Special "Features": Yay or Nay?
What would you do if you opened up an email from a major magazine such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or House & Garden? They boast on your artistic capabilities and ask if you'd like to be featured in a section of their magazine along with other artists and craftsman. Would you jump to the opportunity, or stare at the email with caution?
I stared at the email from House & Garden with caution. The email explained it would cost me money to be a part of their Art Edit section. I remember seeing a fellow artist I went to high school with be in a similar section of British Vogue a couple of years ago. I thought it was so impressive, and in my opinion, it still is! However, two years ago, I was unaware it was actually an ad, and not really a feature.
That word is dangerous.
It's an easy word to manipulate toward artists who are vulnerable and in need of opportunity. There have been plenty of times I've been approached by email and Instagram asking to feature me but at a small fee. Artists depend on exposure and networking and, I'll admit, I've fallen victim to moments where I believed these features would help me grow my business. But I never received this from a magazine that is under Conde Nast Publications, so I turned to my Hope + Easel artists for some guidance on what to do.
As it turns out, several of our artists were approached with this same email, and were all equally skeptical. Part of me was happy to hear that the artists were, in some way, discovered through the collective. Even in this circumstance, it gave me faith that this collective was going to present more opportunities for our artists in the future. This was my goal.
Our main concern was that this is, in fact, an advertisement, but the magazine was dressing it up as a feature/opportunity.
Taylor Lee said she was approached with the same email months ago, and she turned to a fellow artist who had decided to participate in the section. "She said she has seen no return on the investment."
The upside to this was that the magazine invoices artists rather than making them pay up front, which made me feel more comfortable in the end. I think if anyone approaches you with an opportunity to be featured, and they request immediate payment without you seeing the result, I would be extremely nervous about it. We are artists, therefore we are so money conscious because each sale is a blessing, and it may not happen again for a while.
Another pro to this was the logo you'd receive stating, "Featured in House & Garden" which is a logo you can use forever.
Stephanie Kirkland said, "I work in PR and I would absolutely not do this. They're using the word feature to make you feel good, but this is an ad."
Our best advice is to use your own judgement. If you have the money, and you'd like to say, "I was featured in British Vogue", then go for it! It can only hurt your bank account in the end. However, do not expect a huge outcome from it.
Have you experienced a feature in a magazine? What was it like for you?