I wondered if you could help give advice on being published in magazines? I have lots of great press ready content – images and written – which I can provide editors, but whenever I send a press release to them I get silence!
Any helpful tips on being noticed?!
And should I expect to get paid if a magazine uses one of my pieces?
Thank you so much!
Oh So Kel
Thank you for your question, this is one which we receive from lots of our PR clients before they come on board with us.
The truth is, getting your work noticed by editors and subsequently featured in magazines is incredibly difficult, not least because of the volume of submissions that journalists receive as well as the tight requirements the pieces must meet. However, understanding these challenges gives you the best chance of overcoming them.
Firstly, ensure you are targeting the magazines whose readers are would be interested in your pieces. I know this sounds simple, however, there can be a temptation to submit work to magazines whose subject matter only loosely fits your work as you feel that the more publications that you submit to, more likely one is to bite. Don’t fall into this trap – if it is not relevant to their readership, you will find your email in the editor’s junk box. When you have found the publications that best reflect your subject matter, study their tone: do they feature investigative pieces or first-person recommendation posts? How many words on average is each of their pieces? These are the types of things that you need to be looking out for when submitting your work to magazines. It is very likely that you will need to adapt your piece for every submission.
Is your piece on trend? They say that for something to become a trend, three people in the same room need to be talking about it. If your piece is merely something that you find interesting, however is not being discussed or even thought about in your industry, it is unlikely that a publication will want to feature it. This is where things can become difficult as you will need to be submitting with an eye for your piece to be published three months down the line given the way in which magazines run, therefore you need to have your ear to the ground so that you can be ahead of the curve in writing about something which will be a trend in three plus months’ time.
Another helpful timing tip is to send your email on a Sunday. We all like to think that we can switch off from work at the weekend but how many of us can truly say that is the reality? If the editor is having a scroll through her emails on a leisurely Sunday and yours is at the top, it is much more likely to be seen than if it were one in a thousand emails, she received on Monday morning. You can also use delayed sending tools on your email provider to write out your email the night before then schedule it to be sent circa 5 or 6am the following morning. If your email provider does not offer this option, there are various apps that offer the same service.
Do not always feel that the best person to submit your work to is the editor or the features editor. If you look on the inside sleeve of most magazines, you will see a list of team members – if there is a junior features editor why not submit your piece to her? It is unlikely that she will receive as many submissions as her senior and will also be grateful for options to pitch. Therefore, your work is more likely to be noticed.
If you really want to go that extra mile, make yourself unignorable by sending relevant goodies in the post with your submission. Farah Storr, the previous editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine UK, often tells of how an obscure Icelandic brand run by only one woman landed in the pages of one of Europe’s most read magazines by finding the editor at an exhibition and personally gifting her a box of the brand’s products. If there is a publication whose eye you really need to catch, then going to these lengths is not unheard of.
In terms of your second questions on whether you should be expecting payment for the featuring of your work, my blanket answer is yes. If your piece is good enough to be featured then it is good enough
to be paid for. I would not recommend that you bring this up in your initial email, however, should interest be shown in featuring your work then do not be afraid to enquire as to what rates they pay freelance contributors. Some may not pay for freelance contributors, and some will. This is up to you to decide on balance whether there is enough benefit to your in terms of recognition and brand familiarity if you are featured without payment.
I hope that this advice helps. Please remember that getting your piece published is difficult because of the volume of submissions an editor will receive. It is not a reflection of the quality of your work. As long as it is relevant for that magazine, you will have the same chance as the successful writer whose work was featured.
Good luck. Please, please let me know when your work is featured, I would love to see it!