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Blog Paws 2010 West - Getting Covered In Traditional Media - Carol Bryant


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Carol Bryant, of Fido Friendly Magazine, presented on getting your blog or cause covered in traditional media at the BlogPaws 2010 West pet blogging and social media conference in Denver on September 9-11, 2010.

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Blog Paws 2010 West - Getting Covered In Traditional Media - Carol Bryant

  1. 1. From Blog to Traditional Media
  2. 2. It all starts with the Pitch Letter. A Pitch Letter to a magazine editor is very similar to a blog post— a letter personally written to individual journalists, writers, or editors (and more recently website owners and bloggers) that promotes a specific story idea to them for coverage. 1 2 3 4 Content that you An initial perception A blog is a personal Do you like to write currently have in your was that magazines are online journal. Do you product reviews? blog can be modified dying or will soon go the ever share an opinion Report the facts or to a magazine style way of the dinosaur. Not with your audience? This uncover a story in addition to calling so; as we’ve seen, the tone suits itself perfectly perhaps no one else attention to your blog. magazine evolves. The to an op-ed column has scooped? shape it will take may (opinion editorial) in Weekly and monthly change, but people will a newspaper. magazines love these always want to curl up sorts of feature stories. with a good read, page through and catch up on their favorite topics, whether that be in print, Tablet, Smartphone or internet browser.
  3. 3. 9 tips for getting published in magazines 1 2 3 4 Understand the Be sure to query Quadruple check Short and sweet. magazine’s ins and the correct person. grammar and outs: Read at least ✱ Don’t ramble, share your life story or why you are spelling. a few recent issues ✱ Departments have so qualified. to know: different editors— ✱ It often takes more ✱ An average time spent reading a query is less than do your homework time to research and ✱ Has your topic been 60 seconds. Something you put blood, sweat, and tears to find out who proof than it does to write covered recently? researching is skimmed over. Make every word count. the article. ✱ Call the magazine if ✱ Is there an editorial ✱ Cute stationary not necessary; make the words, not unsure and ask to speak ✱ Do not misspell the calendar? (Check their the aesthetics, define your pitch. to an editorial assistant editor’s name. website.) for more info ✱ Explain what you want to write about, how you will ✱ Don’t pitch regular organize it (column it fits), who your source(s) will be, and ✱ Find out HOW to pitch columns with staff writers some examples. them: email, fax, snail mail, and if a SASE is ✱ Take a familiar concept and put a fresh spin on it: My ✱ Get to know the tone allowed AARP example. Empty nest syndrome. Many parents will and perspective of the magazine be left behind this time of year as school is in session, kids ✱ Check the magazine’s start college, but what about Fido? I pitched this to AARP masthead – listing of staff, ✱ Don’t send out a and they were eager, liked it, but they have a 6-month operations, information generic letter to several lead time, so think ahead. magazines at once. ✱ Most editors don’t have the time to pass your query along
  4. 4. 9 tips for getting published in magazines 5 6 7 8 9 Be specific. We’ll Don’t harass Find the Learn to take Learn the target review this in the people after magazine’s rejection and the audience of query letter, but you’ve pitched. formula. not personally. the magazine. don’t be vague. (This also applies MORE sells to ✱ Nothing is more to newspapers.) ✱ Writers with tough skin women over Don’t say: I want to annoying than asking will forge ahead. 40. Even dog write about dogs and someone over and over. ✱ See what the magazines have When I was managing magazine does and ✱ Editors can’t comment diabetes. It’s been done. age and target editor, nothing annoyed what they write about, on every query they demographics. Do say: What about me more. I am where you receive. then put a fresh spin on it. Write to that diabetes and dogs in are. I want the answers, ✱ Tired and old won’t get ✱ Not hearing or being audience recent years? What too. Persistence pays off, in, fresh and timely will. rejected doesn’t make will make your article pesty does not. ✱ Do your homework, be the pitch bad. May not different from the five short and sweet, specific, ✱ It may take several be for that publication. other diabetes and dogs and smart. weeks to months to hear pieces they’ve run in something. Don’t sit idle ✱ Don’t gush, don’t be a the past 3 years? Think and wait for one reply. fan; be professional and outside the box. ✱ Don’t overpitch knowledgeable about the article. Editors the content. communicate. You may ✱ Less is more, make get 2 yesses. Then what? every word count. ✱ Join a group like Media Bistro where “How to Pitch ____ Magazine” is given. Details!
  5. 5. What about clips? Many magazines will ask for your clips. As a blogger or someone who may not yet have professional clippings from other publications, there are other assets you can talk about instead. No clips need not mean no assignments. ✱ Clips from your blog ✱ Your background. Are you a dog trainer? Interviewed them on your blog? Have a degree in English? The key is to establish yourself as an expert. ✱ Hobbies and personal expertise. Do you love dog shows? Involved in rescue? Have a special dog you helped to get a home? Pitch it. ✱ Good writers are not the experts on everything. As bloggers, we know this. We need to be able to access the experts and formulate an article. State your ability to contact experts and mention who in your pitch letter. ✱ Write what you know and be able to research what you don’t! ✱ Let people know you are an expert. How? Write a press release and send to companies that you are an expert and available. Some PR companies pitch us and let us know they have an expert. Give us a sample and then contact info. ✱ Find experts by browsing your favorite magazines and getting the names in those articles. ✱ For books, look at the people they thank and try to contact them. ✱ Newspapers. Much of this applies to newspapers as well , op-ed to bigger papers and local ones
  6. 6. One trip means many voyages. Not sure what to write about? One experience can be used in multiple places. Case in point: ✱ I took a week-long trip to Maine. ✱ Since establishing the blog, I’ve written about Maine. ✱ Knowing I was going, I pitched a dog travel magazine ✱ During my time in Maine, I visited many dog stores and with an idea on what every dog owner needs to know can use them for the blog for interviews, stories, etc. prior to traveling with their dog. I used bullet points in my query letter. It was successful (show query letter). Paid. ✱ Talk to people when you are out. Find out what makes them unique. ✱ My piece on traveling with Fido was published in a dog magazine; ✱ Working from home or in front of a computer doesn’t mean never leaving it. ✱ During my stay in Maine, I found a paper called Downeast Dog News. I brought it home, pitched the editor ✱ Don’t just settle on one style. Try something new. an out-of-towners perspective on traveling through Maine with her dog. They gave me the cover story. Paid. ✱ If you get accepted, find out the pay, how you’ll get paid, the rights, if you need to sign anything, if there is a kill ✱ WOW (Women on Writing) was asking for pitches for fee, when it might run, any copies to you, be cordial! women who have made a difference in the writing world. I interviewed the then- publisher of Downeast Dog News for ✱ Be unique. “I lost 40 pounds by gaining 25: How a dog them and was published online. Paid. helped me walk off the pounds” (won a writing contest) ✱ I pitched a dog magazine about my travels in Maine ✱ Petsmart does essay contests—do them—I won. and mentioned specifics about the trip. I researched and found they hadn’t done this yet. It was picked up. Paid.
  7. 7. Essential Magazine Terms 101 ✱ All-rights contract: Legal contract between ✱ Lede: The opening to an article, the lede. publisher and freelance writer granting all rights to Misspelled intentionally. the completed work to the publisher. ✱ Nut graf: Located after the catchy lede and ✱ Beat: A subject or an industry the reporter or editor lays out the article. Sort of like a thesis statement is responsible for covering. in a term paper. ✱ Close: Final few nights when pages go to print. ✱ Masthead: Names and titles of those responsible for the magazine’s publication. Usually in the first ✱ Dek: one sentence or a few sentences below the few pages of the magazine. Changes frequently. headline. The dek basically summarizes the article. Misspelled intentionally. ✱ Pullquote: An actually quote pulled from the article that will run alongside or with the piece. ✱ Evergreen: Something that can be published at any time, any year. It is not tied in to one ✱ Sidebar: Additional information about the season or holiday. article that is separate and usually runs in boxes alongside the piece. ✱ Graf: Another word for paragraph, misspelled intentionally. ✱ TK: As in “to come.” An industry term used as a place marker to indicate missing information in ✱ Hed: The headline, misspelled intentionally. article drafts. Since the two letters T and K do not coincide in an English Dictionary, it also becomes ✱ Kill fee: Payment to a writer whose article easily searchable within any document. This way, won’t be published. Sometimes a flat fee but you can be sure no TKs go to print. other times a percentage.
  8. 8. Anatomy of a Pitch Letter (Email) 1 TO: Parenting magazine This is the hook. This SUBjECT: Query: How to add a new baby to a dog household should grab the editor’s attention. Is there a Dear Ellen, problem with a solution you have? It begins with: “Did you know…” or Babies, the saying goes, complete a household and make life worth living. They “What would you do if…” also bring change in routine and a complete upheaval of lifestyle for others in the family. Older siblings might initially show resentment towards a new baby 2 taking the spotlight away from what was once theirs: Your sole affection. Next is the pitch. The purpose is followed by What about the canine variety in the family? Dogs need to acclimate with the body and presents the details of your article. a period of adjustment, too. With a little bit of TLC and using the advice in this article, Fido will be howling rock a bye baby in no time. I propose authoring a piece for Parenting magazine on “How to add a new 3 Third, the credentials. baby to a dog household” for the Solutions section. Why are you the best person to write the As a dog writer and the social media director for FIDO Friendly magazine, article proposed? I will couple my experience with the expert advice of a psychotherapist 4 and veterinarian on the topic. Parenting readers will be invited to help Fido The close goes here. along with hands-on, can-do advice that is simple to follow and easy to do. “If you are interested in this piece, I can turn it around in a week.” If you are interested in this timely piece, I welcome hearing from you. Samples of my writing as well as my blog and media kit are listed below in the links outlined. Thanks for your time and consideration. Kindly,
  9. 9. A Pitch Letter that worked for me Dear Susan, Vacation: Those eight letters so many of us pine for, perhaps once a year or maybe a weekend getaway. For many canine owners, hitting the open highway with an excursion in mind can also mean 13 other letters: No Dogs Allowed!! I propose authoring a piece for your magazine detailing how to take a vacation where Fido can come along. What makes my piece different from other traveling pieces you’ve covered is its unique content: • The one call to make prior to traveling that can save your pet’s life • The question all dog travelers must ask if renting a house on vacation • Two must-have products to save you a trip to the vet while vacationing • Elderly pets need not be left behind thanks to these tips • Ten items to pack in the doggie “day trip” bag • Three questions to ask the front desk before booking a room • How and where to eat with Fido while on vacation • Five documents to make the trip easier on everyone • A five-minute quiz to determine if Fido is road ready In conjunction with veterinarians, Dr. Smith of Smith Clinic and Dr. Adams of Adams Clinic, I will provide little-known and rarely discussed safety tips. Having traveled the country extensively with my dog for over 10 years, I have shared this information with many fellow travelers. As a freelance journalist, my articles have appeared in several magazines, including. My background in education will also serve this piece well. My tone is warm and friendly and dogs are my passion. My website is listed below and published clips are attached. I look forward to hearing from you about this very important canine travel information. Kindly, Carol Bryant
  10. 10. DOs and DON’Ts when Pitching DO DON’T ✱ Be concise, every word counts ✱ Be able to sum up the angle ✱ “I expect to hear back from of your pitch in one sentence. The you…” Don’t be pushy ✱ Few paragraphs, do not ramble pitch is longer. ✱ Follow up constantly ✱ Follow up after a few weeks ✱ Think of deks that magazines or be impatient put under headlines. The blurbs. ✱ Unique idea and fresh They summarize the piece. ✱ Have a pitch with errors ✱ State that clips are available or ✱ Email a followup with your ✱ Use HTML formatting that may provide links to online clips original piece pasted below it. not show up correctly in email ✱ Follow submission guidelines ✱ Followup may say “I know you ✱ Use emoticons and slang are busy, but I wanted to be sure ✱ Keep tabs of who you pitched you’ve received this and if it is a ✱ Send clips as attachments and when, what fit for ___ magazine.” or graphics ✱ Include an appropriate Subject ✱ An angle is something you read ✱ Write a very lengthy pitch and think “Oh, I never thought of it ✱ Thank people if you hear back that way or heard of that before” ✱ Look into magazines you might ✱ If you cannot write your own not have considered for pet dek, it probably means your idea is market (i.e. Women’s Day) too vague ✱ Name drop if you have been ✱ Do let go if you hear nothing referred by someone there after 2 followups
  11. 11. Must-Have Resources Yearly fee: How to pitch, pitches that worked, names of who to pitch The Best of Magazine Markets for Writers 2010: Free service where you can be an expert or find an expert for a story. It’s a call out. PR professional and animal lover did this. (Peter Shankman) Newspapers nationwide for blog and story ideas Google Alerts For story ideas Three great books Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz by David Seaman The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott Anything by Penny Sansevieri
  12. 12. On the Radio Radio station in the Dakotas recently contacted me to be a guest. Did a 30-minute segment live on air and they emailed me a CD. I put that on my youtube account. Find out segment producers of satellite or smaller stations. Pitch your idea to them. Be an expert. Add it to your resume. Animal Radio and Pet Life Radio is the number one pet podcast radio network, featuring weekly 30-minute talk shows hosted by the most well-known pet experts, authors and radio and TV personalities in the world of animals and pets. They have 500,000 listeners weekly on 99 AM-FM stations and XM Satellite. Podcast afterwards airs across the country and you can listen on any phone as well. Audio Contributions Written Contributions You may submit produced stories You may submit a story to be used on and audio segments to be used on Animal Radio®. Be sure to include all Animal Radio®. Be sure to include all permissions to record, produce, broadcast, permissions to record, produce, broadcast, re-publish online or in print. re-publish online or in print. For identification • Email purposes, please introduce yourself (This is ____ for Animal Radio®), segue into your copy, then introduce yourself. Story Ideas You may submit ideas to our Associate • E-mail Audio Files under 4MB to Producers via email or snail mail. • Email • You may also snail mail a CD or high quality cassette to: Animal Radio ®, V/O Contribution, PO Box 197, Shandon, CA 93461 Animal Radio Pet Life Radio Animal Radio ® reserves the right to select what materials will be used on-air or online. There is no financial compensation for contributions. All submissions retain original copyright; become the property of Animal Radio ®.
  13. 13. Lights, Camera, Action: TV ✱ Start local but dream big. Pitch yourself as an expert. Do you have video/”B-roll” of yourself locally on tv? At a seminar? A convention? Addressing the Chamber of Commerce locally? Use that. ✱ Caroline with Romeo The Cat is a perfect example. ✱ Recent pit bull on The Today Show because of one blogger’s crusade ✱ When pitching a story to broadcast media, who is the audience? The demographic? Be familiar with their segments. What makes you an asset to them? ✱ Generally broadcast media will find you. Make yourself known in other forms of media. Blog, magazine, expert, speaker, newspaper, et cetera.
  14. 14. Be different. Be fresh. Don’t quit.