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How to Pitch a Fashion Blogger is a Must Read for PR

My post regarding the relationship between Fashion PR and the Fashion Blogosphere inspired some fascinating dialogue, and was chosen a Coutorture Must Read for March 28. The issues addressed in the post resonated with both PR's and Bloggers alike, and remarks on both sides felt indicative of how crucial it is for public relations professionals to cultivate the kinds of relationships with bloggers that we do with traditional media. Especially now, the idea of doing work with integrity and providing a valuable service to online writers is fundamental to the future of sucessful PR practice. I think the most crucial piece to take away from this discussion is that public relations neends to let the bloggers tell us what they think, what they want, and how they want it. Only then will we be able to successfully integrate our publicity goals with trends in new media.

I'm glad to see this conversation continuing, evolving and being expressed elsewhere. Kathleen Fasanella over at Fashion Incubator has written the post that has been floating around in my head for some time now, and she has done a truly amazing job. No Fashion PR should even think about pitching a fashion blogger without first reading, then memorizing, and finally sleeping with this amazing read tucked under his/her pillow. I'd say Fasanella's tips are a great benchmark for fashion bloggers as well, by explaining her expectations and personal sense of responsibility, she gives a great insight into how to do the PR/Blogger relationship right, ie return the samples if you've promised to return them, etc.
I'm reposting this little bit regarding the issue of samples, freebies, because pay for post is a question that gets asked repeatedly in PR circles, often with regard to the new PR buzzword: Transparency.

Policy on gifts and samples
A lot of bloggers enjoy free goodies; they consider it to be one of the perks of blogging. I am not attempting to question anyone's integrity but it is a psychological fact that gratuities increase the likelihood of exposure. For example, it's well known that free jaunts for doctors affect their prescribing habits, so it is unlikely that others can evade the allure. In other words, don't send me free products unless the value is limited or low and I have agreed to accept it. If I like your product and it's something I will use, I'll pay the full price you charge everyone else. If you think that sending me some free camisoles or whatever from the line you are promoting will make me write about you, I tend to view these disfavorably, akin to bribery attempts and it is possible that your client's product line will end up being the unanticipated subject of a product review (so it'd better be good). Now, if your product has to be tried to discern its value and I've agreed to look it over, I will appreciate a sample, a review copy (if it's a book), test trial, or sample issues (products will be returned in pristine condition). If you would like continued coverage of your media service and it's not something I'd use for my own purposes, a subscription would be appropriate. However, do not expect me to buy your product for the purposes of review if it is not something I could use in my own business. It is truly amazing how many companies want me to write about a product or service I will not use but expect me to buy it anyway. If you want to send something for review, email me beforehand because I don't want to get something I am unlikely to write about.

Now if you haven't already clicked, read the whole post.

6 Comments

  • Posted April 5, 2007 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post and thanks for the link. I have corresponded with Kathleen about blogging and technical issues and was really impressed with her frankness and integrity.

    This post eloquently states what I was trying to say in my previous response to Fashion PR in Crisis http://69.161.136.158/2007/03/27/fashion-pr-in-crisis-the-relationship-between-fashion-pr-and-fashion-blogs/

    My impression is that PRs and print mags see us as this flash in the pan, no expertise medium. The truth is that many bloggers know just as much about couture, construction, marketing and trends as print editors and writers. They are people who write about their careers, former careers, training.

    But then again, some bloggers are strictly shopping wish list makers. And that’s ok too. Just pick up a copy of Lucky magazine.

    We are not traditional print. There are new rules and a shift in thinking. We are not slaves to advertisers, and if anything, this should be attractive, especially for brands that do not have the budget for traditional media campaigns.

    But what makes blogs so powerful is not necessarily how well the blogger writes, or having the right credentials. What makes them so powerful is that they are written by consumers and people working in the field. People don’t read blogs just for pretty edtiorials. They read and bookmark because the blog’s niche is perfect for the reader, but more importantly becauase the blogger speaks to the reader in a community. There is a connection in intersts, taste, style and style of communication. It’s a relationship. Blogs will only be effective if there is a sense of community and conversation. Otherwise, they are an electronic form of print.

    Jenn at Naked PR blogs about internet PR and gives her very passionate opinions about why online PR sucks right now. If you are in PR, you MUST read her blog.

    In other words, bloggers, keep your readers in mind. Write for them and stay ethical. And PRs, build relationships, don’t try to do the hard sell. That’s not what blogging is, or should be, about.

  • Posted April 5, 2007 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful post and thanks for the link. I have corresponded with Kathleen about blogging and technical issues and was really impressed with her frankness and integrity.

    This post eloquently states what I was trying to say in my previous response to Fashion PR in Crisis http://69.161.136.158/2007/03/27/fashion-pr-in-crisis-the-relationship-between-fashion-pr-and-fashion-blogs/

    My impression is that PRs and print mags see us as this flash in the pan, no expertise medium. The truth is that many bloggers know just as much about couture, construction, marketing and trends as print editors and writers. They are people who write about their careers, former careers, training.

    But then again, some bloggers are strictly shopping wish list makers. And that’s ok too. Just pick up a copy of Lucky magazine.

    We are not traditional print. There are new rules and a shift in thinking. We are not slaves to advertisers, and if anything, this should be attractive, especially for brands that do not have the budget for traditional media campaigns.

    But what makes blogs so powerful is not necessarily how well the blogger writes, or having the right credentials. What makes them so powerful is that they are written by consumers and people working in the field. People don’t read blogs just for pretty edtiorials. They read and bookmark because the blog’s niche is perfect for the reader, but more importantly becauase the blogger speaks to the reader in a community. There is a connection in intersts, taste, style and style of communication. It’s a relationship. Blogs will only be effective if there is a sense of community and conversation. Otherwise, they are an electronic form of print.

    Jenn at Naked PR blogs about internet PR and gives her very passionate opinions about why online PR sucks right now. If you are in PR, you MUST read her blog.

    In other words, bloggers, keep your readers in mind. Write for them and stay ethical. And PRs, build relationships, don’t try to do the hard sell. That’s not what blogging is, or should be, about.

  • Posted February 4, 2009 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    I am currently majoring in public relations and when I graduate I hope to have a career in Fashion PR. Naturally I found this post very interesting because it relates to everything I am learning right now.

    As a matter of fact we had a guest speaker in my class tonight who talked about monitoring consumers and their trends, and the role of influencers in communication. I found this class discussion very interesting because he went over all the things involved with consumers’ decisions on making purchases and whom they trust.

    Previous professors had skimmed on the idea of “influencers” and their roles but in tonight’s class our guest speaker predominately talked about influencers. He had a whole presentation about them and stressed that influencers get most of their information from non-journalistic bloggers, friends and families, and online shopping sites.

    This entry caught my eye because I am new to blogging and work in PR. People definitely have a negative connotation with PR practioners because they feel we are always trying to “spin” stories or have a hidden agenda.

    In PR we must know who we are pitching to and who their audience is. Sending out a couple hundred media alerts to everyone does us no good if it goes out to all the wrong people. And more often than not, people get upset when we send them information about a new product or try to pitch to them on something that has no relation to their field.

    Overall, this article was insightful because it summed up how bloggers and PR practioners’ relationships should be: genuine and truthful. Furthermore, thank you for the “How To Pitch Me” article- it was very helpful!

  • Posted February 4, 2009 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    I am currently majoring in public relations and when I graduate I hope to have a career in Fashion PR. Naturally I found this post very interesting because it relates to everything I am learning right now.

    As a matter of fact we had a guest speaker in my class tonight who talked about monitoring consumers and their trends, and the role of influencers in communication. I found this class discussion very interesting because he went over all the things involved with consumers’ decisions on making purchases and whom they trust.

    Previous professors had skimmed on the idea of “influencers” and their roles but in tonight’s class our guest speaker predominately talked about influencers. He had a whole presentation about them and stressed that influencers get most of their information from non-journalistic bloggers, friends and families, and online shopping sites.

    This entry caught my eye because I am new to blogging and work in PR. People definitely have a negative connotation with PR practioners because they feel we are always trying to “spin” stories or have a hidden agenda.

    In PR we must know who we are pitching to and who their audience is. Sending out a couple hundred media alerts to everyone does us no good if it goes out to all the wrong people. And more often than not, people get upset when we send them information about a new product or try to pitch to them on something that has no relation to their field.

    Overall, this article was insightful because it summed up how bloggers and PR practioners’ relationships should be: genuine and truthful. Furthermore, thank you for the “How To Pitch Me” article- it was very helpful!

  • Posted April 10, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Here’s an email I got today from a PR person who gets it.

    Hi Kathleen,

    I came across your website and had an idea that I wanted to run by you regarding contributor opportunities with Fashion Incubator. I work with QuadPhoto; a professional photography studio with nine locations throughout the U.S. You can learn more about us by visiting our website: http://www.quadphoto.com

    With studios in major fashion industry-saturated cities (NYC, Miami and L.A.), fashion photography is one of our areas of expertise. As a website that provides professional advice to aspiring designers, your readers are sure to be interested in the different ways that they can use photography to promote their lines and make a name for themselves. Possible topics of
    interest for novice designers are “Preparing for a Photo Shoot,” “Affording Fashion Photography on a Tight Budget,” “Communicating with Your Photographer to Obtain Images that Accurately Represent your Line, ” etc.

    Might you be open to posting tutorials/guidelines, written by one (or more) of our fashion photographers on Fashion Incubator? This would be a great way to educate your readers about a segment of the fashion design world that is often overwhelming but necessary to succeed in an image obsessed industry.

    Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Angelina Berghela
    angie[AT]hsmediamarketing[DOT]com
    QuadPhoto Media Relations
    1540 Central Avenue
    Albany, New York 12205
    Phone: 518-458-1600
    Fax: 518-458-7173

  • Posted April 10, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Here’s an email I got today from a PR person who gets it.

    Hi Kathleen,

    I came across your website and had an idea that I wanted to run by you regarding contributor opportunities with Fashion Incubator. I work with QuadPhoto; a professional photography studio with nine locations throughout the U.S. You can learn more about us by visiting our website: http://www.quadphoto.com

    With studios in major fashion industry-saturated cities (NYC, Miami and L.A.), fashion photography is one of our areas of expertise. As a website that provides professional advice to aspiring designers, your readers are sure to be interested in the different ways that they can use photography to promote their lines and make a name for themselves. Possible topics of
    interest for novice designers are “Preparing for a Photo Shoot,” “Affording Fashion Photography on a Tight Budget,” “Communicating with Your Photographer to Obtain Images that Accurately Represent your Line, ” etc.

    Might you be open to posting tutorials/guidelines, written by one (or more) of our fashion photographers on Fashion Incubator? This would be a great way to educate your readers about a segment of the fashion design world that is often overwhelming but necessary to succeed in an image obsessed industry.

    Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,
    Angelina Berghela
    angie[AT]hsmediamarketing[DOT]com
    QuadPhoto Media Relations
    1540 Central Avenue
    Albany, New York 12205
    Phone: 518-458-1600
    Fax: 518-458-7173

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Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, the founder of PR Couture and a fashion brand strategist. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixer sessions or shoot me a note.