We finally made it to Spring. Even though it wasn’t that harsh of a winter, it’s now that time of year to look forward to the weather warming up, doing a little cleaning up around the house and, of course, packing away the heavy parkas until next winter. For all you business owners planning PR campaigns, writing press releases and pitching stories to the media, springtime means stories that talk about spring training and the start of baseball season, spring break, religious holidays, and of course the warming weather patterns.
Your PR to-do list is filled with Spring in the air, right?
For the majority of companies out there in just about every industry, if you focused your PR campaign on only springtime angles you would be missing out on a huge PR opportunity. Right now, thousands of reporters at major consumer and business magazines are writing about Summer, not Spring.
Case in point, if you own a boutique salon with a branded cosmetics line and wish to get a review in Cosmopolitan or Redbook magazine, you better be pitching a summertime angle right now. Perhaps their website editorial teams are still focusing on Spring because they do not have as long a lead time. But if your goal is to make it into the print edition, those section editors are focused on finishing up June and getting ready for July angles.
Most print magazines that have three or four-month lead times are in the consumer segment. Walk into any Barnes & Noble and browse the magazine section (remember, physical bookstores still exist). Most of the major titles you see (Ladies’ Home Journal, Better Homes And Gardens, Parenting, etc.) are published with this long-lead approach. Regional lifestyle magazines (Ocean Drive, Naples Illustrated, Denver 5280) are also published with a long lead cycle.
This is not isolated to just consumer magazines, by the way. There are many business print magazines that are published with a long lead time. Florida Trend, Builder, Money, are all business magazines that have a long lead cycle. As with all PR campaigns, it is important to know whether your story is better suited for a consumer or business audience. Once you have that figured out, do your research to see if your list of targeted magazines has a long lead cycle.
Here are some tips for pitching a long-lead print magazine:
1: When crafting your story pitch think three to six months ahead. What season are we in at that time? What are the major holidays? What are the annual occurrences taking place? Shape your story around all of these to get the editors attention.
2: Take a trend that is currently happening (high gas prices, Presidential campaign, housing meltdown, economic recovery) and try to project what the landscape will be like a few months down the road. How does your company, product, service, or trend story fit in?
3: Apply the same rules as every day pitching for a reporter. Send a well written email with a compelling subject line. Offer links to your website where the editor can find additional information and resources. Also offer contact information where editors can get back in touch with you.
4: Read the magazines first and get to know its style, tone, format and editors/contributors. Create a pitch that matches all these and target the appropriate editor or contributor. Most magazines will include contact information for many of the editors and writers. Google contributors to find their contact information.
5: If you are pitching a product it is okay to send a press kit with your product for a review. But do understand you may not get the product back. The press materials that accompany the product should focus on the trend and explanation of why it is a compelling product, in addition to the focus on the features and benefits. If you call the editor be sure to get to the point and make your phone pitch impactful.
Every PR campaign should include long lead print magazines because achieving a story in one of these magazines can change your business overnight. Depending on the publication, a feature spotlight of your product in a magazine read by millions, and passed on to thousands more, is just as good as appearing on daytime television.
Beach Photo via Shutterstock
I was surprised by a local Michigan company that ran ads celebrating the end to a long, long terrible winter. Talk about bad timing!
John Sternal: Thanks for the long-range planning advice! 🙂