have a small team at G&G, so I get to touch many different projects of all kinds—I’ve been a part of photoshoots, designed flyers & posters, pitched our story to magazines, done customer service, and so much more!
RFP: Describe a day a work.
AB: I get into the office around 9 most days, and I always start by clearing out my emails. Our team works in one giant room, so communication between all of us is never an issue, and things happen pretty fast. The G&G founder/my boss, Emily, and I take meetings regarding sponsorship and advertising opportunities some days, and other days local artisans come in with samples, or farmers come in to deliver the fresh produce that we’re using in meals that week. Most recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time freshening up the website and sending out MailChimp emails.
RFP: We stress relationship building and how to pitch your story. What RFP take-away do you apply in your current job?
AB: RFP gave me unparalleled preparation for pitching G&G’s story! Whenever I send out those pitch emails, I make sure to spell names correctly, make the message short and sweet, include a photo & state that I have high-res photos available upon request, and follow up appropriately (thanks for those tips, Amy!).
RFP: What’s new/next in communications/PR/digital marketing?
AB: These two ideas aren’t new, but I think they’re becoming impossible to overlook: the increased role of video (live or recorded) and the importance of mobile optimization.
RFP: Which social media channel(s) does your company prioritize or put more energy into? Please explain why.
AB: We put most energy into Facebook and Instagram. Our target audience uses Facebook the most out of all social media platforms, so that factor combined with the ease of Facebook sponsored posts and ads make it really important for us. Instagram is also great because there is this entire segment of Atlanta foodie accounts—I’ve had success pitching to some of these accounts to get them to to post about meals we send them, and that’s definitely great PR.
RFP: What sites/blogs/social media do you visit or reference daily?
AB: Everyday I receive a New York Times briefing email, and I highly suggest signing up for that—this isn’t necessarily work-related, but it’s nice to know what’s going on. Two blogs I find interesting and useful are the Clever Creative blog and the Codeless Interactive blog. The CC blog is about advertising and design, and the CI blog is more web and marketing-based. Lastly, I don’t need this daily, but I want to include Behance Free Fonts in this list since it’s so useful!
We’re always talking about the importance of knowing the publications your pitching. Consider that the current issue of your favorite magazine was written and produced six months ago. Many editors, who generally advance up the masthead every few years, are likely to have moved on since.
This Instagram post is a great example of how editors frequently move from publication to publication. It’s worth taking the time to confirm who edits or produces the page you want your product to belong in before you pitch. To help take the guesswork out of your search, check out our Media List for a painstakingly updated list of editors and their contact email.
Big congrats to Jill Waage on her new gig at Traditional Home!