The Tin Shingle Blog


Member Update: FamilyFun Added to Media Contacts, Plus Guidance On How To Pitch That Magazine

Today's Member Update focused on a new Media Contact available to members of Tin Shingle. We have republished it here to give you insight into what you could also be receiving every Monday to kick-start your week of promoting your business! Join Tin Shingle today if you haven't yet.


At the request of a Tin Shingler, we complied some research for the magazine, FamilyFun, which is owned by Parents. This magazine is a smaller magazine that is dependent upon Contributors. While there is a generic email provided for you to pitch into, that will be best used for those who wish to submit a complete article. I have included more advice here in the Community Boards about how to pitch Contributors.

If you are looking for your business to be featured in a roundup, you will want to kindly email contributing writers who have most recently been published in FamilyFun. Sometimes, this means writing into their websites using their Contact Us forms on their own websites that have been designed to feature them as writers. Do use these forms, as the writers may respond!

This is a great reminder to all of you, that for smaller magazines, you will want to pitch contributing writers directly, as well as trying for the generic email at the magazine.

Find FamilyFun here in the Media Contacts.

These new business members are in your community! Be sure to update your public profile on Tin Shingle with your picture, brief bio, and company logo! Do this from your Dashboard!
Mackenzie Khristov, Founder
Lily & Scooter
ON THE BLOG: How NOT To Pitch Tech Writer David Pogue
Read More >

Thank You, David Pogue! How NOT To Contact You

In collecting Media Contact research for Tin Shingle member who requested it for FamilyFun, we discovered that super famous tech writer David Pogue had recently been published in FamilyFun. Being that FamilyFun is a smaller magazine, many of their writers are contributors, so the best way into a magazine like this is to get to know the contributors, their styles, and to pitch them directly with your product or service.

In perusing David's website, his writing style on Contact Us page did two things for us:

  • Gave us hope that he does respond to inquiries sent through this form, and
  • Told us exactly what not to do when pitching him!

Because Tin Shingle is dedicated to helping you build buzz for your business, I wanted to share what he advised, because this can be applied to every person pitching a writer (you can read all of his scenarios here on how NOT to pitch him):

  • Feedback to his columns: Apparently he gets a lot of feedback here from enthusiastic readers of his articles. Every digital writer knows that (nice) comments posted to their articles aids in the value of that article. Of course, some articles get no comments, and that doesn't mean that lots of people don't read it. But comments show the community of people. So to start a relationship with David, try engaging with him politely via comment on an article you had an honest reaction to.
  • Pitches to review products: David says that if you don't hear from him, it means "no" (he said it more politely). You should, I suppose, take his word on it. He claims to be very diligent with that inbox.
  • Auto-responses and mail-protection thingies: I'm going to use David's words here, because they are perfect: "Email that requires me to jump through hoops to send a response. I’m referring to MailBlocks and similar services that require respondents to visit a Web page and type a code. In other words: If you don’t get my response, it’s because you’ve made it too hard!"

So there you have it. How not to pitch David Pogue. And a nice reminder that sometimes you are pitching writers directly in order to get featured in publications they write for, and you are not pitching the publication at all.


Day In The Life Of: PR Expert Kelly Kepner of Kelly Kepner PR

Fascinating is the day in the life of a buzz-building expert in their field. Kelly Kepner of Kelly Kepner Public Relations is one such person, who casually mentions things like "I am still getting requests for Holiday Gift Guides!" because that is normal in her day. Before you hear Kelly live in Tin Shingle's next Training TuneUp this week, we asked her to give you a glimpse of her day. Because what's going on in her day could also be going on in yours if you followed the advice she's going to give you this Wednesday. For example, here are examples of requests coming across her desk as of right now (September 2016):

Short lead requests:

  • Fall trends (belts, outerwear, 90s inspired)
  • Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Jewel tones

Long lead requests:

  • Gift Guides
  • Resort Fashion
  • Activewear for January
  • Valentine’s Day

TV Segments:

  • Holiday
  • Fall Trends
  • Back to School
  • Halloween Costumes, Trends, Tips for entertaining, etc

Kelly is a recurring TuneUp expert and she speaks to us this week about preparing NOW for Valentine's Day. Yes folks, those Valentine's Day Gift Guides have started now. Most of you found Tin Shingle when you were Googling "how to get in valentine's day gift guides" like in...the end of January or February. Which is too late! Well guess what? We've trained you to act earlier, and you are. Your reward is Wednesday.

Meantime, check out what Kelly's day is like, and see what you can incorporate into yours?

Hi There! My names Kelly Kepner and I’m the owner of Los Angeles based Fashion PR firm Kelly Kepner PR.  I represent a mix of apparel and accessories brands and help secure my clients press on celebrities, in print magazines, online in blogs and news sites and on some of your favorite bloggers and even TV shows too.  Here’s a glimpse into my day, and while no two days are ever the same, there are some critical elements like:

  • pitching
  • fulfilling requests
  • blogger and celebrity gifting 
  • social media engagement

And those happen every day!

Morning Time - PR Prep

Each morning I like to get up between 5am and 6am.  I’ve been trying to get my workout done earlier in the morning. I feel like it not only gives me more energy during the day, but these summer days were SO hot, it was a nice chance to beat the heat. Plus, the great thing about waking up early is that I have a chance to respond to any urgent emails from the east coast.

Once I’m ready to settle down for the morning, the first thing I do is reply to pressing emails from editors and my clients. This can include price checks from magazines, editorial requests for gift guides or resort fashion, image requests from online outlets and so on. After that, I usually jump in and tackle my to-do list. This can include anything from:

  • outreaching to a new celebrity stylist
  • sending thank you gifts to editors
  • creating graphics for social media
  • researching bloggers to gift
  • scheduling desk side appointments
  • planning events
  • and of course things like invoicing and monthly reports too.

Additionally, I try to plan out my pitches for the upcoming week.  I’m always aware of what themes short lead and long lead outlets are working on and this helps me ensure that I’m pitching out all of my clients and nothing is forgotten.  It seems like every day there’s a new national “holiday” and whether it’s Sunglasses Day or Donut Day, if one of my brands has something applicable, I want to make sure I’m pitching it out!

Developing Pitches to the Media - Still in the Morning

As I’m developing pitches, I try to create a base pitch for the theme, say fall boots for example.  While the bones of the pitch remain the same (brands name, website, price points, inspiration for that season, and so on) each pitch is carefully tweaked depending on the outlet I’m sending it too.  If I’m reaching out to OK! Magazine and US Weekly, I want to mention the lower price point, the fact that I have hi res images available, and of course let them know about the celebrities that have worn these boots recently.  If I’m pitching to Marie Claire or Glamour or ELLE, I’ll use some of that information but they not are as concerned about celebrities and price points like the weeklies are.  Here I’ll emphases more of the styles and trends that fit the bill.  

Late Morning - Social Media

Later in the morning I’ll head over to my social media pages.  It’s at this point where I’ll post new content for the day.  I typically post on Instagram once a day for my personal company, while some of my brands will have 2-3 post per day.  For Facebook, I try to post more often, posting press, interesting articles on fashion, accessories, beauty, magazines, pop culture, technology and so on.  Now there’s also Snapchat and Instagram Stories to think about too so for those outlets, I only post when I have something relevant and interesting.  I’m not a fan of posting just to post, but I do think both platforms can be useful when done correctly.

I’ll make sure that I’ve “liked” all of my clients posts and retweeted and replied to their posts as well.  I’ll also check out the bloggers and celebrities that we’ve recently gifted and make sure that there’s plenty of engagement on these posts too.  I’ll often find press here which is very exciting! 

* * *

Editor's Note: Kelly - what do you mean about "finding press?"

We’ll gift a few celebrities each week and usually they never tell us if something is going to be worn (unless their stylist tells us) so we have to stay on top of their blogs, social media channels, snapchat, etc as well as the paparazzi databases to find these images of them wearing products from our brands. 

* * *

Lastly, I’ll scroll through some editor posts as well.  This is super helpful when trying to develop a personal relationship and it’s great to include these details when pitching.  Something along the lines of  “I saw you went to the Hamptons last weekend and the beaches looked incredible!  What a great trip you had” can separate your pitch from a bunch of mass emailed pitches and editors really take note.  Many times I’ve been able to garner requests from replying or commenting to social media posts too.

Lunch Break! Back At It After Lunch

After lunch, which is either in the office or maybe with a blogger or client, I’ll try and take a quick walk around the block for 15-20 minutes.  It’s a nice moment for me to get outside but also reevaluate what needs to get done the rest of the day.  Are there requests to send out, blogger or celebrity gifts to package, conference calls or meetings to schedule and any other loose ends I need to tie up before the end of the day?  What is the top priority (making Fedex deadlines, sending out proposals, replying to credit requests) that needs to get done first?

My late afternoon usually consists of preparing clothing and accessories samples to get shipped off to New York, dealing with messengers for samples going to celebrity stylists, preparing pitches for the next day and replying to emails.  I’ll definitely do another check of social media posts just to make sure I didn’t miss anything important too.  There are times when I’m still compiling images for editors to review too.  Lately more and more requests are for images first, so I’ll have to go through all of my brands and send those options for consideration over first, and then pull together a package of exactly what the editor needs for the request.  More time consuming but also better odds of getting your brand placed because the editor has specifically requested it.

That's A Wrap!

That just about wraps up my day! I try to clean off my desk, finalize my to-do list for the next day, make sure all emails have been replied to and filed away, make sure all of the paperwork (AKA boring but important business side of things) are all squared away too.  I really try to give myself a break and step away from the work at this point.  As an entrepreneur and small business owner, it’s hard to completely turn off that part of my brain, but it’s important to try to.  

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my day! Please let me know if you have any questions or need any tips on scheduling or how to efficiently get through your day.  I’m looking forward to sharing more ideas with you soon!


Member Update: Instagram Hashtag Sheet for Members Only!

Hello Everyone,

Below is a copy of the email that Members of Tin Shingle get every Monday. It's usually a tip of what to do this week in Tin Shingle. This week we released our Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet, which is a collection of hashtags from many industries, including food, fashion, photography, hair, sports, weather!, and more. We are also collecting a few more hashtags to reach the media. To become a member of Tin Shingle, click here to see how it will help you get the word out about your business!


The best way to grow your audience in Instagram is to tap into the right hashtags. But how do you know what they are? Tin Shingle encourages you to lose an hour doing Hashtag Homework to collect hashtags that people and the media in your industry are using. To aid in your research, Tin Shingle has made an Instagram Hashtag Cheat Sheet for you that is always being updated.

When you share pictures or graphics of something, you may be covering a subject that you aren't used to covering, which can reach people you aren't used to reaching. For example: if you are an accountant, and one of your clients owns a Pilates studio and you have a great image that illustrates that (such as a quote of a testimonial, or if she was featured in a magazine), then you would want to include hashtags that include pilates in them, so that you can get in front of pilates types who may benefit from your accounting skills.


Get started now, and watch our latest TuneUp on the latest in Instagram, recorded with Adri Cowan, Senior Social Media Manager of Marvel, and owner of Rogue Social.

These new business members are in your community! Be sure to update your public profile on Tin Shingle with your picture, brief bio, and company logo! Do this from your Dashboard!
Christina Fagan, Founder
Shit That I Knit
ON THE BLOG: It's #MoneyMonday! How are you saving yours today?
Read More >
Need some help with my first pitch PLEASE

Hi all.  I'm trying to start pitching my product - Srirachas - which are fun and sexy yoga pants that solve many problems us busy women have.  My goal for the site (and my pitch) is for women to laugh, relate, and say "yes - I need to get those - and my husband will be so happy I do" 

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Member Update: In the Company of Future Big Success

This message is an email we send to our members each week. We share it with you so that you can see what it's like in our Tin Shingle community membership:


Because we are a community of business creators, marketers and makers, we get first access to great products. Look around you at these Tin Shingle Members. There are some amazing products and services here. Hold Your Haunches was a member years before their famous appearance on Shark Tank. Hudson Henry Granola was a member before Kathy Lee Gifford held her bag of granola up on the Today Show (which prompted founder Hope to redesign her packaging because on it, she literally printed her wish of getting onto the Today Show onto the back of the bags).

Now we are witnessing a new product that is undiscovered, and might possibly change an industry. Andi Doupli from Srirachas, a yoga pant company, submitted a draft of a pitch to Tin Shingle's Pitch Whisperer Workshop after sending to a blogger she hoped to send samples to. She's been trying, but getting no responses for editorial. Here's the thing with her pitch, and with her website in general: it's not seizing on the most important selling point of her yoga pant.

It is not using the built in hook that is so obvious, but isn't being said or shown in pictures:

Srirachas yoga pants are designed for women to have sex in, without taking off the yoga pant.

Read her pitch, and see what kind of feedback you will give her in Tin Shingle's member-only Community Boards. This is one brand that could turn around real quick if the right blogger or editor picked it up! That isn't to say that is the only thing that can make or break these yoga pants. Social media is going to be key to this brand. Lots of work, but wow, to be at the top of this niche is hugely important, especially if knock-offs come around!

Take a look at Andi's pitch here.

And don't be a secret! This is a reminder to you to list your business in the Business Directory, because the public and the media look through Tin Shingle's Shopping Guides and Business Directory daily looking for businesses like yours. Don't be undiscovered on Tin Shingle! Start here at your Member Center.


These new business members are in your community! Be sure to update your public profile on Tin Shingle with your picture, brief bio, and company logo! Do this from your Dashboard!
Carolyn Delacorte, Co-founder
Boxwood Press
Lisa Smith
Truly Good Foods
Karen Halfpop
SHOPPING GUIDES: The handblown art glass botanistix will make you take a second look!  How special they will look in your plants and flowers.  Transparency of glass is so great in flowers!
Shop Now >
Instagram for Business [UPDATED]

"Hi Tin Shinglers,

I just ran across this article about the benefits of switching your Instagram account to a business account. I'm going to give it a try and see if it helps. Not sure if anyone has any experience with this but thought I would share."

Tricia Bertrand Writes:
I am waiting and waiting before switching to a business account. Facebook did this to us and got us all excited about business accounts and then made it so we had to pay to get anyone to see our pages. I fear Instagram will do the same. My business is too small to compete like that.



Money Monday: How Are You Saving Yours?

It's #MoneyMonday! How are you saving yours today? Inspired by the latest newsletter from Down To Earth Finance from Galia Gichon Clemens, my tip of the week is to contribute to your IRA today. As your own boss and head of your company, there may not be an HR Department doing this for you!

I'm taking my own advice and heading over to my IRA account to dust it off and reopen that portal. Back when I hung my own shingle eleven years ago, I also was getting married and moving into a first time home. It was the year when President Obama passed a temporary passing that you could cash out your IRA to help you buy a home. Well, I did that :)

And now it's time to fill it back up. It's part of my 2016 New Year's Resolutions, and I'm consciously checking in on those to make sure I do them before 2017.


This Might Be The Best Auto-Response Ever

We’ve all sent and received auto-reply messages, usually along the lines of, “Hi, I am out of the office right now and will respond to your email as soon as I return.” The out-of-office message is just one of those pesky administrative things we rush to do before shutting the computer down ahead of a vacation, or if you’re like me, one of those things we forget to do before shutting the computer down. But did you ever think that an auto-response might actually be a really valuable - and effortless - promotion opportunity?

Clearly, former Tin Shingle member Daria Artem of Lady Fortunes thought exactly that when she scheduled the following auto-reply:

Subject: In Office - But with Food Network Crews August 22 and 23

Thank you for your email- I am in the office, but assisting with production on 2 Food Network Specials which are featuring Lady Fortunes! 

While i will be checking on emails via my iPhone regularly, please email for immediate attention. 

You may also contact our offices during normal business hours at 818-993-1277 dial 0 for assistance. 

Sorry for any inconvenience, and thank you for your understanding!

Daria Artem

WOW. This email tells us not only the usual “I’m busy and here is how to reach someone who can help you immediately” info, but also that Daria is working with the Food Network on not one, but two specials featuring her products. That was big news for Lady Fortunes, and Daria shared it in real time with everyone who emailed her, all while she was busy making it happen.

Daria didn’t wait until the Food Network segments were finished and on air to share her success; instead, she brought everyone who emailed her during the production phase in on an exciting development and drummed up some buzz ahead of time. Remember, people who email you are most likely interested in you and your business, so they are a worthwhile audience to consider when you have news in the works. 

Auto-replies are already an important means of communicating likely delays in responding to emails, but they can also be free, targeted promotion space. As small-business owners and DIY marketers, we need to leverage every channel at hand to get our messages out to the right people!

The next time you do any of following things, use your auto-reply as a news bulletin:

  • Attend a conference or educational event, especially if you are presenting at one
  • Host or attend an industry event - who knows, maybe some of the folks emailing you will also be there
  • Prepare for a new product launch or showcase
  • Hold a photo shoot

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how to use what you’re already doing to reach out to people when you’re at your busiest. Even if you’re just taking some time off, why not include a link to your latest media success in your out-of-office reply? No one ever said, “I can’t believe the nerve of that person who included too much information in her vacation message.” But maybe one day your well-crafted auto-reply will make someone sit back in their chair and say, “Wow, I can’t wait to share that!” And that, as we all know, is the key to successful buzz-building.

Money Monday: Doing the AT&T Happy Dance for Change in Data Overage Pricing

Around here, Mondays are loved, they are something to look forward to because we are entrepreneurs and make our own rules, and want to see if the game we set up is working. Are we winning? Winning in this case can be measured by making payroll, paying mortgage or rent and other personal bills with your profits, creating new revenue streams by designing products that work, and of course, improving the world because usually entrepreneurs set out to solve problems. It is with this blog post that we are trying out a new series called "Money Mondays" that shares how to make more of it on Mondays, and put an extra kick in your work week.

Mondays are filled with hope, and can usually be good or bad, depending on circumstance and advance planning. I call them Money Mondays, and do one of several money related tasks on them:

  • Pitch a new or warm lead for new business.
  • Send out invoices.
  • Send out invoices or links to payment buttons again if someone was unresponsive, and think of a new enticing way to get them to pay for work we completed, or if they had wanted to hire us but hadn't committed yet.
  • Receive and pay invoices.
  • Pay bills (any bills...personal or business).
  • Creatively cut expenses to keep more money.
  • Do Quickbooks (aka, catch up on my books which is so easy with QuickBooks online)

Today's Money Monday has been a combination of Creatively Cut Expenses (BAM AT&T), and Receive and Pay Invoices (thanks Super Team!).

AT&T Data Plan Pricing Change Discovered on Money Monday

AT&T has started a new plan that stops the $15/Gig of data overage charge when you bust through your data plan while watching videos (think CNN stories you find on Google News, or in the case of my husband, Big Foot sightings, and countless toy reviews, storytelling and mermaid sightings on You Tube that my children watch). If you have 20Gigs of data per month, and you were traveling a lot and not hooked into someone's wireless cable account, you may have exceeded your data. Or maybe you are in your own home, but your own wireless was turned off on your phone because you got tired of your phone auto-hopping onto slow public wireless accounts and pinging at you to join an account when all you want to do is read an article. If you do this too many times, you may blow through your monthly data plan. At that point, AT&T automatically gave you 1 more Gig of data, but charged you $15. In the case of my family, we have blown through our data for the month, and blown through 4 more Gigs of data, making for $60 extra dollars paid out this month. And this isn't the first time.

Over the weekend, I got a tip from my husband who was shopping for a new Samsung (plus you can read all of these articles): AT&T is doing away with the $15/1Gig of data plan, has introduced new data plans, and it all starts this week.

My Money Matters Affirmation Card, from Galia Gachon Down to Earth Finance

As I was reviewing my affirmation cards from personal finance planner Galia Gachon's My Money Matters Kit, I pulled out the one that said: "I take the time to manage my money." So this Money Monday, before I started my work day, and while I made my breakfast, I called AT&T to inquire about this new change. This time of the morning is usually when I make all appointment or billing dispute calls.

Here's The Deal You Need to Act On

AT&T is offering new data plans at possibly lower prices than what you are paying. On any new plan started, AT&T will no longer automatically charge you $15 for every 1 Gig of data. However, you cannot request 1 Gig of data on an as needed basis. You'd need to suck it up until your next billing cycle. Additionally, this is not available on existing plans. So if you don't change your plan, you will still be charged $15/1Gig whenever you go through your data.

Here's an Example of How My Savings Worked Out

Our Family Plan with 2 lines and 20Gigs of data (plus unlimited phone and texting) was $190.

I was offered the Family Plan with 2 lines with 25Gigs of data (plus unlimited phone and texting) for $160. I took it.

I was on the hook for 4 extra Gigs of data, and was about to hit a 5th. I asked if any of my upcoming data charges could be wiped clean.

The customer service person on the phone offered to backdate it. However, earlier in the call, I had dropped an iPad from the plan, and we had just paid the bill in full when my husband bought the new Samsung. This somehow canceled her ability to backdate. However, it was Money Monday and she was awesome, she added a $75 credit to our next bill to account for the upcoming overages.

That's $30/month saved, and a $75 credit! Plus, no future auto-fees of $15! Should we exceed data, the Internet will just slow to a crawl and basically not work. Time for new, healthier wireless-awareness practices to be implemented!

You Need to Call AT&T To Get Out Of $15/1Gig Overages

This billing practice won't automatically happen to you if you're on AT&T. You need to call in to begin your inquiry or negotiations. If you use Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint and are on old plans, let this be your day to call them to see if a new and cheaper plan with more stuff is available to you. We have not researched other carrier's policies on how they roll out new plans, and if you're required to call in to change your plan, or if new pricing just goes into effect for you.

Wishing you a prosperous and wise Money Monday! Follow along at #MoneyMonday and #TinShingling

PS: Money Monday is a new blog series from Tin Shingle. If you have money saving or earning tips for small businesses and marketers, you can email your pitch to Please include the general direction of your pitch with bullet points of areas you would cover.



Friends Don't Let Friends Work Without a To Do List

Friends Don't Let Friends Work Without a To Do List.

This is mainly a mantra for myself, because as I get too busy, I go off-script and assume that I remember all of the important things that need to get done and in what order. But guess what? Too much for the brain.

Don't rely on your brain. Write down what you need to get done in the next hour or four hours. You can do this! Makes for a successful week that you set up on Monday.

Relieved to see that Sunday Girl Amy feels the same way! As she chimed in on our Instagram post: "Ha! Yes if I don't write it down it doesn't exist. I also keep paper lists to avoid the ADD vortex of my computer."

Monday, Let's Do This! What's Your Goal/Hope This Week? 8/15/16

Special to entrepreneurs and makers is the hope that we feel on a Monday - the start of a new week and a new crack at making ideas happen. What are you doing this week? What is your goal/hope for this week? Let us know in the comments below, or share on our Facebook or Instagram post.

I have several small goals this week that lead to the bigger goal, that make my hopes a realization, but the one goal that I will share with you, that I must get done, is to email buzz-building experts that I have had my eye on to be Buzz-Building Trainers and Special Guest Experts for Tin Shingle's TuneUp series.


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