Your PR questions answered: How to pitch editors at top publications

This newsletter feature was inspired by you! If you've attended one of our workshops, you likely noticed there were A LOT of great questions. We typed out everything and once a month you'll get two in-depth answers to common PR questions. 

First, a quick ask- We've been brainstorming new tools and trainings to help you with all things PR, marketing, and business growth in 2024. You may have already seen this question from us, here or on Instagram.  

We decided to create one more way for you to give us your thoughts. The quick survey linked below includes four ideas we have for the new year.

We'd love your feedback!

Start survey & let us know how we can help you in 2024

Now on to the PR tips….

Q: What is the best practice for finding and reaching out to the right people at publications?

A: Definitely looking at your peers and where they're getting press. One simple way is to set up Google alerts for those brands.

We didn't just track our clients, we track our clients' next five or six competitors to see where they’re getting press.

If you sell ceramics, for example, look at your peers in that space. Be sure to track brands or that are two or three years ahead of you in your career. Put them into Google alerts and every time a press hit comes up see who wrote it and make a note to add to your editor list.

Editor X from publication Y wrote about my peer. Now I have someone new I can reach out to.

Finding email addresses is a Google adventure. If it’s an established publication the email formula is ususally something like: first name dot last name at publication dot com. Whatever it is, you can usually figure it out through some sleuthing.

Tip- look for a few emails that are easially available online. What is the standard formula?

You can also DM an editor and say “I'd like to send you a pitch, what's the best way to do that?” I advise against pitching stories on social platforms, unless the editor specifically says you can.

Overall, pay attention to the publications in your industry. Read them.

We have so many people who say "I want to be in the New York Times". But NYT doesn't really write about design anymore, they do it a few times a year so it's almost always an off-base request.

Try to really understand what those publications are, not just an idea in your head. Actively reading them makes you a better designer AND it gives you an idea of who and what to pitch.

Q: It is hard to not hear back after spending a lot of time on a pitch. When do you just not pitch that editor anymore?

A: It's super common to get no response. Someone asked how to get at least a 50% return rate on pitches? My response, we don't even have a 20% return rate, and I do this every day. Not getting a response is very common.

There are a couple of things you can do, though, to improve that return rate.

First of all, following up is one of my favorite things to insist upon. We do two follow ups after an initial cold pitch.

We'll do a first follow up about a week after the initial pitch. Something like, "Did you know this other thing (about your story/product)- or share a new image or a new piece of information- and are you interested? Or does this fit any stories you're working on?"

On our final follow up we just say, "Hey, I just wanted to check in one more time. If you're not interested, that's totally fine and I won't follow up anymore." This tells the editor you respect their time.

A bit more background- Wolf Craft was founded by myself and Kirsten. We met in undergrad and both have Art and Design backgrounds. When we started Wolf Craft we pulled in some of our design education; that is we use design thinking methodology for PR work. It's kind of like the scientific method for designers. There's a lot on the Internet, you can Google, but one of the main pillars is empathy.

Ask yourself: What is the reason that this person—the editor you're pitching—has a job? What are they trying to do?

Their job isn't to help you out. So, if your email says "it would really be great for my business if you wrote about me", you're off to the wrong start. If you can help them do their job, you're in a much better position to get coverage.

We also focus on the How and the Why. For example:

"Hi, I noticed you write about this topic and I fit into this topic *how* and I think your readers would be interested *why*. I want to help you provide interesting and relavant content to your readers."

Now you're empathizing with their point of view and giving them something helpful.

The last is to vet your contacts. Make sure they’re writing about the things you want to pitch. Just emailing a bunch of people doesn't usually work.

Click on the editors name while you're reading articles. See what their last 15 articles were about. Look at the headlines. Make sure that your pitch fits their point of view.

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