The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Stories To Magazines

Getting articles published in a magazine is a great way to gain credibility in the marketplace. Too many times business owners think their stories are interesting or newsworthy when infact they are boring.   There are techniques you can use when pitching to trade publications and journals to help get you published.  Most companies hire an outside PR agency to help pitch stories and get their name in the press.  The most important element of your strategy should be “The Pitch”. If you pitch it right….then you will see more magazines pick up your story. Another important element is using the right pitch on the right person.  You need to target the editor or publisher of the magazine and make sure you get his/her attention with a good opening line!

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching to Magazines:

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Do get approvals up front from all parties involved in the story:

It’s important to make sure you get buy in and written consent from your customer up front to use their information in a story.  The worst thing that can happen is for a customer to see their photos or information used in a story that they did not approve.  Also, the editor or publisher will get annoyed if they write an article and get push back from the customer before they publish it.   Just keep all parties informed and make sure you clearly communicate the goal of the article.

Do focus your pitch on how you solved a problem for a customer:

Editors love this type of pitch where you can show a challenge and how you solved the problem with a solution.  Magazines will use these types of stories for a 4-5 page case study or cover story. They love lots of details so make sure you include all project details ranging from any hold-ups or challenges faced throughout the project.  They also love great photos…so make sure you can provide action shots and beauty shots of your customer’s location.

Do answer questions freely:

Once you get the story….there are typical questions that editors will need answered by your customers.  Here is a sample questionnaire from a major security publication:

1)      When did the installation start? How long did it take?

2)    What did you like about the equipment and technology? (please provide lots of detail here)

3)      What were the most difficult aspects of the installation process? (please provide lots of detail here) How much did it cost?

4)      How was the project coordinated with the routine activities of the facility? Were there any surprises or disappointments related to this experience?

5)      What is the reaction from decision makers, staff, visitors, etc.?

6)    Have there been any incidents since the system was installed?

7)    How is the system monitored, and were there any staff training issues?

8)      How does the system meet your needs and desires?

Don’t be in a rush!

Remember…pitching a story to a publication takes time.  You may not hear back from an editor for weeks..so don’t give up.  Make sure you check the editorial calendar monthly to find out what types of stories the magazine is looking to publish.  Planning and persistence will pay off in the end!

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About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

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