I love Easter. Not so much for all the chocolate eggs (not that I’ve got anything against them) but for its promise of spring. We’ve made it through the hungry gap, as January through to March is often known, and can look forward to nature’s bounty – wild garlic, asparagus, new potatoes, new season lamb…
It’s also the time of year when a fresh crop of recipe suggestions from PRs start filling my inbox, so I thought it would be worth reminding you of what works and what doesn’t.
One thing that is constantly pitched to me is branded recipes, and every time I have to give the same reply: we would never specify which brand of pasta, which brand of butter or flour readers should use because it will never be integral to the recipe. The only exception is if you are bringing me recipes from a celebrity chef we wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Then we might agree to run a line at the end to say he/she is a brand ambassador for whatever at the end.
For obvious reasons, pitches for unbranded seasonal ingredients are an easier sell, but not all of you are lucky enough to work for the New Potato Marketing Board or whatever. As ever, a well-known name in these cases (and if possible, decent photography) will increase your chances a hundredfold. Think about how we would sell them to our readers. Would you want to see asparagus recipes from Heston Blumethal? Yes. From Bob Green, product developer at Green’s Frozen Food? Less so.
One aspect that is often overlooked is that of quantity. The vast majority of pitches will offer me a single recipe. Sometimes they might even be from a chef whose name ticks all the boxes and come with a beautiful photograph. But even a cursory look at my pages will tell you we never run a recipe on its own. It will either be an add-on to a newsy feature, or if it is a recipe feature there have to be a minimum of three (for Weekend) or six (for the Saturday magazine).
And finally, the question of exclusivity. None of us wants to find that the same recipes are running elsewhere. I’d suggest it is always worth being upfront about who else you have sent them to, and be prepared to guarantee exclusivity if a big enough paper or magazine is interested.
“As someone who later this month will “celebrate” a second lockdown birthday, I should remember how lucky I am. At least I still get a cake. Unlike one in three of you according to this release from Baker Days.”