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The New PR Consultant Model, the Price of Fashion Week & Versace Emojis Fashion PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of February 8, 2016

The New PR Consultant Model, the Price of Fashion Week & Versace Emojis

  • Conde Nast and Hearst to join publisher forces for more back-end efficiency, but what does that mean for employees? (via Folio Mag)
  • The traditional PR agency model is a thing of yesterday. A new consultant culture is gaining traction and getting results. (via Bulldog Reporter)
  • Why lux fashion brands can no longer ignore sustainability. (via Harvard Business Review)
  • Want access to Fashion Week? It might cost you a pretty penny. (via WWD)
  • Tips from top journalists on how to get the press to show up at your next event. (via PR Newser)
  • Mind blown. Take a look inside this virtual reality fashion shoot. (via The Cut)
  • What the fashion world might need to slow their roll and why it matters for the future of the industry. (via I-D Vice)
  • Burberry mic drop! Christopher Bailey explains his game changing move to combine women’s and men’s collections. (via BoF)
  • Versace is creating their own emojis and we are all about it. The question is: will there be a blonde, long-haired Donatella one? (via Luxury Daily)
  • What the new era of technology and cell phones are doing to Fashion Week runway shows. (via New York Times)

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Press Release

Are Press Releases Still a Thing?

To Press Release or To Not Press Release....This is the question in PR.

There is a constant debate in the industry about whether or not press releases are even relevant anymore. My opinion on the matter is: yes and no. Like anything else, there is a time and a place for a press release.

The problem is clients associate public relations with press releases, and sometimes they want a press release written for every little thing. However, as a publicist, it is your job to lead your clients in the right direction, and advise them on when and where a press release can actually be useful.

For example, Samantha Slaven, Founder at Samantha Slaven Publicity notes that she sent out more releases in 2015 than she had in the several years prior, explaining, "For a new apparel client, we've circulated two releases in the last month. One was announcing the new company CEO, who’d come to the company from a very prestigious previous positon, and the other was to announce the launch of a new label debuting at Coterie/Project. These had limited distribution – focused on fashion trades and fashion news editors – as we had a specific target in mind."

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when deciding to write a press release:

Will a press release assist with coverage?

The fact is press releases can be very time consuming, and your clients are only paying you for a certain amount of hours each month. Unless you really have to write a press release, your time is better spent pitching. Educate your clients on how much time it takes to write and get approval for a press release. I bet if they knew, they wouldn’t want for every little thing. Explain that you could be devoting that time to getting their message out there, and see if that changes their tune.

Unless you really have to write a press release, your time is better spent pitching. Educate your clients on how much time it takes to write and get approval for a press release.

For Nancy Vaughn, Principal at White Book Agency, the decision comes down to the type of information you need to spread, noting that "there are some stories that require more detailed info (stats, quotes, pricing, etc.) and we've found it better to have a press release ready than to have to scramble to put one together later (often after an editor/writer's request)."

Can the info be found elsewhere?

Before the Internet, press releases were more relevant. Now, most of the information that the media needs to know is on your client’s website. Don’t write a press release for things that can easily be found online. Instead, insert hyperlinks in your pitch to point media contacts in the right direction.

How "big" is this news, really?

Like I said earlier, there is a time and place for a press release. Use your professional judgement on when they are necessary. When you have a lot of information to convey they can be helpful. For example, I like to use some kind of press release (or media alert) for events and product launches. This way you can include all the details in one place and the media can easily reference one document when they need to.

Don’t write a press release for things that can easily be found online. Instead, insert hyperlinks in your pitch to point media contacts in the right direction.

Crosby Noricks, Founder at PR Couture agrees, "most often I encourage brands to think of press releases as a resource document to put at the bottom of a personalized pitch that an editor can reference if she chooses." Samantha Slaven Publicity notes her agency's policy is to "attach or embed the releases alongside a specific pitch + product/relevant jpegs, vs circulating a release on its own."

Would a Fact Sheet suffice?

At the beginning of each campaign, create a one-sheet with all the basic information about your client. This should help to prevent a lot of future press release writing. It will also save you time when people are asking basic information about your client.

Do you need a media alert instead?

If your promoting an event, you may need a media alert instead of a press release. Nancy explains that "a media alert with additional event details letting the media know what to expect, the time red carpet interviews will begin, location information for the media tent etc can be helpful and save phone calls or texts on the day of the event."

After making it through this list, you might find that the news warrants an official release. Now the decisions becomes; who should write it? Samantha notes that press release writing is a bit of a dying art, "My millennials on staff don’t even have the skill set to really write a hard-news release, put they can put together great pitches capturing current trends and the mood of the industry."

What is your opinion on the proper use of press releases in our industry?

Image via: Utelier

Tips when the media ignores your pitch A PR Couture Guest Article by Katie Wenclewicz

How to Deal When the Media Just Won’t Write You Back

You have spent weeks in strategic planning, developing a launch strategy for a product that you are sure the media will love. You start pitching, fully confident that coverage is only a few, targeted emails away and that you have nothing to worry about. Oh, if life were only that simple.

Instead, the response to your carefully constructed outreach is total, utter inbox silence.

Being a publicist isn't easy. We face so many unknowns and variables in getting client news in the news, and we can’t always put our finger on what certain media contacts are looking for. Yes, content calendars and social media accounts help – but nothing can sincerely prepare you for what is going to work at any particular moment.

Here’s the thing: the media will sometimes ignore your pitch. In part because the media's priorities are not your priorities. It's normal to a send out a hundreds emails and get five responses. But boy is it not fun.

Below, I've put together five tips to help you keep your cool when media are slow to respond to your pitch.

1. Stop following up

One of the most frustrating things about radio silence from an editor is that you can't mark a definitive yes or no on your tracking sheet. Without an absolute "not interested," you are unable to stop following up, because there is a change you might get a yes. But you can only push the media so much until they get annoyed - an nonstop follow ups on a story idea that isn't a fit is exactly that. Annoying. You may feel like you're launching the best product that is a total fit for the publication, but there are a ton of reasons why you might not be hearing back. Don't take it personally. Wait until you have something new to pitch, or at least a fresh angle, before reaching out again.

2. Send a follow up

Contrary to the above point, if you are pitching once and then crickets, shoot a follow-up email. Editors are inundated with pitches, and if you don't have a working relationship already, or it's a particularly busy season, absolutely send a reminder to those contacts that you believe to be the best fit for your product. It’s totally old school, but you could also give an editor a call. The gatekeepers that have the power to truly help build your client's business are worth the effort.

3. Revamp your pitch with data or trend information

Media aren't interested in the amazing features and benefits of a single item, they are interested the impact that product can make on their readers' lives. If your pitch feels more like a sales pitch than a story idea, your editor could be put off by your tone. A better idea is to couch your product information within research or a larger trend story and work on quick key messages and sound bites that make it clear the company you are pitching is a leader in the space. And make sure you know the important facts inside and out so that when media responds, you have the inside knowledge to speak intelligently about the larger concept at hand as well as the ins and outs of your client's product.

4. Double check your media list

When you’re getting zero responses, go to the biggest source you have: your media database. Make sure that the editors on your list truly are the most relevant to your pitch. You may be skimming through and not picking out the right contacts or accidentally deleting the ones that are actually important. Go back to the basics and look over your media lists, double checking that you're contacts are correct.When it is all said and done, you simply may not be connecting with the right people. Restart and do more research on each contact to confidently know that your media list is strong.

5. Ask for feedback

Your co-workers are a huge support network and are likely familiar with your client, so utilize their knowledge. Ask them to review your pitch, provide feedback, suggest alternative angles and if relevant, to pitch the story to a contact with whom they have a stronger relationship. At the end of the day, it's in everyone's best interest to ensure successful media coverage so don't suffer in silence - everyone goes though this and asking for help is the right call.

Pitching the media is a huge part of public relations and one that you only have a modicum of control over, even under the best of circumstances. This is why your media relationships, trust with other publicists and creativity are all part of your toolkit. Remember, just because the media ignores your launch doesn’t always mean you did an awful job, and there are always new strategies to put into play. Fearlessness and perseverance are your best friends when facing the media. You got this!

About Katie Wenclewicz

Aside from stalking the latest fashion trends and blogging about the best shoes to buy, Katie Wenclewicz enjoys everything and anything media relations. Currently residing in Indianapolis, Indiana, Katie is a publicist at Bohlsen Group specializing in media relations for corporate, nonprofit, and publishing clients all over the world. As a young professional, her bold personality, zeal for public relations, and passion to connect has brought success to all of her clients. She currently volunteers around Indianapolis and is an active member in the Hoosier PRSA chapter. Be sure to follow Katie on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Photo Credit: FLASHFLOOD®

Meet Crosby Noricks

Hi. I'm Crosby, Founder of PR Couture, Fashion Brand Strategist and PR Girl Mentor. I care about supporting and celebrating fashion publicists as well as helping companies connect with their audiences in more meaningful ways. Recently, iMedia included me in their annual list of 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators, along with people from Starbucks, Twitter and Volkswagon, which I think is pretty neat. Like Elle Woods, I am a Gemini-vegetarian (that's about where the similarities end). Let's connect: Check out my full bio, Brand Elixir sessions for brands or shoot me a note at crosby@prcouture.com.