Insiders’ tips for pitching lifestyle mags

Recently, my colleague and I attended a Business Wire function that was intended to bring PR professionals together with editors from top lifestyle publications, such...

Recently, my colleague and I attended a Business Wire function that was intended to bring PR professionals together with editors from top lifestyle publications, such as Better Homes and Gardens, The Star-Ledger, Verdant, Everyday with Rachel Ray, Family Circle, and Grandparents.com.

Though we were most likely the only two non-PR attendees (aside from the panelists) in the room, we learned a lot about the endless pitches that PR professionals must make and the best ways to go about doing so to secure a “Valuable Piece Covered by Leading Lifestyle Media,” as the event was called. I jotted down some notes to fill you all in on the insight that was being shared.

Here are 15 insiders' tips from the editors themselves:

1. Do try to send personalized emails if possible. No one likes to be mass emailed. (And yes, I can totally agree with this one.)

2. Make sure that the subject line is attention-grabbing and informative.

3. Don’t send large JPEG images that will take hours to download.

4. Some editors prefer only to receive images if requested, so keep that in mind.

5. Don’t write a 10 page email. A few sentences with nuggets of information is preferable.

6. National publications look for exclusivity, so determine which outlets you want to target first.

7. Magazines are interested in fresh content. If the item or story is old, it will most likely not make it into the magazine.

8. When pitching a product, remember that editors look for accessibility, price, and style.

9. Many magazines have different price points that they need to stay within, so do research on the demographic of the readers.

10. Email is less obtrusive than the phone. Follow-ups should also be done through email if possible, but if there is a need to leave a voice message, it should be concise and straight to the point.

11. Editors are busy people and cannot attend every event that they are invited to. Since many of them have children, they prefer events to take place during lunch time or somewhere between 5-7pm, and at a location that is accessible.

12. Publications all follow an editorial calendar and are ahead by usually 4 to 6 months. Web sites have a shorter lead time, so you should check to see what those are, specific to each outlet.

13. If sending a pitch to more than one editor at a magazine, it’s good to include the names of those to whom the press release is being sent to so that there is no redundancy/confusion in the office.

14. It's usually easy to determine from the masthead which editor should be contacted for a particular pitch. If not, you can email an assistant and ask (nicely).

15. In some cases, deskside appointments make for great one-on-one time with the editor. That said, don’t bring a squad of 10 beauty PR people to showcase the latest goods. That is overwhelming, and just ridiculous.

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