[The following is a guest post by Polina Raygorodskaya of Polina Fashion. Polina Fashion LLC is a New York-based fashion PR and marketing firm that also specializes in live events, fashion shows, and photo shoot production. © 2009 Polina Fashion LLC, All rights reserved. info[at]polinafashion.com]
Here are seven things all designers should avoid when managing your fashion public relations.
1. Don’t Mass Pitch
There is nothing that wastes a reporters time more (and on their bad side faster) than mass emails to all the reporters on your contact list regardless of whether the topic is relevant to what they write about or not. A personalized email may take more of your time but it really goes a long way to getting people to pay attention to your name. While each message does not have to be completely different, it should at least contain the person’s name to which you are mailing as well as at least one customized sentence explaining why your pitch is relevant to their readership.
2. Don't send untargeted pitches
Your favorite magazine may be GQ but that doesn’t mean you should pitch the editor your collection of women’s shoes unless you are pitching to the stylist for an upcoming photo-shoot involving women. Be realistic and do your research. Know the target demographic for the magazines you are pitching to and be sure that your line fits within that demographic.
3. Don’t Respond on Your Own Time
Reporters often have very short deadlines, that is why it is called “the News.” If you don’t think you will be able to turn something around quickly make sure you inform the reporter right away and don’t take a long time to respond because you don’t have something to say. If you can’t make it on their deadline respond to them as soon as possible letting them know. If you are working on an article or answering interview questions a brief email to let them know that you are working on them will go a long way in building a relationship with the reporter.
4. Don’t Fib
If you don’t know something, never resort to making up facts. Reporters are taught to fact check and do background research on the subject matter so making up information will not only ruin your credibility but may also embarrass you…as it should.
5. Don’t Overwrite
Sending pitches that are pages long beyond what they need to be is a sure way to get ignored by reporters. Put the most important content in the first paragraph of the email or even better; keep the email to only one paragraph. Do not make a press release longer than a page and a half, for the best results keep it limited to one page.
6. Don’t Be Trite
While I should not have to ever say this, unfortunately I do. Think outside the box. Fashion should be full of original ideas and ground-breaking creative direction. While the adage, “No plot is new” comes to mind, I beg to disagree. Do not aspire to be the next Coco Chanel; aspire to be the first you. Inspiration is fine, but there is no excuse for confidence in your own creation and the audacity to take risks.
7. Don’t Be Negative
Never speak poorly about another line, a photographer you have worked with, or, frankly anyone whatsoever. While it is bad business etiquette to knock someone, it also demonstrates a complete lack of class. Be wary of small talk with media personnel containing such statements or they could very well be the news you didn’t want published. If you have a controversial statement to make with your ad campaign or line, stand behind it, but acknowledge that for everything there are consequences.
About the Author
Polina Raygorodskaya is an acclaimed analyst and public relations specialist for the fashion industry. As president of Polina Fashion LLC, she has addressed the marketing and public relations needs of countless up and coming designers. For more information, please visit www.polinafashion.com or email info[at]polinafashion.com.
Photo courtesy of Marta L. Lamovšek