“Fashion Bloggers are a necessary evil”, or so they say. Fashion PR people should be aware of that fact when starting collaboration lines with them and should take them seriously, even when they do not always agree on bloggers’ explosive success.
When I created my first Fashion PR Guide for Girl with a Banjo, I got in touch with an Italian Fashion Blogger called Lucia del Pasqua. Lucia, better known for her overwhelming rhetoric and her acclaimed blog The Fashion Politan, came up with a post about the worst Fashion PR profiles she has found in her blogging career (which I personally found hilarious). However, this post showed me that there were some huge (but common) mistakes that were affecting our “PR name” negatively, reaching the point in which fashion bloggers were starting to make fun of Fashion PR people. Boo!
But wait, there’s always time to learn from mistakes! So here come 12 things you should definitely avoid when connecting to Fashion Bloggers, as experienced by blogger Lucia del Pasqua.
1. Sorry, but who are you?
Lucia has encountered that sort of Fashion PR who invites you to an event, calls you to talk about &%$Ç@, sends you an email to check if you’re coming… and then makes the horrible mistake of showing that she does not know who the hell you are through these two awkward ways:
1) At the end of a phone call she asks you: “…who were you exactly? Which blog do you write for?”.
2) When you show up in the event, you see that she asks her PR colleagues who you are because she has NEVER seen your face. Like ever. Then she doesn’t even come say hello.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Always make sure you triple-check who you are communicating with. I mean, go visit her blog (just saying)! Create a bloggers catalogue with pictures and names, if it helps! Just show them that you really care and that you know who they are.
Mailing is fine. Meeting is cool. Making phone calls is alright. But Lucia has found a couple of Fashion PR girls who were CRAZY about communicating at all existing levels and going beyond the traditional means.
She’s been contacted by Whatsapp and Facebook chat for important (and very long) issues, obviously getting lost in the middle. “Just send me a damn email, who are you, my best friend?”, says Lucia.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Checking with the blogger you are intending to pitch which way he/she desires to be pitched is key for not becoming an overwhelming and invasive PR person. Never use Facebook or Whatsapp unless it is completely necessary or urgent. Visit PR Couture by Crosby Noricks to find out more about pitching.
Lucia has suffered the “Shampoo-girl Syndrome”, occurring when a random Digital PR ignores basic things as the “target audience” and invites the wrong people to a certain event instead of or with you. “The risk of being photographed with a girl who’s wearing an acrylic leopard printed skirt and white cowboy boots is high”, says Lucia.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Controlling the theme and target audience of the blog you want to work with is very important. Put the right people in the right places and just let the magic happen. A beauty blogger (and her audience) may not be interested in your new bags collection. Don’t waste your client’s budget!
4. B for Brandetta.
Lucia wrote a post about a fashion brand she loved just because she wanted to, no PR involved. Some months later, she was contacted by the Fashion PR representing that brand who maliciously told her: “oh, too bad, we could have collaborated under an economic agreement”. “Bulls*$&!”, Lucia thought.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Avoid this sort of… how to say… 360º-uncomfortable-situations? Be FAIR.
Love, honey, baby, cupcake-frosting, darling. Just… don’t. OK? You are not the blogger’s mum. Nor her hairdresser.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Be respectful and always maintain a professional tone when talking to a blogger, unless you really get to a point where the blogger becomes your friend. Then you can both sing the Macarena together if you want to.
6. The pseudo – digital.
Lucia talks about a funny situation in which she asked a Fashion PR: “so, what hashtag should I use for this press event?”. And the Fashion PR replied: “(what do you mean by) hashtag?”.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Get fully informed about the blogging mumbo-jumbo and learn to talk to them in an appropriate, digital-savvy way. CD-ROM is not a word any more.
7. As you wish.
Lucia explains that some Fashion PRs have invited her to press events to specifically get coverage from her in Style.it (where she has a blog). She seemed very angry about the fact that they didn’t want her for The Fashion Politan instead, and sort of obliged her to not write on her blog about the event.
NOTE TO ASPIRING FASHION PRs: Oh, come on, SERIOUSLY? Don’t try to limit bloggers’ freedom. Ask in advance in a kindly manner and NEVER force things or you will get the opposite result (like the blogger writing a post about how awful you are as a Fashion PR). And if you finally decide to work with that blogger accept the consequences.
“Oh, like if you were Juno, Minerva or Elena. Don’t be that smug!”, says Lucia ironically. Period.
NOTE TO ASPIRING FASHION PRs: Yes, you are working for Prada, how awesome. But that doesn’t make you a superior person, ok? Be humble AND professional at all times, at all levels, with every single person.
9. The far-too-clever.
According to Lucia’s experience, some Fashion PRs do not even hire photographers for their press events and pretend bloggers to make all the pictures and get them sent to the PR Agency the day after the event. Even the Instagram pictures. “Well, Copy+Paste. Thank you”, chuckles Lucia.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: By acting like this you are inevitably giving the image of 1) a lazy PR and a 2) Ebenezer-Scrooge Brand. If you are short of budget, analyse if it is still a good idea to do a press event. Talk to your client about the importance of not being cheap when it comes to public events.
10. What do you think I am, a scratch card?
Lucia admits that some Fashion PRs have sneakily asked her to send them her mailing lists with all the contacts she has. “Those have an economic value”, she admits. And how right she is.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: By any mean you should ask something like this to a blogger. First of all because it is just not fair and you will be seen as a stealing raccoon, but also because it is supposed to be illegal to traffic with personal-details. Just saying.
11. Come on, Cheesus Crackers. If I say no, it is NO.
“Some Fashion PRs think that Fashion Bloggers have nothing else to do in the world but trying the new Zara collection every day and eating cupcakes”, says Lucia.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Some Fashion Bloggers have really busy agendas (some of them may even have a day-job!) and you, as a Fashion PR, have to understand when to get a NO to an invitation.
12. The day before.
Some Fashion PRs have called Lucia only the day before the once-in-a-century event just because nobody wanted to assist and they were in need of patching-guests.
NOTE TO FASHION PRs: Don’t be that obvious. Simply that.
(Special thanks to Lucia del Pasqua for allowing me to use her picture and this amazing ranking of the most awful PR profiles she’s encountered. For her original post in Italian, click here).
Spread the word so that all the Fashion PR people out there stop doing these things!