Are You Guilty of These Common Mistakes When Pitching the Media?


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Mastering the skill of pitching is essential to garnering press coverage in clients’ target publications. A great pitch can result in anything from beautiful multi-page, in-depth features for clients to stronger relationships with top editors.

While it’s not an exact science (everyone has their own style of pitching that works for them) there are a few mistakes you should try to avoid at all costs to ensure the greatest outcome for your outreach.

Mistake #1 – Pitching the wrong person

Different editors cover different beats – from accessories to beauty, and down to specific columns. Make sure that the contact you are pitching actually covers whatever product you are pitching by researching their recent contributions before you reach out.

This can get tricky within the fashion world as many editors only cover one specific niche. If you are unsure, the best way to find know what someone covers and to make sure you are pitching appropriate info is to simply send a quick email to the person you do have contact information and ask. I like to send a one-line description and one or two images of a client’s latest line and ask who the best contact would be for XX market. When you keep it short and simple you’re likely to get a helpful response.

Mistake #2 – Including the wrong information

Make sure that every pitch you send out addresses your editor by her first name, and that you have spelled it correctly – Lindsey vs Lindsay, for example. Proofread (preferably by at least an extra set of eyes) at least twice. Resist the urge to tell a designer’s entire life story and instead focus on prioritizing the information most relevant – product details, pricing and purchase information. A poorly written, or overly wordy pitch is more likely to be trashed. If you are lucky enough to get a bite, you run the risk that incorrect info will make its way into the coverage you receive. Proofread, proofread, proofread and keep your communication brief.

Mistake #3 – Botching the Subject Line

It’s easy to put a ton of focus on the pitch itself, but the subject line you choose is often as important as (and sometimes even more so) than the body of the email. Make the editor want to open your email with your subject line with a few words that are compelling yet pithy. Choose a few words that describe the type of product rather than the brand (unless you’re working with a highly-recognizable or coveted brand) and if you have a great price point, put that in the subject line as well (“Under $100 Fall Fashion: Plaid Flannels, Lace-Up Denim, and more!”)

I recently wrote a pitch for a jewelry client that received a great response from editors. The subject line “Dainty, Sparkly Jewels to Dress Up Holiday Outfits,” resulted in interest and sample pulls from outlets including W, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, and more.

Mistake #4 – Pitching Products Off-Season

If you are pitching a super cool swimwear line, don’t pitch your bikinis to long lead (print) media in August. Your “Keep Cool this Season” email will be dead in the water; toward the end of the summer editors are working on December and January issues.

Now, just because you have an off-season item doesn’t mean you have to wait months to reach out. In PR, it’s all about the story angle – what about pitching warm weather escapes for those headed somewhere tropical for their winter holiday? However, your best bet for the most coverage is to hold off until December/January when publications begin sourcing for their (inevitable) swim stories.

I recently wrote a pitch for a jewelry client that received a great response from editors. The subject line “Dainty, Sparkly Jewels to Dress Up Holiday Outfits,” resulted in interest and sample pulls from outlets including W, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, and more.

You can still pitch for short-lead/bloggers/influencers year-round with seasonal apparel and accessories (sunglasses, winter coats, etc.), many of these people travel frequently and are working on shorter turn-around times for articles. Your rose gold bikini might be perfect for next week’s swim essentials post.

Mistake #5 – Attaching Large Files

It’s definitely important to have images that accompany your pitch, but large file sizes are often blocked by editor email servers – meaning your pitch won’t even make it to their inbox. If your email does reach your intended recipient, it’s annoying and cumbersome to have to download a large file. Instead, embed low-res image files that fit within a standard email window (no larger than 600 pixels wide).  If you have a linesheet or fashion lookbook, consider including a dropbox link instead of an attachment. Or, compress any PDF documents first with software or a free website like SmallPDF.

By avoiding these five common pitching mistakes, you’ll increase your chances of securing some fantastic placements for clients!

Lindsey Smolan

Lindsey Smolan

Lindsey is the principal at VLIV Communications, 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.