Decor Editors Share Publicity Tips

I attended PR-Net last night in Green Point, Cape Town, where several top decor editors spoke about the unique selling points of their specific home/decor magazines, plus tips on how they’d like to interact with PR people and publicists.

I’ll share some of the tips with you here:

Anneke Blaise, Home/Tuis magazineAnneke Blaise from Home/Tuis magazine says that she really appreciates face-to-face contact. She wants to know who she’s dealing with and invites PR practitioners to visit their offices once a month, or whenever appropriate to discuss ideas, show products, or simply just put a face to an email.

Bianca Du Plessis, Conde Nast House & Garden

Bianca Du Plessis from Conde Nast House & Garden says that she finds it surprising that people don’t realise that they work three months in advance. That means that the issues for December and January have already been sorted. Bianca suggests that PR people should find out what issue they’re working on and enquire about the feature calendars.

Bianca also explained how tricky gardening features can sometimes be. Because of their three months production schedule, a picture of a beautiful Spring garden in full bloom wouldn’t reach them in time for the Spring edition. So unless they have a good library of pics, they sometimes work on their gardening features one year in advance.

Johan van Zyl, Visi“Be concise” is the advice from Johan van Zyl of Visi. They have a small editorial team and he fills the roles of three people, therefore he says he often suffers from “inbox rage x3″. Johan recommends that you familiarise yourself with the magazine and then speak to the right person depending on the section you want to appear in. Visi is different in several ways from other decor magazines, so Johan is looking for an angle (preferably exclusive) that would be perfect for the Visi reader.

Lauren Shantall, Elle DecorationBoth Johan and the next speaker, Lauren Shantall of Elle Decoration, spoke about the “non-exclusive exclusives”. No magazine wants to feature something that appears in several other competing titles at the same time. They lose credibility with their readers and you will certainly lose the editor’s trust. All that they ask is that you are honest about what other magazines plan to feature your product/brand/company so that they can decide what type of angle would work best for them.

On this topic, Brian Berkman raised a valid point. Journalists also have a responsibility here to answer PR emails on whether they plan to use the content or not. When you don’t get an answer, it’s difficult to know when you can start pitching the idea to other titles and you might miss the production deadline in the meantime. As Brian said, a “no” is better than hearing nothing.

Back to Lauren, she says that she prefers to receive the high res pics upfront, as it saves her time. Please note though that this is certainly not the case for all journalists - they won’t be happy if you crash their inbox. Use Encyclomedia’s media database research service to give you all the journalists’ individual  preferences and pitching tips.

Lianne Burton, House and LeisureLianne Burton from House and Leisure says that they aim to promote all the positives of life in South Africa. The new look magazine launches in January 2009 and, given that the competition was sitting right next to her, she couldn’t really reveal too much except that the new slogan is “stylish SA at home and play” and it includes a beauty section. They’re big into eco angles, so there are some great PR opportunities there too.

Thanks to Mike from Wesson Digital Photography for the photographs.

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4 Responses to “Decor Editors Share Publicity Tips”


  1. 1 Jim water crystals

    Finally, some qualified advices. Not many people realize that the best way to start a business is to learn something from those who are already experts. There is nothing bad in trying to learn and these advices should be taken seriously by any person who is interested in getting his business on the right track.

  2. 2 Chandeliers

    There is a ton of quality advice here. This was a very enjoyable read for sure.

  3. 3 Home Decor

    That is surely some excellent suggestions coming my way. I really appreciate the kind gesture of sharing the minutes of such an event…I would have loved to attend it personally.

  4. 4 Photo Blankets

    As a former editor, I can vouch for most of the preferences outlined here, but specifically the hi-res imagery one. I think just about everyone would prefer having an image that can be scaled down if needs be, but can still be used for print. If it will indeed crash someone’s inbox, though, just send it on CD, FTP, or even just post it on your website so it’s easy to access. Not too hard at all.

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