Pop quiz: Write down the names of five publicists that always come through with great sources and information for you. If you struggled or scribbled down, “Let me check my LinkedIn network again,” chances are it’s time to reconsider your relationships with the publicists you work with — especially if you work in beauty or fashion editorial. No matter how long you’ve been in the magazine media game, it’s never too late to nurture a rapport with them. Don’t worry, Ed’s got some tips to help you connect.
Recognize the benefits that come from building a relationship with a publicist. We’re know it can be hard to find time in your busy schedule, but it’s truly in your best interest to be proactive about building relationships with the PR representatives you work with frequently. Maura Brannigan, senior editor at Fashionista, says that a large part of her job involves asking her PR contacts for their help or expertise, such as requesting a press release or confirming a story. “It definitely helps to approach that relationship from a professional, respectful position,” she says. Think of it this way: If a PR person is already familiar with you, she’ll be more likely to go above and beyond to get you what you need—and the experience will be more pleasant all around for both of you.
Get in some face time together. We don’t mean FaceTime on your iPhone—we’re talking IRL, whippersnappers! Brannigan recommends that editors and publicists get to know each other first as friends (or at least as friendly colleagues, if you’re not ready to dive into BFF status just yet). Email some of your regular contacts and ask if they’d like to meet up for something relaxed but professional, such as an afternoon coffee or a post-work manicure.
Stay connected through social media. Kaitlyn Kirby, editor-in-chief at Mini magazine and Tulle magazine, recommends interacting with publicists on social media, especially if you aren’t able to meet in person. “I always like to put a face with a name,” she says. “Social media is a great place to continue the conversation and relationship.”
Consider snail mail as a means of communication. For Jill Slattery, editor-in-chief at Livingly Media, being based out of the Bay Area in California means it’s not that easy to meet with PR firms that aren’t local. If you’re already friendly with a publicist, Slattery advises keeping your long distance relationship thriving by sending a small, relevant gift in the mail with a thoughtful handwritten note. Not sure what to send? This is where taking the time to meet up and discuss some of your favorite things outside of the office comes into play. You don’t have to spend a lot of money—it’s the thought that counts here, after all.
Follow these steps, whippersnappers, and pretty soon, you’ll be wondering how you ever did your job without your PR pals.