How to Pick Publications that Match Your Brand

Image: Sourced Co.

We talk a lot about the importance of doing your research when picking publications to submit your albums to. By now you’ve likely looked at their website, their “about” page, and social media profiles to get a sense of their style and audience. But with so many publications to choose from and the emphasis placed on the visual side of your brand, it can be helpful to take a step back and review the basics of selecting the best publications for your business. Below we’ve made a quick guide to picking the best publications to match your brand—because finding the perfect place to get your work featured should be a breeze!

Let’s start with the essentials:

Exclusive vs Non-Exclusive
  • The first step to starting the submission process is to decide whether you want to submit to exclusive or non-exclusive publications. When you submit to an exclusive publication, it means that the content cannot be submitted or featured elsewhere until the exclusivity period has ended. With non-exclusive publications, you can submit your work to multiple places at once, and your work can be featured in other publications. This is a simple and concrete way to narrow down your contenders. We’ve spoken about the pros and cons of each type of publication, just be sure to know what your publishing goals are when going to submit your work! (Pro tip: submitting to non-exclusives up front will give you a better idea of where your style fits best and can inform which exclusives are worth pursuing in the future).
Regional vs National
  • Weighing the benefits of being published in regional versus national publications can also help narrow down the right publication for your brand. Regional publications focus on more local style and professionals, while national publications have a more broad audience and is not based off of location. Remember, being featured in a regional publication can be a great way to reach your direct target market, help build credibility, and increase exposure for your brand.
Print vs Web
  • Another aspect to take into consideration is whether you want to submit to a print publication or web publication. Print publications include tangible magazines, while online publications include blogs and e-zines. It’s a total marketing win to be able to send potential clients links to online features for them to refer to at any time. So is being able to hand them a glossy magazine that features your work! Both types of features can add to your client on-boarding experience and boost your credibility.
Let TBL do the work
  • We get it. Getting published may feel overwhelming in the beginning, but Two Bright Lights makes it easy with our built in features. Let TBL help by using our Publication Matching Tool as a starting point for your research. Or you can let the editors come to you by opting into Open Gallery! With Open Gallery, your work becomes searchable to editors based on the content that they need.

Next, review your work:

Event Style
  • Consider the ways to describe your event in comparison to those used to describe those featured by a publication. (We make it easy on TBL with preexisting descriptive tags to choose from when creating your album)! That way you can convey if the event style is classic, boho, unconventional, modern, minimalist, vintage, rustic, glamourous, DIY, or industrialamong many others!
  • Some publications are VERY specific to a type of event style. For example, the publication, Boho Weddings, featuresyou guessed it!boho style weddings. In other cases, publications might not specify what type of events they feature, so you’ll have to do your research to match their style to your work.
Aesthetic
  • This might differ between your own branding and the different albums you submit based on the event. Nonetheless, it can be helpful to take cues from previous features published by a publication to get a sense of the general color schemes and tones the editor might gravitate toward.  Be sure to look through the individual features on the blog or magazine, their social media pages, and the style of their branding!
  • Be able to understand the composition of a photo to then match it to a publication’s style. For example, if a publication tends to feature images in a dark and bold style,  you’re probably seeing jewel and earth tones of greens, reds, blues, yellows, with a lot of shadow. If they prefer a light and airy look, expect to see pastel shades of blues, pinks, greens with lots of white, and high exposure.
  • When selecting which publications to submit to, pay attention to the photography style. For example, some publications favor a lifestyle aesthetic, which is almost documentary in style, but with more intentionality, and carefully curated images. Others favor a dramatic style that plays with lighting, whether it’s through high contrast or relying on environmental factors, or a film aesthetic with a soft, natural quality.
Match Your Voice
  • Consider the language publications use when putting out submission requests or describing their submissions guidelines. Does the publication seem to line up with your brand ethos? The visuals are important, but reading through a couple of posts is also a great way to gauge whether a publication is featuring the same details and style that your brand does.

Now you’re ready to dig in and find the perfect publications to match your brand. All it takes is a little research and a little reflection on your own work for your submission strategy to become a branding tool for your business! For more tips on branding, take a look at this post by our friend Jordan Jones on how to infuse your marketing with authentic branding, and our last post from Tayler Cusick-Hollman on Creative Ways to Build Your Brand.


Ready to see your work published? Sign up for Two Bright Lights here.

Remember, we’re always here to help! Send your thoughts and questions to support@twobrightlights.comand join the TBL community on instagram @twobrightlights.

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