NOTE: People StyleWatch went completely digital in January 2018. These tips are valuable principles for many other magazines as you are planning your PR DIY campaign.
Many people refer to VOGUE as THE "fashion bible". Don’t get me wrong, I love reading VOGUE and the vibe is chic, classy, elegant, timeless and there’s no other experience like it. However, I like to read other magazines, too and see how these trends translate into a more wearable (and affordable!) looks. As a publicist for 10 years now, I have read my share of magazines. From flipping through a mag on a beach or plane to sitting down and tearing out pages and creating mood boards and pitching inspiration boards, I would definitely consider myself a magazine connoisseur! Hey, it’s my job after all, right?
So, one of my favorite magazines, and the magazine that is #1 one so many brands wish list, is none other than People Stylewatch. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to a brand, new or emerging, that hasn’t inquired about my relationship with People Stylewatch, or PSW for short. I’ve worked incredibly closely with several editors there for a decade now and I’m happy to share some of my tips and tricks to YOU so that your brand can earn that coveted spot. PSW has a circulation of 800,000, but more importantly, reaches over 5.6 million readers each month. Additionally, PeopleStyleWatch.com is the #1 style magazine website reaching 3 million unique visitors and averaging 150 million pageviews each month with content that is refreshed throughout the day. In short, PSW is one of the leading shopping magazines and what this means for you is a huge opportunities for sales for your brand.
HERE ARE MY TIPS FOR GETTING INTO PEOPLE STYLEWATCH:
First, read the magazine cover to cover. Check out price points, celebrity inspired stories, trend pages and so on. See where your brand would fit in nicely and then make a list of those stories so you can pitch a specific editor (TIP: The masthead is your BFF. It’s like a treasure map and will tell you who to pitch!) and a specific story. If you have a celebrity in your brands product, that’s even better too. There are several opportunities for celebrity "love that" stories.
Also, as you become more and more familiar with the magazine, you’ll notice that each month the majority of the stories are the same (just updated with new seasonal trends). For example, Easy Eco, Charity, Steal Her Style, Get the Cover Look, Staff Challenge, etc. The list goes on and on so make sure you’re aware of these regular features and how your brand could be featured. Additionally, you can count on reoccurring trends year to year too. For example, shape wear and holiday in December, Swim in May, T-Shirts in June, Boots and Bags in October and so on. (TIP: Google People Stylewatch Ad Rates and you can see their editorial calendar…jackpot!) You’ll also see when the issue closes too. Long lead publications like PSW work 3-4 months in advance so if you have a great handbag to pitch for the October issue you’ll need to do so in early July.
Now that you’re familiar with the content, and you’ve decided what and who to pitch (again, keep in mind price, always mention celebrity fans and e-commerce is imperative!) draft your email to the editor. Create a unique and custom pitch for all magazines, with an eye-catching subject line. A blanket pitch is so obvious (and lets face it, kind of boring to read) so be creative and mention the specific story you have in mind for your brand. Include all the necessary information like images or look books (try to keep it under 1MB if possible), price point, celebrity fans, and also be sure to mention if you’re interested in providing a deal or promotional code (20% off or more) to their readers. I always try and make it personal too. For example, if you purchased something from Staff Challenge or Editors Love That page, let that editor know you saw her product and purchased the item too. Anything to set your pitch apart from the hundreds of emails the better chance you have of getting a request.
When you do get a specific request (from an editor), be sure to read it carefully. As I’ve mentioned before, many stories are price conscious so never send something above the price cap. Also, read the email request carefully. Are they looking for an exact look for less or are they looking for general trends? Include retail prices on EVERYTHING and also be sure to include your contact information and return address too. Resist the temptation to follow-up right away. They have your information and will get in touch if something was shot. It doesn’t hurt to check back in after a couple of days (even a week) but if you’re able to check in by pitching another product that’s another great tip.
Now, when something does get shot (photographed by the magazine), they’ll send you a credit request form. Fill it out carefully and remember it’s not a 100% guarantee your item will be included in the final printed version. Things get cut, stories get changed, another product could bump yours. It’s a huge bummer, but unfortunately it happens sometimes. You only know 100% that you’re included when the magazine comes out and you’re in it! That said this credit request is a sign things are moving in the right direction!
Final thought: I encourage ALL of my clients to offer at least 20% off on that item (or site-wide) for multiple reasons. First, it helps ensure your brand won’t get cut and second, as a shopper, I’m that much more enticed to buy something with a promo code. Plus, it helps out the editor too by giving their readers something they’ll enjoy!