Having worked at NP for five months, we thought it was high time for our newest recruit Francesca to attend one of the many media briefings we are invited to. Earlier this month, InStyle Magazine held one such briefing in London, so we sent Francesca along to meet the team…
I was lucky enough to attend a media briefing in London with digital magazine InStyle last Thursday. The 3.30 wake up for my 5am train was a bit of a struggle for the morning briefing in Holborn but it was worth it when we were greeted with a display of sweet treats that consisted of croissants, pain au chocolat, muffins and tarts and a selection of drinks from orange juice to coffee to water them down.
Taking part in the media briefing was Editor of InStyle, Charlotte Moore, Digital Fashion Features Director, Chloe MacDonnell and Digital Fashion and Celebrity Director, Josh Newis-Smith. InStyle has been around for about 23 years, it is a global media brand that started in the US but its UK print edition recently made the big move to digital only at the end of 2016.
The InStyle team were able to give an insight into how they work as a company, their planning, what they look for in content and their relationships with PR’s. Philip Smith, the Head of News and Content at Gorkana was at hand to fire questions at the panel.
Talking about the move from print to digital, Josh spoke of how Instagram has become the morning paper. They have an editorial focus on Instagram, as social media is the first thing people look at and read on their phones when they wake up. The move to digital is not anything to be scared of, Josh said he cannot remember the last time he bought a magazine and claims a lot of people would agree, so moving to digital is a step forward into the future of media publication.
You would expect a big team to be running all of the content that is produced for a well-known publication like InStyle but there are only 7 of them all together – with Madeleine Spencer as Beauty Editor and Madalin Privu as Videographer. They all keep in contact via WhatsApp and have less meetings but chat more to keep up with the fast paced fashion environment.
InStyle spoke of their relationships with PR’s and how it is incredibly important to build relationships and not just send random emails. Chloe MacDonnell advised that it is always good to read the content of the publication that you want to pitch to, research writers and click on their profiles to see what they write about. It is also key to see what is current, their style of writing and see if they have covered anything similar to your pitch. Also find a new angle to different stories or articles and make your story relevant to them, don’t just ring and ask what they are working on – that is a definite no-no. With the content constantly being produced, the publication is on a constant turnaround. It is crucial to make a pitch stand out.
InStyle work one week ahead and have an on-going content stream. They said it is about finding your own exclusive but you have to be fast. Anything celebrity related Josh said he has to work up to 3 months in advance to keep up with events and celebrity schedules. InStyle find its exclusive content comes from the interviews Josh undertakes with the celebrities; instead of asking normal questions about the film they star in or the album they have released he will play games with them and get them to answer in different languages to give a niche and unique twist. InStyle have found their views have increased significantly over time and that is because of their exclusivity.
Overall, it was a great morning at the media briefing breakfast. It was a very useful insight into the importance of PR’s for InStyle and its big move from print to digital, and how fast paced online content is produced. Looking forward to attending many more briefings with different publications in the future.
As well as being an essential part of her development in PR, Francesca clearly enjoyed the media briefing with InStyle. Look out for further blog posts from the NP team.