Editor's Desk: Help Me, Help You

12 Tips from a Magazine Editor | Heather Bullard

This topic has been on my mind lately. As an editor, I do a LOT of research. This involves homes to scout and feature, shops and restaurants to visit, products, props, locations, current trends and forecasts. The list goes on and on but suffice it to say...I'm always researching something.

My thought is that there are probably many of you out there waiting to be discovered by an editor. And whether it's a food magazine, shelter publication or other related forms of media there are indeed editors out there looking for you too!

To help you, I thought I'd share my Twelve Tips aimed towards bloggers, homeowners, shopkeepers and product manufacturers looking to get noticed! 

1. Have a Search widget installed on your blog. I can't tell you how many times I've given up on a blog because I can't find what I'm looking for. You can find Google search widgets here. Or check with your blog or website hosting service to find out if they have one available for you.

2. Organize your posts. This is very important. Create both Categories and Archives and make sure they are easily displayed on your sidebar or at the top of your blog. This makes it easy for editors to look for specific topics.

3. Highlight your best work. Examples: Top Posts, Projects or Products should be featured or highlighted on your blog or website.

4. Have Email or Contact information displayed prominently. Keep it near the top of your blog or site. Don't make it difficult for someone to reach you.

5. Have links to your social media. Examples: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Editors will search all forms of media to see who you are and what you're about.

6. Create a Pinterest Board of your work. Fill it only with photos of your home, products, etc. Be sure to label the board MY home or MY products. Do not add anything but your work to this board.

7. Direct Contact. Send an email to the editor with a brief message. Be sure to include all website, blog and media links and a few (1-4) photos of your home or product. Do NOT add the editors email address to your ongoing product, event or store email campaign list without prior approval. This is extremely annoying. Sorry, no better way to put that. 

8. Make sure you're a good fit. Be target specific, for example, don't send photos of your stark modern home or amazing dog shampoo to just any publication. Find one that fits your design asthetic or product. Do you homework in regards to the publication. Look through back issues...have they featured a product like yours recently? Do they regularly feature DIY projects? Find out before you cast your net. You want to catch the right fish.

9. Make friends with the magazine or editor. Whomever you're trying to reach out to, find them on Facebook or Twitter, engage in conversation, share useful information with them. They read every comment, trust me. As an editor, I've found lots of story leads this way. You can find me on FB here. I enjoy visiting with you there because the conversation threads are quick and easy to respond to. 

10. Publish original content. No one is going to be "famous" for sharing photos of DaVinci's artwork. Editors are looking for fresh, new content and the only way to get that is to create it yourself. I can't stress how important this is enough.

11. Be clever. Pitch your product in a new way. I've heard of cupcakes being delivered, fun videos created, books wrapped in unique packaging. Think outside the box which is not to be confused with "over the top extravagant". Nobody wants an elephant delivering soy candles to their office door.

12. Don't give up. Things take time and in our industry we work nearly a year in advance. If you pitch a spring type product in the spring, chances are we're working on Christmas. Timing can be crucial. Something to keep in mind. Also, just because there isn't an immediate answer, it doesn't always mean "no". It could mean... it's not the right fit, right now, or it doesn't work for a specific issue...something along those lines. I've waited a year or more for certain homes to get the green light on a story. Be patient.

I hope you find these tips helpful and that most importantly, it will connect fantastic, amazing homes, shops, blogs and products with the editors and publications looking for exactly that!