In today’s fast-paced, digital world it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Constantly hitting “refresh” on Instagram, obsessively checking Facebook and streaming live updates on Twitter as we navigate through our day can give us the illusion of connection without requiring any human interaction. Of course email, social media and online correspondence are great ways to get clients messages out to the masses, but there is no substitute for building strong relationships offline that can survive the rise (and fall) of yet another tool or app to communicate in the digital world.
Building relationships is key to PR. You must not only think like an editor, but take an actual interest in their lives, the stories they have written on and their history with the publication. Nobody wants a quick sell. Everyone wants a long lasting relationship that will prove beneficial to both parties.
– Jessica Piha, Porch.com
The question that comes up again and again from my clients is: How can we cut through the clutter and connect with key editors, influencers and journalists? You won’t become best friends with a magazine editor in a single email interaction, no matter how witty or brilliant your subject line or pitch may be. Building a relationship takes time, but once you've established that rapport, those connections will allow you to be more successful. With the help of a few of my fashion industry colleagues, I’ve curated a list of the top 5 tips for building lasting relationships with editors.
Learn editor preferences
In addition to being well-versed on the media outlet that an editor writes for it’s important to have a good understanding of what types of angles an editor likes to cover. Does she love a good underdog story? Is she always the first to break exclusive industry news? Is her specialty uncovering the hidden backstory of a brand? Find areas that may be of interest to the editor so that she knows you have an understanding of who the reader is and how she likes to approach a story.
Get out into the world, together
Ask to meet for lunch somewhere near her office that may be convenient. Editors are people too, and they like to get away from their desks every once in awhile just like we do. If lunch is out of the question, ask for a coffee date instead. This is a great strategy if you’re both heading to the same fashion week events, trade shows, trunk shows, etc. When you do secure an in-person meeting don’t talk about yourself or your clients the whole time. Get to know the editor. Find out her interests and ask questions about the publication in order to gain a better understanding of how you can be a resource.
Be helpful...just because
Add value in every communication. When reaching out to an editor for the first time, provide a source for a story, respond to a relevant tweet for a recommendation or align your client with a trend they’re covering. This is much more valuable than just pitching, and shows you’re a helpful connection.
- Shauna Nuckles, REV PR
Stop pitching all the time. When you are constantly focused on pitching your clients to anyone who will listen you lose sight of the bigger picture. PR is all about relationships and savvy publicists know when to pitch a client and when to hold off and come up with a better angle, strategy or pitch so that their communication with editors is as efficient as possible.correspondence doesn’t always need to be about your clients. You can ask about a great trip she’s just taken, send over information about a mutual hobby or interest you both share, or get the scoop of what she really thought about the last runway show during Fashion Week.
The important thing to remember is that the more you can position yourself as a resource in your industry the more valuable you become to the media. Through a mix of in-person interactions, spot-on pitching and helpful, kind assistance, you'll be well on your way to being able to accomplish more as a team.