Reaching Out to Local Magazines

 July 24, 2009

Most cities have their own local magazine. Even smaller regions often have monthly newspapers or free magazines targeted at women or families. These publications are often overlooked as media outlets. But it’s a great idea to make them a part of your outreach.

·         Get a copy of the magazine. The magazines won’t always publish their full content on their Web site, if they have one. The best way to get to know the publication is finding a copy. They’re often free and found in grocery stores, bookstores, community centers, libraries and other popular public areas. Grab a copy and flip through it. Many of the writers are freelancers. Or the articles may be written and submitted by an advertiser.

·         Plan months in advance. If a publication is monthly, you need to provide 1-2 months, at least, of advance notice. So, if you want to get your local event published in the calendar listings, contact the magazine early. If you’re pitching a story idea that is seasonal, plan head for that too.

·         Check out the editorial calendars. These magazines will often focus on a theme, often around holidays or seasons. Publishers often provide the calendars to advertisers, but they are useful to you as well. If there’s not a listing of issue themes on the publication’s Web site, contact the magazine for one. Try to time your story idea to fit in with the theme of the issue.

·         Use the templates in the toolkit or suggest your own story idea. APA offers several templates and story ideas in the toolkit materials, as well as on the social networking site. But you don’t have to wait for us to give you the story idea. If there’s a resilience or mind-body health-related topic that you think would be a good story and fit in with the magazine, get in touch with the editor. Let us know too! We can help you fine-tune your message, if needed.

·         If there’s more than one editor, send your story idea to the most appropriate editor or writer. If you’re not sure who that’d be, give the magazine a call and ask. The magazine may have a generic e-mail address to submit content (such asinfo@yourmagazine.com or stories@yourmagazine.com). If the magazine has submission guidelines, follow the instructions. But it’s also helpful to make contact with an actual person.

·         Keep your e-mail brief but interesting. If you’re submitting a calendar entry, provides just the facts necessary-who, what, when, where, cost, contact information, and anything else that they may request. If you’re suggesting a story idea, it’s equally important to get to the point quickly and stay brief. Like any e-mail pitch that you would send, you want to personalize the message and keep it short.

·         Beware of advertorials. Some publications may want you to buy an ad, and then they’ll let you write a column or publish your press release. Try to stay away from these situations. Unless advertising is a part of your outreach plan. Then make sure you do your research and the publication is worth your money.

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