Snagged: How Colette Ellis Landed Real Simple & How You Can Model It, from Pitch to Press


The Snagged series at Tin Shingle gives us the chance to virtually celebrate some of our members who are small biz owners just like you and have snagged fantastic press.  It also allows us to use their experience to educate small businesses and entrepreneurs trying to do just the same thing as they did. 

We love this Snagged moment that member Colette Ellis of InStep Consulting experienced that landed her in a Real Simple story because it teaches an important DIY PR lesson in patience.  Oftentimes from pitch to placement a lot of time can pass, but eventually good things truly to come to those who wait!

Colette was kind enough to take the time out of her busy day to answer a few questions for us about the process, and just how long it took her to gain that valuable press that further validates her as an expert and grows her brand.  At the end of her interview be sure you check out the three lessons we'd love you to gain from her experience, as Colette did some things really correctly from the start of the process to the end!

Walk us through the process that led to your advice being featured by Real Simple Magazine, including when it started time-wise:

I saw a PR lead on Tin Shingle last December that was seeking a stress management expert for an article on Optimism. I responded to the reporter via email with 3 tips based on my coaching philosophy, and a link to a radio interview of me on a similar subject (Flip the Script to Unlock Your Potential & Achieve Your Biggest Dreams). I also included a brief bio and a URL link to my author profile on Amazon Central.

When did they get in touch with you after you pitched them & what happened next, what did you have to provide Real Simple with?
The reporter contacted me in January requesting that I provide more advice based on some feedback from her editors, to which I responded (within 24 hours) with more tips and suggestions. The fact checker from Real Simple magazine contacted me in February to verify my name and contact information; she also let me know that the article would appear in the April issue of the magazine.

Note: Which it did! Click on the link here to see her story in the online version of How to be more Optimistic.  You can also see Colette in the print version of April's Real Simple Magazine.

The cool part was having one of my college friends post to my Facebook wall that she enjoyed reading my advice BEFORE I’d seen it or had the chance to spread the word!

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs who are pitching and following up with PR Leads but feel like responses are taking too long?
I’d advise our Tin Shingle members to be patient (it may take time to hear back), yet persistent and responsive to reporters’ needs and requests.

Lessons to Learn from Colette's Experience?

  • When you pitch a reporter who is specifically asking for information, PROVIDE THEM WITH INFORMATION, do not simply tell them to reach out to you if they want it, you need to simplify their job.  Colette sent them tips right away, which led them to follow up with her for more information.
  • Be able to validate yourself as an expert - send them your credentials, links to you doing radio/television interviews or sharing information (in noncompeting outlets only).
  • Be patient.  It takes time for reporters to file stories and gather sources.  Sure, sometimes press can happen overnight, but other times it takes longer - especially if your story is going somewhere with a long lead time (meaning it will take 3 to 6 months to go "live").  It may be hard to wait, but we know that as an entrepreneur you have plenty of other things to keep you busy in the interim.