Natalie Alcala is Racked LA's associate editor, BlackBook's daily fashion columnist and Birchbox's contributing beauty editor. She also freelances for a number of noteworthy outlets, including Vogue and Bullett Magazine, and documents her personal style, beauty and travel musings on her own blog, Natalie's Menagerie. For more information, visit www.nataliealcala.com or catch her on Twitter at @nataliealcala.
How far in advance do you work?
It varies. For web, I work anywhere from one to three weeks in advance, but can also accommodate week-of pitches if the news is hot enough. If it's an involved feature that requires more in-depth research, I start reaching out to brands one month out. For print, I work at least six months ahead of schedule.
What is the best time to reach out to you?
Since I'm up and running by 6am every day like clockwork (an early bird to the core -- it's a gift and a curse!), sending your pitch first thing in the morning (before 10am) is the best time to grab my attention. I likely have all stories scheduled by noon every day, so keep that in mind if you're looking for time-sensitive coverage. Speaking of which, if you're seeking post coverage for a prior night's event, please send your post media alert immediately after the event or as early as possible the next morning while it's still fresh.
What types stories/pitches do you want to receive from fashion brands/publicists?
Exclusives are appreciated and encouraged. Breaking retail news (renovations, relocations, openings, closings), lookbooks (in hi-res form, please!), designer/stylist/influencer interview requests, brand collaborations, and shopping events (sample sales, trunk shows, parties) always take precedence. Unless it's holiday season, straight product pitches are usually placed on the back-burner.
What makes a great pitch?
The best pitches I've received include the following three elements: 1) A catchy subject line akin to an article headline, 2) a one-paragraph pitch that includes all top line details, and 3) a thorough press release below or as an attachment that I can pull additional information from if necessary. No more, no less.
If you are interested in a particular fashion brand for coverage, what do you need to move forward:
#1 is a link to the brand's website. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised by how many pitches I receive for brands that don't even have websites set up yet. With that said, please make sure that the website is up-to-date with the latest and greatest information about the brand, including designer bios and stockists. Hi-res lookbook images (zip files over PDFs) are also a plus.
What is the best way to to build a relationship with you?
My dream collaborators are familiar with the types of stories my outlets run, pitch based on relevancy, reply promptly, and provide clear, concise and accurate information. Also, keep in mind that there is a human being reading your email, not a robot, so come cordial. At the end of the day, we're all working toward the same goal -- to drive awareness -- so why not make the process a pleasant one?
What is a guarantee to never hear back from you?
Exclamation mark and smiley face abuse.