One of the most common questions I’m asked is, ‘how can I get my home interiors business some local magazine coverage’? Is there some deep dark secret I don’t know about?
The answer’s no. It’s not a dark science, although it can definitely feel like it even when you’re in the business. You just have to do quite a bit of homework, and groundwork, and then approach an editor fully aware that you may never get an answer. (They are generally lovely people, they’re just incredibly busy with overflowing inboxes.)
I’m not going to lie, it can be disheartening, time-consuming and frustrating, but there are ways to increase your chances. My lovely client, Louise Dean, has kindly allowed me to use her as a case study so I can describe the process for you.
So let’s dive in…
Louise Dean is an established artist, workshop leader and art teacher living in Langton Green near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. She paints everything from pet portraits to botanical, landscape, and chinoiserie-inspired canvases and murals.
Louise says painting is in her DNA, and having grown up in the Caribbean, she’s ‘obsessed with painting tropical flowers, birds, palm trees and seascapes’ in bold, beautiful colours.
The Brief – What did Louise need?
Louise wanted to announce the launch of her new online art course and publicise the opening of her art studio to members of the public as part of the Southeast Open Studios Art trail in June.
Although her art course runs via her website, and is therefore available to everyone regardless of their location, we knew the public opening of her art studio would only appeal to local residents and visitors.
With this in mind, we decided that carefully targeted local magazine coverage would most likely bring Louise the attention she wanted.
Target Publication – So Magazine
In Kent, we’re fortunate to have several locally written and produced monthly glossy magazines. The one we deemed most suitable to highlight Louise’s open studio dates, however, was ‘So magazine’.
So magazine is a high-quality publication with an excellent reputation and brilliant social media presence. It’s aimed at Louise’s target audience and, although widely distributed free of charge, is also hand-delivered to homes within Louise neighbourhood. Finally, it has a great editor who loves to champion local businesses.
A few Pros and Cons of an unsolicited magazine pitch
When you pitch a feature idea to a magazine, there are never any guarantees it will be successful. That said, when the writer carefully matches your ‘story’ to a publication and knows its regular sections, you can greatly increase your chances.
You also boost the likelihood of gaining local magazine coverage if your proposed feature has a strong ‘hook’. In this case, as well as highlighting Louise and her work, I emphasised that the opening of her art studio for a popular county-wide event and the launch of her art course were taking place in June, making it a time-relevant pitch.
The news Louise wanted to share also perfectly suited the format of the magazine’s existing home interiors feature series.
As I’ve already written several similar articles for this series, I was also able to show Louise samples of my work to help her visually imagine what her pitch, if successful, may look like.
Here’s one I wrote earlier featuring Sarah Castle of the Linen Ladder
How Did the Pitching Process Work?
- Having spoken to Louise at length about her needs, required outcome and the amount of risk she was willing to take (i.e. paying for my advice regarding a suitable publication to approach and my time to write a pitch that may not be successful) – Louise asked me to approach So Magazine on her behalf.
- With our contract signed and timelines and fees approved, I then gathered all the information I needed from Louise to write her proposed feature pitch.
A ‘pitch’, in a nutshell, is an email that tells an editor what your story is, why it’s relevant to their publication and readership and gives them a reason to publish it. All in a way that hopefully persuades them to snap your idea up immediately.
- With this in mind, I carefully wrote everything up and sent it to the editor with my fingers firmly crossed.
- Fortunately, she loved it and having danced around my desk and told Louise the exciting news; we got down to business.
- Having interviewed Louise further, I wrote the first draft of the article and sent it over to her for her thoughts and comments.
- I also carefully captioned the images supplied by Louise and got them ready for transfer.
- Having received Louise’s response, I made a couple of tiny tweaks and sent the updated draft to her for approval.
- Then, once I had received an ‘I love it’ email from Louise, I submitted the approved article and images to the editor before the previously agreed deadline.
- It was then a case of waiting for publication to see the finished article. So exciting!
BTW – A little note on timelines, most magazines work three to six months in advance, so you need to consider this when pitching, especially if you have a time-sensitive or seasonal story. And if you want to get in those magical Christmas magazine issues, you ideally need to contact editors in June.
Outcome – Local magazine coverage achieved!
Thanks to So Magazine’s editorial and production team, Louise’s feature was published in the June 2023 issue, and it looks gorgeous! You can read it in full here.
Inspired to seek local magazine coverage?
Do you have a magazine you would like to see your property or home interior business featured in?
Or would you like to be featured in a magazine but have no idea which one will suit you best?
Then contact me and ask about my new ‘pitching package’.
Until then, I’ll leave you with Louise’s lovely testimonial …
“Rachael inspired me to pitch for a profile in So Magazine and highlighted that the June Issue would help me capitalise on significant events taking place in my art business that month. Without her help, I can’t imagine that I would have been considered by the editor. Her prompts helped me to tell my story and gave me a chance to reflect, ensuring I was able to give an authentic account.
We worked together with a combination of email and then an interview. I was absolutely amazed at her skill in honing my long-winded answers into a stunningly accurate and concise piece for the magazine. Rachael is able to pinpoint exactly the key details required and enabled me to portray my business and message appropriately and for maximum impact. I would love to work with her again soon to pitch to national magazines”.