3 Tips To Becoming A (Reliable & Trustworthy) Expert Source For An Editor

Do you want to know how to work more effectively with editors? We get lots of questions from the community about press coverage - how to get it and if there’s a secret that only PR pros are privy to. And I’m here to tell you, there isn’t.

With a few essential tips, you can enhance the experience you have working with an editor, while establishing yourself as a trustworthy and knowledgable go-to source.

it’s important to understand some of the pressures an editor is under. They are one of many on a staff, or could be freelancing for a number of different media outlets. They are under a number of constraints from higher ups and really just want to deliver great content for their readers. This means that timely, relevant and NEW insights will not only help them get their story filed quickly but will show them your professionalism long-term. 

The most preferred method of pitching among journalists is email. The vast majority of editors will be heads down writing or in team meetings between 11 and 3 pm. If an editor has given you a deadline, try to beat it by a few hours or even a day in advance. They will so appreciate the promptness and be able to ask you any questions for clarity without feeling the pressure of a looming deadline. 

Your comment should be clear, concise and unique. If an editor taps you for insight on why non-traditional spaces make for a great wedding venue, do a bit of research on Google and see what’s been published out there. And then, develop a comment based on your expertise that offers a fresh perspective. Remember, their goal is to excite and inspire their readers. So, adopt that mindset when you craft your comment. Try and limit your comment to 5-7 sentences. This will be plenty for them to cherry pick thoughts. If they want more from you, they’ll ask. This saves you time but also helps focus your response effectively.

If possible, offer a few photos that reflect your insights alongside your commentary will always be a delightful bonus. They may not use them (again - creative direction may be led by someone else), but the editor will always appreciate that forward-thinking attitude. 

Finally, always include a short one sentence bio that links to your website for proper crediting. If you have included photos, make sure to note the photographer’s name in the email body and the title of the photo. 

Essentially, the more heavy lifting you can do for an editor, the more likely he or she will hit you up again in the future. All these tips will help you curate the perfect press package.

Want more? You’re in luck. We dive so much deeper into this process in The Essential PR & Marketing Field Guide, which launches this Fall. It is an expert-led online course for wedding, events, and hospitality brands who are eager to accelerate their PR & Marketing strategy and become better marketers. Subscribe to our Marketing Memo and you’ll be the first to get more details.

Our top marketing and business productivity tools for success in 2019

Each year we like to share a handy list of some of the tools that enhanced our everyday routine, to hopefully inspire a brighter New Year for this community. Now is a great time to reflect on your achievements, asses where you may still want to grow and commit to a few (realistic) ways to getting there for 2019. In the spirit of doing things with a bit more thoughtfulness, we’re excited to highlight a few of the most impactful resources and musings we’ve come across this year. These little tools have helped us better communicate and execute our plans, while we learn to grow and adapt to our clients’ changing needs. Ultimately, we’ve found they help us to be more creative inside the office (and out). And that’s important.

For design brainstorming with a digital-first approach: Milanote (free)

What we love most about Milanote is that you can collect all of your assets in one place—images, ideas and research side by side (including vendors and details) and include your personal notes. Then, you can export this dynamic moodboard to an easy-to-read PDF version or invite clients to collaborate online directly within the board. It’s a great tool for designers and planners who want to have a more polished and streamlined experience for their clients, but also a place to work from within their team as ideas continually evolve.

You can also create marketing plans and campaigns, build client personas and more. We’ll be utilizing this great tool in 2019 and hope you find it useful for your own business!

Some light reading material:  Oversubscribed: How to Get People Lining Up To Do Business With You (Amazon - $15)

Want to give your business a bit of an edge and find a new perspective on approaching the market? This book gives readers an inside look at how to get people lining up for their products or services. Author Daniel Priestley explains how prolific businesses are able to harness word of mouth and use it to their advantage. Priestley gives tips and examples on how to get your business “oversubscribed” in a crowded marketplace and learn how to stand out amongst your competitors.

For Your Daily Scoop: TheSkimm, THE WHAT LIST, The Broadsheet & Glossy podcast (all free)

Our favorite morning newsletters (in no particular order):

  • TheSkimm - one we have shared in past iterations of this annual guide - is a daily newsletter filled with breaking news and insightful articles from around the globe, with plenty of pithy personal anecdotes.

  • Founded by Amy Parker & Gina Pell have created THE WHAT; a community of a 100,000 perennial women in SF and beyond. We love their women’s groups, intimate salon-style events (check out THE WHAT Summit) and awesome monthly email newsletter, THE WHAT LIST; filled with general musings that are essential to the powerhouse creative woman.

  • The Broadsheet: “The dish on the world’s most powerful women.” What more could you want? This Fortune daily newsletter is a must read (not only for women) with an analytical view into global economy, policy, financial and startup news all syndicated from other mainstream publications in the business world. Some are inspiring stories, and many are in-depth views behind headlines that will absolutely shock you.

  • Glossy: Glossy is our go-to for news at the intersection of luxury, fashion and lifestyle. If your clients live in this space, Glossy will be your bible. Their podcast is a fascinating series profiling the trendsetters in the luxury market and their perspectives on the changing consumer landscape.

For maximizing team collaboration to the next level: Airtable (free to $20/month, with enhanced features)

Making tables can be intimidating, especially when MS Excel could be the only table tool you have used. Airtable takes the intimidation and confusion out of creating charts, tasks, timelines, agendas and more through an easy to use interface. These tables are able to be used solo (just for yourself) or they can be shared among a group of people. This app feels effortless and approachable to both the novice and techie. We’ve seen it used to develop social media calendars, where you can drop images and craft content easily. For campaign calendars, we can upload documents directly into each task and assign a ‘lead’ on the project; enhancing our productivity amongst the internal team and directly with our clients, without the need for additional email reminders.

The Podcast That’ll Let Your Brain Breathe: NPR's Hidden Brain (free)

Shankar Vedantam’s Hidden Brain is a series of podcasts that help the listener understand the world around them and themselves. The podcast has some insightful guests who may help us all step outside out normal grind and indulge in a bit of ‘big picture’ thinking. Some recent topics? The psychology of surprise, voting and the middle class, and a discovery into how power and wealth affect our minds. Each episode is complex and rousing, and we appreciate the thoughtful conversations about changing society. They are released once a week and last for a little less than one hour (perfect for commuting).

Other great business tools

  • Freshbooks: Easy Invoicing, Accounting & Time Tracking

Invoicing, accounting, time tracking, and all the things to make tax time easier

Add some creative typography to your Instagram stories and posts with a few clicks

  • Grammarly: Enhancing Your Message One Word at a Time

This app helps catch grammar and spelling mistakes while you’re writing emails and blog posts.

If you’re looking for a holistic marketing partner, we would love to hear more about your goals for 2019. Let’s chat.

Decoding Influencer Partnerships for Wedding & Hospitality Brands

Have you contemplated working with an influencer? While the mainstream consumer market is ripe for influencer partnerships, there’s an interesting opportunity for those in the creative industry as well. The “influencer to brand” relationship is symbiotic in many respects - they fuel one another. And while celebrity mega influencers are easy to spot, there are other types of influencers that play an equally impactful role in a smaller, more niche community.

The first, and arguably most important thing to remember, is that followers don’t equate to value. Working with someone solely based on the size of their network may not alway deliver the best results for your brand.

It’s a wise strategy to target an influencer for their tone, content and engagement rate amongst their network rather than number of followers.

When may be an appropriate time to engage with an influencer? Specifically for those in the wedding, events and hospitality industry;

  • Book Launch

  • Product

  • Experience at a venue / hotel

  • Industry event

Today we’re diving into how to best work with micro-influencers (10k - 100k followers) and nano-influencers (as few as 2k followers); both key personas who may be able to leverage your brand in a meaningful way.

Both these influencers have high engagement amongst somewhat of a smaller audience. These people are often more approachable than the mega influencers, but still have a vested interest in creating high-quality content. Their followers inherently trust them, often leading to a higher conversion rate for any posts they sponsor, services they recommend or events they attend. And if you’re having trouble pinpointing a digital influencer, do a little local outreach. Maybe it’s a popular yoga studio who uses your mat in class and shares that with their students through social media and word-of-mouth. That’s a captive audience!

Influencers tend to look for one or many incentives from brands before committing to a partnership. Brand alignment is priority, with either a product/event/service in trade or payment.

Start by understanding whether your two brands would be followed organically by the same audience. Are you speaking to the same language, and do you have a like-minded approach?

Once you feel confident you’ve found a match, assess what your objectives are and how this particular influencer can help you reach that goal in an authentic way. How can they promote your brand in a way that feels like a natural extension of what they already do? For instance, if you’re hosting a workshop for wedding photographers and need to sell tickets, consider inviting an influencer bride who recently got engaged who can share her experience of working with a photographer through her Instagram. Storytelling will come across more natural, not salesy.

Nurture your influencer relationships

Give them respect: An influencer’s content is at the core of their professional reputation. In many cases, influencers have likely committed years to crystalizing their aesthetic and finding their voice online. Developing visual content and copy takes time. Show you respect that process.

Give them creative liberties: Are you naturally drawn to that influencer’s grid? If so, don't feel like you need to hold on to the reins so tightly when guiding their creative direction. Chances are, if you already like their style, they will give your brand or product the same royal treatment when posting about it. It’s important to give influencers the creative flexibility. Empower them to become your brand ambassador, but give them the leeway to speak to their audience the way they know will resonate in a meaningful way.

Give them a platform: Is there something that particular influencer is passionate about? Have a transparent conversation at the start of your engagement to understand their larger goals and how you can contribute to that through a collaboration.

Curious about how much influencers charge for their services? Later’s blog features a great guide that can help!

Influencers represent a powerful marketing channel if you can approach things with the same thoughtfulness you would with media. Let those relationships grow organically and you may find a new way to achieve brand awareness in this market.

Considering new ways to strengthen your marketing strategy for 2019? Let’s chat

Media and Marketing in the Modern Age

As the digital era continues to evolve, print media has adapted to our modern lifestyle - there’s no doubt. History has proven the resiliency of new technology, and we’re currently walking a tightrope between print and digital media.

Over the LAST decade, our appetite for content has skyrocketed thanks to blogging and social media, which will only continue to grow.

Today, we’re taking a moment to contemplate their roles for the wedding industry and how creatives can take advantage of these new opportunities for long-term marketing success.

There have been a few remarkable shifts for many mainstream media; like Martha Stewart Weddings, a brand who will continue primarily as a digital platform, with a single print issue annually. In the Fall, XO Group, whose flagship brand is The Knot, merged with WeddingWire. These changes, among others, reveal widespread executive-level changes happening at outlets around the country. From the perspective of a media liaison, our team can attest to changes felt by our editorial friends and the priorities they’ve been tasked with from a content standpoint.

A recent AdAge article spotlights Troy Young, who previously led Hearst’s digital operations but now oversees both digital and print for a collection of the Hearst name brands. "Mediums don't die, but their use cases shift as new mediums put pressure on them…” says Young. “The nature of magazines change when a consumer gets their news in the moment from their phone. It makes you think differently about the role of the magazine. It still plays an important role, but it's different." Read more here - it’s fantastic

Rather than focusing on the consolidation or ‘shrinkage’ that may be happening with print, consider how you may be able to effectively diversify your efforts in a way that generates new business.

Traditional ‘media relations’ is still effective, but even more so with a blended approach to social media, content development and creative marketing campaigns working in tandem. Here’s an example: we don’t send static press releases (and never will). Why not? It’s tired, lackluster and mechanical. Instead, we opt for creative visual graphics along with proactive pitch angles that are tailor-made for an editor’s precise audience. It’s just one of the ways we have reinvented traditional practices to serve our clients. So, how will you do it for yourself?

Embrace emerging outlets

Consider newer or niche outlets like podcasts and blogs to showcase your work and expertise. Read and listen to them often, and gain a sense of trust in their content. While they may have smaller following than a widely distributed magazine, their audience are invested and engaged. Brand awareness will be a goal you’ll share with the editor, so maximize the impact of your feature with a mutually beneficial social campaign to increase reach across your shared networks.

Meet your audience where they are

Revisit the characteristics of your ideal client (and if you need help, we designed a helpful blog post a while back). Where are they spending their time? What are they reading or listening to? Perhaps it’s an independent quarterly design journal or a podcast on sustainable living. Could you creatively find a way to collaborate with those outlets? Or maybe, it’s just Instagram to start. Make sure that you’re engaging with the brands your clients follow, and bring value to those conversations. Seek opportunities to share curated content that resonates with your ideal client. These simple ‘hacks’ can make a significant impact.

Need more help? Our marketing consulting service is perfect for giving your brand a boost.

A Modern Guide to Real Wedding Submissions

For wedding photographers and event designers, the ways to market your brand and showcase your work are nearly limitless in today's world. If you are naturally drawn to more traditional real wedding features, you may already feel the compounding pressure to differentiate yourself in a time when editorial priorities continue to shift at some of our favorite magazines.

Real wedding features will only become more coveted as media companies continue to replace organic content with sponsored posts from advertisers.

But trust us - those beloved stories won’t disappear entirely. Writers will still be searching for great content, but are looking for something that makes readers linger over each element rather than flip right past. Today, we’re diving into some of the insights we give our clients, specifically photographers and designers, through a modernized guide of how to attract an editor's attention, and your ideal client.

The Essentials

Imagine you just watched a movie with all your favorite celebrities - anticipating every moment only to be left at the end feeling unsatisfied from a lackluster storyline. You think it had all the makings of something great, but had nothing to sink your teeth into. Stunning photographs only have true representation of an event when they are complemented by a compelling and personal story.

  • Tap into your inner author: Envision the trailer of that movie and condense your couple’s story into an opening few sentences of your submission email. Highlight the most meaningful and treasured moments, and even a few of the finer details, to build anticipation for what’s to come in your collection of photos

  • Showcase your team: Include a thorough vendor list with links to website and Instagram

  • Build a media-friendly collection: Sending around 75-100 photos gives editors a great pool to choose from and help find photos that really give a complete narrative of your wedding. More on how to curate these photos in the next section.

The Visuals

Quiet stolen looks, boisterous laughter and joyful tears will always give your collection life, only to be enhanced by a dynamic range of detail shots that establish a sense of place and time. Those kinds of sensory shots give powerful depth to the entire celebration; a close up of the vintage leather used in a custom invitation and day-of suite, the unique tabletop linens mirroring the bride’s lace from her gown, or the Victorian china displayed at dessert, inspired by a set that had been in the groom’s family for years. Colors, textures and details of almost every aspect should be respected and embraced. Bring along a styling kit (linen board, silk/chiffon ribbon, small vintage mirror, ceramic dish, and some extra flowers from the florist).  

Try and visit the venue or property ahead of time - that perspective will help you mentally dog-ear a few spots to bring the couple during golden hour, style that invitation suite or have a second shooter capture the ceremony from an alternate vantage point. Photos of the intricate tile detailing in the foyer, the overgrown lemon trees in the garden, or the antique velvet settee in the bride’s room will serve as the interlude from one photo to the next - tying all the day’s happenings together seamlessly. Finally, a thorough understanding of the day’s timeline is critical. You’ll mentally anticipate the traditional must-capture moments, but also have time to capture the more obscure happenings that make a celebration truly unique; a prayer amongst groomsmen before the ceremony, a stolen dance between the flower girl and her father in the hotel lobby, or the boisterous embrace of a grandmother to the bride at dinner.

Real wedding features have evolved into true narratives - told both visually and through written word. Being able to keep some of these considerations in mind will help you build a submission that truly represents your clients and your distinct work.

We work with a select number of wedding professionals through our Real Wedding Submission program, and our short-term consulting service. Let's chat more