Editor Q&A: How to Pitch Chicago-Based Halfstack Magazine


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There are so many fun digital publications out there these days, it can be hard to keep up. We were thrilled to be introduced to quarterly publication Halfstack, the brainchild of former Getting IN interviewee Jennifer Lezan, formerly the marketing and PR coordinator for Claire’s Stores, Inc.. You may recognize her name from Ready to Launch as well as the “Where are they Now” Getting IN ebook.  In her latest venture, Jennifer successfully raised nearly $4k dollars through Kickstarter to launch Halfstack, an independent-culture magazines for local Chicago creatives and professionals.

We caught up with Fashion Editor Teresa Espinoza to learn more about what types of pitches are a fit for this emerging regional pub and recommend heeding this tip she shared:

Digital publications, while young and still new, are becoming a huge factor in our industry. Never disregard a publication because it’s not as big as Vogue or because it doesn’t have a million views or subscribers. Often a smaller audience that is loyal will be far more likely to be engaged than a huge inflated audience [and have] a better ROI for your brand.

Name: Teresa Espinoza
Title:  Fashion Editor
Publication: Halfstack Magazine
Circulation: 50K unique visits per month, Over 150K per issue

How far in advance do you work?

Halfstack Magazine works 3 months ahead.

What is the best time to send pitches?

We are great with email on a daily basis however the best time to send pitches are between the hours of 10am-3pm and 6pm-9pm.

What types of stories/pitches are you looking for?

We look for pitches that cover fashion, music, art, culture and food with a special emphasis on up and comers as well as small businesses. We are also open to advertorial and promotional opportunities.

ISSUU   Halfstack Magazine Winter 2013 Issue by Jennifer Lezan
Fashion Feature with Out of Print Clothing, Winter 2013 Issue

What makes a great pitch?

The best pitches, for us, are the ones that are not too pushy or sales oriented. Friendly and well thought out pitches return the best results with us! Most importantly, what you are pitching should relate well to our brand and our readership. Sometimes we receive pitches that are so off base and we can tell that it was a blanket email. Personalization goes a long way in our industry. Our founder was once in the PR business and she can easily pick out the publicists who have done their research on us. Great images to accompany and an opportunity to talk with founders or designers to round out the story also really helps solidify a great pitch.

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

If we are interested we will reach out to you fairly quickly. Depending on the pitch, what we may need could vary. For example, if you pitched us a great new designer to showcase, we may ask for samples to include in an editorial or review, high-resolution product images or possibly an interview. It really goes on a pitch-by-pitch basis. Rest assured though, if we are interested in your pitch you will here from us!

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

The best way to build a relationship with us is to be willing to work with our deadlines – communicating well and being open with the options they have to work with us. Being kind and friendly is a plus but don’t call us “hun” or “sweetie”! We are not at the friend level yet but with time and great stories we may grow to that level, but it takes time and ultimately we are running a business – so be sure to act professional and courteous. We understand you’re working in a tough industry and are considerate of that, but we expect the same respect. A great balance between professionalism and friendly attitude will always get you noticed with us! We usually have amazing experiences with PR reps. Many of whom we have built great relationships with because of their hard work, dedication and willingness to work with us.

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

Well that pet name thing really makes a point! You’d be surprised at how often we get pitches like that! Yes, we want you to be friendly, but use an actual name. If for some reason you’re not sure whom to address – just use a basic hello! Also, once in a while we’ve come across publicists who are mightier than thou. It happens far and few between, but the reality is that while yes, you are working with major brands – you’re in the business of developing a relationship to get “free editorial placement” – we work hard to help publicists out and when people act snotty on the phone or over email, take forever to get back to us or follow up, then we are likely to drop a story. Simple as that.

What do you wish more publicists understood about Halfstack Magazine?

Deadlines are crucial for us! We focus on brands on a national level not just in Chicago. We are on our email constantly to keep up with our deadlines and if we can get a story byline completely through our pipeline with images and copy sooner than later it makes life so much easier. It makes your pitch more likely to be developed into an article and placed in our issues as well!

Photo Credit: Stephanie Battista
Crosby Noricks

Crosby Noricks

Known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR,” (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks put fashion public relations on the digital map when she launched PR Couture in 2006. She is the author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. A decade later, Crosby is a successful fashion marketing strategist who spends her time championing PR Couture's growth and mentoring fashion publicists through her signature online course PRISM. Learn more about opportunities to work directly with Crosby at her website crosbynoricks.com