Deskside appointments. You may or may not have heard of them, but chances are if you are a product based company whether it's food or baby toys or fashion-based or a beauty product, you'll need to conduct them at some point during your quarterly pr outreach. This article provides you with an overview of the Desk side. Then, we've written another article on how to land a desk side appointment, and what your desk side appointment will be like.
At its most basic, a deskside is when you make an appointment and visit an editor or journalist at their office (and often times in the lobby of their publishing house) and have a short amount of time to share your products, give your pitch, and as I always recommend, begin creating a relationship with someone who could impact your brand for years to come.
So why would you want to take the time to conduct a deskside? For anyone, and especially those who don't have a showroom to take appointments in, it allows you to get to know the editor or writer covering your beat or product category, you go to them (rarely does a media person have time these days to come to your office or a coffee shop to meet), and if done well and for the right reasons (with the right people) it can create lasting relationships. Remember, at its most basic, public relations should consist of great stories and products and experts (all of you) going to people (the media) who will then share it with an appropriate audience (their readers/viewers/listeners). Because of the nature and fast pace of media, desksides tend to me more rare in television or blogs, but magazines still conduct these meetings regularly.
Though pr firms often conduct desksides for clients, and often take in a few brands at a time in some cases, there is no reason why you as a business owner can't schedule and execute them yourself. And don't just take our word for it - Tin Shingle member Stefany DiManno of DiManno Designs recently followed some tips and combined them with her own growing public relations DIY skills and booked appointments with editors from Lucky Magazine to Redbook that she found in our member-only Media Contact Lists. Again, though nothing is guaranteed at a deskside appointment, what is guaranteed is human interaction, and these days when we communicate so much via email, phone and text, a little face to face time can be just what your pr plan needs. With that in mind, let's first talk about how to know if you should go on a deskside, how to land one, and what you need in order to execute a successful meeting that is worth both your and your media contact's time.
DO I NEED A DESKSIDE:
Though the temptation of meeting with an editor can be strong and exciting, don't schedule these appointments unless you have samples and products available not only to bring in, but that will be available to sell and for readers to access in the time frame for which the editors are pulling. In other words, if you are going to a monthly magazine, remember that they are working 3-6 months ahead, so you should be bringing in products that will be available on that timeline. If you are going to a shorter lead (a weekly magazine, newspaper, television, or blog) keep in mind the product must be available immediately.
Is your collection organized and ready to be viewed? In other words, whether you are creating a line of brownies or a series of finance tutorials, is the product line totally thought out, the packaging and pricing done and organized, sales set up (or at least online)? Don't ever take editors "works in progress". Value their time. They are on a massive time crunch to execute issue after issue, and many are short staffed. This means every second of their time counts, and that deskside better mean something.
HOW DO I LAND A DESKSIDE:
In my experience and the experience of several publicists & Tin Shingle members , the fastest way to land a deskside is to reach out to the correct editor at the magazine you are reaching out to via email. Don't know who this may be? Use the Media Contact Lists at Tin Shingle to help do your research! Once you find an editor that would be a good fit for your story, follow this step-by-step guide to getting that Desk side appointment, and what to expect while you're there.