Little things count. Timing is everything. Or how about this one: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Unfortunately, many people, and particularly small business owners eager to have their companies featured in Black Enterprise, shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to approaching us about a story. And in most cases, the self-inflicted wounds are absolutely avoidable. I’ve spoken to my peers on the editorial staff/content development team at Black Enterprise for an unscientific survey of the ways people sabotage themselves when pitching a story about their company. What follows is by no means an exhaustive list (I’ll explore others in future posts), but here are some key things to avoid:
Spelling the editor’s name wrong. Or not getting their title right. Or even sending the pitch to an editor that left the magazine five years ago. This kind of stuff happens all the time, and can make the difference between an editor placing your company’s materials on file for consideration in a future issue of Black Enterprise, or it ending up in that other file—the circular one—before we ever get a good look at how great or interesting your company’s story is. I get particularly miffed at having my name misspelled; it’s Alfred Edmond—not Albert Edmund or Edmunds or Edmonds or Edwards or Evans. (If you want to really impress me, add the “Jr.” and get my middle initial right.) Derek T. Dingle‘s title is editor-in-chief; not publisher or executive editor or CEO. We currently have a Sonja and a Sonia on staff; yes, it matters that you know which one is which. By the way, Paula McCoy-Pinderhughes is no longer our small business editor; she left the staff more than a decade ago. Why is this such a big deal? Our names and titles (and in many cases our photos) only appear in more than a half million copies of the magazine each and every month, as well as at BlackEnterprise.com. All you have to do is take the time to look it up–in a current issue. Or call our New York headquarters (212-242-8000) and ask. Failing to take the time to get it right tells us that you are either unprofessional, careless, plain disrespectful, or just not ready for prime-time national media exposure. None of these attributes will motivate us to present you and your business as examples to our audience, who trust Black Enterprise to introduce them to businesses they can emulate, do business with, work for or invest in.