One of the reasons I got into public relations was because of my love of magazines. It may be a habit I picked up from my mother, but since a young age I have hoarded magazines – dog earring pages with useful fashion tips, ripping out pictures of interior design for future apartments, or circling beauty tips and new products to check out. After I realized (quickly) how difficult the writing industry was, I moved to PR to pursue writing and strategy planning on a larger scale for beauty and lifestyle clients.
However, as a PR person magazines are still very much a part of daily life. Being acclimated and fully entrenched in media is one of our responsibilities. If you’re just starting out in an internship or on the job hunt, knowing your magazines is a great way to get your leg up on the competition – knowing editors, sections, columns, this is all PR bread and butter.
So whether you’re a newsy novice or a seasoned PR pro who needs a reminder on how to read a magazine the RIGHT way for PR purposes, here’s how you can get the most out of your glossies:
- Read the magazine cover to cover. Even the feature articles you’re not sure you’ll like or a be a fit for your client. You’ll be surprised how the stories turn.
- Take note of the short section. Front of book is full of survey stats, quick tips, celeb news, or new product collections. Take note of the kind of announcements made here.
- Notice the art design of each magazine. Cosmo is very different from Marie Claire that is very different from Glamour that is very different than Nylon. Every magazine has its own personality. How are they show casing beauty products or fashion pages? Is it realistic, ready to wear or artsy runway looks? Is there a theme of color? Is there more than one body scrub featured through beauty and fashion pages?
- Capture the personality of the sections. Take note of editors that write interesting pieces. Is it a tell-all, straight from the expert, or a testing experience? Does the article feel personal or matter of fact?
- Look for brand names EVERYWHERE. Even if its a feature story, sometimes the experts mentioned are working for a skincare line, a doctor’s office, a gym chain, even a matchmaking service. Watch out for how the magazine name drops big brands
- Watch out for competitor coverage. If you’re in PR, be on the alert for mention of your competitors. You’ll know for future reference how competitor brands are being pitched to editors, and what stories they’re looking to get.