The following is a Part 2 of a two part guest post series about the use of samples in fashion PR by Shannon Estrada of Pitch! Press. Part 1 is about the importance of digital fashion photography. Send all guest post inquiries to info[at]prcouture.com
Last week we established the importance of incorporating hi-res, professional digital photography into your fashion press mix. This week, let’s discuss and establish the necessity of a press sample line and the sample request process.
When committing to a PR campaign, it is important to remember a few ground rules. Press takes time, the proper tools, and consistency.
We are all aware of the cost to produce samples, but the reality is, a publicist cannot get you press without them.
Editors want to touch, feel, and experience the products and designs they are considering presenting to their readership. So, in addition to your photography budget, put monies aside for a dedicated press sample line (duplicate samples for your publicist to utilize in-and-out of her/his office).
For print publications, the sample request process itself often goes like this:
Step 1: market editors call in a request to the PR agency, agency submits sample for run-through. If approved, sample is sent to shoot and shots go to art department.
Step 2: If the winning shot makes it to layout, the shot goes for final approval and makes the issue! Of course this assumes you’ve beaten the 300 other handbag designers or little black dresses etc in the running. To be fair, I am leaving off an additional 8 or so steps here, but you get the general idea).
To improve your chances, there are quintessential and essential rules to live by in this PR game.
For Fashion Sample Submission 101, read on.
1. Don’t send anything unless requested! Blind sample submittals are often times returned unopened.
2. Run like the wind. As soon as that request comes over, make it a priority. Efficiency will win you points with an editorial department.
3. More is not better. Never, ever, throw in a bunch of additional styles you think ‘they might like’. Often times, this is more work for the returns department and is quick to piss off the market editor that called samples in (thus points lost).
4. Ask for a shipping number. Unless it is a trade publication, most monthly and weeklies provide a shipping number to absorb the overnight charge.
5. Return to sender. Include a sample return address & phone number in the box and on the garment or accessory. This way, you are saving them time (more bonus points) by not having to ring you.
Shannon Estrada has been a publicist for too many years to count. She is a lover of all things fashion and a partner/co-owner of Pitch! Press. To get more information on Shannon, check out www.pitchpress.com.
(Image Fashion Show by Cary Edmondson)