9 tips for getting your blog into the media

More and more blogs are attracting mainstream media attention. Harness it and you can get attention for your blog, your writing and your business. Liz Jarvis, who blogs at Living With Kids has been a journalist for over 20 years and frequently interviews bloggers for magazine and newspaper articles. Here she shares her top tips for working with the media:

Last week, I interviewed three bloggers for two different glossy magazines, and I also set up a potential cover shoot with another blogger (who’ll remain nameless for the time being to spare her blushes). These were the latest in a long line of features mentioning bloggers I’ve worked on during the past 18 months.

If you’re interested in raising your blog’s profile then you’ll be pleased to hear there are frequent opportunities to work with the media, often posted on BMB or by other bloggers on Twitter. It can be a great way of raising your blog (or business) profile, lead to more opportunities and it can also, if you’re doing a shoot, be a lovely day out. You may even get your hair done.

Want a slice of the action? Here are my top tips on working with the media.

1. Look out for the opportunities in the media requests section on BMB, and respond quickly if you think you fit the bill. Speed is of the essence. If you don’t reply, someone else will! But…

2. Think about whether you’re the right person for the request. If they’re asking for a blogger in her 30s with two kids, don’t respond if you’re a blogger in your 20s with a babe in arms. If you don’t agree with baby-led weaning and the journalist is asking for someone who does, don’t waste their time. Journalists are given very specific briefs by their Editors, and often don’t have the time to respond to emails which aren’t relevant to the story they’re working on.

3. Once you know the name of the publication, think carefully about whether it’s right for you. If you don’t want to open up a tabloid and see your name on the same page as a celebrity sex scandal, it probably isn’t the right opportunity for you. There will be others. All publicity is good publicity, but only if you feel comfortable with it.

 

4. It’s unlikely you’ll be paid. Unless you’re revealing an exclusive real life experience, the kind you see in a big-selling weekly mag or tabloid newspaper, most publications tend to pay very little, if anything, to case studies who agree to take part in features, and nothing at all to experts promoting books or business mums. Particularly glossy magazines, which tend to have smaller budgets. This is why it’s good to…

5. Try to get a credit for your blog, where possible. Agree it up front. Some publications are reluctant to publicise blogs, although that’s starting to change.

6. Ask to see the copy, or at least have it read to you, for factual accuracy. Editors (and journalists) are reluctant to give ‘copy approval’, unless there’s a formal contract in place, but they do like to get their facts straight.

7. If you have a story you’d like to tell, try contacting journalists via BMB or Twitter yourself and letting them know the angle. All journalists want to hear stories (as long as they’re not on deadline), and even if it isn’t right for them, they may be able to suggest somewhere else you could try.

8. Giving radio interviews (or TV) can be quite nerve-wracking. It helps to have everything written down that you’d like to say, so if you get a bit lost, you can refer to your notes. Avoid saying ‘um’, make sure you or the interviewer mentions your blog. If possible, try to do a ‘pre-record’, which means that if you make a mistake, you will be edited to sound more eloquent (always a bonus).

9. Finally, if your interview doesn’t appear…

You’ve told all your family and friends you’re going to be in a magazine or newspaper. You rush to the shops on publication day and buy as many copies as your arms will carry… and when you get home you scan the pages anxiously, only to realise you’re nowhere to be seen. It’s a harsh reality of working in the media that flatplans – the plans showing us the pages of the publication and what article is going where before it goes to print – change. Alot. This can be dictated by all sorts of factors – the news agenda, story clashes, advertising. I know of one best-selling newspaper that ‘over commissions’ features by as much as 60% – which means that just 40% of the stories they buy see the light of day.  It can be disheartening for you (and the journalist) but it’s important to remember it isn’t a reflection on you, or your story, or blog. It’s just that the goal posts changed. This goes for TV and radio too. Don’t take it personally!

Photo credit: Stefan Ball

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About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

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6 Responses to 9 tips for getting your blog into the media

  1. Domestic goddesque 22 November 2010 at 20:52 #

    Great tips: I’ve had a blog for a while but took a baby-break. Tips for a new approach are really helpful. I’ll be spending more time on BMB that’s for sure!

  2. Linda 23 November 2010 at 11:43 #

    Great tips, here’s one I would add: Don’t look too desperate.
    I set up the media requests group on BMB and I’ve been astounded by some approaches.
    A lot of media requests will be nothing to do with a blog and there may not be a chance to plug it.
    Also, I’m sorry to be such a misery but if you are going to tout your blog for inclusion in a media article, you may want to make sure you are showing it off to its best advantage to the journalist when they contact you.
    If they follow your link and all they can see is a load of arguing/badly written posts etc then this could put them off.
    We all know that for many brilliant mum bloggers, punctuation and spelling may just occasionally take a back seat but when I’m writing features I’m far more likely to want to quote or include someone who can communicate well.

  3. Liz (LivingwithKids) 23 November 2010 at 13:06 #

    Excellent points Linda

  4. English Mum 24 November 2010 at 13:19 #

    I’ve had experience of the last one: The Irish Times did a piece on ‘domestic goddesses’. I did an interview over the phone and they sent a photographer up from Dublin to take photos of me. I cleaned the house from top to bottom (my kitchen rarely sparkles, but it did that day) and he promptly made me mess it up by getting me to pretend to bake a cake and sprinkle flour everywhere – I also spent about three hours freezing in the garden as we posed with the dog and chickens, etc. When the piece finally came out, my frenzied searching revealed about three sentences, one quote and no picture. Deflated!

  5. Karen Pasquali Jones (Real Mamma Diaries) 24 November 2010 at 14:25 #

    Excellent piece. I’m a BMB and a journalist and love featuring bloggers whenever I can. Whenever I’m briefed to find a woman/mum, it’s my first port of call, and I’ve found some fantastic bloggers to feature in a variety of magazines and newspapers.
    This week I’ve interviewed three british mummy bloggers for the country’s number one magazine – and have even promoted one to be the guest editor. She’ll be read by ten million people in January – not bad for answering one of my requests on the BMB media requests.
    I’m one of the journalists Liz talks about in her insightful piece in that I specialise in real life stories and give copy approval to everyone I interview.
    I have a website on http://www.truelifestories.me and am always eager to hear from anyone who thinks they have an interesting story.
    I’m also always on the hunt for case studies and will no doubt talk to some of you very soon!

  6. Susanna 26 November 2010 at 18:55 #

    I’m so happy to hear about BMB being used as a resource in that way. V. cool.