Pitching An Editor (or Why I’m Not Looking At Your Work)

Like many creative people, I’ve struggled throughout my career with the time consuming task of selling clients on my work. And since I’m neither an agent nor a mind reader, trying to second-guess what any client is looking for is pretty futile.

But when I’m sitting on the other side of the desk (so to speak) and put on my editor hat, I’m now critiquing other people’s work. I really believe that as a fashion editor your job is to see the work of as many designers as possible – just like American Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow said:

Go see every designer everywhere. You never know where the next talent is coming from. Open your eyes, have a little humility and let go of ego.  

But sometimes it’s difficult to stay positive when people can’t take constructive criticism or “no” for an answer. So, here are some basic tips to remember when you pitch any editor-especially if you want to form a long-term relationship with them.

#1: Know who you’re pitching. I’m a fashion editor-not a fitness editor or gear editor. If you’re marketing your company as a sport-meets-Ready-To-Wear brand, then feel free to pitch me and also hit up the fitness editor, since your business has a two-pronged approach. But if your brand produces technical ski gear or workout clothes and that’s your sole selling point and market position, then I’m not the editor for you.

# 2: Know why you’re pitching. Contacting an editor and saying, “I would like a feature on my collection…” really comes off as naïve (and possibly arrogant). A lot of people would like a magazine feature, but that doesn’t mean they get one. Nail your pitch, as well as your messaging; have a clear, concise story and understand how your brand fits into a magazine’s content. And always attach a look book – please don’t make me search for your work.

#3: Know the Mag: Be familiar with a publication and it’s content. Pitching exclusive luxury product to a magazine that has a mid-market focus makes it obvious you’ve never read it.

#4: Know when to pitch. Even though website content needs to be current, print still operates several months out. Pitching an editor at the right time is key to being considered for coverage; don’t contact them for winter print stories in October. For young designers, this means your production needs to be in sync with the industry. And feel free to ask for an editorial calendar before sending random emails.

As an editor, I want to see new work and to help introduce talented designers to an audience. But knowing how to focus your pitch efforts will get you closer to developing those media relationships you will depend upon throughout your career. Or, at least until you can hire a publicist to handle media pitches for you.