This is part of my Makin' Bacon podcast, you can check out all the episodes or subscribe on your favorite podcast player.
I recently interviewed Doug Levy on the Makin' Bacon Podcast and I wanted to highlight this part of the discussion because I thought it was important enough to share it separately.
In this part of the interview, Doug and I dive into the various ways you can work with more mainstream publications like magazines, newspapers, and other traditional media. We cover knowing what your goals are and how to approach them.
Below is the snippet from the interview, as well as a transcription of the feature.
Jason Logsdon: The first time you and I met was at the International Food Bloggers Convention and you were moderating a panel on bloggers working with traditional media and how some of that works. How does the typical blogger to media relationship work?
Doug Levy: The thing is to have a niche, have something that is as unique to you as possible, so your expertise is reflected in what you post. The other thing is really pay attention to quality. Because if a brand or a publisher is interested in working with you and they go to your site and see 9 really good posts and 1 really bad one. That really bad one might take you out of the running. So it matters.
The other thing is, and I've seen this now in recruitments for commercial publications lately, we are in the world of the personal brand and everybody is a publisher. So what is your brand? You should have your own brand marketing plan, just as the makers of your favorite soda have a marketing plan. What is your business? What are you trying to do? What is your goal? How are you going to monetize it, If at all? Money's not everything. But if money is what you're trying to do, what is the business model?
So for me, I never intended to make money off my blog, but it absolutely leveraged my way into paying writing and consulting projects, which has worked out really well for me. Let people know who you are, what you do and make it easy for them to figure out what you can do for them without necessarily being overtly salesy. There's a boundary there. You want to be open and friendly and helpful, but you don't want to be in everybody's face. I'm not a big fan of all these popups, even on my website. I've got a few I wish I could suppress, but I just don't have time to really optimize things.
You want to get people onto your list because your email list is the most valuable thing. If you've got a strong brand and a lot of followers, including a way to reach them, you instantly become valuable to whether it's a newspaper or a book publisher or anybody else. So that's where you should put some energy. If you have a lot of followers on social media, what are you doing to maintain those followers and stay engaged?
I've seen people with literally a million followers, but very little engagement. That person is not going to be published by commercial media. But the person who's got 3000 followers where half of them are in a specific industry sector at senior levels, that's more valuable. So know what you're trying to do, do it, do it well and do it consistently.
Again, I'm talking about things people should do that I'm not that good at myself. I can't remember the last post on my blog. And I'm embarrassed by that. I'm not going to be attracting any consulting or writing offers for food and wine right now because who's going to read my blog? I wouldn't.
Jason: if you are interested in something like food and wine or a specific magazine or publication, is it okay to reach out to them? And if so, who do you reach out to there and how do you go about that?
Doug: Well, the ranks of editors have always changed frequently and lately, even more. This year we've had a lot of publications closed down completely or almost closed down. So, if you go to the library and look up a reference list of who's the editor of whatever publication, odds are, it's a different person today. It could even be a different person this week from last week.
This is actually where social media does really play a big role. If there's a publication that you want to be published in, find the reporters and editors from that publication on social media. Follow them, get to know what they post about and find a way to engage with them on social media. Twitter is particularly good for this purpose. Establish the relationships, it's networking, but it's digital networking.
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.