The holiday season is approaching. Yes, it’s still September, but doing your homework now can pay off in a big way by the time December rolls around.
Getting free publicity for your shop is an easy way to expose your business to more potential customers.
Time it right – start now and you’ll have a steady stream of new orders by Christmas. There’s more to pitching than blasting off a bunch of emails. You need to first do your homework to decide who to pitch. Then you need to spend some time crafting great pitches targeted to those people. Finally, you need to follow up with your original pitch and spend some time making connections.
Let’s get started!
#1: Invest in Research
When it comes to getting featured on popular blogs, your campaign’s success lies in the research and prep work you do before anything else. In fact, research is where I focus most of my time when doing publicity-related tasks.
Here are a few things you should consider when choosing which blogs or magazines to pitch, and how to pitch them.
- Find blogs and magazines with similar audiences to your target market. You’re hoping to put your product in front of new customers, so make sure the blog you’re pitching is geared toward people who will want to buy it. For example, if you sell children’s accessories, choose blogs or magazines whose readers are moms who shop for their kids. The aesthetic should also match. If you sell one-of-a-kind jewelry at a high price point due to the materials and level of craftsmanship, don’t pitch a budget blog.
- Determine what kinds of products the blog or magazine has already covered. Don’t shy away because a blog you’re considering has already featured a product similar to yours. In fact, it’s a good indication that they will be interested in your product, too! Just be sure to include key differentiators in your pitch.
- Find the contact person that’s the best fit. If multiple editors are listed, dig up information about each potential person. Determine which one is most likely to be interested in your product. That’s who you should pitch. Bonus tip: some editors have a page on their site explaining how they like to be pitched. Follow these guidelines! It’ll be more likely that your pitch is read and accepted.
- Find a direct email address. Do your best to find the editor’s direct email address rather than sending your pitch to a generic inbox that may be filled with thousands of unread emails from the last two months. Editors are human, just like you, and like being addressed by name. If all else fails, never fear; you can still use the contact form. Sometimes that’s your only shot, that’s how I got featured on Daily Candy!
#2: Perfect Your Pitch
Pitching is an art. You need to do it well in order to stand out (in a good way) and be selected from a large pool of other brands competing for the editor’s attention.
Editors don’t usually have a lot of time to read through lengthy emails, so your pitch should:
- Be short and sweet
- Be personable, don’t write an obviously generic email that sounds like a script your use on dozens of other bloggers
- Always include a call to action at the end
Consider including a P.S. if you want to add a personal note. I once pitched an editor who loves the band Bon Iver. In my pitch I included a P.S. explaining that Justin Vernon (the lead of Bon Iver) and I went to the same college – and that he’s friends with my husband. I got featured!
#3: Follow Up
If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Pitches are usually overlooked the first time.mYou need to hook editors by following up with them. An editor you pitched might have been interested in your product, but simply forgot to reply. You need to send a reminder. If you use Gmail you can add a tool like Boomerang to help you know when to follow up. Following up is just a second round of pitching; use it to make a connection with the editor.
Here’s how to do it:
- Follow up one week after your initial pitch.
- Be strategic. Reiterate your initial pitch but consider sweetening the deal with a giveaway or exclusive discount code.
- Don’t give up!
Really, don’t give up if you don’t hear back after the follow-up. This doesn’t mean you should be annoying. Try another way to become top of mind to that editor. Be an active participant in his or her blog comments without mentioning your own products.
Another avenue to try is Twitter. Every now and then when you see the editor post a question or tweet something interesting, answer the question or retweet. Don’t mention anything about your pitch or your products. This is how I got featured on Cool Mom Picks. It was a year of tweeting until they finally featured me!
Getting publicity for your shop can be a long process depending on who you’re pitching, but with a strategic plan and organized follow ups, you can land your feature in as early as the following week!
If you’re interested to learn more, check out In The Limelight (This site/resource is no longer available) an e-course aimed at helping you make more sales and get more traffic by getting featured on popular blogs.