Have you been thinking of pitching to a journalist but feel a bit nervous as you’re not sure what they look for in a story?
Would you love to learn what journalists want?
If the answer’s yes you will love this week’s podcast with Marie Carter Robb who is editor of Pets Magazine.
Marie has worked for newspapers including the Independent and the Guardian, and lots of women’s magazines and local publications AND as a PR in the pet industry.
Then she decided to create her OWN magazine.
In this episode you’ll get a great insight into what makes a story plus have the potential to pitch to Marie – because you’ll discover what she wants!
You can listen in on the player link below or read the key points as a blog post.
Marie started out on local papers in the 90s in before starting her freelance business as both a journalist and a PR.
She explains: “I’ve worked for publications across the UK, including the Independent and The Guardian, regionally I’ve worked at the Northampton Chronicle and for women’s magazines like Bella and Best
“During my time in PR, one of my clients was the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons which was really fascinating.
“In 2015 I set up Pets Magazine with the focus of lifestyle for pet owners and their pets, including high end products, pet products, getaways for people and their pets and a pet horoscope feature with Russel Grant.”
Making the transition from reporter and PR to publisher
Marie started Pets Magazine as a passion project but it’s now a business.
She’s also used her skills to raise her own profile in the pet industry, appearing on BBC Radio with Simon Mayo and recently she’s been approached to contribute to a pet TV show in the USA.
She said: “I love the creative process behind it.
“The contacts that I’d gained from my work in the PR industry were invaluable for getting decent content and using tools like Response Source, Gorkana and media requests really helped too.
“Now I’m regularly called to speak about pet issues on all kinds of topics, from pet tech to lockdown puppies.”
How brands should approach Pets Magazine
Marie looks for interesting subject lines that make her and her readers want to know more.
She said: “The key thing is making the title interesting.
“So it could be something like ‘dog has 16 puppies at Blue Cross centre’ which would be a record breaking number of puppies.
“I look for record breaking headlines and articles with statistics.
“Also pictures speak a thousand words so there has to be strong imagery and not too much branding.
“If it was a pet product, you would have the pet and the product in the shot, but I wouldn’t want to see logos and branding everywhere.
“It’s a lifestyle magazine so it has to be a natural looking image.”
The key issues Marie and her readers are interested in
Marie has three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Rufus, Sophie and Nell.
Sophie came to her as a pup at eight weeks, and Nell was adopted from the Dogs Trust.
Sadly she’d been used as a breeding dog at a puppy farm for the first ten years of her life and couldn’t walk without getting out of breath.
Because of this, Marie is passionate about animal welfare and championing charities and campaigners.
Marie said: “I support charities like Bliss Cavalier Rescue and other similar charities.
“I try to raise awareness about the amazing work small charities and rescues do as well as worldwide issues such as dogs being used for meat.
“We’ve written about the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China which is disgracefully still going on. These are the kind of things our readers are passionate about.”
The different features inside Pets Magazine
Marie has regular slots in each issue including product reviews, health sections, regularly columnists and the pet horoscope page!
She said: “One of the topics I enjoy covering is pet tech and gadgets, so things like Furbo which is interactive camera where you can speak to your dog whilst you’re at the office and dispense treats to them.
“I’ve also tried the automatic ball dispenser which is great for dogs like Springer Spaniels who love to chase balls around non-stop!”
What should pet professionals consider if they want to be featured in Pets Magazine?
The key is to think about how what you offer can benefit the reader.
Marie said: “Tips are always really helpful, so any advice on how you might be able to groom your cat or how to get the best house layout for your pet is interesting, or dog friendly plants.
“Also recipes for dogs or cats, and you could even pair that with an opportunity to win a free recipe if you make and sell your own biscuits.”
What’s Maries advice for pet businesses who are feeling resistant to promoting themselves?
It can be daunting putting yourself out there. But Marie is urging people to be brave and get in touch!
She said: “I’d say go for it! You’re a business like any other, so look at the articles that are in the media so you can get a feel for a strong story and then think about your headline.
“Survey results are a really good way to make sure your company name gets mentioned.”
And she’s always on the lookout for fresh ideas and writers to work with.
She said: “I get accused of being dog focused, which I think is a natural inclination because I love dogs and I’ve never owned a cat, but I want to make it more focused on all kinds of animals.
“I’d love to hear from all kinds of pet professionals who feel they have something interesting to share.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Marie’s website: Pets Magazine website
Follow Marie on LinkedIn: Marie Carter Robb on LinkedIn
Learn how to get your pet business in the press in my coaching programme: What to expect from the Get Your Pet Business in the Press Programme
If you enjoyed this post, you might like to check out How to use Facebook groups to connect with journalists with Jill Foster or Dos and Don’ts when dealing with journalists