What You Need to Know About Pitching Print vs Digital Media

Whether you’re looking to score a coveted placement in InStyle or a featured product in a Refinery29 slideshow, it’s important to keep in mind that long-lead media and short-lead/digital media have different requirements when it comes to putting together a story.

While some of these will vary from outlet to outlet (ie some short lead media DO photograph products for their site) the below are general guidelines to ensure that you have the right tools for every type of media to increase your chances of landing a successful media hit.

Product Samples

Print/Long-Lead Media Needs

While some long-lead,  national print magazines are cutting budgets and shooting less in-house, be prepared for them to call in product samples to photograph. You’ll need at least an extra set of the collection on hand, and perhaps more for extra popular items, and you need to be prepared to send product to your editor on a moment’s notice.  (or a few – especially of popular items) to send out on a moment’s notice. If you’re working in fashion or accessories you can be prepared to almost always receive the samples back (though there will be cases when they get lost/damaged). For beauty, if they request samples they rarely return unless you specify that it is a comp only for shooting.

Digital/Short-lead Media Needs

Most outlets with a shorter lead (including websites, weekly magazines, and newspapers) are so busy meeting constant deadlines that they rarely shoot their own product photography. Your best bet to increase chances for placement is to have high res imagery shot flat on a white background (no lifestyle shots or on model shots). These images can be easily added to a layout or slideshow and work seamlessly with other products on the page.

Brand/Company Materials

Print/Long-Lead Media Needs

While many print media outlets are cutting their pages, many still do features on great company founders. Make sure to get some great high-resolution headshots of the company founder to have on hand for any potential interviews/features in a print magazine. Get a variety of angles and facial expressions – some smiling and some more serious to suit an array of editor needs.


Digital/Short-lead Media Needs

Shorter lead outlets (more so online sites) have fewer restrictions in terms of what they can publish. As a result, digital editors are open to content and story ideas that go beyond just the product. Client videos, lifestyle images, and other interactive media are worth having – and pitching. While not all online media is able to use outside content, many websites love being able to share cool media that a brand has created.

Pitch Timing

Print/Long-Lead Media Needs

All media want the hottest and newest items, so keep a monthly print magazine’s longer lead time in mind when pitching a new product or company launch. If you have a new makeup kit coming out in October, pitch it in June or July to coincide with the stories editors are working on for the October issue. Don’t wait until the day or even month before launch – editors won’t have the time to cover it!

Digital/Short-lead Media Needs

If you have an event to launch a new product, don’t invite short lead unless you are OK with the information being disseminated before the product launch. With that same October product launch, wait until September before pitching to shorter lead media – if you pitch it with long lead either they’ll cover it too soon, or will forget about the product by the time the launch has happened.

Long lead and short lead media do generally want the same things – great products that look beautiful and companies with a compelling story to tell. But, there are some nuances to pitching a traditional print editor versus an online editor, and having a plan in place for both types of outreach will help ensure a consistent stream of coverage.

About This Author

Lindsey is the principal at Lindsey Smolan Public Relations, a NYC-based boutique public relations agency that specializes in generating buzz and press for emerging and established beauty, fashion, accessories, and lifestyle brands. LSPR has a genuine passion for helping clients grow and succeed, and their long reaching connections, from fashion and beauty editors at national magazines to influential celebrity stylists and the increasingly growing blogger and vlogger communities, help them do just that. LSPR strategizes with clients to determine their key brand messaging and how to effectively convey what exactly makes them unique to these key contacts.