Part 3: Tailoring your story to the market
If you’re thinking of selling your story yourself, choosing the publication that you are going to target is vital. The UK consumer magazine market alone consists of more than 3,000 titles, with more than 1,000 proposed new magazine launches each year. These figures don’t even include the hundreds of online magazines that have been popping up in recent years.
Choosing a small handful of specific publications that you are going to target is vital. Obviously what one magazine is looking for will differ from another magazine. Clearly Cross-Stitch monthly will be looking for very different stories than Super-Car Weekly. However, groups of publications that appear very similar, such as mainstream women’s magazines, can also have very different requirements.
Remember that every publication has a different target market. Not every publication is fighting for sales from the same limited pool of consumers. Each magazine aims to appeal to its own particular readership. You just need to look at the very different adverts in magazines to see that the target demographics each publication aims for is very different.
Why am I telling you this? A common mistake that many story writers make is taking a ‘carpet bombing’ approach to selling their story. Tailoring your style and approach is arguably more important than choosing a story to sell in the first place. It’s amazing how upset people get with us because their story isn’t suitable for one of the magazines we contribute to.
One way of thinking about this is as if you were applying for different jobs – would you send the same CV and cover letter around to every firm? No, you wouldn’t (hopefully!). In order to sell yourself to a firm, you would probably tailor your CV and cover letter to be relevant to the organisation in question. After all, a recruitment agent wouldn’t want to receive an irrelevant CV, just like an editor wouldn’t want to receive a story that is irrelevant to their publication.
If you’re still unsure about tailoring your story, you could put your story in the hands of a large press agency who will tailor your story in many different styles and can arrange placements in many different publications. The only fee you’d lose is the ‘writer’s fee’, but you’d get the rest of the cash, so it might be worth a small hit in order to ensure that your story gets published.
Obviously we’d be more than happy to do this for you (just fill out the sell my story form on our home page) but if you’d like our unbiased opinion, we would recommend: SWNS who are the largest press agency in the UK. You can reach their Sell My Story website at: www.sellusyourstory.com Sell my story. Or You can reach our team at: www.sellmystorynow.co.uk
Your story or press release (which we cover in the following section) needs to tick three different boxes:
- Be relevant to the magazine (so the story covers a topic that is of interest to their readers).
- Fit with the target demographic (for example, in most cases 23 year old women don’t want to read about 65 year old men). Also, which gender does the publication aim for?
- Is not exactly the same as a recent story that has appeared in the publication (or within one of their competitor magazines).
You can see the type of stories sold by other agencies here: http://sellusyourstory.com/blog/category/talking-point/