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His PRspective: Digital Fashion PR with McArthur Joseph at Bollare

Fashion PR is a profession overrun by women, and we tend to claim the whole field as ours, even via hashtags like #PRGirl. The PR Guys deserve love, too. They work just as hard and have their share of #PRGuyProblems. We began our #PRGuy installment with Gregory Russell and Zack Tanck. PR guys (and gals) everywhere loved it so much, we decided to highlight more guys in the industry. Next up, McArthur Joseph. McArthur, also known as Mac, is on the digital team at Bollare and is the blogger behind Daily Mister. We caught up with our favorite menswear aficionado to chat about his experiences as a guy in the industry.

Tell us your name and the company you work with.

McArthur Joseph (but most people call me Mac) and I work on the digital team at Bollare Communications.

What's it like being in an office full of women?

Previously I was at an agency called Small Girls PR so I think I'm pretty used to it by now. I don't think gender plays a major role in an industry like this. I like to surround myself with creative and hard working individuals.

I don't think gender plays a major role in an industry like this. I like to surround myself with creative and hard working individuals.

Do you get special or different treatment? How so?

I wish! In all seriousness, I never want special treatment because I'm a dude. I let my work speak for itself.

sp6What advantages are there working as a guy in Fashion PR?

I'm able to provide a different perspective and spin to my clients, as well as my coworkers. The team at Bollare is really collaborative and I get to extend my voice and help out with strategy for our amazing brand partners.

Do you automatically get placed on menswear projects?

I do, but I love it. My expertise is in the menswear space and I'm pretty vocal about it. It's a lot easier to get up every morning and head to an office when you're doing something you're passionate about.

Please share any interesting stories you've had working as a guy in Fashion PR or just in the industry in general.

As a person who's worked in digital for a while, I've done social media for a couple of women's driven brands. It's kind of fun to pretend to be someone else. I always get a kick from when I introduce myself to people as the person behind an account because people expect some twenty-something girl with a designer bag in one hand and an avocado toast in the other. Meanwhile, here I am a guy usually dressed in sneakers with a snapback who can quote random 90s hip hop songs at the drop of a dime.

I've done social media for a couple of women's driven brands. It's kind of fun to pretend to be someone else.

Do you have any tips you'd like to share with aspiring PR guys out there?

Find what you love and run with it. That can be pretty hard at first but try out a few different internships and do your research. You might start out thinking you only want to work in luxury fashion, but then realize you really like grooming or accessories. There are so many opportunities and amazing jobs out there. There's no reason to keep yourself in a box.

Stay in touch with Mac on Twitter and Instagram @mcarthurjoseph, as well as the @bollare team.

Alex

Editor Q&A with Alex Apatoff, Senior Style Editor at People.com

People Magazine is the world’s leading celebrity media outlet and delivers readers the latest news and exclusive interviews of the most compelling people of our time. As the Senior Style Editor for People Magazine and People.com, Alex Apatoff is always looking for timely, relevant brand stories or products that have a celebrity angle. Below she shares her likes and dislikes when it comes to pitching.

Name: Alex Apatoff
Title: Senior Style Editor
Outlet: People Magazine and People.com
Twitter: @nicefunalex

How do you prefer to receive pitches?

By email! More specifically, from people who have already familiarized themselves with what I cover and who know how to pitch briefly and compellingly.

How far in advance do you work?

On the site? Anywhere between minutes (for anything breaking) to about three weeks (for bigger things like a holiday gift guide, or franchise galleries we can plan for).

What is the best time to send pitches?

Mid week, late afternoon. Friday after noon, they'll get buried. Monday, we are closing the mag - anything not urgent for that day gets totally ignored.

What types stories/pitches are you looking for?

People is a little bit of a narrower focus than other women's interest publications because almost everything has to go through the lens of celebrity. So extremely timely stories with some celebrity angle are the most relevant and easiest ways to get on the site. I'm happy to consider any pitch because there are product opportunities occasionally (and even more coming down the pike), but they have to be appropriate to our readers in terms of price, what they might actually buy, etc.

I'm happy to consider any pitch because there are product opportunities occasionally (and even more coming down the pike), but they have to be appropriate to our readers in terms of price, what they might actually buy, etc.

What makes a great pitch?

Specificity to me and my outlet (especially knowing exactly where something might fit - almost nothing annoys me more than a photo of something/someone asking if I can just "pop it up" or "do a quick post" on it. This is People.com, we don't just "pop" anything up unless it's huge/newsy, has the ability to get to the point immediately, has timeliness/relevance and has an understanding of what will work. Blurry photos of celebs wearing your jewelry fifteen months after they wore them doesn't work.

And just a general beg to all publicists - please, please consider the sorry state of our inboxes. I get about 1k emails a day. Huge attachments of flat-shot jumpsuits clogs my inbox and makes it hard to do my job. Consider small Jpegs and a drop box link to your high res images. I try to respond to every email but just by virtue of sheer volume I can't. I WILL, however, respond to everything I can use imminently - and I file everything that isn't urgent but might be helpful in the future.

So if you follow up four times (please don't, but if you do) and don't hear from me, the reason is that it won't work for People. If you have another pitch that will, I promise I'll write you back!

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

I'll always ask! It's usually just high res images as we are unlikely to shoot anything. But the more special and exclusive to us something is, the better. If you can offer something just for us I'll jump at the chance!

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

Patience, friendliness, a clear understanding of what will work for my publication and never calling me within the same day she sent an email "just checking to see if I got it."

And please, say thank you! I have been surprised by how many major placements recently have gone totally ignored (even in print!) until I ask "did you see it?" It's work to get your product in and a nice email makes me feel great about it.

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

Begging for favors I don't owe, for pitches she knows won't work for the site. Calling me in tears begging for placement, offering a cash bribe in return for placement, sending seven emails in one day about the same thing all with huge attachments. (All have happened. All weren't great.) But above all: promising an exclusive and then being shocked when it "leaks." Girl, bye!

What do you wish more publicists knew about your job?

I love working with publicists. I can't do my job without them, and good ones make my life so much easier. Just being mindful about the sheer volume of emails we get each day and really thinking before sending blanket emails makes everything work more smoothly. I'm so grateful for all your hard work and always hopeful to find the right thing on which to work together.

Just being mindful about the sheer volume of emails we get each day and really thinking before sending blanket emails makes everything work more smoothly.

Thanks Alex!

Contributed Content

5 Digital PR Steps to Successfully Pitch Client Articles

Contributed articles used to be the terrain of trade magazines, or Op-eds in the newspaper. But, the way the industry now produces (and we consume) media is changing, and I believe that pitching contributed articles is the future of digital PR.

Because while yes, it is still possible to snag an interview or be included in a product round-up, much of my recent successes come from pitching contributed content. Securing published articles with my client's author byline not only helps increase their leadership position, but provides a creative platform to reflect and explore multiple aspects of a company's business - from company culture to production to storytelling.

As mentioned, the pace of digital publications means most most online outlets are looking to update their pages multiple times a day and they are often competing with a host of competitor sites to claim user attention (and hit those ad impression numbers). Most publications do not write all their articles in-house (sometimes due to limited-resources and sometimes as part of their business model), so you have the opportunity to fill in those article blanks by sending over well-written, keyword happy, skimmable articles that are perfect for their audience.

Most outlets are looking to update their pages multiple times a do. They can’t write all the articles in house, so that is where your clients come in!

As a publicist, make sure you are taking advantage of the opportunity to pitch your clients as contributing writers. Here is how:

Find the right publications

The majority of online outlets and trade publications accept contributed content. However, always double check before you pitch to determine if there are any submission guidelines or steps you can take (creating a contributor account for your client first) on your own, so you don't cause more work for (read: annoy) the editor you are pitching.

Typically, if a publication lists contributing writers,  (through a media database like Cision, or on its digital masthead) publication they most likely accept contributed pieces.

From my experience, business publications are more likely to take full articles. I have had luck with outlets, such as, Entrepreneur.com Huffington Post, BusinessInsider.com, and FastCompany.com. Depending on your client, places like Mind Body Green, XoJane, Rebelle Society, or The Muse are worth considering.

Take cues from the news

Back when all the fashion sites were abuzz with Kim K's blonde ambition, Beauty PR folks had an opportunity to pitch contributed pieces on everything from how to get her shade, to what make-up looks best with light hair and an olive complexion. Every day there are actual news stories, and soft-celebrity news that offer opportunities to pitch your clients as experts who can provide a fresh angle (pulling pageviews from competing sites covering the same story) on a popular story. Your own Facebook feed is likely a great resource for identifying these opportunities.

Be ready to write

It's a good idea to have a few articles pre-written that you know are a fit for a particular type of website. But in the example above, your job as a publicists is to be combing those headlines, ready to pitch fast and deliver faster. Become accustomed to the format of the articles on the sites you're pitching, have statistics, corresponding images, bios and your client ready to give approval. Oftentimes you have hours, not days, to turn around an article. And if you can meet that deadline, you are much more likely to get the ok from that editor for a second piece.

Pitch multiple article ideas

I find it helpful to come up with a few different topics to offer the media. This way if the editor isn’t interested in one, they will hopefully say yes to another. I feel like this lessens the chance of rejection. Get ideas for articles by reviewing top content and offering a fresh angle. Think back to those principles of newsworthiness and offer a few different types of articles - perhaps one that is more informational, another that is more personal, and still another that offers multiple sources for a trending topic.

Make your pitch concise

As with any pitch, I find that less is more.

I spend the first few sentences explaining why my client is important and should be considered an expert. I usually include all the obvious information, such as, their title, company, any important accolades.

I make it very clear that my client is available to write a full article on the topics I have listed. Hopefully, this will pique an editor’s attention because they know it will be less work for them.

In the same way that we must write well-researched, relevant pitches to editors for product placement, pitching a contributed article requires an in-depth understanding of the publication's audience, requirements and a seasoned ability to write for the web. In fact, taking some time to learn what makes for compelling, share-happy content on the web, (check out something like
Get Your Writing Seen By Millions On The Top Major Websites) could be your first step toward making this one of the most valuable skills you have to offer clients in this brand new media world.

Image via: Stokpic

 

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.