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How To Get Press Coverage for Independent Fashion Designers

Recipe for Press

So I’m pretty sure that I sucked you in with that headline, didn’t I?  Getting press coverage is a big deal for any designer but especially for an independent one that doesn’t have a staff of twenty marketing and publicizing their brand.  Keeping that in mind, we made sure that we hit up the seminar at WWDMagic called Recipe for Press with freelance writer and editor Amy Flurry, author of the book…Recipe for Press.

Why do you want press?

  • It generates sales.
  • It  creates a lot of positive momentum around your brand.
  • It opens you up to opportunities that exist that you might not know about.
  • Oh yes, and it’s FREE!

With no further ado, here are Amy’s tips for getting your product on the pages of glossies and blogs. 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • You do not need a publicist to get press.  Do not be intimidated to approach press yourself.
  • The truth is, editors are always looking for new brands and products to feature.  They want to hear from you. Just make sure you do it the right way.
  • Editors are looking to create a relationship with you.  They will write about you once and if you’re easy to work with, editors will take your story with them from magazine to magazine, blog to blog.
  • Your goal should be to eventually have someone in house, doing the pitching for you. This should be a full time job. But in the beginning, the editor wants to be directly in touch with the source.  That’s you.
  • When you’re ready to pitch, make sure you’ve followed the tips below because, according to Amy, you get about 3 seconds with an editor.  You better grab ‘em from the start, or you could be dead in the water.
  • You don’t need to be in NYC or a major city to get great press.  in fact, you almost have a better chance to shine when you’re not.

Standing out:

  • Your story is the only thing that differentiates your brand from someone else’s in your field.
  • Because of the above point, you need to sit down with someone who knows you and come up with 4 or 5 versions of your story. Think about how you belong in different kinds of press; a gardening magazine, a parenting magazine, a fashion magazine, a DIY blog, etc. then develop your story around those areas.
  • Even if it’s a spin on just one product that will place you in one of these area, that’s ok.
Your job:
  • Get to know the publications you’re pitching.  This is key. So I’ll say it again. Get to know the publications you are pitching! They will know if you’re wingin’ it. I promise. And once you burn that bridge, it’s extremely difficult to build it up again.
  • You don’t need to read every last issue but you do need to read 3 or 4 and look at it as a formula and see that the formula is the same month after month.  You need to fit into that formula in order to catch their attention, because they surely aren’t going to change it for you.
  • What you’re trying to do in a pitch is buy a little more time, a little more time. As mentioned above, you start with 3 seconds.  If you can get their attention in those 3 seconds, then little by little throughout the pitch, you’re buying more of their time and attention.
  • When thinking about your 4 or 5 versions of your story and trying to fit yourself into various publications’ formulas, don’t just think about yourself, what about the people who work behind you? How do their stories fit into the larger story?
  • Pitch national magazines 6 to 7 months in advance.  So don’t pitch a holiday story in November. You’re follow up would be 2 weeks after.
  • Pitch a regional magazine 4 months in advance and follow up 2 weeks after.
  • Pitch blogs with the expectation that your story could run 20 minutes after the pitch or 2 weeks after the pitch. It’s the beauty of digital, folks.
  • When you pitch blogs, make sure that you have the product available and the viewer capacity on your website.  Meaning, when you pitch and a blog runs your story in the next day, are you ready for all the attention you could possibly get?  Because how much would it suck to have your website crash?  Or to only have like 3 products actually available?
  • If you pitch a blog, you sure as heck better read that blog everyday for the next several weeks in see if they run your story or not.  If you follow up a few days after a pitch, inquiring about your story, and they say “Yep, we got and ran it 2 days ago”…there goes that potential relationship.
  • To build on that, don’t follow up with bloggers.  Their moving too quickly.  Simply pitch and read the blog regularly to see if you’re featured. You can then thank the blogger.  But never follow up.
  • Be organized.  Start a google doc spreadsheet with who you’re pitching, when you pitched, when to follow up, what was their response.
  • Be persistent. You want an answer. By that we mean remember to follow up (just once via email) with print pitches. That does not mean be a pest.
Finding a editor’s contact information:
  • Why is it so difficult to find the info sometimes?  If they want to be found, why is the info so hidden?
  • Bloggers often have their contact info right there on the blog.
  • Print magazines do have a masthead.  Keep in mind that in the 7 months between mock up and print, editors could have left or gotten a promotion.
  • Make sure you are getting your pitch to the person who produces the page that you want to be on.  If it goes tot h wrong person, that person won’t walk it over to the right one.
  • Do not pitch to the editor in chief or the managing editor or the senior editor. Pitch to the assistant editors.  And remember that the editorial assistants will be assistant editors in like 6 months, so be nice to them too.
  • You want to call the publication’s office and ask for an intern.  Ask that intern, :I have an idea I want to pitch for this page, I just want to make sure it gets into the right hands. Do mind sharing the contact information?”  They will share. this is what they’re there for, You are not bothering them. you on’y have to do it once, that is the beginning of a relationship with an editor.
  • A “no” from an editor is not a “no” forever, it’s a “no” for now.  Persistence. When you come back in three months and you’ve got another idea, it signals you mean business. You’re looking for press and that’s an editor’s job.
Things to put in the pitch:
  • The editor’s name. Personalize your pitch. Do not send a press release. Send a personalized (but short) email
  • According to Amy, you don’t need a press kit.  that’s what your website is for. (food for thought)  Invest in product photography, a great website, and an oversize postcard.
  • In the email include the editori’s name,  the word “New” (new line, new product, new color, whatever), one amazing low res (72dpi) white background image embedded in the email. No attachment. And a link to your product for more info.
  • One large gorgeous white background image.
  • Subject line should give the editor ideas: Cool red wet weather gear for under $50. Ideas: red, wet weather, under 50.
  • A few lines about your brand, including the word “new”.
  • In your signature, be sure to include your phone number.
  • Though you’re not sending one, have high res images available via a link on your site, for easy access for the editors.
  • Do not call an editor to “pick their brain” about anything.  That’s insulting, you’re not being respectful of their time.

There you have it. Questions?  What did we miss?  What do you still need to know?

About Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder and CEO of StartUp FASHION and has been critical in the launch of hundreds of independent designers’ successful fashion businesses. Prior to StartUp FASHION, she founded a private label accessories brand, led operations for an international textile distributor, and assisted with the raw materials sourcing for labels including Jill Stuart, Prabal Gurung, and Isaac Mizrahi.

3 comments

  1. Is there anyone that does pr on an independent basis that is CREDIBLE? I really do not have a lot of time and I do not want to hire just anyone from CL or even someone that has a good twitter following. It seems like these people twitter random companies. I doubt anyone is running to read any of that. I also, hate to admit this but I HATE TWITTER! I really really do. I cannot spend a minute on there. I do not get any social value in that….maybe it’s just me. Brie

  2. I agree with Brie! How and where can I find a reputable PR Consulting firm for a fashion accessories brand? Please email me: e.obasiolu (at) yahoo dot com. Cheer!

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