As digital fashion editors, much of our time is spent working on stories — both large and small — with the help of our trusty industry comrades: publicists. Our relationships with PRs are not something we take lightly, as we couldn't successfully do our jobs without them. Honestly.
You see, not only are they the gatekeepers to the designers, stylists, celebrities, CEOs and various other personalities we regularly feature on Fashionista, but they also keep us abreast of breaking news, the latest product launches, the hottest new talent and impending industry switch-ups, often long before the rest of the world is clued in. While we're grateful for their support and enthusiastic willingness to work with us, we, as editors, have a few things we'd like to get off our chests.
In a typical weekday, a Fashionista editor receives upwards of 300 emails (that's a conservative estimate), and while a slim percentage of them are informative, to-the-point and helpful, the vast majority are not. Earlier this month, an impassioned Twitter discussion broke out among our editor pals regarding the most inane or off-the-mark PR pitches we frequently receive, and many of our grievances were the same.
So, in an effort to make both of our jobs — and therefore, our lives — easier, we've compiled a handy guide on how not to pitch fashion editors. We hope everyone will find this (unsolicited) advice helpful, regardless of what industry you work in. And don't worry — we know we're no angels! If there are things we editors do to annoy you, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
If we've never met, please do not call us a pet name. It's weird and slightly unsettling to open an email starting with "Hey love!" or "What's up, babe?" if we do not know who you are. This can slide if you're emailing a pitch to an IRL friend (read: you hang out during non-work hours by choice) who just so happens to be an editor, but otherwise, it's frowned upon.
Regardless of whether we've met, know our actual names. One rogue PR constantly opens Fashionista emails with "Hi Carl." Not only has there never been a writer by the name of Carl employed at our website, but it's annoying that the person on the other end didn't bother to double-check who he or she was pitching. This rule also applies to spelling (if in doubt, check our bylines) or incomplete blast forms, that arrive with the greeting "Hey [xx]." Are you a robot? We don't respond to robots.
Knowing where we currently work is crucial. We get packages and emails for former Fashionista editors every week — and we're talking ladies who left six years ago and have held multiple positions elsewhere since. If it doesn't seem like you read our site enough to know who works here (or, like you don't care enough to check), your pitch will be relegated to the "trash" folder.
...as is knowing what beats we cover. Once in a blue moon, we'll cover something outside the bounds of our regular content strategy (like politics, for example), but generally pitches unrelated to fashion and/or beauty are of little use to us. This also signals to us that you don't actually read Fashionista, and that your pitch is likely not a good fit.
Do some research on our most recent features — not only their headlines. Before you come to an editor with a pitch, search his or her byline to see the most recent stories he or she has written... and don't just scan the headlines, which can sometimes be misleading. This will help steer you in the right direction about whether your idea is right for this particular editor, or if you should pitch elsewhere.
Before you pitch a brand, service or product, please make sure we haven't already covered said brand, service or product in-depth. There are few things more infuriating than getting a pitch about something that we've covered already, whether it was two weeks ago or two months ago. Please take the time to do a quick site search to make sure the idea you're sending us is, in fact, new to us, or else we'll move along without a reply.
Do not ask us to cover an event we were not invited to. This happens all the time, and it is just plain insulting.
Do not use a subject line reading "Can you cover?" or "Favor?" While we often have friendly relationships with PRs we work with frequently, it's unfair to expect that we can post something that's not a good fit for our site as a "favor" — especially if there's an underlying threat that not doing so will cause the PR to not work with us in the future.
If we pass on a story, it's for a good reason. We know what our audience responds to better than anyone else; if none of our readers will click on or share a story, it doesn't make sense for one of our editors to spend the time writing it — and it doesn't help get the word out about your client, either. It's a lose-lose situation.
Please, please never ask us "What are you working on?" We are plugged in and working on one million things from 7:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. most weekdays... and some weekends. If you think we will be able to earnestly respond to this, you are sorely mistaken.
Don't tell us you have a "Story Idea!" for us. Coming up with the story ideas is our job, but if you have interesting resources or data that might be able to help us round out a feature, please do share. We always appreciate this. Really!
If you don't receive a response after two follow ups, we're likely not interested. As much as we'd like to reply to every note that hits our inbox, it's physically impossible. That said, if you don't hear from us after two follow ups on a pitch, we're probably not able to find a place for it right now.
Don't peg a pitch to a national tragedy or otherwise unrelated cultural event. Fashionista once received a pitch about nail polish pegged to the Paris attacks. Seriously. Do not do this, it's gross.
Finally, please don't pitch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In or, even worse, our personal email accounts or phone numbers. This is self-explanatory. Yes, we work on the Internet, but we have our own lives, too. Please respect our desire to separate business and pleasure — we promise we will do the same for you.