It seems that no good consumer focussed fashion week is without its ‘business seminars’, and Melbourne fashion week (MSFW) is no different. Getting into the full swing of things, the week (true to fashion week form, it lasts longer than that) kicked off this morning, stirring me far too early from alleged slumber for the first in the Business Series. Focussed on fashion media, though uniquely avoiding any discussion of the differences between new and old media, the morning played host to talent from the likes of Russh Magazine, Vice Magazine and The Design Files. All popular titles in their own right. But what do such talent have to impart? What are the takeaways from a morning of back to back talks? Or put another way:
What are 7 things that designers and fashion stores can do to better get publicity through the media?
BI – Billie Iveson for Russh Magazine
EL – Erik Lavoie for Vice Magazine
LF – Lucy Feagins for The Design Files
Mass e-mails are spam
Okay, those words weren’t said directly – they’re my own words. Words that I’ve repeated hundreds of times. Mass emails from PR people seldom are wholly relevant, never are unique, and often come across as not all that much better than spam. Approach each of your key potential media outlets separately.
BI / EL
Match your pitches to the publication
Speaking of separate: every publication is different. Or, at least, should be. As much as it is a no brainer, far too many PR pitches are generic in their pitch and their appeal. If you want to receive media coverage in a particularly good title, don’t just approach them separately, but tailor your approach to them. Know their title. Know their demographic. Know their vibe. And create a bespoke pitch that addresses solely what they’re about, and does it in a hugely relevant way.
Giveaways are a strong source of publicity
Competitions are the new black. In a land of saturated media and overflowing inboxes the offer to give a publication something (or two) to giveaway presents a strong opportunity for cut through. So get out there and pitch giveaways to different media, particularly online media, for a greater ROI. Also be ready have excellent product copywriting and photos ready to send to online media should they choose to approach you for a giveaway. Be warned though: online media (and certainly print) are increasingly charging for the ability to run giveaways through their publications; a fair fact given that they’re giving you access to their audience.
LF / BI
Most fashion stores and designers will know their cost of acquiring repeat business from customers (in short, it costs more to make a customer a first time shopper than a second time shopper), but what of repeat coverage from the media? With smaller publications it can pay to cross promote – when they cover you, make sure you let your customers and fans know that you’ve been covered by the publication, and send your fans to the publication to see it. It looks great, helps you build a relationship with the publication, but also lets them know that there’s something in it for them should they choose to cover you again
The difference between print and online
Print is looking for the hype, for the dream, for the big picture.
Online is looking to peel back the curtains, to show what’s real, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I wish I was special
Every publication wants to be special. So do their readers. When you’re creating a bespoke pitch make sure you have a unique offer in it. It might be unique photos of a collection, or unique access to a facet of a collection’s creation… the possibilities are endless. What isn’t endless if your opportunity to get great press here and now. And the quickest way to do that is to make a publication feel special by offering them something unique, and letting them know that their readers too will feel special.
Get a website
If you don’t already have a website, get one today. It might be as simple as a blog. But get it. And if you already have one, make it special. Fill it full of unique content that tells a unique story, that shows what you do, how you do it, and how you do it differently. Make sure all the content content that people (your fans and customers) would want to talk about and share. Look to the blogs of Kate Spade for great examples of how this can be done. The majority of pitches to media now goes unread – instead editors and writers are actively reading the web, looking for great content and great stories that they can pass on to their readers. And that great content has to be on websites that engage them. If you don’t have a website, get one. Now.
BI / EL / LF