Sabina Hitchen's blog


Be your own Billboard and PSA

Brands often spend lots of time and money investing in their pr campaign, from pitching to branding materials, and then forget one of the most simple rules for getting lots of visibility - have your product on, with, or near you at all times.  This doesn't mean toss your business cards in your handbag, but involves great preparation, which we'll talk about now!

Be the First to Know EVERYTHING!

When I was younger I used to read Trivial Pursuit cards in bed.  Not to cheat, but because I wanted to know EVERYTHING.  I was addicted to all of these random facts and mini-lessons in history, science, current events - you name it!  I packed my brain with them, and so began my love affair with knowing as much as I could about what was going on in different areas of the culture, the world, the media, business - whatever I was interested and involved in.

This habit has become very useful when working in PR and trying to land stories in short lead media (tv news, newspapers, blogs, weekly magazines) because I know what stories and news is hot in many categories, right as it's happening, and I can respond with a great expert, a great new angle on the story, or a spin that gets a someone great press.

Staying on top of news can be difficult, so in order to be sure I know breaking news in all the categories I need for the multiple pr campaigns I'm involved in, I sign up for RSS feeds.  These go directly into my inbox in their own neat, little folders so I can check them whenever I need to and they don't clog my already jam packed inbox.

I personally sign up for multiple feeds including:

* The Today Show's feed (also helps me keep up-to-date with what kinds of shows they are working on and interested in)

* Entertainment feeds from Entertainment Weekly  & People Magazine so that I can be on top of breaking showbiz news for my celebrity-friendly brands and general knowledge of what's new in Hollywood

* Variety in order to find out what movies and shows are coming out so I can think about product placemment

* Several business magazines that cover small biz and entrepreneurship so that I can see the way they cover stories similar to the ones I want to place and also so I can stay informed as an entrepreneur

* New York Times, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal for heavier news and breaking headlines...

This way the most up-to-date headlines are being fed to me directly allowing me to quickly piggyback on a story at the most, and at the least be very informed.

The more you know about what's going on, the more you can create great stories!

Get your RSS feed going - and if you have any other great RSS suggestions please share!

Family Circle Timeline Alert

Hey gals

I just got off the phone with Family Circle magazine, and just to let you know their timeline and what to pitch them - they just closed September and will be getting into October soon - so be sure you are pitching late fall themed products, Halloween ideas, expert advice for October, etc.

Remember, October is also breast cancer awareness month....

Fall Desksides - are you on them, do you know what they are?

Yesterday I was at a great business breakfast with Candace Craig, the pr and marketing strategist at Tarte Cosmetics.  Candace does just wonderful things for the brand and their pr and marketing strategy.  While catching up on all things public relations we began talking about our fall desksides.  For those of you who don't know, desksides are when you actually do a "meet and greet" with the editor who covers your brand's categories (fashion/accessories/food/business/etc) and really get face time to pitch them and show them the products you can share with their readers.  

We tend to do them every season to show them what's coming up in the following season.  For instance, though it's May to us in the real world, in the magazine world they're pulling ideas and products for fall, so they need to see items they can showcase that will be available 4-6 months from now.  Desksides are great because you can show them how your products work, connect and build a relationship with valuable contacts, and really share your whole line without having to rush through an email. 

How many to people schedule?  I personally have over 18 in the next couple weeks and am still booking, to give you an idea of how busy they can be.  A tip?  Schedule several at the same magazine for the same day so you can stay in the building and work your way around the different publications.

Want some more tips?  I found a great online article by an editor from Rachael Ray Magazine with the editor's side of things - enjoy!

A Couple PR Spring Training Tips Just in Case You Missed Our Call!

I had a blast on Weds hosting a free PR Spring Training course and was so glad so many of you could join me.  It's often hard to weed through all the messages about what to do, when to do it, or what's a "must know".   Because of this I was happy to share some tactics that you should be employing RIGHT NOW if you are hoping to see results two weeks, or two m

E! News & The Daily 10 - what they want and how to get on

It's time for another installment of pitching tips.  Today we're going to talk about how to get on E!  News and The Daily 10.  Just yesterday we talked to the an amazingly helpful producer from E! who gave us the skinny on what they are really looking for.  Believe me, they know exactly what they want and it's important that no time is wasted on your end or theirs with a bad pitch.  So read up and as always, happy pitching.


Think of E! News as Daily Candy but on television, with a celebrity twist.  Just like our Daily Candy pitch tips this program wants products and experts with a WOW factor.  This means products that are fairly new, not items that have been on the market for years and in every publication known to man. 

These days, E! also prefers that your product is reasonably priced.  Unless they plan on using your product for a special splurge segment or you have a major celebrity attachment or breakthrough story, save the thousand dollar handbags and uber-expensive jewelry for another pitch.

Speaking of celebrity, this is a very useful and almost necessary component of your pitch when reaching out to E! News.  Remember, you're pitching an entertainment and celebrity focused show, so it's important to show that your product or service has a celebrity tie-in, or at least that you can spin it towards a Hollywood trend.  For instance, if you create amazing products for babies or new moms, perhaps you should focus on the Hollywood mommy trend, or include it in a story about actresses who are expecting.  Awards season time?  Talk about red carpet trends or make-up tips that any gal can follow at home.

Finally, when pitching E! News remember that even though it's about celebrity news, it's still a short-lead media outlet that wants stories that are current, relate to what is going on in Hollywood and the world, and they like to know things first that are fresh!  So use the same techniques you use to pitch local or national short lead press when pitching E! 

The Daily 10:

The producers who work with E! News also produce the Daily Ten, and the rules are fairly simple - follow the same rules as E! News pitching, but add a step - you should be able to attach your product or service or event (legitimately) to three well known celebrities.  Here's another pointer - attachment does not mean photos from a celebrity gift suite!  Attachment means: "Uma Thurman bought this for Kate Hudson, Rachel Bilson is wearing this in a photo (that you can supply), Jennifer Hudson goes to this spa on a regular basis", etc.  As always don't lie or stretch the truth - this won't make you any friends, and at the end of the day, you'll still have to prove your celebrity attachment so be careful. 

Final thoughts?

  • Talking to our producer there were a few things beyond the above that she realy wanted to get across:
  • Help her out!  Be the person she knows she can call and immediately get samples, photos, media kits, an expert or more!
  • Don't just sell her the product/service sell her the segment - make it cohesive and informative and in the "E!" format.
  • Ask her how you can help her.  If not through your product, perhaps you can help her fill another segment.  Do that and she'll remember you the next time.
  • Don't pitch her items that you know in your heart of hearts are not a good fit.

Need to see it in action and get a few ideas?  Just flip on the programs and check it out live - or join their live Twitter feed to get the inside scoop!


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