Registration Open For Tin Shingle’s Social Media Challenge TuneUp


The new Tin Shingle Members-Only TuneUp is Open for Registration. This one is dedicated as the Social Media Challenge. Experts and Newbies are encouraged to come. Everyone can use a fresh set of eyes and ideas. Newbies will benefit from encouragement to put themselves out there and go beyond the fear of what happens when you do.

Recommended Tin Shingle Tool to use is our exclusive 2019/2020 Content Planner. We will be plotting ahead for which posts you are going to do when, and why.

Details for signup are here! See you soon.

Getting The Scoop On Big Print Publications From A Print Veteran Publisher


Had the privilege of meeting a real life magazine publisher, Beth McDonough, formerly with the designer favorite magazine, Traditional Home. We talked shop, which for me is giddy because I’m just a babe in the magazine world. Actually I’m not even in the magazine world, as I’m a veteran of digital. As a blogger, I knew how to out-rank web pages of glossy magazines. Thanks to their overly tight controls of how they tried to keep users on their websites, I understood how Google worked, and why Google wanted the more links off the page as possible - a signal of a truly helpful web page.

Today, as corporate print magazines reduce their print schedules, and require consumers to go to the store to pick up from the shelf, I’m still mind boggled as to why that is a good idea. Sounds like veteran print magazine extremely talented editorial staff also don’t see it as a good idea. And the profit sheets of these big corporate publication mergers also don’t see it as a good idea.

Thoughtfulness of a good reading and connecting experience is not factored into the big picture strategies coming from the C Suite, and as readers, we can tell. I’m so lucky to live in the same place as this veteran publisher, and that I could speak to her in real life at one of our local cafes, Ella’s Bellas. Print lives. Advertisers do want to see their branding in print. I am more hopeful than ever at the rise of niche media like mine here at Tin Shingle and at A Little Beacon Blog. The independent publications are going to do well if they know how to bottle this Advertiser enthusiasm. 

EBONY Magazine In Flux - Print Magazine Folds, Digital Seems To Continue

EBONY Magazine and its spin off political sister magazine Jet, reportedly fired its online editorial staff without pay, as reported by the New York Daily News and The Root, and suspended the print publication. So far, Spring 2019 has been the last issue.

The Background

Founded by John H. Johnson in 1945, EBONY Magazine was the source for African American culture, news and perspective. When Johnson died in 2005, his daughter Linda Johnson Rice took the helm. By that time, the shifts in media publishing were starting to prove too volatile for survival. Rice sold the Johnson Publishing Company building in 2010 to Columbia College, moving the staff to more affordable offices.

In 2016, both EBONY and Jet were sold to The Clear View Group (CVG), an African American investment group bringing over 25 years of experience in running successful corporations.

#EbonyOwes Social Campaign Emerges In Defense Of Unpaid Freelance Writers

In 2017, a social media campaign #EbonyOwes forced Clear View Group’s owners Michael Gibson and Willard Jackson into the public eye for not paying their freelance writers, as reported by Vice. Fifty freelance writers were owed a collective amount of $200K. In response, EBONY made an effort to pay them with $18K offered to 11 writers, 3 of whom were paid in full. The National Writers Union stepped in, taking EBONY Media and its parent company CVG to court.

On February 27, 2018, the remaining 43 writers finally settled their lawsuit with Ebony Magazine, according to Kinja. Ebony Media, Clear View Group and the National Writers Union came to an agreement that all unpaid invoices would be compensated by the end of the year in four quarterly payments. But by October 2018, Ebony missed its third quarter payment. After another lawsuit and more social media shaming, CVG made the final payment by December 7, 2018 - three weeks before the final deadline.

In November 2018, the company suspended dental, vision and disability overage, suggesting the possibility of reinstating benefits in June 2019. But on January 3, 2019, all other medical benefits were cancelled, including HSA plans.

Screen Shot 2019-07-05 at 11.21.59 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 11.24.16 PM.png

…And Then Print…And Then Payroll…

In May of 2019, CVG informed their staff that the print edition of EBONY would be suspended on May 24th. On May 30th, a memo informed staffers that payroll would be delayed. Some employees have mentioned that their 401(k) contributions deducted from their paychecks were never added to their accounts, according to the New York Post.

The magazine cover created by Lawrence Ross for, as a parody. Ebony Magazine took to court alleging trademark infringement. It was ruled that the satirical cover was protected under the First Amendment.  Image Credit:    Lawrence Ross

The magazine cover created by Lawrence Ross for, as a parody. Ebony Magazine took to court alleging trademark infringement. It was ruled that the satirical cover was protected under the First Amendment.
Image Credit: Lawrence Ross

EBONY Magazine Loses Lawsuit Over Satirical and Critical Magazine Cover

Ebony Magazine lost a lawsuit against, for allegedly infringing on Ebony’s trademark due to this magazine cover parody created by Lawrence Ross. It was ruled that the satirical cover was protected under the First Amendment.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York wrote, “Each of the 5 headlines on the Accused Image is harshly and unambiguously critical of EBONY Magazine —sarcastically purporting to preview (non-existent) stories about: the magazine being a ‘deadbeat,ʼthe magazineʼs owners ‘show[ing] us howʼ to cheat black writers, ‘100 Ways Ebony Doesnʼt Pay Writers,ʼ the magazineʼs owners as ‘Slow Pay Kings of Black Biz,ʼ and ‘Thousands in Back Payʼ owed by the magazine. It is difficult to imagine any reader experiencing confusion as to whether or not EBONY Magazine sponsored or endorsed a cover that portrays it in such a negative light. . . .” 

Former EBONY Publisher Files For Bankruptcy

In April 2019, former EBONY publisher Johnson Publishing Company filed for bankruptcy, which does not impact the publication, according to EBONY as quoted in Black Press USA.  They are in the process of selling off all remaining assets, including an archive of photos chronicling black American history and Fashion Fair cosmetics, the first cosmetic line to address the beauty needs of the African American community it retained from Linda Johnson Rice.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the article at  The Root .

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the article at The Root.

Photo Archives Of African American People And History Are Unsecured

The photo archives were once valued at $46 million in 2015, according to The photo archives included photos of entertainers, civil rights leaders and prominent African American businessmen and women. According to The New York Post: “The archive includes one of the most dramatic photos of the civil rights era: the badly disfigured body of 14-year-old Emmett Till laid out in a coffin. The Chicago native was accused of offending a white woman during a trip to Mississippi, which led to barbed wire being tied around his neck before he was thrown naked into a river with a 75-pound weight tied to him. The photo by David Jackson appeared first in Jet in 1955 and became a searing reminder of racism in the Deep South at the time.”

Financier Mellody Hobson and her husband George Lucas (yes, that George Lucas) are attempting to take control over the archive according to The Root, as it was used as collateral when Capital Holdings V, a company Hobson and Lucas control, lent JPC $12 million dollars back in 2015. The photo collection is set to go up for auction the week of July 15, 2019, likely in Chicago.

How To Pitch 1 Story Idea 2 Ways - Getting The Most Out Of Your Great Ideas

Pitching the media takes time. And you have great ideas! You can repurpose those ideas to get a lot of mileage out of them. Maybe you sell PVC. Or maybe you are a home improvement expert looking to get featured in a story in a magazine or TV. You’re going to spend time thinking up really cool story angles to pitch to the media outlet of your dreams - but the pitching doesn’t need to end there. You can stretch these pitches out to work for different outlets.

How DIY Sprinklers Work For Martha Stewart and Boys’ Life

Look at the example that published in Boys’ Life: “How To Build A PVC Sprinkler For Summertime Fun.”

The words “PVC” and “Build” are very Boys’ Life. They like to work with this material. These terms are not very Martha Stewart friendly terms, but “Sprinkler” is, as is “Make Your Own” or “DIY.”

You know what else Martha Stewart and other DIY magazines like? Repurposing old stuff. So, this article concept, when pitched to Boys’ Life could include the words “PVC” and “Build” in it.

But, when pitched to Martha Stewart or another DIY magazine with a primarily female audience, could read like this:

“How To Repurpose Your Kid’s Soccer Goal Into A Backyard Sprinkler”

See the difference? These word choices are what we discuss in Tin Shingle’s Pitch Whisperer Club when member submit their pitch drafts for feedback.

Join us! Get in here with your pitch ideas, and let’s see you get some media coverage.

Climbing and Boys' Life Magazines 2019/2020 Editorial Calendars Added To Tin Shingle's Collection


Tin Shingle has added the 2019 Editorial Calendars for Climbing and Boys’ Life in our Editorial Calendar Collection for our members to browse through. Tin Shingle’s entire collection includes 100+ other magazines for you to browse by Title or Area of Interest!

About Climbing Magazine

Climbing and Boys’ Life magazines cater to lovers of the outdoors of all ages. With a print audience of 54k and a digital audience of 1 million, Climbing magazine is a niche publication dedicated to, well, climbing! Led by a staff of active climbers, the publication employs award winning photography, deeply researched articles, technical and training how-to advice which makes them the voice of the sport.

EDITORIAL CALENDAR ALERT: Climbing’s “Gear” issue is coming up! You can find out the best submission date by viewing it in Tin Shingle’s Editorial Calendar Collection!

About Boys’ Life Magazine

Boys’ Life, January 2019

Boys’ Life, January 2019

Boys’ Life is the official publication from the Boy Scouts of America. With a circulation of 890k and a readership base of 3.38 million, they’ve been an important part of youth culture for over a century. Boys’ Life is the only youth magazine with 2 demographic editions based on two different age groups, ages 5-11 and ages 11-17. They feature editorials, photos, and buying guides. Now that girls are joining the Cub Scout program, there is plenty of opportunity for brands to reach their target audience.

Members of Tin Shingle at the All Access Level have instant access to ALL of our editorial calendars. We currently have the editorial calendars from over 100 publications for 2019! All searchable by Title and Area of Interest! Browse through and let your inspiration take hold!

EDITORIAL CALENDAR ALERT: Boys’ Life magazine staff works months in advance. They are already working on their winter issues. Your story ideas should be timely for January/February. Grab a copy of the magazine at your local Barnes and Noble, let an idea hit you, and then pitch the magazine! For ideas on How To Pitch, stream one of Tin Shingle’s Training TuneUp webinars. For ideas on Who To Pitch at Boys’ Life, explore Tin Shingle’s Media Contact Library with your All Access Pass of Membership.

TIP & STORY IDEAS: These story ideas recently published at Boys’ Life. When you pitch the media, you don’t need to write the article. You need to conceive of a concept, and then say how your product or service would fit in. Ultimately, your business would be used as an example or quoted in the article. Need help with your pitch? Join Tin Shingle and let us see your draft in our exclusive Pitch Whisperer club on our website. We’ll give you helpful feedback!

BONUS TIP: Click here for a Bonus Tip on how to pitch one of these story ideas two ways!

Get Tin Shingle’s Entire Editorial Calendar Collection

All editorial themes are from editors themselves and are subject to change.

Editorial Calendars are available to level 4 members of Tin Shingle only. Upgrade your membership for instant access. Send in media contact or editorial calendar requests to

Join us!

[PR] TuneUp: What To Pitch The Media During: July 2019 (Hint: Gift Guides!)

You know those Gift 🎁 Guides you want?the ones at Holiday time? Those are being put together now!! HOT TIP! Before you completely unplug and go to the pool, know this: July is HOT HOT HOT for pitching the print media! Summer is the time that the big print magazines are putting together their Holiday issues! That's right! Those issues that drop in November and December

HOT TIP! Before you completely unplug and go to the pool, know this: July is HOT HOT HOT for pitching the print media! Summer is the time that the big print magazines are putting together their Holiday issues! That's right! Those issues that drop in November and December.

You want this. You have been waiting all year for this. You missed your chance on this last year. YOU'VE GOT THIS NOW if you tune into this TuneUp.


The key to pitching the media and getting featured is pitching the right idea at the right time. We are going to cover the Media Time Zones during this TuneUp.

Magazines: Where are they in their publishing cycles? Yes, they are making Thanksgiving Dinner. That's where your headspace needs to be when pitching them!

Blogs: A bit more in real time, so no need to bend your brain like that!

TV: What kind of trending ideas can you pitch TV right now to get your business on-air?

Join Katie live at 12pm EST to get ideas for your PR outreach. This Live version of the Training TuneUp is free for all to listen/watch. It is recorded and added to the list of TuneUps that Tin Shingle Members can stream at anytime.

"Smoke 'em" Mentality: The Frame Of Mind You Need To Get 'Er Done

smoke em - money monday.png

Smoke ‘em

“I’ll smoke him,” is what I said to a friend after my friend told me that they had been talking to So-and-So, who told them that So-and-So was going to up his game in the website design space in a for-real way, rather than a side-gig way. I have occupied the website design space for more than fifteen years of my small business career, and I welcome anyone into that space, as it’s a fast and bumpy ride that needs really good management. Furthermore, there are a lot of fish in the sea, and website design shops with different specialties to accommodate different types and needs of clients.

But here’s the catch of this story. As So-and-So was telling my friend this information, he did so with an apology in his voice. Like: “Tell Katie I’m sorry, but I’m going to be doing websites in the neighborhood.” But because I understand my small business space, and my customer, I feel no fear of this competition. Normally I’d shrug this off, like: “Nice of him to show consideration, but he needn’t!”

But instead I said: “He needn’t be concerned! I’ll smoke him.”

I’m not normally that bold. But it felt good. I wanted to bottle it and use it again.

The core of this reaction happened because this newbie website designer had just crossed the Girlfriend Code Zone by doing something silly to one of my friends, so I was not in a sympathetic place with him. That feeling of utter confidence and clarity of his entering my competitive space was one I wanted to use again for a fight that really mattered.

The “Smoke ‘em” Mentality

The “Smoke ‘em” mentality gets us through a lot of scary things we need to succeed in. Could be a public policy shift. A public opinion shift. A real threat from a competitive business. Or even a threat from a client, or former client. A few years ago, I had a one-time advertising client tell me that if I wrote an article that showed him in a bad light, “You’ll lose me as an advertiser, m’dear.” Well, he wasn’t advertising at the time, so it was an empty threat, but veiled nonetheless. It left me speechless. Not that I cared for losing the business, but that I was spoken to so boldly.

There are other examples that the “I’ll Smoke Him Mentality” could apply to, in order to help someone handle a situation differently, with more effect. And it doesn’t only happen with men. Female business friends in my space who would be considered competition also make moves that are direct hits. You know my feelings now on being polite and apologizing. I’m over it.

The Huge Benefit Of Competition Moving In

There is a huge positive to competition moving in: whatever competition lights the fire under you, and whatever it is that you decide to do with that fire, is probably something you should have been doing anyway. You just had no motivation to do it. Or, you were so hypnotized by your day-to-day that the idea never occurred to you.

Let’s look at marketing strategies, for example. There are loads of different social media photos and videos you could be doing. Or much sharper pitches to the media that could land you a really cool feature. Or a blogging strategy you could start on your website in order to attract searches from Google. Sometimes this competition gives you clarity that was a long time coming.

Fire Lit

Now you see how the the “Smoke ‘em” mentality isn’t a malicious one. It is just a necessary one sometimes. You can be friends with someone, drink wine with them, enjoy their talents or sense of humor. But when you disagree on something, or a big shift needs to happen, you can summon your inner “Smoke ‘em” mentality to “get ‘er done.” Another one of my favorite phrases.

If Your Power Suit Is A Sundress: Rock It

Happy Money Monday, y’all.

Today’s a big day - July 1st. Lots of bills due and the official slip-and-slide into summer.

Suit up in your warrior outfit of choice. Whatever you feel the best in. I’m not a pantsuit kind of a girl. If it’s a power sundress you’re going to rock, then rock it. This dress is mine, and it is proudly purchased at a local boutique, La Mere Clothing and Goods in Beacon, NY, run by April Peri, a 🔥 firecracker herself of innovation and creativity.

You got this. 👊🏼


Fortune Magazine May Be Looking For Do-Gooder Companies - Is Yours One?

Photo Credit: Fortune Magazine

Photo Credit: Fortune Magazine

From The Editorial Calendar Collection...

While browsing through the Editorial Calendar Collection during today's Power Hour Tin Shingle TuneUp with a couple of our regular members who show up to get their PR into shape, we saw this approaching deadline that your business may be a fit for.

Below is a sampling of what is inside of our Editorial Calendar Collection. You can search by publication title, or by Area of Interest. We really like that type of search, because you get ideas at publications you had not considered before.

Fortune Magazine

Magazine Issue: September 2019
Theme: Change The World
Fortune's annual list of 50 companies that are doing well by doing good.
Pitch No Later Than: Saturday, June 29, 2019
Newsstand Date: Monday, August 19, 2019

PS: This magazine cover of Fortune Magazine is not current - it’s from 1930 and is really cool.

This Week's Power Hour TuneUp: Last In The PR Challenge Series


PR Challenge
Members-Only TuneUp

When: Wednesday, June 26th
Time: 12pm EST
Where: At your computer or on your phone.
How: Follow the directions on this page to get the registration link.
All Access Pass Membership

Week 4 of 4 For The PR Challenge
Drop-Ins Welcome

All-Access Members of Tin Shingle are challenged to come to this 1hr Power Hour with 1 PR Goal. We are going to pull focus on it. This is week 4 of 4. Drop-ins welcome!

How It Works:

1. Media Outlet: Pick 1 area where you want the press: Magazine, TV, Blog, Podcast. We are going to look ahead to plan out what would be timely for your pitching.

2. Business Angle: Pick 1 aspect of your business you want to generate PR for.

3. Story Angles: We are going to think up story angles, and you are going to start writing the pitch.

Meanwhile, you are going to submit your email pitch drafts to Tin Shingle's Pitch Whisperer in our Community section.

Join in! Membership required. Activate membership first, then hit this link to get the registration.

Up Next: Social Media Challenge

For those who want to spice up their social media (or put anything into it at all), the next set or Power Hour TuneUps will be for you. If you insist on bringing some PR goals, we won't fight you :)

Success Stories:

Shifts happen during these private TuneUps. It's like group private training! If you put it out there, you'll surprise yourself at what can happen next.

  • Paula Kustra, founder of secured a feature story with a hyper local website in Houston just before she was set to go to tape a morning show segment also featuring her company's bag styles. During the PR Challenge, as a group, we worked out how she could approach the writer, who had been delaying the story, to turn that delay into a publish. Our strategy worked!

  • Laura Borland, creator of Vyllage, the app that connects neighbors to receive your packages for you, was featured on a local TV station in her hometown of Florida. How'd she do it? "Repetition and Intensity. I followed Katie's advice after the members-only TuneUp and made a commitment to send my pitch to at least 25 journalists everyday. I used your PR Planning & Tracker to know who I had contacted.

  • Sierra Bailey, jewelry designer and creator of Manic Trout, landed herself a host position at a major cable network for a crafting show. All because she was brainstorming new ways to get the word out, and what she personally wanted to tap into.

To activate your Tin Shingle All Access Membership, click here.