This is the million dollar question. As industry professionals, it’s natural that you’ll want your work to be seen by everyone. Unfortunately, it’s hard to run a business and connect with every single bride out there. So you rely on media channels who have the right audience. But it’s not always that easy to get your work featured. So I’m going to cut straight to the heart of the issue – as a PR and a blogger – and talk about the big elephant in the room – why aren’t you being featured?
Reasons a blog or a magazine might not feature you
♥ They’ve featured lots of similar content recently.
It’s easy to get so focused that you forget there might be other people out there doing something similar to you. Not every business is the most original thing in the world, so try to find an inventive and attention-grabbing way to present yourself. If you’re shooting your products, shoot them in your own, quirky way. For example, I recognise a Charlotte Balbier shoot instantly because of her unique branding. What are you doing to make your business or products stand out from the crowd? It’s also worth looking through recent editions of magazines or back stories on blogs to see if they’ve featured anyone like you recently. If they have, perhaps target someone else and set a date in mind to try again in the future.
♥ They just don’t know you.
We’ve moved on from the times of long, boozy lunches being the norm. Most journalists are freelance and actually don’t really have time for schmoozing. But that doesn’t mean relationships don’t go a long way. It’s natural for people to want to help out those they know. I’m not saying go and be fake friends with a journalist so they’ll write about you (they’d see right through that even if it wasn’t horribly unethical) but go the extra mile to be on their radar. Send them samples of what you do, take the time to say hello to them on Twitter every now and then, if you see them at a party, don’t be shy to go and introduce yourself. If you just do that generally with people (without an agenda) people will remember you the next time you try to contact them anyway. So I guess what I’m saying is being nice to everyone goes a long way – so do it!
♥ They’re really, really busy.
There’s no excuse for a journalist not getting back to you – especially when you’ve put a lot of time and effort into a pitch. But remember that journalists (and particularly of the blogging variety) are just human beings after all. For example, at the moment there’s only one of me. So every single thing that goes through Under the Vintage Veil invariably goes through me. And, like every other human being on the planet, I have off days where things slip my attention. I have dramas in my own life that can take over. I have tired days, I have hormonal days. Sometimes with all the best intentions in the world I do forget things. It doesn’t hurt to give us a little nudge. More often than not I’ll be so embarrassed about forgetting I’ll be very apologetic!
♥ There’s no story.
So you’ve opened a brand new venue… and? The fact is that (with the exception of posts like these) I’m writing for brides. There’s no story in the mere existence of a product or service. What does it do that other things can’t? Why is this interesting? If something’s written purely for self promotion, it will rarely get published as it won’t make for interesting reading. Try to think about your audience, rather than thinking of a press release or email to a blogger as a potential advert. Perhaps write a guest post to show off your expertise and help brides out along the way? Whatever you do, make sure you always have brides and grooms in mind.
♥ You’re not a good fit.
You sell chair covers. I hate chair covers. You might be the nicest person in the world, but that doesn’t mean your style is necessarily right for my blog. Instead of sending out a blanket email targeting all bloggers, research what style bloggers have (I’m a vintage blog and therefore unlikely to write about contemporary flower arrangements or a SciFi wedding) before you approach them. A targeted approach always yields better results.
♥ The work, simply put, wasn’t good enough.
I hate to say it, not everyone can be amazing at everything. I almost didn’t put this in, but it’s the truth (and at Under the Vintage Veil we tell the truth). “Good” is a subjective standard. And while lots of people might think your work is amazing, someone else might have different standards or ideas about what’s “good”. If you’re consistently getting rejected, have a look at what it is about your product you might improve. Sometimes I get submissions from people who are good technical photographers, but have missed all the beautiful detail shots that I can see potential for in the background of a real wedding. It always strikes me as a great shame that they didn’t capture what was right there. And anyway, I believe all businesses, big or small, should be striving to ask themselves how they can be better every day.
♥ You have to pay to be featured.
Some blogs (not me, but that’s another story) will only feature promotional posts if you pay them. That’s their business model – so either sign up as a sponsor or do something really cool with a styled shoot or real wedding to wow them and get in the credits. Bloggers have to eat and pay bills too – so a lot of the time that’s the system! It just means you have to work that bit harder.
♥ You wrote a really impersonal email.
If you started your email with a “hi there” and visibly (or even blind) copied in hundreds of other bloggers, I guarantee you will have a tiny response rate. This kind of ties into what I was saying about relationships. If someone hasn’t even done me the courtesy of checking my name, why should I read their release? I understand not all bloggers put their real names on their sites, but at least then email them and say you’re embarrassed what to know but that you’d like to know their name so you can send them a proper pitch! A little bit of politeness and targeting goes a long way, sending the online equivalent of a piece of junk mail stuffed through someone’s door will rarely get you a good feature.
♥ You made it hard work.
When someone sends me something and then asks me to rewrite it, it becomes very difficult. Or sends me all the images too small. Or in the wrong format. Or I have to go back again and again for information. Nightmare. There’s nothing more difficult than rewriting someone else’s writing. It’s harder than starting from scratch by a long shot. Yesterday is a great example of how to do it right. Shell from Something Kinda Cute has sent me a submission. She sends me a clean mood board with all the main shots so I can see at a glance if I like the submission. She then sends me all the credits, ready with web addresses and all the pictures organised into the correct width for my blog. She was featured the next day because she gave me something really easy to put up (and the pictures were THAT amazing!)
The moral of the story is, we’re a busy, sometimes a little lazy (although not often) bunch. The easier you make it for us, the more likely you are to be featured. The nicer you are to people in general, the further you’ll get in life. And BCC is your enemy. Good luck!