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Getting media coverage on your equestrian cause, business, or event can seem like a daunting task, but if you follow a few ‘editor etiquette’ rules and do some homework first, you can improve your chances of getting a magazine, newspaper, or online story to be proud of. And, one that can help you get in front of new audiences.
The most important thing to remember is that while YOUR story is the most important thing to YOU, an editor has other important considerations, such as what their readers are interested in, what stories will sell advertising space, and what fits with their editorial calendar or policy. You can increase your chances of getting ‘into print’ by doing the following:
- Get to know the publication or website and what they’re looking for: Research things thoroughly before you think about reaching out to an editor. Does the publication or site prefer how-to articles, news articles, personal profiles, or product reviews? In the ‘From the Editor’ section, what does the editor tend to write about? What’s important to him/her? Only when you understand what the publication or site is looking for can you position your article pitch (also referred to as a ‘query’) to hit the target.
- Keep your query brief, well-written, and to-the-point: Editors are busy people, like most of us trying to do more with less and constantly facing deadlines. When you’re ready to send a query, check to see if there are guidelines about how to submit one, and if yes, follow them to the letter. If not, email is generally a good first approach, but keep things brief, clear, and concise. Think of it as an ‘appetizer letter’ – you want to intrigue the editor and stimulate their appetite for your story, not give them indigestion from too much information.
- Be polite, friendly, and helpful – consider how YOU can make the EDITOR’S job easier: If you can help editors bring high-quality content to their readers and make their lives generally easier, you’re likely to get calls again and again. However, if you’re more of a demanding diva, good luck on getting the media exposure you want!
- Make sure your article is well-written, within the specified word count, and typo-free: Not everyone is a good writer. If you’re in doubt about your capabilities, hire a professional, whether a freelance editor to work with you on an article you’ve written, or a writer to collaborate with you or ghostwrite for you. And please, if an editor assigns you a word count, do take it seriously! A few hundred words over is generally OK, but not an extra thousand words.
- Have high-resolution images to go along with your story: Images on the web can be low-resolution, but print magazines need to have 300 dpi images or else they turn out fuzzy. Always have images taken in the highest quality setting, and let the editor know when you can provide illustrative images to accompany an article.
- If you’ve been asked to be an interview resource, be responsive and available: If you’re working with a writer that’s been assigned by the publication or website, the ‘be polite, friendly, and helpful’ reminder applies here, too. Be as accessible as you can, be willing to review a draft, and return phone calls and emails promptly.
For even more insights on how to approach magazine editors, here’s a great article from the folks at The Entreprenette Gazette.
Editors get approached all the time by people, and businesses, wanting free publicity. You can stand out from the crowd, and get better results, by first showing editors what you can do for them.
We’re now into the second half of the 52 Fridays series – do you have a success story or marketing tactic inspired by the series you’d like to share? Post your thoughts via the Leave a Comment link below. See you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #28!
Read other posts by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting a category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #26.