Lucky me to be able to interview a 15+ year media pro in the magazine and television editorial space. Jenn Chan is a rockstar beauty and fashion editor and on-air host and she sat down with me to talk about all things pitching the media!
Her career has spanned every magazine you can think of and includes working with celebrities like the Kardashians. Safe to assume she’s been pitched a time or two of her career.
Jenn and I sat down and discussed how you pitch an editor of a magazine, what you need to be willing to do, and how best to stand out. She and I break down what makes a good pitch that stands out to a very busy journalist and we even went with what’s a bad pitch. It’s important to know what not to do when pitching the media so you do the right type of pitch that makes it easier to get the YES!
You are hearing it right here from a pro who has been pitched thousands of times. Want to stand out, get your pitch read and actually land in the media? Watch our interview here and read the full transcript below.
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Hey everybody. It’s Christina Daves, PR Strategist, and today is your lucky day. I am so excited to bring my friend Jenn Chan on. Jenn
has been a style expert in the media, fashion editor – I’m going to let her tell you everything – for the last 15 years. She is now working with People Magazine as the shopping editor. Welcome Jenn!
Thank you for having me. Oh, my gosh, tell everybody what you do, or what you’ve done? You did a pretty good job. I’ve been working in media for over 15 years, Fashion and Beauty Editor, Style Expert, On Air Host. So I’ve worked for lots of leading publications like In Style Magazine, Enews, the Kardashians, People Magazine now, Travel and Leisure, Lonely Planet. I do fashion, beauty and travel. Okay.
So we’re going to take a little guess that she’s been pitched a lot, right? Right. Okay. So let’s find out. Jen, tell me what makes a good pitch? You probably get hundreds. Hundreds of thousands of emails all day.
It feels weird if I don’t get at least several dozen of pitches every single day of the year. I would say the best pitches are the ones that are short and concise. They get to the point. You got to have visuals in your email. Like I need to see a picture of the product. I need to see what it’s going to look like because media is very visual. I need to know that it’s going to look pretty on the page or pretty on the website or pretty on camera whatever medium that I’m focused on.
And then if you can and especially for fashion and beauty, gift, give samples. Let me see it. Let me touch it. Let me feel it. Let me try on the lipstick or play with the hairspray or try on the dress and feel a fabrication especially if there’s unique qualities to it. Maybe it’s sustainable. Maybe it has special ingredients that I want to talk about. I need to really be able to try and test it to vet it before I tell my hundreds of thousands of readers to, so, being stingy, I know we all have budget limitations, but if you have the ability to gift and be generous and be timely about it, then it’s that much more advantageous for the brand to get that placement.
Okay, you heard what she said. She was talking hooks. What do I always tell you guys, hooks? It’s sustainable. It’s made with the certain product. Now, let me ask you a question though, because we hear a lot of different things. Do you let people, do you take blind samples or is it better to email you and have you say, “I’m interested. I want to learn more. Send me a sample.” I like to definitely agree to it, receiving the samples. Sometimes I might not have a story that’s completely confirmed yet or it’s not even in the works at this point that this might be happening. But you never know what’s going to happen. I might get a deadline that’s due in three days
and thankfully I have this product that’s sitting on my desk and I can figure out a way to put it in there versus having that deadline
and having to reach out and hoping that somebody will overnight, and it’s just, it serves you. If you have the bandwidth and you have the budget to sample and gift in advance, it will always give me a better indication of that I can probably place it and it’ll stay top of mind if I can actually touch and feel and see it. And if I like it, I’m going to try to find a way to place it. It may not be overnight, but maybe next week. I’ll keep it in mind.
And then I talk to you all about this too. They keep folders on their desk with good story ideas and we’re talking product, but it’s the same thing with stories. If you pitch the media and it’s good, but it might not be good right now. So that’s why it’s so important. Okay, last question, tell me about a bad pitch? Because we want people to learn from this. We won’t to call anybody out on this. We’ve all done it.
I’ve done bad pitches. I’m going to say a bad pitch or a bad media effort would be if you aren’t serving the brand. I have been to events where I know they spent money on the venue, and the catering, and the gift bag, but there wasn’t branding, or there wasn’t anything for me to test your try. I went to a skincare event where I still to this day don’t know what that skincare feels like or why I was there. Yeah, I loved the cocktails and the hors d’oeuvres and I got a pretty photo but it was like you have to think it all the way through
and hiring the right PR who understands that that it’s a very omnipresent touch point for media. Like if we’re going to show up we want to really understand the information, why it’s going to be press-worthy. I want to be able to talk about it later to my family and friends and then I want to feel comfortable and confident that if I write about it and give you that media placement, that these hundreds of thousands of readers are going to feel like that was a recommendation.
So do your homework, make sure that you’re really delivering and be timely about it. There’s nothing worse than I have an opportunity to give a brand or an expert a mention and I don’t hear about from their PR because they were on vacation or they didn’t check their email or they took a siesta or something and I’m like it’s so timely, especially now it’s very competitive. We are publishing stories,
every hour of every day and we are competing against all the other outlets that are getting published at the same amount of time.
So it’s almost a race for us to get that headline, to get that story and you have to work It’s a race. So you have to work fast and you have to have the right people around you.
So you got that, we need a good hook. She’s got to see, feel, touch the product And your story, we talk about this all the the time. Your story is so important as part of the product. So thank you so much. Jenn! Jenn Chan, People Magazine. I want you all to start pitching the media and share with me all your success stories.