By Jasmine Perrier, Founder and Editor in Chief of Grumpy Magazine
I remember my publishing debut almost a year ago — I had just graduated from high school when I founded Grumpy Magazine. I wanted a French publication dedicated to entertainment and fashion, and dreamed about introducing inspiring, well-known figures and talents in these industries through authentic interviews. Deep down, I was aware that I was probably too ambitious from the very beginning, but maybe I was influenced by the saying ‘‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Despite any misgivings or concerns, I remembered I set out to find as many publicists and managers’ addresses as possible to start sourcing the very first official interviews for Grumpy Magazine.
As a newbie, my problem was that I knew no one in the business, and living in a very small town in the French countryside made it even harder. Catching the attention of established professionals is tough when you’re new because you might not have anything concrete to prove your legitimacy yet and there are other editors and publishers that already have a strong following. Having a very limited public presence doesn’t make things easier since, nowadays, we know how the statistics and the number of followers you have on social networks can play a significant role in how others perceive you.
After some time of reaching out and getting negative answers, or even no news, I decided to change my plans. I temporarily put my big dream projects aside and arranged feature pieces with more ‘’accessible’’ artists who didn’t have that much exposure yet, and this is how I started to make some progress. In the first issue, I promoted Spanish actress Marina Salas who was well-known in her native country and was just starting to become recognized in France. In the second issue I had the honor of introducing the talented green-haired singer Phoebe Ryan.
The rest is history: I featured the sweet Violett Beane from The Flash, the lovely Olivia Holt and so on. Thanks to all of these opportunities in the beginning, I was able to improve the quality of my work, to look at what I needed to change or to do better and to define what it was that people liked to see. I eventually developed a decent portfolio that I could present to the industry professionals I wanted to get in touch with.
If you’re like me and want to reach out to a publicist for a press inquiry, here’s what I recommend doing:
First, introduce your publication and give some information about the themes and subjects tackled so that people see the reasons why you believe their clients would be a good fit.
Next, share as many details as possible regarding your project — that is to say when you’d like to schedule the interview, how you’d like to do the piece, when it would be published, what you’d like to talk about during the chat and so on.
Last but not least, I always share some links for them to see the kind of content I’d done previously. I also attach my press kit to give them a general overview about my magazine and its activity.
From what I’ve experienced, requests by email require a lot of patience since publicists and managers receive a lot of messages every day. A week after sending my request, I try to kindly check in on it. More than once, the publicists will follow up to thank me for my reminder, but, occasionally, I won’t hear back from someone until months later. Also, don’t forget that, if they decide to pass your media opportunity or are unable to move forward with your proposal due to specific reasons, they now know that you exist and it might be possible that they will retain your address somewhere in their database or contact list. I’m telling you this because that is how I ended up collaborating regularly with numerous renowned public relations and talent agencies! If you do quality work, you will be surprised to see how fast your network will grow, especially since the agencies you work with will commonly share your pieces on their social channels once published. The best is the moment the management or PR agencies reach out to you first instead of the other way around!
Entering the industry is not an impossible challenge. And believe me — when you get in, you’re in for good. That is why hard work, creativity and patience are my three keys to being successful at building connections when you start your own magazine. Do not hesitate to expand your influence even when you think that you are not powerful enough to be considered. If you are deeply passionate about what you do, it will be reflected through your work! Just always be confident, be open-minded and believe in yourself, and it will pay off in one way or another.
Want more Grumpy? You can follow Grumpy Magazine on issuu, and Jasmine is @jazzieperrier on Instagram and Twitter.