Three tips for getting published

Wouldn’t it be great to have your business included in your favourite magazine!

Earlier this year I attended an intimate workshop with Kelly Sheenan & Rebecca Jamieson Dwyer, two of the people behind Peppermint Magazine.  (There were only about 10 of us! Talk about exclusive access!)

We covered a lot of topics, but here are the three most important tips for being successful when you pitch to magazines. [Click here to read more.]

1. Be consistent
Pitch, and pitch again. Deciding what is included in any given issue of a magazine is not an easy task, and sometimes the final decision comes down to nothing more than the colour scheme of your images and whether they suit the over all layout of the page. So just because you weren’t successful the first time, that doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for another issue later….. so send your pitch and then follow up.

And when you pitch, have everything ready and easily accessible. Don’t expect the editor to “check out your website and Instagram gallery”, but instead send them some sample images, or samples of your writing, so that they don’t have to do any extra work to see what you’d like them to publish.

2. Be established and ready
No magazine will publish anything about your business if you don’t have a great website up and running where people can see and buy your prucucts. It reflects badly on the magazine if they send their readers to your website only to be met with a 404 error or a ‘site under construction’ page.

3. Image is everything
Their words, not mine. Rebecca said, “Image is everything. Have good strong professional images ready for us to publish. Honestly, if I had limited budget and couldn’t afford everything I wanted in my business, I would prioritise professional photography.”

Where to from here?
Numbers 1 & 2 are up to you, but I can definitely help you out with number 3. Get in touch to find out more.

 

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A story of chocolate hearts. (Or why I didn’t want free flowers for a year and what that has to do with your business.)

OK, so maybe I DID quite like the idea of free flowers for a year, but not enough to actually do anything about it.

Let me back up a bit to the beginning of the story and it will all make much more sense to you, I’m sure.

The shopping centre that houses my local supermarket also has a pretty little florist shop. I walk past it at least twice a week, but I’ve never been in and I’ve never bought anything from them. Recently — for about a month — the florist shop ran a competition where if you spent over $100 at any of the stores in the centre, you could enter the draw to win flowers delivered to your home once a month for 12 months.

Free flowers delivered to my home for a whole year? Yes please!!!

But did I enter?

I walk past that particular florist shop at least twice a week. All I had to do was complete a form with my contact details.  And yet I didn’t enter. Why not? It wasn’t difficult. Nor was it time consuming. Every time I walked past the florist shop I thought to myself, “I must do that.” And yet I didn’t…not until the very last day of the competition.

 

So what had changed?

Why did I enter then? What changed? And no, it wasn’t that I had simply realised that I had nearly run out of time. That ‘sense of urgency’ that marketing people always say you need for special offers had nothing to do with it. In fact, the day that I did enter I had been standing in the queue at the check out of the supermarket, looking at a particularly beautiful sign advertising the competition. “Last chance!” it said. I stood there, thinking to myself, “I must do that.” Then it was my turn at the checkout. I paid for my groceries and started making my way back to the car, past the florist, as always. As I did so, a lovely young lady handed me a chocolate heart and smiled.

“Oh, thank you!” I said.

“Did you spend more than $100 at the supermarket today?”

I laughed. “When do I ever not?”

“It’s a bit like that,” she said. “Did you know you could win flowers for a year? It’s really easy. What’s your name?”

And she went on to fill out the form for me on the spot. Entry done. Had she not been there I would have gone to my car and gone home. The competition would have closed. I would not have entered, and the florist would not have had my details in their database.

 

So what has that story got to do with your business?

Have you ever run a competition to try to engage your target clients? To build your database? I have, and with very little success, I must say, even though the prizes up for grabs each time have been incredible, much like free flowers for a year delivered to your door.   Maybe people had meant to enter my competitions. Maybe they even really wanted to win…. but perhaps they just hadn’t quite gotten around to it. Maybe I needed to find a way of making it easier them. Here’s what I took away from my experience:

  • The young lady who did my entry for me was friendly and happy, but not gushingly so. She seemed genuinely interested in chatting with me. It was a real exchange, not scripted.
  • She was attractive and well-presented, but not threateningly so.
  • She gave me something for nothing: That chocolate heart was mine whether I entered the competition or not, and she gave it to me with no strings attached and without asking me to do anything.
  • She made it all super easy for me. I didn’t even have to pick up a pen.

Well… I didn’t win any free flowers, but I did learn a lot. Maybe next time I want people to enter a competition or sign up to my newsletter I’ll ask myself:

  • What can I give with no strings attached?
  • Is my offer attractive and well presented, but not so much so that it seems too good to be true?
  • Am I being genuinely friendly and happy? Is my offer coming from a genuine desire to give? Or am I just wanting to get something for myself?
  • How can I make the day a little easier for the people who see my offer?

What about you? Do you run a small business? Tell me, what’s worked for you in the past as a way of building genuine customer engagement?

EDITED TO ADD: Well, that competition was way back in February… and I have not heard from the florist at all. Nope! Not at all. Not even a newsletter! What a waste! They had the perfect opportunity to contact me straight after the winner was drawn to say something like, “We’re so sad that not all of you could win that we’ve decided to give you all something anyway. Enjoy this gift certificate to our store.” You can bet that would have gotten me through their door the next time I did the groceries…. So here’s my final tip:

  • Know WHY you are running your competition or special offer BEFORE you start. What’s the point of collecting addresses for your database if you do nothing with them?
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Portraits by donation

Yep, you read that right. By donation.

Drop into the studio on Friday 21st October 2016, and I will photograph you in return for a donation into my collection jar. All money collected on the day will go to Frocktober, which is a fundraising body supporting the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation in their work to find an early detection test for ovarian cancer. You could donate a gold coin, or a thousand gold coins. It’s up to you.

What you will receive:

  • a short, sharp shoot
  • one image of your choice from the shoot, presented as a high resolution digital file.

Sound good? I thought so. You will need to get in touch to book a time slot for the day. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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FROCKTOBER 2016

It’s Frocktober again people!!

Yes, it’s that time of year where people wear dresses for the whole month of October (men can participate, too!) in order to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation who are beavering away doing all their science-y stuff, trying to develop an early detection test for this insidious disease. That’s one of the worst things about ovarian cancer: there is no early detection test, and the symptoms of the disease are easily attributed to other really quite innocuous things, so the disease is often misdiagnosed until late in its progress, which leads to a low survival rate compared to other forms of cancer that can be detected and treated early.

After a very busy Frocktober 2014 (with the Frocktail party, remember?) I took it pretty quietly last year….. so I’m ready to frock it again in 2016! This year I’ll be Frocking Fridays, and raising funds through my every day hero page which you can find here.

As well as that, I have teamed up with Glam Corner –  who have loads of incredible frocks for hire — to give you something very special for your next shoot with me: The next five people to book a shoot with me will receive an $80 gift certificate to hire something gorgeous to wear for your shoot!! How good is that? Go and have a look at their collection. They have an enormous variety of gowns and dresses (plus accessories, too!) in a good range of sizes. You’ll need to book and pay for your shoot in the month of October 2016, but you will be able to hire your gown and have your shoot up until the end of October 2017.

Oh, and of course, you don’t HAVE to hire a gown for your shoot. You could use your gift certificate to hire something for your Melbourne Cup party, or New Year’s Eve, or some other black tie event you have coming up. But you’d only do that if you really want to disappoint your photographer…..

;-)

AND in addition to that, if you also make a donation to my Frocktober campaign, I will match your donation with dollar for dollar value* in print and product credit so you can buy lots of gorgeous photos from your shoot.

So now you have three jobs to do:

  1. make a donation to my Frocktober campaign
  2. book your photo shoot with me
  3. choose your gown from Glam Corner

I’m looking forward to seeing you at your photo shoot all frocked up!!

Jen.

 

*See terms and conditions for details.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FROCKTOBER 2016 SPECIAL OFFER FROM VIVIDITY:

  1. The Frocktober 2016 special offer may not be used in conjunction with any other offer.
  2. Photo shoot with vividity must be booked and paid for in the month of October 2016.
  3. There are five (5) Glam Corner gift certificates available, and will be distributed to the first five (5) people who book and pay in October 2016  for their shoot with Jennifer Taylor/vividity.
  4. Glam Corner gift voucher will be to the value of $80 dollars, and is to be used under their terms and conditions. Jennifer Taylor/vividity is in no way affiliated or associated with Glam Corner and you must make direct arrangements with them yourself.
  5. Photo shoot must be held at a mutually convenient time, date and location before 31st October 2017.
  6. Dollar for dollar matching will be provided in print and product credit with vividity, to be used to purchase print and product from the shoot booked in the month of October 2016. The credit value is capped at $150 Australian Dollars per person.

 

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Creative Market

Do you ever design things for your business? Flyers, posters, Instagram pics and memes, perhaps? Or do you make your own Christmas cards? Birthday invitations? Then you really need to check out Creative Market!  It’s a fabulous resource for design elements, not to mention inspiration!

You know, as a creative business owner, it’s easy to think you can do everything yourself. “Why would I pay someone else,” the thought process goes,  “when I have those skills already? I can just whip up a new graphic element in photoshop myself and save all that money!”

I’m here to tell you, that’s false economy. How l-o-n-g does it take to just “whip up a new graphic design element”? Sometimes hours!! Creative Market is the solution! I recently bought these gorgeous water colour blossom elements to use in a cover design for a client’s album. They were perfect, and not expensive at all.

And there are so many great designers and creators at Creative Market, you will be spoiled for choice. Oh, and you’ll find my own little store there, too, where I will upload stock shots and mock ups from time to time: perfect for your social media pages. You can find that here:

 

vividity on Creative Market.

Enjoy! But be careful: it’s a bit like Pinterest. You’ll go there for just a quick look and emerge maybe a couple of hours later……. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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