What I learned when pitching to magazines and bloggers

Shortly after I launched my skin care business in 2014 and had a successful launch party, I wanted to keep the momentum going. But how was I going to do that? The obvious answer was to generate more exposure. The quickest way to do that (I thought) was to pitch to influential bloggers and different media outlets. Here is how that went...

The influential bloggers:

One thing I quickly learned about pitching to bloggers (in the beauty industry at least) is that they like to offer their followers giveaways and have a lot of contests in order to receive free products. That's fine. That's what they do. Several beauty bloggers expressed an interest in my products and wanted them. Another thing I learned is that they don't want sample sizes. They want full size products sent to them and they want several depending on how many they intend to give away for their contest. They want at least one full size product(s) so they can use themselves and give you a review. The other product will go to whomever wins their contest. This was all so new to me. I was not one who followed beauty bloggers and I never entered any online contests to receive free products. If I wanted a product I would just go out an buy it. Sounds simple right? Well...one particular beauty blogger caught my attention. She had 1.9K followers on her social media platforms (Instagram,Twitter and YouTube primarily). She and her audience were my target market. She was articulate and had a professional image. I had seen some of her reviews on YouTube and they were good. We communicated via email and we agreed on what product I would send her for her honest, unpaid review. I also included hashtags I wanted her to use in her promotion and review. We discussed that it would take up to 30 days before the review was posted because she had other reviews to do as well. The timing was perfect. She would review my product, post it around September/October and that would be the push I needed for the holidays.  

Sadly....it did not work out that way. 

I sent the products, she confirmed she received them BUT SHE NEVER did the review! I was like wait, what happened, you agreed to do the review and post it. I attempted to contact her over a period of a month via email and her social media. NOTHING. She never responded. Not even to say she did not like the products or anything. There was NO review. I couldn't believe it. I had been duped, played, misled...by what I thought was another industry professional. It has been over a year since this happened and it still upsets me very much. I know all bloggers are like this but this one experience has made me not even want to deal with those who say they are bloggers and they want to do a product review for GlammGirl.

The magazine pitch...

Well this was fun LOL. I learned a lot about pitching to magazines. I'm going to share something with you that I have never shared with anyone. Very early in my business, before my live launch in July 2014 I was contacted by a magazine editor who wanted to do a story on me and my business. She found me on LinkedIn. She was particularly interested in a recent blog post of mine I did on Triclosan. I agreed to do the story and sent her everything she needed (my high resolution logo and professional head shot). She sent me a list of about twenty questions or so, I answered them and she wrote the article. We communicated several times via email and telephone. She was excited and so was I. The magazine was Nside Texas Business Magazine I was informed the article would be published in the November/December issue. Perfect. Well, I never saw the article and I never heard back from the editor about it being published. Why? I'm not sure. She never replied to my attempts to make contact. Heavy sigh...another disappointment. So, the reason I've never mentioned this before was because I don't have any proof or anything to show that GlammGirl was featured in a local magazine. I always say, if it isn't documented, it didn't happen. Enough of that. 

Since July 2014 I have pitched (via email) to several magazines. I reached out to the beauty editors of Real Simple Magazine, Organic Spa Magazine, Women's Health Magazine, Martha Stewart Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Energy Times Magazinze, Anokhi Magazine, Organic Authority Magazine, Essence Magazine, and Home Business Magazine. I offered to send a full size product (sometimes they want to take their own photo of the product), I sent high resolution photos of the product I was pitching, a short and sweet email pitch expressing my interest in having my product in their Holiday Gift Guide Edition, how it would benefit their reader and a discount offer I would be willing to provide to their readers. I followed up via email with every magazine. Nothing. To say the least, this was mentally exhausting. I didn't get any "no's" but I didn't get any "yes's" either. I probably should have continued but I felt I was so new to all of this and I was just spinning my wheels with nothing to show for it. Eventually someone would have probably said yes, but after how many pitches? Twenty, thirty, fifty? I don't know. 

What I learned was this. Before pitching to bloggers or media of any kind, be prepared for the work that you will put in. Just because you think your product is amazing and everyone needs it, you have to convince others of this as well. All of your social media channels need to be VERY PROFESSIONAL. I can not stress this enough. You need to have professional head shots on your profiles, not selfies, especially when you are starting out. You need to have professional, high resolution images of your products displayed on your PROFESSIONAL  website, not images taken in your bathroom on the vanity. 

Will I ever pitch again. I would say yes. I have grown a lot as a business owner and I have more confidence in the GlammGirl brand than ever before. I've re-branded and my efforts don't feel forced. So stay tuned for what's to come. I have some exciting things brewing. 

 

~ Kim