How To Do Your Own PR Online Masterclass with Rosie Davies – Smith
Stop. Read Me. As a declaration for the intrinsic value and crucial role of PR look no further. Lucky were we that sat at the Zoom table of Rosie.
PR in Rosie Davies-Smith’s hands has long come of age. No more fuzzy, does it really do anything, myopic thinking. As a brand, product, company or founder, PR is integral to proactively engage business in an e-commerce dominated world. It’s the front-end funnel that primes the pre-requisites for sales. Not as a nice to have, perhaps-maybe when I get round to it. That‘s arguably a big mistake, especially when PR is intuitively accessible as a performance enhancing discipline, evidenced by Google analytics.
With accomplished practitioners like Rosie, PR dovetails so seamlessly with social media marketing and influencer relationship development you can measure the returns on your endeavours. But as Rosie made clear, you still have to observe tried and tested traditional PR rules. Good PR requires a strict adherence to alignment of target media and reader profile with your buyer audience, combined with a judicious professional application and diligence to generate results.
Rosie explained the why and the how so succinctly it was like hundreds of light bulbs going off, as you idea-checked the rationale of adopting a particular approach to your target media. The subtleties of approaches, pitching, timed follow-ups, and managing expectations on what you are trying to get an editor or magazine journalist to do, must be based on their needs, publishing deadlines and forward scheduled content also. Sometimes you get lucky because something fell out of the schedule and they need it now. But, you won’t get lucky if you were not ‘In Their Inbox.’ “This one activity is probably the single biggest PR piece of advice I can give,” said Rosie.
This massive takeaway from one of the most requested and popular webinars Fashion-Enter run, quintessentially is: your entire PR focus is to be there with the right information in the right format in the right frequency, so your product is there already with the desired media, waiting to be picked. Most likely as a subject header trawl, whenever the editor decides for this month’s / this week’s piece, ‘I need new bra design ideas, I need winter scarves, I need things coloured yellow…’ So this is why it’s very important to think key words in subject headers.
Advice was liberally dispensed with numerous, example-drenched illustrative slides to sponge-learn from. A smorgasbord of cultivated wisdom, distilled for our benefit. Liberating, enabling and myth busting. Apparently we don’t have to be great writers penning award-winning prose. No one reads it. Huzzah. Rosie’s most headline-grabbing statement was “The Press Release Is Dead.” No one reads them either. Well, almost. The point is, don’t slavishly use it as a lazy entre or prop. Be more adventurous. Follow the 3F’s: Factual not Flowery with Founder quotes. There you go. And, we don’t have to be afraid to send emails. Hello, how else will the magazine find your product??
But this simple act has all manner of psychological voodoo attached to it apparently. It’s the media professional’s job to read them, file them, and put them in the ‘abeyance folder’ or that other place we don’t want to imagine. Not to be paralysed into second-guessed over-polite obsequious restraint. The upshot? Just send the damn email. Observe professional rules of engagement. Not too often and with relevant ideas and themes they will be interested in because you have researched their forward editorial and you know what’s coming up. You do know this, right? “Don’t be blind-sided by the big, national magazines – Vogue is a student-read magazine.”
The watchword is alignment. Repeated throughout the presentation. Understand the reader and editorial for your product suitability. And another huge piece of Rosie advice – do not pay for ‘editorial’ known as advertorials (£250-350) in the big magazines (Vogue, ELLE, GQ, etc.). The professional downside is significant. Brands that pay are seen as disingenuous and lose trust, buyers will avoid you and actual press will ignore you as it is seen as advertising.
The PR requirement is to say what you have to say succinctly and follow rules of presentation. Simple product name sent with the image (not philosophical winning-them-over explanations). No product code, no wholesale price – nothing that can be misused, misunderstood and miss-labelled in print. Line sheet if you have them for bigger collections, which also help for future pick and grab editorial. For the really well organised and for media working 3-5 months in advance, send them your Look Book. And you better jolly well be ready to sell the product whenever it goes to print. The comeback is not on you directly, it will be readers complaining to the magazine. And then you are history. Burnt email toast.
Rosie stressed if there’s a primacy of effort and budget expenditure it should always go to the image. Images speak louder and faster than words. Make sure you have an image carousel, so media can steal your images from your website.
She ran through the most important image-based categories, and these alone were worth the entry price. Nothing works better to convince media they have the right alignment than the ‘Lifestyle Imagery.’ Show the profile of your customer in image form – age, what they like to do, buy, their lifestyle indoors, outdoors. This may win them over. Or lose them instantly. And whatever you do; “Think outside the box. And go wide. Do it differently.” Use Founder Imagery – don’t be bashful. Get more, we are told. Show who you are. Your personality, your creative muses, mood boards, brand packaging, being playful. Be human. Think of the ‘public’ in PR. But still think media alignment with your brand.
During the whirlwind A-Z of everything you will need to know to go solo, there were tons of valuable PR tips including managing Influencer Relationships, getting into the Top 10-20 lists (key media targets for long-lasting product yields), and Lending Sheets for managing product sample loans. And much more.
As a PR primer, it was probably the best one and a half hours information-content ratio I have absorbed and enjoyed since the pandemic. As a former publisher, publicist, brand developer, practitioner and now journalist, I can only give the highest recommendation to any business to check out Rosie’s workshops. Tap into probably the best value PR wisdom on her specially designed starter-business PR Dispatch subscriber model for only £53/month, https://prdispatch.com/
With so many brands and so much white noise, the press need validation and trust for your product. Let it come via such informed, solid advice you would do well to absorb and put into practice.
By Paul Markevicius
For more up and coming FashionCapital masterclasses tap here.