We know that when you’re new to PR, getting to grips with all the terms is hard, and knowing what to prioritise is even harder. In this article, Rosie Davies-Smith will take you through the do’s and don’ts of fashion and lifestyle PR to help set you off on the right foot and avoid the mistakes we’ve all made the first time around.
Now, this is very important, don’t pitch your valentine’s day products to the press on the 13th of February, nor pitch your Christmas products on the 24th of December. This is where understanding lead times come in.
Do plan ahead and be aware of lead-times. You need to understand how publication lead times work in order to be pitching at the correct times of the year, this will save you time and the editors. As we previously spoke about in HERE,
Don’t spend thousands of pounds on PR if you don’t have the assets you need to get the results you deserve.
You shouldn’t make the mistake of rushing into hiring a PR agency, as 1. they probably won’t take you on, and 2. it’s an unproductive way to spend your money. You need to focus on getting all your assets in place first to ensure you’re actually ready to pitch to the press.
Do realise that your time is just as precious as your money, so you should use them both wisely. Your brand assets should have the most time and money spent on them, as this is essentially what will get you coverage. Positioning your brand and your social media is also important, and then the time and money you invest in press and influencers (if applicable) will be really focussed and impactful.
Your imagery is very important as it will showcase who you are as a brand. There are a lot of different types of imagery, but we’ll just focus on the most important for now.
These are exactly how they sound, cut out images of your product. This means either no background or a white background and just your product. These are the images used in the product placement features which you’ll be pitching to, which is why they need to be right to maximise your chances of coverage.
Cut out images need to be of high quality, 72 dpi for online, and 300 dpi for print. They need to be cut out professionally, which most trained photographers and retouchers can do. It’s definitely best to have these done by professionals as opposed to giving it a go yourself unless you’re a dab hand at photoshop.
These are also what you should use when pitching to the press, attached within your emails as a small image for the editors to see.
Lifestyle imagery is really important to allow the editors to envision your products within one of their pages or in an environment. They tell the story about your brand so need to be representative of your whole brand image. They are also a great way to show editors how your products would look within an editorial, so if you are pitching to one, an attachment of your lifestyle images within a look book won’t hurt.
Founder imagery, although not essential, is beneficial to have. It’s a great way to create an engaged audience by putting a face behind the brand.
Of course, a website is essential for any brand to survive. It needs to be professional, clear and easy to navigate, as there’s nothing worse than a slow confusing website. You need to include both your lifestyle and cut out imagery, and you can also pop in that founder image in your ‘about me’ page! A website is one of the first ports of call people make when deciding whether to buy into your brand, so ensure your contact details are on there.
Your lookbook should be a PDF document consisting of beautifully curated lifestyle imagery. They are often attached to email pitches so an editor can quickly assess the aesthetics of your brand. You don’t need to have these printed professionally – most press offices are paperless, making digital the preferred medium.
A lookbook must have a professional design and be of high quality as it’s a visual document, and will include:
A line sheet is a simple document used to quickly communicate key information about your collection to the press. It is always included at the back of a lookbook or can be attached separately in your emails. It doesn’t need to have an elaborate design; in this case, the simpler the better.
Your line sheet will include:
Once you have your basic assets together, you can then start getting to grips with PR.
Don’t rush to create branding that doesn’t speak to your audience!
Do create branding that is representative of your brand, engaging to your audience and feels organic. You need to convey this across all platforms and have consistency within all social media platforms and your branding.
Don’t pitch to publications that aren’t right for your brand. You’re wasting valuable time.
Do your research and understand which publications are and aren’t right for your brand.
To know which publications you should target, you need to take into consideration your price point and your audience. You need to think ‘what does my audience read’, ‘where do they consume information’ and from then on, work out where your products would fit. For example, if you have a luxury jewellery brand, you wouldn’t pitch into the likes of Stylist or Fabulous, as your price points don’t align.
Do take the time to understand the different types of press spaces and fully understand where you’re pitching your product into. The different types of press spaces are as follows:
Don’t tell them your life story – they don’t need to know and it takes up precious selling time.
Don’t email on an evening or at weekends – ultimately doing this is limiting your chances of coverage. Editors (believe it or not) won’t be sat waiting for your email to come in late at night, so if it does, it’s likely it’ll get pushed to the bottom of their list in the morning and they’ll never see it.
Don’t attach high res images – you don’t need to be doing this until they ask. It clogs up their inbox, or sometimes the email doesn’t even open.
Don’t send Dropbox or WeTransfer files – just as before, don’t send across any large files unless requested, it blocks their inbox, and they’re likely to delete it before it’s even opened.
Don’t hound them. Following up is great, but just make sure you’re not hounding them to the point they block your email!
There are many do’s to perfecting your pitch email, but one thing to remember is, the easier you make it for the editors, the better it is for them.
Do keep it short and email editors rather than phoning, those are the basics – but to ensure you nail your pitch, there are a couple of other bits to remember.
Do use hyperlinks when possible, this will send them directly to where you want them and it also makes it so much easier for the editors.
Do include the name of the feature you’re pitching to and the publication, e.g. ‘Do you think this product will be suitable for your Hot List at Grazia.”
Do give a short brief description of the product (short being the prime word).
Do attach a small, low res image of the product you’re suggesting with a hyperlink to it on your website.
Don’t get coverage and not shout about it!
Do make the most out of your coverage – shout about it, on social media, in your newsletter, in your bios, on your website. After all your hard work you’ve finally got the coverage, you’ve been wanting, so don’t waste the opportunity to make the most out of it.
You can share it on social media, which is great for brand awareness. Keep the captions short and sweet, but make sure you don’t forget to tag the editor and publication, and a thank you wouldn’t go a miss. You can also tag the other brands who are alongside you in the feature, this is a great way of cross-marketing and reaching other audiences’.
Creating a press page on your website is another great way to increase your brand credibility, they often come in the form of an ‘as seen in’ page.
Don’t pay for coverage, ever.
Don’t gift products to the press and expect coverage – it’s a gift, not bribery.
Don’t hire an agency unless you can afford it for at least 6 months – this is the usual minimum term.
Don’t give up, coverage takes time and persistence!
We’d love to know your thoughts on today’s blog post. Connect with Rosie on Instagram @PRDispatch or join in the conversation over in the Facebook Community. If you want to pitch your product and see yourself featured in both online and print press all year round, you can become a member of PR Dispatch from just £7 p/m. Use code “sam2019” for one month free when you enrol in full membership.
Rosie is the founder of PR Dispatch, the first PR member’s platform dedicated to supporting independent brands to pitch their products to print and online publications. Rosie created PR Dispatch wanting to give brands with great products that couldn’t justify thousands with a PR agency a chance to be featured by the press. PR Dispatch gives members press contacts, workshops, a community of like-minded brands and support from PR experts for just £59 p/m.