By Kelsey Mulvey
If you look at any editor’s calendar, it’s probably filled with tons of press events. Representing a publication at product launches, fashion shows, and cocktail parties is part of the job. Schlepping from event to event can sometimes feel like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can get much more out of attending than a cool swag bag.
Below, several editors weigh in on how to make the most out of press events:
1. Practice networking with PR contacts.
“It can be intimidating to walk into a room full of people you don’t know, but it’s also one of an essential skill for moving your career forward. Press events are a really low-pressure way to hone this skill—PR coordinators are literally there to talk to you and there are products for you to talk about.” – Christine Flammia, assistant fashion editor, Esquire
2. Talk about upcoming stories.
“Remind [PR contacts] of your name and where you work, unless they already know you personally. Talk about what upcoming stories you’re working on. The current client may not be helpful, but they may pitch you something that is.” – Anonymous associate beauty editor at a parenting magazine
3. Go ahead, schmooze.
“The best thing to get out of press events is to meet other editors! I always feel most comfortable approaching someone else who is there solo and asking, “What outlet are you with?” Before parting ways, ask for his/her Instagram handle. It’s a non-aggressive way to save someone’s contact information, and they will always appreciate the follow. You never know, this person may be a great connection when job seeking (it’s how I got my most recent gig) or a writer to keep on deck. Senior level positions will always ask if you have a Rolodex of freelancers!” – Ann Loynd, market editor, Accessories Magazine
4. Talk about your side-hustle or passion project.
“At one press preview, I casually mentioned doing some freelance work in addition to my full-time job. The press contact I was talking to immediately looped me in with one of her editor friends, who I’m still in touch with. I always make a point to bring up the side hustle! You never know where it’ll lead.” – Anonymous lifestyle writer
5. If you can, stay awhile.
“Take your time. Try your best not to just rush in and out. When you spend more time there you’ll ultimately meet more people, therefore making more connections!” – Caroline Vazzana, fashion editor and stylist
(Ed’s Advice: Not sure how to kill the time? Caroline documents press events on her Instagram Stories.)
6. Take tons of pictures.
“I work in digital, so I’m not even thinking about gift guides when all the holiday previews are happening in July. If there’s a brand or product I like, I snap a picture on my phone. That way, I have something to refer to once the holidays roll around.”– Anonymous lifestyle writer
7. When in doubt, eat.
“Eat the food (and drink the wine!) at events. I’m not above admitting I’ve used events as dinner when I was young, broke, and hungry.” – Anonymous associate beauty editor at a parenting magazine
Kelsey Mulvey is a New York-based writer and commerce reporter at Business Insider. She has written for several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, LuckyMag.com, Wallpaper.com. Check out more of her work at KelseyMulveyWrites.comand follow her on Instagram and Twitter.