Three to six months—BURN THAT INTO YOUR BRAIN.
That's how long it used to take a baby dinosaur egg to hatch (fun facts on a Wednesday), how long it takes to repair damage to your credit report, how long it'll take until you see SEO results, the amount of money you need to save your ass in an emergency, and, most academically, how long the effect of Botox lasts—among other notable factoids, like the length of time it takes me to respond to emails. (Just ask Sean Ogle.)
But it ALSO represents another important measure of time: how long in advance you need to pitch a magazine in order to have a shot at getting yo' ass featured.
Yesterday I had an interview with Women's Health Magazine on the topic of imposter syndrome. It was forty minutes long, over the phone, with a kick-ass journalist who I adored. She's working on their March 2020 issue, all about women OWNING IT. The piece is about why women feel like imposters and what we can do about it, so naturally, a book with the subtitle “Trash your imposter syndrome and live the unf*ckwithable life you deserve” seemed like a perfect fit. (Please picture me saying that like Old Lady Grantham.)
She asked me lots of questions related to imposter syndrome, but we're not going to talk about imposter syndrome today. Let's save that for book launch on February 11th, in which I use words like “crotchscapade” liberally.
Instead, I wanted to share a little insight into how this kind of publicity happens so you can do this for yourself. Enter: three to six months. The time it takes for a pterodactyl to roll up and be like, “yo,” and also the lead time that journalists are operating on. Which means that if you ever want to be featured in a magazine? Ya gotta plan for it. (I KNOW, PLANNING, GROAN.)
It's called long-lead media outreach, and you know how you find out what stories a magazine will be working on in 2020 so you can pitch them three to six months in advance?
Step One: Visit website.
Step Two: Scroll to bottom.
Step Three: Find “Media kit.”
Step Four: Navigate to “Editorial Calendar.”
OHHHHHH, she shoots, she scores! Suddenly, there will be a lovely little layout of every issue a publication is doing in the coming year, and what the themes are. So if you do this over at the Women's Health Magazine site, for example, you'll find their editorial calendar right here.
January/February: The Breakthrough Issue
March: The Owning It Issue
April: The Energy Issue
May: The Hot & Healthy Issue
June: The Strength Issue
July/August: The Getaways Issue
September: The Naked Issue (not it)
October: The Innovation Issue
December: The Joy Issue
So naturally, you'll want to figure out which issue would be a natural slam dunk for whatever it is you do. What makes the most sense? Why would you be the perfect person to comment on this? I'd argue that you can change the angle of your work to apply to any of them, but that's another story for another day.
Then, you look up editors. Figure out who covers what. And send 'em an email—or, at the very least, check out the “About” page of any site and it'll list a general submissions email address.🙂
The magic is in the ability to show up JUST at the right time to help a journalist write their article. It always goes back to helping, boo! I mean that—with sales, with imposter syndrome, with pitching magazines, whatever. But it's hard to do that when you're just shooting at the dark, hoping someone will think you're cool enough to be covered—but so much easier when you already know what they're looking for and can keep the focus on what they need, instead of you.
I'll keep you posted on the article and if we're included! [fingers crossed] WOULDN'T THAT BE FUN TO SEE US IN SOME MAJOR MAGAZINES? (I say “us” because I literally believe you're with me on this team. Or I'm just a clingy groin infection.) I will say, I'm fortunate to have a publicist from Penguin helping me do all the things, but I guarantee you she's going through the same channels. What ~does~ help? Is having a book since it positions me as an authority—and not just some trailer park hood rat with an inappropriate company name and a slightly questionable attitude toward umami.
Though I am those things, too.