How do I get my product on Good Morning America? How do I ethically leverage celebrity pictures wearing my apparel? Should I send samples or not?
Knowing the inside scoop on pitching outlets - whether they are parenting, cooking, fashion, business - you name it - is often the key to faster, more powerful success. Today's inside scoop discusses pitching mom and baby products to the parenting press, but before we dish, I wanted to remind you that the lessons Adrienne Dorsey, founder of Magnolia PR, shares with you can be applied across categories - so whether you work with mom and baby products or men's swimwear, read, take notes and apply it to your own press outreach!
Now let's dish! Moms are one of the most powerful demographics small businesses can go after - they're buying for their kids, their husbands, themselves, their parents and more. That said, there is a sea of products out there for them to choose from, so how do you make sure yours stands out? How can you land that coveted press in the hottest blog or magazine? How do you get you score a spot on a top morning show featuring your brand? We consulted with Magnolia PR, a leading boutique agency in Los Angeles that specializes in just this area to give us her thoughts on ten questions we hear the most when talking about this hot category.
If there were two or three things you think are golden rules when pitching the parenting press what would those be?
-Know the media outlet you are pitching and what they cover—be sure to read their publication and get a feel for what type of stories they do—and don’t—cover.
-Make sure you have a newsworthy angle—such as a new spring collection you are launching.
-Keep it short and sweet with all of the information editors need—forget the fluff. Editors don’t have time to read long press releases, so try to highlight your main points and relevant information- what’s new, price points, where to buy, and links for more information. Try to include one strong image.
How important are product lookbooks and line sheets when you’re pitching your mom and children’s products?
It’s important because editors are able to look at these for reference and quickly request the items they would like—rather than having to navigate around your website or blindly asking if you have items that fit their criteria—it saves editors time and hassle to have line sheets and lookbooks readily available.
How do you wade through the many “mommy blogs” and find those that are legitimate and worthwhile to pitch?
I check out their media kits and readership levels, and also see if they fit specific niches that would be appropriate for my clients. There are a ton of mommy blogs, so I prefer to focus on ones with original concepts and content.
Do you always send samples out when they are requested?
Unfortunately samples aren’t always available for many reasons (items may be out of stock, production isn’t quite ready, smaller companies may not have the budget to send to every media outlet, etc.), but if this is the case I try to have high resolution images ready that I can send editors/bloggers in place of samples.
What would you say are some of the most powerful outlets to get products for moms and kids into these days?
Definitely blogs! Celebrity Baby Blog by People.com has a huge readership and my clients report having a great response from being featured, Babble.com is another widely read parents site, and Daily Candy Kids of course. Many of the traditional print magazines also have blogs too, including Parents.com’s Goody Blog and Parenting.com, that have featured our clients with awesome results.
How often do you send out correspondences with editors and bloggers?
It varies depending on what is going on and what new information we have to report, but typically every week we have something to communicate! We also regularly keep editors and news outlets informed via Twitter and Facebook.
What’s the best way to leverage celebrity press (like photos of your product with a celebrity) without offending anyone?
I think it’s important to present the information in a classy, truthful way. Most likely, an awkward shot of a C-list celebrity at a gifting suite with your product won’t go very far, but candid shots of celebrities out and about with your product will be more authentic and press-worthy. I actually started working with Right Bank Babies when their reversible print dress was photographed on Heidi Klum’s daughter, and we were able to leverage the cute photographs with press coverage in Child magazine and Good Morning America for celebrity children style stories. The reversible dress sold out in no time, and this style was later named for her daughter.
What do you think makes you so good at pitching mom & baby products?
Thank you! I think it helps that I have worked with Right Bank Babies for almost four years now, since I launched my company in 2006, and editors/bloggers I’ve worked with trust the brands I represent and that I will do my best to provide them with what they need to do their job. Being reliable, making the editor’s job as easy as possible, and providing them with quality brands is key.
How do you use social media to promote your clients brands, and what would you say are the most vital parts of your social media campaign?
I regularly update our Twitter account (@magnoliapr) and Facebook with the latest information, promotions, and press tears. It’s important to engage your followers and keep up with trends and techniques on these sites, whether it’s replying to an editor’s request for eco-friendly baby brands or using the hashtag to Tweet about the trade show you are attending. I recently did this for the ENK Children’s Club show, meeting up with editors and exhibitors who follow me on Twitter. It’s great for building relationships!
What do you think are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned about PR in general that you can pass on to our readers?
I’ve learned that PR is a marathon, not a sprint. Clients who have a clear understanding that it takes time to establish and build their brand benefit the most from ongoing PR. I have worked with Right Bank Babies and Livie & Luca for a few years, and they have been featured in every major media outlet, opened hundreds of store accounts, and continue to be popular brands with the media and public due to their clear grasp of PR. Red flags for potential clients: simply wanting immediate results without sustainability, micromanaging, and not understanding the value of ongoing PR efforts.
I think it’s important for brands to be PR-friendly—having all of the materials editors need (high-resolution product images, line sheets, where to buy information, etc.) and understand lead times. For example, it’s March and editors are requesting June/July issue samples from me, I even got a request for a December cover! This means it will take a few months to truly see results and be able to gauge how your PR campaign is going. Be ready to invest a minimum of 6 months to launch an effective PR campaign.
Thanks Adrienne! To our readers: print these rules out, revisit them and be sure everyone on your team is in tune with these great guidelines, and before you know it you too will be pitching like, and landing hits with the pros!