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Aneya Fernando

Mollie Chen, Editorial Director of Birchbox, Talks Content Marketing

Mollie-Chen-ArticleBirchbox, the online subscription service that sends its customers a box of beauty and grooming goodies every month, has exploded since its inception four years ago. Subscribers have doubled to more than 800,000 since last year alone and an international expansion is in the works.

Editorial director Mollie Chen understands that the success of the company is due in large part to its smart branding skills. In our latest So What Do You Do column, Chen talks about the company’s vocal community, mobile initiatives and creating content its audience will love:

What goes into creating content that considers all stakeholders: the customer, your brand partners and Birchbox itself?
We think about these things on a monthly basis, but also things are definitely on a daily basis. We start building our video and story lineup. And then on a day-to-day basis we keep a lookout for news, such as Lorde collaborating with MAC on a makeup line — is that something that our customers would love to know about? What’s the Birchbox spin on that? Or we see that a customer tweeted a question about wearing sunscreen in the winter, and we whip up a blog post to answer them. So there’s the lineup that takes a longer view, and then there [are] the day-to-day reactions.

For more from Chen, including why she believes people should think of a brand as a person, read: So What Do You Do, Mollie Chen, Editorial Director at Birchbox?

Showcase Your Clients in Wine Enthusiast

Wine-Enthusiast-ArticleWine Enthusiast is a niche mag with a very specific type of reader: usually in his or her mid-to upper 40s, with a median income of  $100,000. It’s the perfect demo to pitch clients of yours in the travel or food and beverage industry.

PR folks should send pitches via email, and the best timing is five months prior to the issue publication date. Here are some other tips:

Publicists should focus on wine, food (both cooking and dining out) and travel. Successful pitches include chef profiles and recipes for the front-of-book, as well as product suggestions for the holiday gift guide. If you represent a restaurant, even better. “A lot of times, it’s restaurant publicists who have something new or special in their beverage programs or some sort of recurring wine series [that we might cover],” says managing editor Joe Czerwinski. “Occasionally we spotlight individual sommeliers in Q&As. So there are some cool things that we’re certainly open to hearing from people on.

For more, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Wine Enthusiast.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Land Your Clients a Spot in Essence

Essence-ArticleEssence, which calls itself the black women’s bible, is ripe for PR pitches. With 1.5 million issues in print (and 1 million online), this pub reaches a large, niche audience.

Editors at Essence want PR folks to know that they are inundated with press releases, so pitches need not be generic. Be sure to thoroughly research the brand before delivering your pitch:

“The number one thing I want publicists to know is that yes, Essence is a magazine for black women. Our mission statement is ‘We tell black women’s stories like no one else can.’ But,” [deputy managing editor Dawnie Walton] stressed, “you still need to know a little bit more about the brand than just pitching anything having to do with black people in general.” Also helpful: pitching to the right person. Take a look at the masthead and know who covers what to make a press release or story suggestion more targeted.

For more, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Essence.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Be Your Own Publicist: Creating Your Brand, Perfecting Your Message

Be-Your-Own-Publicist-ArticIn this day and age, we’re basically all our own publicists. Sharing our witty words on Twitter, our perfect pictures on Instagram and our professional achievements on LinkedIn. It’s almost become second nature to promote yourself via social media.

But there are myriad ways to get your name out there, both on and offline. We recently spoke with several branding experts who revealed five key ways to market yourself. The first thing to do is develop your brand and messaging:

Jeffrey Hayzlett, host of The C-Suite on Bloomberg, explains, “Every person is [his] own brand and you have your own promise to deliver. Do you want somebody else telling that story or do you want to tell it?” The author and speaker adds: “If you don’t represent yourself, someone else will do it for you. I would much rather control what’s said of me and how it’s said than having other people do it. And I’d like to react to that as well.”

[Beth Feldman, co-founder of BeyondPR Group] suggests reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, especially the part about the “10,000 hours” rule. The gist is if you can determine in your life where you’ve spent 10,000 hours doing something, then you will feel the most comfortable talking about it and becoming an expert. “The more experience you have, the more comfortable you will feel and the more people will take you seriously,” she says.

For more advice, including how to choose the right partners when cross-promoting, read: How to Be Your Own Publicist.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

PR Pro Terrie Williams Explains How Eddie Murphy Became Her First Client

Terrie-Williams-ArticleTerrie Williams has represented everyone from Janet Jackson to Chris Rock at her eponymous public relations and communications firm. This licensed therapist turned PR pro has truly seen it all and has four best-selling books to show for it.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do series, Williams talks leadership, mental health advocacy and, of course, unloads plenty of PR knowledge. Here, she explains how she acquired one of her first high-profile clients, Eddie Murphy:

One day I heard that Eddie was looking for a PR person. He had never had one. I was kind of self-taught. I took two six or eight-week courses, but I didn’t major in it in college or grad school. I knew I was supposed to represent him. I just knew. So I wrote him a letter. I said, ‘You don’t really know me, but I’ve been to parties at your home and we met at Miles’ [Davis] birthday party. And this is who I am. I would love to represent you.’ I got a phone call maybe two weeks later and a voice said, ‘Eddie’s here. He wants to talk to you.’ He got on the phone and just said, ‘I would love to have you represent me.’ Just like that. I was in tears on the other end. I launched my business with him. Because Eddie was on board, Miles wanted me to represent him. So very early on, all eyes were on me like, ‘Who is this person? Who does she think she is?’

For more from Williams, including her keys to an effective agency, read: So What Do You Do, Terrie Williams, Author, Activist and Public Relations Strategist? 

SheKnows Needs Original, Timely PR Pitches

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SheKnows.com is a no-nonsense, service-driven site that gets 68 million monthly page views. It’s known for its broad range of content that aims to empower women, making it perfect for PR pros hoping to showcase their clients to a female audience on a constant hunt for everyday solutions.

Lauren Swanson, director of editorial operations, advises that publicists pitch original angles that readers can use. Also, be aware of the editorial calendar and make sure seasonal items are pitched one to two months in advance:

[Swanson] says the website gets plenty of last-minute holiday-related stories, but they don’t typically accept them unless it has “social media mojo.” “We generally ignore pitches that are not relevant or clearly skew toward promoting a product,” she says. “Our bloggers generally curate products based on research and testing, so we are not inclined to pass along PR product pushes unless the product is innovative.”

To hear more about the mag, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: SheKnows.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Pitch: Down East, the Magazine of Maine

Down-East-article

Down East, “the Magazine of Maine,” covers more than just lobsters, beer and farming. It spotlights the local dining, art and culture scenes — and even runs investigative pieces that have actually changed state legislature.

The mag’s readership is 60 percent out of state, including those who flock to Maine for the summer. So here’s how to get editors to consider your pitches:

Publicists can help in two areas: Down East is actively seeking more “cool stuff that’s made in Maine,” especially for its new December gift guide issue. Send your pitch in by August to make the December issue and be sure to include paid return postage as the magazine has a strict policy against accepting gifts. Publicists can also pitch successful Maine businesses as potential profiles for the “Making It in Maine” column.

To hear more about the mag, including contact details, read: How To Pitch: Down East.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Spotlight Your Clients in Natural Health

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Natural Health‘s key demographic is women in their 30s who are focused on having a healthy body and living an “earth-friendly lifestyle.” Because the mag has a brand new look, mission and stable of editors, it’s a good time for PR pros to reach out.

This bimonthly pub’s editors are happy to accept publicists’ pitches, as long as they’re on target: “Think of the sell for the Natural Health reader,” said deputy editor Andrea Bartz. “Yes, these chips might be tasty, but are they actually healthier? Where do the products align with the mission of the magazine?” You also need to be able to communicate effectively:

While novelty and timeliness are both key components of a successful PR pitch to Natural Health, more important than both is a clear communication that the client being pitched holds the same standards and beliefs of the magazine. “If you tell me about a dermatologist that’s a good dermatologist, we won’t be very interested,” Bartz explained. “But if you tell me about a dermatologist who takes a very integrative approach and thinks about things the way we do as a magazine, that’s huge.”

For more about this pub, including editors’ contact details, read: How To Pitch: Natural Health.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Generate Buzz for Your Clients in Fit Pregnancy

fit-pregnancy-article

Niche magazines are perfect for publicists looking to pitch their newest product. You know exactly what kind of readers the publication is targeting and can therefore customize what you’re promoting as you see fit.

Fit Pregnancy is one such magazine. With a circulation of 500,000 and a happy, upbeat tone, this pregnancy pub is always open to PR pros. Just be aware of its longer lead time (around six months) and communicate your pitch effectively, so the editors understand the timeliness and novelty of what you’re selling:

For publicists looking to generate buzz for their pregnancy and baby products, “new” is the key word that will unlock the door to Fit Pregnancy‘s pages. “We’re always looking for something that’s new, or that has something new about it,” said [deputy editor Andrea Bartz]. “So maybe the stroller isn’t new, but they’re just releasing it in the cutest new color, or there’s a really great update. If there’s something about a product that makes it first to market in some way or another, that will catch our attention.”

To hear more about this pub, including editors’ contact details, read: How To Pitch: Fit Pregnancy.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Showcase Your Clients in Draft, the Magazine for Beer Lovers

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Draft is a magazine dedicated to all things beer. Its core demographic are avid travelers who enjoy pairing beer with specialty foods and are always up to try new things. As managing editor Jessica Daynor says: “If Draft can get you to order a different beer than your usual Corona next time you hit the pubs, we’ve done our job.”

The mag is more than open to PR pitches, so getting your clients a prime spot in this niche pub should be relatively easy. Just be aware that Draft‘s headquarters are in Phoenix, so calling them at 7 a.m. from New York isn’t the best idea. Here are more details on what Draft is looking for:

Daynor welcomes celeb Q&A pitches. Generally, much of Draft‘s market editing is fueled by relationships with PR professionals and press releases. The annual gift guide, “Gear,” and “On Tap” departments are always accepting information on new products active beer drinkers enjoy, noted Daynor. And she urges anyone who represents a brewery, bar or beer-forward restaurant to get in touch immediately!

To hear more about this mag, including editors’ contact details, read: How To Pitch: Draft.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

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