Reaching journalists and getting press gives you a huge boost in Instagram followers, visits to your website and potential photo gigs.
But getting press is not something that happens unless you are seeking it proactively.
This guide will help you understand what it takes to make journalists interested in your photography and how to get published.
My two most recent articles about my photo project
The newspaper Chilango tweeted about the article too: They have 3.7 million twitter-followers:
— Chilango (@ChilangoCom) June 12, 2018
How you get press and the journalists’ interests
- Are your photos remarkable? (Are they worth making a remark about?)
- What kind of photos does the press care about?
- Which journalists have previously written about a photography project, similar to yours?
- How do you reach out to journalists?
- How do pitch your project?
Are your photographs remarkable?
Remarkable is a really cool word because we think it just means ‘amazing.’
But ‘remarkable’ also means ‘worth making a remark about.’
That’s what journalists care about.
Ask yourself: “Why would anyone want to write about what I do?”
When I started taking my Instagram (@trovatten) seriously, I knew it would be a lot easier for me to pitch & plug my Instagram page, if I had a theme around it.
I picked up street photography. And the next conscious decision was that I was going to post a photo every day for a year.
By having a scope and a specific theme, it’s really easy for me to pitch and for a journalist to pick up and understand. If I just took photos of me traveling or photos of Mexican landscape, it wouldn’t be as easy of a sell.
What kind of photos are journalists interested in?
I could chip in with my guess about what journalists write about, but if you go to Buzzsumo, you can enter the keyword “photographer” or “photography” and you get a list of the most shared articles, including “photographer” in the headline.
All of these articles have more than 50.000 Facebook likes.
I’ve looked through a hundred of the most shared articles about photography, which usually are:
- Made by extremely persistent photographers, like this.
- Funny, like this.
- Lucky, like this.
- Exceptionally executed, like this.
- Convey a message, like this.
- Portray society, like this.
Nothing surprising about this. In order to get published, you need content worth publishing.
Finding journalists on Instagram
Let’s say you do travel photography, like everyone else on Instagram 😀
Then this list of journalist would be very relevant for you.
And it’s easy to do; click on this Google Search and replace “travel” with your niche.
After you have found 400-500 relevant journalists, you need to make them notice you. And yes, you need that kind of volume. Every new journalist who follows your is an opportunity. The more the merrier.
(Scroll down to read about how you make them journalists notice you & how to reach out and pitch your work.
Finding journalists on Twitter
On Twitter, I find journalist using this incredible tool.
It lets me search the bios on Twitter, combined with a country.
I live in Mexico City, so I want to find a Mexican journalist on Twitter, and the search looks like this:
The result is a list of Journalists on Twitter living in Mexico
Make it even more relevant
Let’s say you want to reach journalists who write about “travel” you can make a search: “journalist + travel” in “New York or “The United States”.
Then you will get this list. These are people on Twitter who have “journalist” or “PR” and “travel” in their bio, sorted by how influential they are on Twitter.
Making them notice you
When you have found the journalists relevant to your topic, on Twitter & Instagram, you should start following them.
Most of these journalists we just found have around 500-5000 followers, so when they get a new follower they will probably notice it and check you out.
If a journalist has more than 10.000+ this method is not that effective, because they won’t notice you.
By following them, they will get a notification that “Frederik Trovatten who does Street Photography just followed you.” and if the journalist has an interest in street or documentary photography they will probably check me out, and 10-15% of them might follow me back.
Just because they follow me back doesn’t mean they will write about my project, but it does convey some interest from their side.
Reaching out to the journalists
Let’s say you have followed around 500 relevant journalists. About 50 should have followed you back if your Twitter/Instagram profile is kind of interesting and the journalists you chose to follow are relevant for what you are doing.
Now you have 50 journalists that care about your niche and who might be interested (unless they just auto-follow back, which a few of them might do)
How to pitch
“Be incredibly concise (…) Focus on the news or story you have, and describe it super briefly, remembering that I get a gazillion pitches a day and don’t have time to skim a lengthy pitch, let alone read it in its entirety. If I’m intrigued, I’ll ask for more.” – Fast Company senior editor Harry McCracken
Pitching via Direct Message
When I got featured in a large Mexican outlet called Chilango, it actually happened like this:
- I got a new Instagram follower who has “Reporter for Chilango” in her bio.
- I reached out to her saying I was glad she liked my photographs
- Then I asked if she thought it would be interesting to write a story about my 365 days of street photography.
Pitching via E-mail outreach
You can also make an email pitch. But this is a bit different since the person you are trying to reach probably haven’t heard about you before and receives a crazy amount of pitches every day. That’s said, it’s still worth doing.
Find a journalists email using this tool
After you have found a journalist who writes about topics within your niche. You can use this tool to find the email.
Good luck pitching your photo project!
This is a chapter from my Photographer’s Guide to Social Media & Marketing.