Catching the eye of the consumer press

Catching the eye of the consumer press

Beatrice Aidin

Beatrice Aidin

By Beatrice Aidin, award-wining freelance consumer journalist 

In a commercial property unit late last summer, I got that jolt in my stomach that means one of two things. Had I fallen in love, I asked myself? No. But nearly as good, I was onto a good potential story.

A few weeks later, the subject (a customized off-site wardrobe operated by an iPad app for the super-rich) became an article in the Financial Times.

What happened on that journey from potential story, to publication in such a prestigious title?

Well, first off I was offered an exclusive.  Secondly, competitive analysis demonstrated that the subject matter was one of a kind. Thirdly, the PR had the facts and figures at her finger-tips. And last but by no means least, the PR encouraged me to see the venture and took the time to arrange it. The fact that the PR person was open to just letting me see the offering beyond her description, was the most appealing aspect.

Being a freelance consumer journalist as I am, has lots of advantages. The one that I would highlight the most is being able to take the experience that PRs offer you.  For the difference in consumer media in the last decade has become that the experience is ever-more crucial to the reporting. Searching online has its place, but now every 6 year old in the world seems to know how to Google. Journalism now is visceral and has to be from a position of a certain amount of authority (bloggers do their good part too here).

So here is where I think we can all learn – the PR, the client, the journalist, alike.  When you are looking for a feature for the consumer press, research via overheard conversations on the bus (put down those headphones!) or walking into stores, to notice what is selling and what is not. Are people shopping? Are they carrying designer shopping bags or high street ones - or nothing at all? Read the business pages. It might not be the time to pitch or ask a journalist to write about a new £50 lipstick. If folks can’t afford it, they won’t read your copy – and as a journalist you don’t want to seem as out of touch as say, yikes, a politician.

And that’s why, for most stories in the consumer media, it is a mixture of the new, the experience, the observation backed up by facts and statistics. It is however most importantly a good trusting relationship between a PR and a journalist, with allowances for what the client wants but also what is achievable, especially during this shaky economic climate.

An advantage to working with a freelance consumer journalist on your coverage is that they can spend more time developing an idea and pitching it. The thing about being freelance is that you can seem to waste a lot of time, but the avenues that have been explored normally get re-routed down to a cul-de-sac for a feature in the future.

One take away is one of my fathers’ maxims: ‘Time spent on reconnaissance is time never wasted’. As a freelance journalist if you can, check it out! If you can see all the ideas and products that your readers don’t have access too, then hopefully you will get that stomach rush of a great story. Either that, or lucky you, you are in love.

 

You can follow Beatrice on Twitter: @beatriceaidin

You can read her blog: http://the-daily-bea.blogspot.com 

Beatrice Aidin is Winner of the Johnson & Johnson National Newspaper Journalist of the Year Award, 2011 and the P &G National Newspaper Beauty Journalist 2011.

Share this story:

Read more from the blog

Comms planning

What can 'The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch' teach us about managing reputations?

Lucas Jackson analyses Netflix's latest documentary on Abercrombie and Fitch, discussing its impact on reputation. ...Read more

Lucas Jackson
Lucas Jackson
Tech News

April showers bring May flowers in the form of exciting tech innovation

May has brought a range of innovation across the tech sector, from AI to VR and more. ...Read more

Megan Hogg
Megan Hogg
Claire Walker

A virtual playground: How can VR tools benefit your comms efforts?

As VR adoption increases, the technology is transforming both the world of work and our personal lives. How can comms professionals leverage VR for campaigns? ...Read more

Claire Walker
Claire Walker

Add a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information