Working With Magazines to Grow Your Business

by Emily Anderson of GoodWithStyle


Self Magazine is looking to hire a Merchandising Manager. Do you know what that is? They work with the Associate Merchandising Director and Merchandising Director to strategize, create and write merchandising proposals for target accounts. Still confused? That’s okay because until you actually work at a magazine, chances are you know next to nothing about how a magazine is actually run. Don’t take this as an insult—before I got my first Magazine Job, I was clueless and that was after working for a fashion company for almost six years. Oh sure, I knew all about what the editors and writers did – that’s pretty self-explanatory. I had met some of the fashion photographers who shot editorials for magazines, many of them also shot our ad campaigns. So I knew all about advertising and also the in-store events magazines would put together for the fashion house where I worked. I knew who came to the runway shows, where they were supposed to be seated—but I never really noticed that only the editorial people came to the shows. I guess you could say the magazine business was a complete unknown, which must have made my new boss at the magazine super happy to have me.


The biggest thing I didn’t know was also the most important thing, for me to know. Did you know editorial and publishing are like church and state? They pretty much don’t have anything to do with each other.  This information was devastating to me, because the whole reason I wanted to work for a magazine was to be a writer. The irony is, most of the writing at magazines was done by freelance writers, but of course I didn’t know that nugget of information either.  I probably did more writing on the publishing side than I would have as an Editor, because in my role as Merchandising Manager at Vanity Fair Magazine. I wrote about three to six proposals a day—also known as RFPs (Request For Proposals). I wrote them at the behest of the Advertising Sales Reps who were trying to sell advertising space to different brands. My job was what they call “added-value,” a little extra bonus for the brand to spend their money with the magazine. Which brings me to my point—if you are a blogger, than you most definitely want to know exactly what a Merchandising Manager is, because there’s a tremendous opportunity for you to build a relationship with magazines that might very well be a mutually beneficial experience.  You see, going straight to the brands is a steep hill to climb, not impossible and certainly a worthwhile consideration, but it’s not the only way to go. What I am suggesting is to use your blog and your influence to add value to a magazine that already has the brand relationships, the sales team in place. This way, you can concentrate on your blog and doing what you do best which is connecting with your readers.


Top Ten Ways To Work With A Magazine

  • Learn about the brands advertising with the magazine, think about how those brands want to be perceived and how your blog can help them get their message out.
  • Always keep your focus on “making the cash register ring,” aka promotions that will actually drive sales for the brand.
  • Look at the publishing masthead, you see the part that says “Creative Services,” that’s where you want to focus because this is the merchandising team that you want to know.
  • Be buttoned up before you reach out to anyone. Create a press kit for your blog (you should have this anyway). Make it a pdf so you can easily email it along with a proposal.
  • Branch out beyond the blogosphere and connect to magazine and publishing groups for networking and learning opportunities.
  • Connect with key people on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to interact and develop relationships that you can cultivate over time.
  • Study the magazine, look at their promotions and events pages to see what kind of Advertising Programs they are currently doing, think of unique ways you can add value such as sending e-vites to your followers, running a contest for the advertiser, even sampling and product reviews are fair game.
  • Make sure your blog is in sync with the brand image the magazine is going for, speaking to the same audience as you are and the same product array.
  • Be creative, think of ideas that add excitement, are unique and also enhance your blog and your relationship with your readers.
  • Remember this – even though you may not be an expert in the Magazine world, guess what? You are an expert in the Social Media and Blogging world, and what you bring to the table is invaluable to Magazines that are trying to figure out how to harness the power of New Media.



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    9 Responses

    1. stylefyles

      Interesting post and great tips for working with magazines. I think your tips to have a press kit and to become familiar with the way magazines work are crucial bits of advice for those who want to grow the business of their blogs.

    2. Anna

      Thank you for sharing all the strategies. I’d say that before you reach out to the magazines, you should make sure your blog has a very decent following at across all the social media channels. As we all know, everyone wants eyeballs…

    3. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

      I’d love advice on the expectations when you receive unsolicited requests from magazines to do a straight article repost for them or those that email about you about the next celeb on their cover, and your blog does nothing with celebs. I only print anything about celebs who give back and it’s those specific initiatives.

      When you get straight requests for free publicity on your blog from a magazine out of the blue what is the best way to handle these emails?

      When their pitches really have nothing to do with what you post about, what is the protocol?

    4. Alisha Ross

      This article is amazing. One of the best I have read recently. I’ve never thought about connecting to a magazine before but that is a great idea, and I am now genuinely considering it. I never before thought of a press kit for my blog, but I am now going to create one. Really informative article, especially because its from someone on the inside.

    5. kimmiepooh

      Great article. I never thought to reach out to magazines-typically you read about ways your blog can work with brands but this was different. I’m still in the beginning stages of blogging but this gives me something to try down the road.