Getting your brand into a magazine is so exciting—seeing the glossy cover on newsstands, a press clipping and hopefully, all the sales that come from the feature.
Being proactive and reaching out to media, especially traditional outlets is key to gaining mass exposure, but can be a bit daunting. However, we’ve learned that those that make a timely, relevant pitch have a better chance of getting their brand picked up.
Here are a few key tips and tricks we recommend as you begin your outreach.
Build Your Target List
To help you establish parameters and also prioritize your media outlets, you should first start with building your media list. This includes names, positions and email addresses of outlets you can see you brand in.
Keep it in an Excel file and constantly up-to-date with notes such as details on editors (like what stories they’ve written) and information about the publication, so you are well-versed in the magazine and know what’s going on with the outlets you can see your brand in one day.
Tip: Most contact information can be found online, or if you do a little bit of digging, you will find out that it’s usually something like First_Last@publication.com.
Review the Publication and Editorial Calendar
So you want to be in InStyle or how about Vogue? Well, make sure you’ve read InStyle or Vogue or whatever pub you dream about for the past few months. Understand their columns and special features to know the types of stories they cover.
One way to find out their schedule is to review the magazine’s editorial calendar. These calendars help you determine when you should pitch and if your product is a fit with their story as it lays out each month’s features and also notes deadlines. Keep in mind that magazines need long leads because they must go to print!
Tip: Most editorial calendars can be found online in the media kit section at the footer of the page.
Pitch to the Right People
Pitching to the right person is key to getting your brand into a publication. Again, you can use the masthead to find the editor that’s relevant to your category. For example, if you are an accessories brand, you need to find the accessories editor and not the features editor. Oh, and no matter how much you enjoy the monthly forward from the editor-in-chief of a magazine, they’re probably not the best person to contact.
One big faux pas is blind pitching. Sending out a mass email and see who bites is not strategic and it’s also seen as cold and impersonal. Be sure to go for a quality pitch vs. reaching out to everyone you can. One other thing is that you don’t want different magazines to cover the same story so keep track of the pitches you send out!
Tip: Review editorial calendars of key magazines that you see your brand in and make a timeline so you know when to pitch the publication.
Aside from having samples of your product ready, you also want a press release, bio, fact sheet and images to help sell-in your brand. You may get a face-to-face meeting, but having this information available electronically is also important. Make sure photos are embedded inside an email and file sizes aren’t too big, because you want photos to be viewable on a Smartphone and not crash anyone’s computer.
You can also call your contact. When you do, be sure to have your pitch ready and you’ve practiced your phone introduction so you sound smart and prepared. If you do leave a voicemail and you don’t get a call back, you can follow-up, but make sure that the story is still relevant, you haven’t pitched to other outlets, and that it’s a follow-up and not stalking!
Finally, when your product is called in, make sure you have a sample, hard and electronic copies of important documents, and of course, if you get into a publication, make sure that your product will be ready when it goes out on stands.
Tip: Most experts use the 3 tries rule. Try three times and if that doesn’t work, move on to another opportunity.
As a blogger, especially a blogger in the fashion world, I get a lot of people trying to connect with me. I don’t say this with any sort of inflamed ego. I say this because 90% of the time, the people/brands/companies that are trying to connect are doing it the wrong way. And I felt it was time to teach people how to approach a blogger.
Designers, I understand how difficult it is get the word out about what you do. Building a business is not easy.There are a few blogs, off the top of my head, that are run by down to earth, fun-loving, style savvy ladies who are always interested in learning about awesome fashion: Amahzing, Styluste (both NYC), and Fashionably Ashley (San Francisco).
In an effort to educate you on the best ways to connect with these influencers, I’ve put together a few quick points on how to approach a blogger:
Let’s face it. As designers, one of the biggest thrills out there is to be walking down the street and seeing a stylista looking and feeling great in one of your designs. I mean, isn’t this the goal? Sure, but it’s also one of the most difficult aspects of what we do, right?
So, besides getting stores to carry our work (which is great in its own right), how do we get our stuff out there? Well, one way I have found to do this is through stylists. Now, calm down, I’m not saying to need to track down Rachel Zoe’s contact info and bombard her with countless emails. That’s not going to get you anything but a restraining order. I am simply suggesting you do some homework and search out more attainable professional stylists.
I think people tend to believe that stylists are celebrities within their own right and are just as impossible to get in touch with as the actors themselves. In some cases this is true but not always. There are plenty of down to earth people who are hired by non-famous, while still wealthy, individuals who want to make sure that they always look good. They work as personal style consultants and love to introduce their clients to emerging designers in a time when fashion seems to be moving in the direction of individuality. Stylist now, more than ever, are expected to find what’s new and different. Their clients want items that their friends don’t have but will envy. This presents a fantastic opportunity for emerging designers who are not currently being sold in multiple stores all over the country (although that’s not a bad goal either!).
So set aside some time to spend on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Search for active professional stylists and connect with them. Send them a quick note introducing yourself and sharing a link to your site. Through your updates and posts they will learn more about you and, if they like what they see, they will share your work with their clients. If the opportunity presents itself, offer to show them your line in person and remember to send them special invitations to any trunk shows are are taking part in. Whatever you do, don’t be too pushy. Allow them to get to know your work at their own pace and you may be surprised by their interest and willingness to promote you.
And don’t forget, these individuals often freelance for photo shoots, magazines, and movie sets. Before you know it, your work may be hitting the big screen. Fingers crossed!
Are you a Professional Stylist? How do you search out new fashions for your clients? We would love to hear your feedback.
Photo Credit: Yuka Yoshi Flickr
I love reading books about my field, whether it’s textiles, fashion, entrepreneurship, social networking, or new media. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying up to date with what’s going on. I mean, how can you be expected to successfully network if you have nothing valuable to offer; no real insight into the trends and current events that make up your area of “expertise”? Because of this, I am absolutely never without a book to read.
Not too long ago I read Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. Now, I’m not gonna lie, my initial perception of this book was Cheesy. It sounded more self help than business resourceful. And you know what, the first half kinda was. The author’s obvious and at times excessive confidence, was a bit annoying but honestly, my eye rolling didn’t last past the first half of the book (it’s less than 150 pages so this happened more quickly than you might think). There are tons of tips on how utilize social media to conduct business, with an emphasis on the fact that it’s not easy!
However, just because it’s not easy does not mean that with dedication and passion, you can’t get to exactly where you want to be. By mid-book I felt inspired, educated, revved up, and absolutely itching to make some major changes in the way I conduct the social side of my business.