Confessions of an Account Exec: Glamour Fumble
Bridget M. Forney | MediaBuzz
Last weekend, I picked up the July issue of Glamour magazine. I’m not loyal to the publication, but purchase it occasionally for entertainment’s sake. The July issue featured the lovely Jessica Biel with a large side-head reading “500 Genius Buys Under $50.” I may not have the most instinctual fashion sense, but I am a bargain shopper and I’d be lying if I said the feature didn’t appeal to me.
One day at the pool and cover-to-cover later, I bookmarked at least three different items I definitely planned on Googling for later purchase. The first was a Michael Stars dress. Per the directions of the “Glamour Get-it Guide” I visited Michaelstars.com where I read I could buy it online for a mere $60. I went. I didn’t see. I left. No purchase was made.
Bummed, I went on to the next item – an under-$50 pair of shoes – also missing from the website where I could supposedly buy them. The next item: same story.
In the magazine world, new issues usually hit newsstands at the middle of the month that is prior to its publication month. Via Glamour.com, the July issue’s “On-Sale Date” is June 8. I bought mine on June 6.
While it’s possible that the issue only hit the stands prematurely at the location I happened to be shopping at, the feature was also on Glamour’s website with the same buying instructions. I couldn’t have been the only one who noticed the disconnect. Here are three important PR lessons for the July-featured retailers, designers … and anyone in PR.
1. Maintain consistency.
If you know your company (or design) is going to be featured in a national women’s magazine, update your website’s pressroom immediately with images of the feature and an online shop consistent with the magazine’s buying directions. Chances are, there is a contract binding you from publicizing too much before the actual issue releases, but you should absolutely have your finger on the “publish” button ready for when it happens. Taking advantage of the media opportunity by maintaining consistency with the publication’s release on your own website will garner optimal exposure for your company, your designs and your brand. Public relations is about taking advantage of the opportunities, and in the case of Michael Stars, they might be looking at two days worth of premature, disappointed web traffic.
2. Be ready to go live.
In PR, staying informed means making calls, sending emails and sometimes downright bugging people. If you’re a part of a magazine issue, you should know exactly why you’re being featured, in what capacity, how it will look, where it will be sold and when it will hit the press. If the public sees your feature before you do, you’re already behind. Stay ahead of the game so that you can maintain consistency.
Lucky for Michael Stars, I happen to be a customer that ultimately just wants to buy the dress. I confronted both Michael Stars (
MichaelStarsInc) and the Editor-in-Chief of Glamour magazine, Cindi Leive (Cindi_Leive) on Twitter asking for updated buying directions. Not responding to customers and readers on Twitter goes against every PR lesson I ever learned about businesses using the social networking site. Responding is in the best interest of both parties involved … and the hundreds of other people following the conversation on Twitter.
By the time this article hits the web, the July issue of Glamour will be on newsstands everywhere. If you want to know how things turned out, tweet me @BridgetForney.