Publicist and media relationship master Gwen Wunderlich of Wunderlich Inc. did Tin Shingle readers a huge favor by agreeing to not answer one, but instead to answer several of our most commonly asked DIY PR questions we receive, in typical Gwen manner: by providing smart, quick, strategic and honest answers! With a solid client roster and a consistent record of placing them everywhere from Daily Candy to the Wall Street Journal to the Today Show, we know her answers will help many a DIY campaign!
What do you think is the biggest mistake one can make when pitching their product to the monthly magazines?
I think people often don’t take the time to see what is unique and special about their brand. It’s not all about pitching an outlet just so you can say you’ve pitched it or to tell your friends and colleagues you sent a product to Oprah Magazine – it’s about your delivery and approach from your first phone call to how the package arrives on the desk of the editor or producer. Take the extra time to smile when you pitch, tell them what stands out about what you’re pitching that they don’t already know.
Make sure that the package delivery expresses the brands message, overall feel and look of how you, the publicist, would like it portrayed. You wouldn’t send lingerie in a zip-lock.. OR WOULD YOU?
Sounding nervous or unsure about what you are pitching is a big mistake. Sounding like you are reading off a script is also a big no. I mean, you want to get the other person interested, not bored- engage them!
It’s all about personality and how you spin it oh and P.S. still feeling nervous any ways??? Stand up before you pick up the phone! Walking around boosts your confidence about 100%. Tried and true advice!
How important is a good looking website when you are a product based company of any kind?
Even though most don't want to admit it.. looks DO mean a lot. Time is limited and you want to be wowed right away. If someone sent you a link to sift through their website for you to pick product and everything takes too long to load or images aren't high res- it can be a turn off. It’s important how efficient and how your page comes across to consumers because believe it or not those 30 seconds someone takes out to look at your site- its either you wow them away or lose them. It’s also important to make your firm fabulous yet easy to relate to at the same time – you want them to be a part of your world, your lifestyle and most importantly proud to have you as their publicist.
What do you do when you believe a product is a great fit for a magazine or tv show but cannot get a response out of the editor or producer? Give up? New angle?
DON'T GIVE UP. NEVER GIVE UP. As annoying as it may be, being persistent is key to garnering attention for you and your product! Editors/producers get a TON of emails, calls, etc. It is up to you to make yourself standout from the rest whether it means calling, emailing and keeping constant contact with them. Always be kind but confident in your ability to inform them about the product. If you get a "no I don't think it’s going to be a good fit.." That's your cue to make a new angle, try again or keep them as a great resource by providing them with suggestions weekly of new ideas and or products that may be a better fit.
What is your opinion on follow up? For someone you have no relationship with, how often do you REALLY think you should follow up?
Following up is vital. Yes, you were able to get a hold of so and so and told them about your product, conversation went well, you sent an email that same day and now nothing. How often should you follow up? The next day. Everyone has a million things going on at all times and by following up the next day, you and your product would remain fresh in their mind. For someone that you don't know, I would say wait a day or two and try again. You don't want to come off as harassing someone. Sometimes a polite offer for a good old fashioned meet and greet does the trick over a coffee or drink.
What is one lesson you learned in your years of PR you wish you new sooner?
Probably to not take things personally and to always keep calm and just carry on.
You specialize in fashion, beauty and accessories; what are some key things brands in those areas doing “DIY” PR should know about this area of public relations?
- Have a look that can appeal to the masses and gets your product's message across.
- Have a functioning current website running.
- Create a lookbook of your product and what you have to offer.
- Be familiar on what’s happening in the media and current trends- there is nothing worse than pitching wool leg warmers in the dead of summer?
- Social networking right now is a key way to stay fresh and on the tip of everyone's tongue and best of all...its free.
What do you think is the main difference in results you find when pitching on phone versus email?
I believe that when you get in contact with someone directly it’s a more personal approach, and gives you the chance to REALLY convey what you want about your product. People can delete emails, but ignoring a person on the phone is much harder. Try to follow up with a hand-written note or send them a product you mentioned personally via snail mail so they remember you – yes we said snail mail!
People often say PR is a marathon and not a sprint – have there been times you can remember that you have literally had to wait a long time, and pitch patiently and consistently, which eventually led you to an amazing placement? Is it really all worth the hard work?
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Some things do take time and are well worth it. It’s all about deciding if IT is worth it. When the features and product placements hit and you rush to that newsstand, tv or internet to send it to your client and they see an overwhelming consumer buzz and demand for your product from your undying persistence, it really does make it all worth it!
Why do you love PR so much even though it’s a darn hard job to do?
I love it because every day is different. Nothing is ever the same. How could you not love that? Additionally, if you know me, you know that I am all about the glamorous life. What other profession allows you to attend the most talked about Hollywood, star-studded event at the newest club or sends you to the hottest beach to promote the newest product to hit the scene?
Could you score the most exclusive, hush-hush invite to the opening of a world renowned restaurant or rub elbows with the worlds celeb crush while running around at New York Fashion week by sitting at your desk working at a bank? I think not. Additionally, the rush I feel when I see a product from inception to a highly in-demand brand is indescribable. I leave work every day feeling successful and invigorated for the next work day ahead. While it might be a darn hard job to do, I couldn't imagine another line of work I would enjoy and feel as inspired by.
Where can readers who want to connect with you find you?