Whenever I start with a new client, one of the first things I recommend we do is a round of deskside meetings. Deskside meetings are when the brand and/or the publicist travel to fashion, beauty, and accessories editors’ offices to meet with the editors one-on-one and show their products in person.
In this day and age of doing everything via email/social media/text, desksides provide an amazing human connection that cannot be beat. Experiencing the product and meeting the client in person allows the editors to learn information that they might not pick up on from a press release or email blast. I’ve secured some amazing placements for clients directly from desksides – a few favorite successes are a full-page placement in InStyle, a dedicated interview on Allure.com, and a feature story in Lucky.
Desksides, if done well, are an amazing tool for any fashion or beauty publicist to have in their arsenal. There are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to ensure my clients and I get the most out of our desksides and help build relationships with these powerful editors, while often securing some amazing placements as a result.
Select your dates carefully
Make sure the dates you select don’t coincide with any major holidays or events – otherwise you’ll be finding that no one will be able to meet. When you or your client are spending the time and money to come in from out of town, you’ll want to maximize your chances for success by avoiding problematic dates. While this includes major holidays like Thanksgiving and New Year’s as well as industry events like New York Fashion Week, check the calendar to ensure nothing else overlaps with the dates you’re planning the desksides. Trade show weeks, the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and Election Day are all examples of things you should make a note of to avoid. The day of the week can often matter in many cases – Fridays in the summer can be difficult as many editors leave the office early for the weekend.
Make sure the dates you select don’t coincide with any major holidays or events – otherwise you’ll be finding that no one will be able to meet.
Be extra prepared
No matter how much advance planning you put into the meetings, something will likely always go wrong. Whether your phone dies, you’re stuck in traffic on the way to VOGUE (it’s happened!), or the product you’re showing to the editors breaks, things never quite go as planned. Think ahead of anything that could potentially go wrong – bring a phone charger, make sure you leave enough to get between meetings (unless they’re in the same building, I usually leave an hour between meetings), and bring extras of the product. Being prepared and on time will ensure that you’ll be at your best on the meetings and will effectively be able to communicate why your brand or your client is special. That said, a huge part of being successful in this industry is accepting that some things are out of your control and you just need to be adaptable to any circumstance. If the editor needs to change the meeting last minute, be willing to move things around and try to find a time that works best for both of you.
Try to gauge where the editors are in their editorial calendar and what types of stories they may have planned – this will help you know what images/info/samples to send after the meetings to increase chances of that coveted coverage.
Take lots of notes – and ask lots of questions
Even though desksides are quite brief (usually 15-20 minutes) take the time to ask editors some important questions that will help you down the line and ensure your success. Try to gauge where the editors are in their editorial calendar and what types of stories they may have planned – this will help you know what images/info/samples to send after the meetings to increase chances of that coveted coverage. Also get some insight into the editor’s personal style, which will help you in your follow-ups after the deskside and help you tailor your pitches for the future. Do they have a more minimalist style? Make sure they’re one of the first to get info on your client’s geometric jewelry. Did she mention she has sensitive skin? Send her your client’s gentle skincare products to test out.
Getting to know the editors and building a rapport with them will ensure that they keep you and your client top of mind for their relevant stories.
Image via: Pic Jumbo