The success you achieve when you retain a publicist can often have a lot to do with assets and support provided by the brand itself. Often brands sign on with a PR agency and magically expect to see their product appear in next month’s issues of their favorite magazine. However, working with a PR agency requires constant communication and the more information you provide the agency about the inner workings of your brand and the story that is unfolding, the more positive results you will see. Your publicist is a member of your marketing team and so keeping them informed on marketing pieces of the puzzle will ensure you get maximum bang for your PR buck.
1. Advise your PR team about new retailers & inventory changes
Your publicist should be one of the first to know when you open new accounts and secure new retailers. Provide them with the styles that will sell into the retailer and the ship date. Your publicist can then target outlets based on this retail list. You should also update your publicist when you add new pieces to your collection or sell out of a particular item or style.
2. Prioritize requests from your PR team
Be responsive to emails from your publicist so that you don’t miss out on time-sensitive media opportunities. Editors always need items yesterday, so be on call for any pull requests, sample send-outs or responses to interview questions.
Pro tip: Give your publicist an all access pass to all approved images. Many media outlets use high-resolution images to create fashion spreads, so if you don’t have product stills of each style with no background not on a model, you will certainly miss out on coverage. The easiest way to do this is to create a Dropbox folder with all of the images and share it with your publicist. Make sure to label the folder with your brand name and season as opposed to a generic name “high res product stills.” For Example, “X Collection Spring Summer 2015 High Resolution Product Stills.”
3. Share your promotional and event schedule
Provide your publicist with a trade show schedule, trunk shows and events. If your publicist has access to your trade show schedule early, they can pitch media who will be attending the show and even book desksides in your trade show booth. Just make sure to manage expectations as editors often miss trade show appointments. They have a lot of ground to cover in a short period of time.
4. Have a seperate budget for samples
Make sure you budget for samples to be sent to editors. We ask clients to budget for a certain amount of nonreturnable samples per month or quarter that can be sent to key media and bloggers.
5. Make your relationship with your publicist public
List your PR contact on your website and get into the habit of passing along queries to your PR team. An assigned contact for media keeps your inbox clean and allows your publicist to move quickly – and appropriately – on all opportunities.
6. Develop a PR star product
What is a star product? Nothing more or less than a specifict item or piece of your collection that is almost guaranteed to have maximum editor appeal. Your PR team knows what editors are looking for in various product categories and can help you develop or highlight a particular product that will make it easier to secure product placement. We worked with a brand to coordinate collaboration with French silver purveyor Christofle that garnered great press attention in the luxury market and allowed us to target lifestyle and interior design publications that would have been off limits without that partnership.
7. Be Patient with the PR timeline
Major national magazines work about 4-6 months out, so if a particular publication falls in love with your item from first pitch, it will still take quite a bit of time to see the placement come to life. Understanding editor deadlines and working with your PR team to ensure your assets and news are prepped to make full use of obvious media story tie-ins is crucial to maximizing results from outreach. Get your publicist line sheets, look books, photos and pricelists of collections with enough time for them to properly pitch you to the appropriate outlets.
By partnering with your PR agency and making their efforts a priority you can ensure a positive working relationship and a greater likelihood of media coverage.