Summer at The Abbi Agency offices has been a hot one. Our public relations team has garnered top media billing for clients in Fast Company, the Today Show, the LA Times and coming soon, Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The media relations team prides itself on securing coverage in premiere print and digital publications while keeping a keen eye on often overlooked endemic titles and uber-niche outlets. Among those potentially overlooked include inflight magazines. Last year, 815.3 million scheduled passengers traveled on U.S. airlines and foreign airlines serving the United States ; making readers en route an unmatched captive audience. I recently participated in a webinar about pitching inflight magazines. The real-time interaction with editors was invaluable and allowed me to peg publishing trends that will lead to strategic pitches and placements. Below is a run down of inflight pitching best practices from top editors. Remember, these are extremely long lead targets. It is not unreasonable to start pitching 7-8 months in advance.
Hemispheres, Go, Viva
INK Publications: http://www.ink-live.com/
Hemispheres Media Kit with Editorial Calendar here: http://www.hemispheresmagazine.com/mediakit/
“We also find that our readership likes to “aspire” to a younger, hipper lifestyle. (Think Esquire)” Orion Ray-Jones, Hemispheres
Luxe is Back!
Luxury experiences and high-end air travel is back! Media strategists can put the recession angle to bed. No more “10 ways to save on your next vacation.” Although consumers are always looking for a great deal, luxury travel and unforgettable experiences are top of mind for inflight audiences.
Inflight editors love engagement. Don’t just read the latest Hemispheres story, tap into their social network by sharing vine videos and photos. If you read a story you love, comment on it. Got a photo of your destination that is magazine worthy? Tweet it. Of course, don’t forget to follow and subscribe to social channels.
Travelers are looking for off-the-beaten-path experiences that inspire them to go on a trip of discovery. Pitch in-depth story ideas that make compelling long form reads. Quick tip lists are not for inflights.
Don’t forget PR 101
Although these are steps every public relations professional should take daily, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. First, find the right section for your story idea. Second, consider pitching a freelancer first. They have previously established relationships with editors and can help cut through the clutter. (Note: when pitching freelancers, the same PR rules apply) Lastly, PR is about relationships. You wouldn’t approach a stranger on the street and ask for a favor, so consider this when trying to achieve a placement. Relationships = Results.
Tell Me Something Good
According to Orion, Hemispheres readers are interested in:
top-shelf cocktail party talk. People read because they want to learn and tell someone else about it. Say goodbye to silent moments at cocktail parties. Readers want to tell their friends about April Holmes’ recovery and the Pacific’s idyllic islands of Palau. No clue what I’m talking about? Read an inflight.
Don’t Do That
Editors at INK mags are not interested in mass emails or story ideas that have been pitched to other outlets. They want upscale, intellectual content for curious readers. If the Wall Street Journal has covered it, don’t pitch it.
Quick tip: To view all of Ink’s publications in their print forms, visit their e-mag site: http://www.ink-live.com.
Hemispheres Hot Tips!
- Infographics are welcome! They may not run them, but they are chock-full of useful information for editors.
- Most mags have food and drink sections and product reviews, however they don’t want tried and true pitches like non-napa vineyards or another micro-brew scene. Pitch a truly innovative gastro-scene.
- Editors are targeting the next generation front-of-the-planers (aka those who will be sitting in First Class in five years). When pitching a story, what does the next millionaire, up-and-coming 30-something want to know?
- Bright Ideas section: good for business and innovations.
US AIRWAYS MAGAZINE
Lance Elko, Editor
At US Airways magazine, editors want to inform, enlighten and entertain travelers. Stay away from topics like death, taxes, religion and politics. Photo pitches are a plus, but keep them lo-res or links when conveying the story, product or destination. Editors will request high-res photos when needed. Although social engagement is key, editors at US Airways Magazine aren’t too keen on pitches via social outlets. Use social media to get to know the magazine, its direction and to engage on a higher level, then contact the editor directly.
US AIRWAYS MAGAZINE Hot Tips!
- Focus on major cities served by the airline, especially for the Great Dates section
- Pay attention to airline mergers for changes in publications
- All contributing editors (listed on staff page) have websites – feel free to contact them personally for travel, wine, food, resorts, golf, sports, adventure getaways and products. Targeted pitches to them can turn into writer pitches to the editor.
Sarah Elbert, Executive Editor
At Delta SKY the tone is high-end but readers like funky, off-beat places that are interesting in their own right. When pitching editors, be sure to strike the right tone. Don’t come off too familiar or casual but lawyer lingo is not necessary. Food and Wine coverage is a big focus with a celebrity emphasis.
DELTA SKY Hot Tips!
- The mag often runs special sections on health topics, as well as those on specific destinations that might include medical or health content. Those pitches can be sent to email@example.com or editor Tracy McCormick.
- They are currently interested in business and trend stories, not just travel stories.
- Event listings and Citylicious section pitches should go to edit@deltaskymag
AMERICAN WAY, CELEBRATED LIVING, AANEXOS
American Way is one of the few inflight magazines that publishes twice a month. At American Way, Celebrated Living and AA Nexos a 5-7 month lead-time is not unusual. This can apply to most inflight publications. Also, don’t under estimate the power of a compliment. Sometimes shooting an email to say I loved this story is worth is the best thing you can do to build your relationship.
American Way Hot Tips!
- Treat the last page just as important as the back
- Business features are a plus!
- Itinerary is the easiest way to break into magazine. Senior Editor, Anna Fialho is the gatekeeper of this section. You can find her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- American Airlines Publishing did away with social sites. For editorial info, tweet @americanair. They promise to respond.
- briefs GO!: Pitch destinations that are not as feature worthy. Often times American Eagle destinations are covered in this section