We all know PR is about relationships, but when was the last time you stopped to think about the editor you’re pitching to? Like, really thought about what might make their life easier (no, not another smash cake they feel obliged to eat). The way journalists work has changed so much, even in the last 6 months, that we decided it was time someone asked them what they really want out of the hundreds of pitches that get sent their way, daily.
We sat down with some of the best in the biz (think, the teams from Vogue Living, AFR, SMH, The Age) to find out what PRs and brands can do to make their lives easier – and get more coverage because of it!
F: Let’s get straight to it. What’s the one thing you wish PRs and brands would do to make your life easier?
“Attach the press release in a format where we can copy and paste relevant info when needed, and include a sharing link. Sharing WeTransfer links that expire after a few days can be frustrating for digital journalists who work really quickly and may not have time to wait for a reply or a new link. Also, don’t be vague! Please don’t send a one-line pitch that requires a lot of emailing back and forth to gain a better understanding of what the story angle is.” (Yeong Sassall, Head of Brand, Vogue Living)
“Please don’t call me to follow up. If I haven’t replied, there is a reason.” (Lauren Sams, Fashion Editor, Australian Financial Review)
“Do your research. Read the publication you’re pitching your story to. Have an understanding of the kinds of stories they run, their regular sections, the format of their stories. Show you’ve read some of the journalist’s previous work and understand their round. Also, demonstrate you’re across what’s happening in the industry (the movement toward sustainability, the major designer moves in recent years etc.) and use this information to show your credibility, all of which will help to build trust.” (Annie Brown, Head of Brand – Digital, Vogue Australia)
Make the Media Love You:
- Share (non-expiring!) links to content directly from your Flaunter account. You can link directly to albums of brand imagery or straight to a digital showroom that helps stylists and editors see what product you have available to loan.
- Contrary to the belief of most newbie pitch-ers, the best way to stand out isn’t to throw a glitter bomb, offer a free car or insert the words AMAZING, REVOLUTIONARY and STUNNING [or any other fluffy adjectives] into the mix. The most successful pitches are short, personal, direct and show you have a complete understanding of the journalist and their audience. Yes, it’s that *simple. Check out our comprehensive guide to pitching here.
- Don’t call to follow up. Just. Don’t.
F: How many emails a day would you send back and forth with brands about things like RRP, availability, etc.?
“To be honest I often just go find the information myself as it can be quicker, frustrating as that can be sometimes!” (Melissa Singer, Fashion Editor, SMH / The Age)
“50.” (Lauren Sams, Fashion Editor, Australian Financial Review)
“At least two fact-checking emails per story (in addition to organising photoshoots, getting the story organised in the first place).” (Che-Marie Trigg, Sydney Editor, Broadsheet)
Make the Media Love You:
- Add RRP, availability and crediting data directly to your images in Flaunter. Not only will media never have to search the web for information that may not be accurate, they’ll be able to get everything they need from one place. You’ll also have demonstrated that you truly want to make their busy lives easier – by taking a few extra seconds to add details to your images, you can exponentially increase your chances of being published.
F: How important is it for brands to understand the constraints you are under as an editor?
“VERY! A lot of PRs don’t seem to realise that answering emails isn’t our 24/7 job, it’s one of many daily tasks and competing priorities that digital journalists have to fit in. Aside from email, we write stories, picture research, upload stories, monitor traffic, manage/upload social media, report to internal managers, attend internal and external meetings and attend events. And yes, given that we see daily and real-time traffic reports, we do know what will/won’t resonate with our audience, so performance is paramount.” (Yeong Sassall, Head of Brand, Vogue Living)
“Like everybody else, journalists are busy. If you make their life easier, such as including a succinct press release which gives all the details on the product, includes the required high res images/use Flaunter, include all of the price and stockist details so the journalist doesn’t need to call and check them, you will be appreciated.” (Annie Brown, Head of Brand – Digital, Vogue Australia)
“We don’t think too much about clicks – we care much, much more about the quality and integrity of the story. We want to be first to market, we want exclusivity, we want relevance. We want a story that makes you stop and think. That’s what I am thinking about, all day.” (Lauren Sams, Fashion Editor, Australian Financial Review)
Really important! Everyone thinks their story is worth telling – and it is. But that doesn’t mean our readers will care, and at the end of the day our job is to entertain and inform our readers. Other constraints include imagery, time (we are a small team that receives hundreds of pitches each day) and budget. (Che-Marie Trigg, Sydney Editor, Broadsheet)
Make the Media Love You:
- Give them an exclusive. Exclusive pitches will save you some serious time AND bring a higher chance of coverage, as landing exclusives are just as valuable to the media as they are to you! Check out our comprehensive guide to pitching exclusives here.
- Show you really understand their audience when you’re crafting your pitch. That means making each pitch personalised, identifying the angles that will be relevant for each publication. Even if you’ve got access to a media list, a bcc is never going to generate the same kind of traction as the hand-crafted approach.
- Editors are often under tight deadlines, some needing images at all times of the day or night. Having a digital press centre and showroom means journalists can access content long after you’ve left the office for the night. As Melissa Singer, Fashion Editor SMH / The Age says, “Flaunter is most very useful when I am in a jam and need a product image fast or at an unsociable hour.”
Image via Venroy, sourced on Flaunter