Scoring a Magazine Cover – and 3 things I’ll never forget to do again!

I got an exciting package in the mail this week that I wanted to share with you! But first, the back story…

Kayaking and snapping photos on Black River in North Carolina
Kayaking and snapping photos on Black River in North Carolina

One summer afternoon two years ago, I happened to open my spam folder while clicking through my gmail account and spotted an email from an employee for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. She told me that she had found my blog post  about kayaking in North Carolina (which has since been lost in the Great Blog Hack of 2015) and wanted to use one of my photographs on the cover of their fall issue!

I was elated– that is, until I looked at the date. The email had been sent a month ago! I immediately emailed the woman back, apologizing profusely and explaining what happened. Of course, she was super nice and understanding, but unfortunately the magazine had already selected a different photograph for the cover. She assured me that they would keep my photograph on file for future use. What. A. Bummer.

Paddling away from a missed opportunity
Paddling away from a missed opportunity

So imagine my surprise when this summer, I received another email from NCWF (this time to my Inbox, thanks Google!). They asked me if I’d be willing to allow the magazine to use my photograph on the cover of this year’s fall issue! Umm…. YES!

So the story has a happy ending… my photograph now appears on the front cover of North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s Fall 2015 issue. NCWF graciously compensated and credited me, and sent me a stack of magazines in the mail this week. And I suppose now I am a published photographer! Check it out…



And for my fellow bloggers, entrepreneurs, and small business readers: I learned a couple little lessons from this experience I’d like to share with you:

1. Always check your spam folder. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Including Gmail.

2. Put yourself out there. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten an awesome opportunity because I threw something out into the interwebs and the right person found me. I am super guilty of stopping myself from posting things with thoughts like “should I really post this? Does anyone even care?” Just do it. Yeah sure, maybe no one will read 90% of your stuff (Google Analytics can be a dark, depressing place), but it only takes one post to capture the right audience. Which leads me to lesson 3…

3. Use great SEO. I can’t overstate SEO enough. The only reason that this magazine found me was because I used an SEO plugin to add keywords specific to North Carolina and my kayaking trip. The only reason that a local paper found and featured me was because I #hashtagged my photo with the town I was visiting. The only reason BuzzFeed finds and features my products is because I have great SEO that matches what they’re looking for. Up your SEO game so the right person can find you.


So what do you think of the cover? Were my lessons helpful? Do you have any little lessons you learned the hard way? Leave me a comment below!

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