Hey there Edsters! Most of you are interested in magazine journalism because you love to write. However, there are many other aspects of putting together a magazine. And depending on where you work, finding cool, new products for your readers is likely to be a large part of your job.
Here at the Fitness Mag, we’re always looking for exercise clothing, accessories, and gear, and this means dealing with a host of public relations representatives. Warning: My first interaction with a PR rep was pretty much a disaster.
However, I realized that it was not the norm, and I’ve become a lot more comfortable dealing with PR reps, in terms of what to tell them about the stories we’re working on, and how to politely say you’re not interested.
During my first week, Miss Editor asked me to contact someone from a NY-based fitness studio, so we could report on a new type of class they’re offering. Pretty basic, right?
Except that the PR rep was extremely difficult to get a hold of, and once she finally emailed me back (I called and emailed her several times), this is what went down: She emailed me on a Wednesday saying she needed “content overview” before she could release any photos or information. So, I emailed her back the gist of the article, looked up the information (pricing, etc.) I needed on my own, and waited for photos.
I emailed and called, and not until Monday, when I sent an email saying Fitness Mag wasn’t interested anymore, did she send photos. Then, I get an email saying…”To be honest, I am new in this position and was over-protective of our assets, I apologize for any and all hassle.”
Although I totally understand a new position can be confusing, I was worried the week-long struggle for photos would reflect poorly on my skills. Luckily, I casually pointed out the PR rep’s email when Miss Editor walked over, and she said it was not a big problem. Phew!
Since then, I’ve gone to two media events, and they went really well. The first was a huge brand that invited me to view their products at a swanky hotel in midtown. Although most of their products didn’t quite work for our demographic, I politely took the gifts and fact-sheets they offered, and said something like “I love what you have here. Our demographic is a little older, but I’ve really enjoyed the whole event” before I stashed some brownies in my purse and left.
The second was for high-end fitness apparel and gear, and I felt a little more prepared. Make sure to ask your editors what types of products they want you to keep an eye out for. Ask what price range they’re looking for, if they have any specific questions they like to ask at events, and what types of special issues and features are planned for the upcoming months.
After those media events and other positive experiences, I’ve learned that PR professionals are usually more than happy to help you find what you’re looking for.
What tools have you found useful in creating relationships with PR reps?
Till Next Saturday,