Finding the Best Publications to Pitch Your Projects

Person writing on laptop from an angle

It’s time to talk strategy!

The focus of our second Shelter In Place series is finding the best potential placement for your project or product. Now that you have your photos organized, it’s time to research publications, both print and online, in order to find the best fit for your photos.

Impulse pitching–or reaching out to an editor before you are ready– is the most common mistake of anxious designers and can thwart your chances of creating a relationship with that editor. So now is a time to read what they’re writing. If you study the pages and sections carefully, you’ll begin to better understand the type of stories they consistently run, which also is an indication of what they are looking for to fill future pages.

Click here to read more about photography tips from our first “shelter in place” blog post.

Make Your A-List

Laptop on desk with coffee mug and notepad.
photo by Andrew Neel

Narrow down the list of places you plan to 15 publications. Then break that down even further, focusing on four regional print publications, four national publications, two online, two newsletters, two podcasts and a blog as a good starting structure. Casting too wide of a net is a waste of your time and the editors. Aim for quality of best fit your pitch, not the quantity.

Imagine YOU are the Editor

Study the publications to see if they cover the type of product or idea you’re pitching. Does your idea and your photograph look like it already belongs in the pages of this magazine already? Be sure to read more than one issue of the magazine and go farther than the most recent blog post to get a sense for the kind of products and people they repeatedly feature. Make sure you get a feel for their content and tone. Is their audience the one that you’re trying to reach? Does their online version differ from the print in terms of formatting and reach?

Illustration of stack of magazinesFind the Editor

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to find the editor of the page or section you are pitching. Remember that there are different editors for almost every section of a publication and then additional editors for the content of the online component of that same publication. If you just guess and send your pitch to the first editor on the masthead, it’s time wasted. You have to put it in the inbox of the editor who pulls together the page you want to see your product or project featured on. Generally their names are in the bio of that section.

Amy’s 2020 Media list is here and has over 1000 relevant, national and regional market, interiors, style, wedding, food, travel and fashion editors and freelance writers and their email addresses. This is a huge value and time saver. 

Pitch Future PagesPerson holding up calendar

Editors for national magazines work on putting together issues five to six months in advance; regional editors pull their pages together three to four months or more in advance. So while writers may be lounging poolside in June and July, they have holiday gift guides on their mind. Anticipate their needs by thinking about the themes and seasons of those months, then pitch accordingly.

Coming Soon…

Next in our Shelter-in-Place series we will focus on the pitch, which is actually easier and shorter than you might think. But for now, you have your homework assignment. Getting to know the publications before you pitch takes time but will set your pitch apart and get it solid consideration when you’re ready to share.