When committing to a PR campaign, it is important to remember a few ground rules. Press takes time, the proper tools, and consistency. One of those key tools for fashion brands are product samples. 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 readers. 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: Editors call in/email in a request to the PR agency for an upcoming story or photo shoot. The agency packages up and submits the requested sample for consideration. If approved, sample is sent to the art department.
Step 2: If the winning shot makes it to layout, and doesn’t get cut last-minute, then the sample makes the issue. To be fair, I am leaving off an additional 8 or so steps here, but you get the general idea).
To improve your chances of having your samples photographed and included in a magazine, follow these do’s and don’ts:
1. Don’t send anything unless requested! Blind sample submittals are often times returned unopened, or simply lost in the fashion closet abyss.
2. Run like the wind. As soon as that request comes over, make it a priority and send ASAP. 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 the editor might like. Often times, this is more work for the returns department and is quick to piss off the editor that in that very specific sample.
4. Ask for a shipping number. Unless it is a trade publication, most monthly and weeklies provide a shipping number to absorb the overnight shipping 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 follow up for this information.
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.