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Who should you contact when pitching your products to magazines?


If you've been following the Launch Grow Joy blog for a while, you know that my main mission is to empower you with all the tools you need when pitching your products to magazines. Thousands of you have signed up for my free PR trainings and have used my media outreach tools to get your products featured.

However, one question that I still get a lot is “There are SO MANY different editors and writers at a magazine. Who should I reach out to when pitching my products? How do I know who to contact?”

Take a look at the masthead of Oprah Magazine. Would you know WHO to pitch from the list below?
oprah-magazine-masthead

If you're not sure, you're not alone!

Before I share with you WHO to reach out to when pitching magazines, let's take a look at the different departments at a magazine.

Magazine departments and what they do

Each department at a magazine is responsible for different areas of the magazine, whether it's production, content, circulation and more. Familiarizing yourself with what each department does is critical in knowing who you should reach out to with your pitch.

Here's a list of departments:

EDITORIAL/ARTICLES – this department is responsible for creating all the written content for the magazine, including products they feature

COPY/RESEARCH – in charge of editing, researching and proofreading all written content before the magazine goes to print

DESIGN/ART – responsible for art, photography & layout of the magazine

PRODUCTION – in charge of putting the print issue together and getting it to the printer

MARKETING – responsible for partnerships & campaigns that drive subscriber growth

CIRCULATION – deals directly with subscribers and provides customer service

ADVERTISING – in charge of selling advertising and paid sponsorships for the magazine

ADMINISTRATION – assistants in charge of supporting the top administrators (Editor in Chief, Vice President, President, etc.)

Now that you are familiar with what each department does, let's take a look at who does what for each department.

Magazine job titles and what they do

EDITOR IN CHIEF – oversees operations, heads all departments

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR – vision, cohesiveness, manages editors

EXECUTIVE EDITOR – approves all copy, oversees hiring

MANAGING DIRECTOR – oversees production

EDITOR AT LARGE –contributing editor or full time, works on special projects

COPY EDITOR – spellchecking & grammar

COPY CHIEF – heads Copy Department

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT – entry-level, admin support, may write

ASSISTANT EDITOR – editing and writing, next step up after Editorial Assistant

ASSOCIATE EDITOR – more writing & editing, next step after Assistant Editor

SENIOR EDITOR – next step up after Associate Editor

MARKET EDITOR – out at markets looking for trends

RESEARCH EDITOR – verifies facts before going to print (fact-checking)

SPECIAL FEATURES EDITOR – special projects

STAFF WRITER – writes copy

When it comes to pitching at larger magazines, you'll also find:

FASHION DEPARTMENT – Senior Fashion Editor, Fashion Editor, Associate Fashion Editor, Assistant Fashion Editor

BEAUTY DEPARTMENT – Senior Beauty Editor, Beauty Editor, Associate Beauty Editor, Assistant Beauty Editor

FOOD DEPARTMENT – Senior Food Editor, Food Editor, Associate Food Editor, Assistant Food Editor

HEALTH, LIFESTYLE, HOME, STYLE, ETC. – Senior Health Editor, Associate Lifestyle Editor, Assistant Home Editor, Style Editor, etc.

Are you feeling overwhelmed yet when it comes to knowing who to contact at each magazine? If so, read on.

Who to contact when pitching magazines

When pitching larger magazines, you want to start with the assistant/senior/associate section editor for the section in which you want your products featured. For example, if you have a decorative pillow that you'd like to pitch, you should reach out to the Associate Home Editor, the Senior Home Editor OR the Assistant Home Editor first. If you don't hear back after your initial pitch and follow up email, you can reach out to one of the other section editors – for example, if you contacted the Associate Home Editor with no response, try the Senior Home Editor and then Assistant Home Editor. If you still don't hear back, you can finally reach out to Home Editor.

The strategy is to “work your way up the ladder” and start with someone who is “less senior” – the assumption is that they might be less busy than a Senior editor or Editor and they often times are the first to come in contact with the products featured in the magazine.

One exception to this rule is for smaller, local or regional publications that have only a few editors on staff.

bicycling-masthead

In this case, you might want to start directly with the Senior Editor or Associate Editor and, in some cases, even the Editor-in-Chief.

Who to NEVER contact at a magazine

Now that you know who you should contact, there are also a few people who you should NEVER contact when you pitch your products.

They include:

  • Managing Editor
  • Executive Editor
  • Deputy Editor
  • Editorial Director
  • President
  • Vice President
  • Anyone who works in a non-editorial department (advertising, art, photo, production, etc.).

While they have a lot of responsibility at the magazine, they are almost always never in charge of selecting products for their upcoming issues.

Now that you know who to contact, you're invited to sign up for my free PR training: 5 Steps to Getting Free Publicity & Exposure in Major Magazines (Even If You’ve Never Pitched an Editor Before)  

Have you reached out to magazine editors in the past? If so, I'd love to know about your experience. Leave a comment below and let me know!

 


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  1. I love the info, but being a fairly new company and very small, selling in local stores, how do we get further out with our products?
    Would a Magazine see us as too localized or regional to want to feature us?
    We are about out of options where we are, and need to get out further to build/grow our business.
    Any more great advice on this would be very useful.

    Also another consideration is, how to price our products competitively and still make a good profit, and what do you need to include in the price to cover all costs, please!!

    1. Hi Paul, It’s also all about your pitch in addition to how relevant your product is to the readers of a national magazine. If anything national magazines love fresh brands that have been seeing rapid growth. As far as price, I would do a competitive analysis regionally, and nationally. This way you are able to see who your competition is as well as where that places you in the market. Hope this helped!

  2. I found this really helpful – thank you! One quick question (if you’re still answering questions on this article.) I have an art and stationery business and am considering sending my pitch to my target magazine editors via snail mail, written on one of my note cards. My thought is that this provides the pitch and a sample product at the same time. My question is one of practicality – if I were to send the note (or maybe a small box of note cards) to the address listed on the magazine’s masthead, to the attention of my target editor, what are the chances of them actually receiving the package or note? I would probably try and follow up with an email as well if I can find their email address. Which brings up another question – how to find editor email addresses? If you have any suggestions that way I would love to hear them too! Sorry, guess that ended up being more than just a quick question.
    Thanks for all your help!
    Hannah

    1. So glad this was helpful, Hannah! I would recommend against sending pitches and product samples in the mail, unless you are doing just a very small amount of pitching and not sending to that many outlets. It can get lost in the mail and if the package is unsolicited it will end up in the trash 🙁 I can see why you would want to do that because it showcases your product right away, but I would send an email pitch first and then send then actual samples when requested. You can find their email address with your Media Leads program, http://www.launchgrowjoy.com/media-leads

  3. Hi Andreea, I have pitched O’Magazine, Oprah’s Favorite Things for the last three years without any luck. Each year I’ve sent in sample products in beautiful Christmas boxes/presentations. And each year I step-up the holiday wrapped boxes because I remember you saying editors like to see beautiful presentations. I know I’m sending my pitches to the right editors but haven’t yet been selected to be in the magazine. Since I’ve been doing this for 3 years should I stop or continue this year again? What other tips do you suggest for me?

    1. You are definitely doing the right thing by sending beautifully packaged boxes. If your products have not been selected after three years, do you have other products that you can pitch instead? Maybe a different product line?

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