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Katie Davidson How to Pitch Series

Editor Q&A with Katie Davidson, Screen Style Editor of Stylebistro

With a fashion and beauty enthusiastic audience that measures in the millions, Stylebistro.com is a go-to resource for women looking to define their own personal style through celebrity inspired fashion trends. We are thrilled to share tips from Katie Davidson, Screen Style Editor, on how to best pitch her ideas and develop a more personal relationship.

Name: Katie Davidson
Title: Screen Style Editor
Outlet: StyleBistro.com
Monthly Uniques: 4.2 million
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @katie_ddavidson

How do you prefer to receive pitches and when is the best time?

By e-mail, and mornings. I'm not too picky on this, but that's the time I go through my e-mails and before the stress of deadlines and to-dos kicks in.

How far in advance do you work?

Since we are a website, we have multiple deadlines a day. While I try to work in advance and am constantly thinking weeks and months ahead, a lot of times I am meeting deadlines the day of—which is also why it can take me awhile to respond to e-mails. But I'm working on getting better; it's one of my New Year's resolutions!

What types pitches are you looking for?

StyleBistro is a fashion and beauty site focused on helping women find their personal style. We pull inspiration from celebrities/street stylers and aim to make it attainable by capping products featured at $300. Personally, I handle all of our pop culture coverage, so anything worn on TV as well as in film or music videos is always welcome. I also am constantly looking for interview opportunities with celebrities and experts in the entertainment industry (costume designers, hair/makeup/fashion stylists, etc.).

What makes a great PR pitch?

Understanding my specific role is key. Often times I get pitches and respond by letting them know what I specifically cover on the site (which is entertainment-related, has to be under price point mentioned above and available to purchase online, etc.), yet I’ll continue to receive the exact same pitches. Tailoring them to the publication or editor takes a little more time but goes a long way. I'm also always interested in learning more about the brand or company, so a brief bio is always a nice touch.

If you are interested, what do you need to move forward?

Hi-res imagery is really important. For fashion items, flat (off-model) images are much easier to work with, and for beauty products, samples are necessary to make sure it's something we would recommend, etc. Also, since we are web-based, I need links to purchase items;

often times, the products I'm pitched are only available in stores/boutiques, but we need to be able to direct our reader to the actual product [online] in order to feature it.

What is the best way for a publicist to build a relationship with you?

Meeting in person is always nice. I’m from California, so when I first moved here and started in the industry (a year and a half ago), I was overwhelmed by all the coffee/lunch dates, along with all the market appointments and after-work events. However, building relationships is key to understanding your clients and will help you stand out amid the massive amounts of e-mails received. As far as social media, I welcome publicists to follow me on Twitter and Google+, but for me, my Instagram and Facebook accounts are still pretty personal. With that said, I've become close to many of the publicists I work with and end up adding them.

What is a guarantee that a publicist will never hear back from you?

Being rude or bullying. It doesn’t happen too often, but pressuring or guilting me to feature a product or person on or site will not get you very far.

What do you wish more publicists understood about your job?

Editors have not only their publication's voice and brand to uphold (as do your clients, which we understand) but also their personal integrity. Still, I always make it a point to understand what exactly a PR rep would like to promote and how we can tailor that to fit our site. So, it's frustrating when we get asked to change small things, for instance the way something is worded. Obviously, if it's something important, I am happy to make adjustments, but asking to change minor details of a story is something editors are not cool with.

How TV Deal Segments Work

A Fashion PR Guide to Navigating the World of TV Deal Segments

Well, we survived it yet again. Another holiday shopping season where “She who lands the best deal wins!” (Personally, the Anthropologie Winter Tag Sale is my favorite; I scored a pair of J Brand boyfriend jeans for $29 the day after Christmas.)

Over the years, it’s become more obvious how retailers desperately lure buyers into spending more money on everything they didn’t buy before Xmas and convince them that they truly need all this stuff. “I’m actually saving us money by going to Nordstrom Rack’s Clear the Rack Sale, honey,” the lady says to her husband on a recent radio commercial I heard on Pandora.

It’s no surprise that this trend in retail is also crossing over to the media, as in television deal segments. Shows like Extra, The Wendy Williams Show, The Real, and even The View are cashing in on deal segments where an attractive and chatty lifestyle expert offers a grouping of fashion, beauty and lifestyle products at a discounted price for a short period of time. It’s kind of like QVC on speed.

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While these deals are not only alluring to viewers looking for a good deal, they’re also appealing to entrepreneurs (i.e., your clients) who want to get their brand’s name on television. Just in the last year, I’ve had an increasing number of clients ask me to help get them in on these deals. Sure, being able to say that your scarf collection, jewelry brand or skincare line was on The View may be great for branding, but what your clients may not realize is how these deals truly work. Unless you’ve traversed down this hazy road as a hard working publicist before, you may not exactly know what you’re getting your clients into.

To help paint a clear picture of the world of TV Deal Segments, I asked fellow publicist and deal segment expert Elizabeth Rosenberg from LOFT Marketing & Communications to answer a few questions:

Is there a secret formula to TV Deal Segment success?

The key to being successful at these deal segments is being familiar with the shows/platforms. Watch the shows you want to be on and see what kinds of deals they are featuring and how deep the discount really is. Small to big brands can participate in these deals if they have enough inventory and margins that will allow them to offer customers a deep discount. The minimum for some smaller deal segments is normally 1,500 units across no more than six SKUS of the product. For example, a handbag in one style, but six different color options.

Do not alter your retail price to make a deal work. Placement planners are very savvy researchers. In a matter of minutes they can see you're not telling the truth and won't want to work with you.

What kind of brands work well with TV Deal Segments?

The shows are all looking for the same types of product for deals; handbags, accessories, jewelry, beauty, hair tools, technology, housewares (blankets, pillows, sheets, plates, glassware), etc. Things that really don't work well on deal segments are anything sized (like shoes, rings, etc.), smartphone apps, supplements/vitamins, kids and men’s items (I'm hoping this changes soon!). Also, remember that this is NOT an editorial placement. There is a system to how this works, so when people email me saying that their client has 500 units and can offer 30% off it kills me. It would be like someone pitching a sports story to a fashion reporter. Know the gist of what a deal segment entails before reaching out.

What is the best way for a publicist to help a client attain a TV Deal?

Some shows have internal teams that handle their deal segments and other shows use backend companies like Telewise to handle the logistics. The best advice is to ask around! So many brands have already participated in these deals. Ask those brands whom they've worked with and ask for an introduction.

Bookers and producers are never the right contact!

Once you have a contact, emailing is always best. However, never email and ask for more information without giving some yourself. My biggest pet peeve is a publicist who will email me asking me for more information without telling me who their clients are. I don't want to waste your time and mine if you have clients that are in a space that won't work well in deals.

What can the brand do to help drive sales during the segment?

The first thing is to make sure you're offering the best deal you possibly can and that this deal isn't available anywhere else, even Amazon. Also, every show has different rules regarding social media posts. Most shows won't let you post something until the deal has aired. Check with your contact that set up your deal and see if they have verbiage you can post on your social media networks. Also, while these deals are great for new customer acquisition, don't forget about your loyal fans. Email blast them with the deal as a thank you, this will increase sales and your existing customer will appreciate that you kept them in the loop.

In your opinion, what communication department should be in charge of Deal Segments?

There is a very fine line between whether this is a job for marketing, for sales, or for PR. Because many of these sales are featured on national TV shows, it's important that your publicist is in the loop and can help with messaging as well as push through the importance of this major on-air opportunity with the marketing and sales teams. Sales and marketing often need to get involved to sign off on the backend/logistics of things. For example; what the deal will look like, how many units will be sold, for how much, etc.

What else should publicists know before jumping into attaining a TV Deal Segment for a client?

It's important to remember that while deals are an amazing new opportunity for brands, they aren't for everyone. Companies need the right structure and product to make a deal run seamlessly to truly hit it out of the park. Lastly, beware of companies/individuals out there charging brands an arm and leg for guaranteed placements on these segments. 1) This is still TV and nothing is guaranteed. While deal segments aren't editorial, they still need to be pitched and placed.  2) The more someone charges you, the less of a "deal" a brand can usually make thus making it harder to place.

Have a question for Elizabeth? Email her at: [email protected].

Photo Credit: torbakhopper HE DEAD
E! Photo Credit: Telewise

Balancing Your Resolutions, What's Next for Fashion Week & PR in 2015 Fashion PR, Marketing & Social Media News for the Week of January 5, 2015

PR in 2015, What’s Next for Fashion Week & Joni Mitchell for Saint Laurent

 

  • First a move a huge move away from Lincoln Center and now this!? What is going on, Fashion Week? (via Racked)
  • The full disclosure behind social media influencer marketing. (via Digiday)
  • Target’s newly announced collab with Lilly Pulitzer is already causing a commotion, but not for the reasons you might think. (via People StyleWatch)
  • That’s a whole lotta shoes! Coach just announced the acquisition of Stuart Weitzman. What’s next for footwear brand? (via Front Row Daily)
  • 40 kick-ass PR quotes heard around 2014. PR Couture included! (via Ereleases)
  • You gotta love Warby Parker and their wicked sense of humor. Just take a look at their Annual Report. (via Fast Company)
  • New Year’s resolutions already giving you anxiety? Take a step back and remember to keep balanced. You got this, PR girls and boys. (via NYC PR Girls)
  • Social media is a powerful tool, no doubt, but should we depend on it to save PR. How do you use it? (via Cision)
  • Saint Laurent + Joni Mitchell = some fashion music magic and a stunning campaign. (via Luxury Daily)
  • What will and will not change for PR in 2015. What do you foresee? (via Muck Rack)

Favorite Fashion Videos

 

Photo Credit: Frank Brouwer

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 or shoot me a note.