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How to Pitch Consumer PR with Desiree Dozier, Finn Partners

How To Pitch Consumer PR With Desiree Dozier, Finn Partners

On this month’s profile, we are talking with Desiree Dozier, an Associate Vice President at Finn Partners. She’s worked in public relations for 10 years, specializing in the home & design, lifestyle, and luxury sectors. She began her career in the editorial department at InStyle magazine, before transitioning into the world of corporate communications at a leading talent agency, and eventually, consumer PR.

For her clients, she routinely develops holistic, personalized communications strategies, secures top-tier media placements, and crafts custom content that furthers their brand objectives.

Read below for the entire interview with Desiree:

 

1.) Tell us a bit about your day-to-day and what’s changed since becoming the Associate Vice President at Finn Partners.

As any PR professional knows, no two days are the same in our line of work! However, a typical day for me often consists of crafting content – from traditional media materials such as press releases and pitches, to sponsored articles, newsletters and even social media calendars.

As a team lead, I’m also responsible for developing and executing key media and content programs for our clients as well as managing junior level team members. Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without a steady drumbeat of client calls and internal meetings to hash out priorities and deliverables. In working with a smaller team, I’ve worn many hats over the years, but I’ve recently been able to supervise in a greater capacity, which has been especially rewarding.

 

2.) What’s the best pitch of yours that resulted in coverage and what elements made it successful?

One of my favorite pitches that resulted in massive coverage actually came about after a near-catastrophic client moment. I worked with a wonderful jewelry designer, whose business was on the smaller side, so her pieces were all handmade and highly customized. As part of my job at the time, I managed our company’s showroom in addition to leading the PR strategy for this client. Following an appointment with a celebrity stylist, the talent expressed interest in receiving a personalized version of the piece gratis. Unfortunately, due to the nature of my client’s small business, and the expensive quality of the jewelry, it would have been a huge ask of the client to gift this particular item to the celebrity. The stylist, apparently unwilling to take no for an answer, took the piece to a local jeweler, who then created a copy of the design.

The celebrity was soon seen all over town wearing it, and my client was heartbroken that her unique design was unjustly replicated. Thinking quickly on how to lessen the blow, I created a “Get the Look” pitch that was blasted to national fashion, lifestyle and entertainment media within minutes after the first image of the celebrity surfaced – highlighting the specific features of my client’s jewelry, while leveraging the images of the celebrity wearing the imitation piece.

Within hours, top-tier media were naming my client as an originator of the design, resulting in copious amounts of coverage for days on end. What made this pitch successful is simple:

1.) The ability to act quickly so that I could position the client as an originator of the style before anyone else could try to lay claim to the design (note: it was never dishonestly asserted in the pitch that the client produced the celebrity’s specific item).

2.) Establishing this particular item as a must-have accessory with celebrity buy-in (strong language is key!).

3.) Strong supporting assets (both hi-res images of the jewelry itself and photos of the celebrity wearing the similar style).

4.) Of course, imagery of a celebrity with A-list name recognition sporting a similar design, bringing the pitch to life, never hurts.

 

3.) What makes a good subject line? Can you share an example of one that worked?

It depends on the pitch. If pitching a product, I’ve found that a good subject line is one that grabs attention, yet doesn’t give it all away up front. You want media to be intrigued enough to be motivated to read your email and find out more information. However, for more straightforward pitches – such as those used for event invites or launches – a direct subject line that clearly states what your objective is also works. One of my favorite pitches for a unique handbag line I represented was, “Must-Have Travel Hack: 3 Reasons Why the [client name] Bag is the Ultimate Companion”.

 

4.) What information do you always make sure to include in a pitch?

I always make sure to include the following:

1.) The client’s brand/product name (a given).

2.) Strong, clever language that concisely and descriptively highlights the key features of the brand/product that make it unique and/or that clearly illustrates how it is providing a solution to a need.

3.) An offer for more information either via an interview with a brand representative or through further discussion with me.

4.) Key hyperlinks to the brand/product website.

5.) Any supplemental materials (shared links are ideal to avoid sending files that are too large that will clog inboxes).

6.) I always like to include a visual in the body of my email. In working with many people over the years, I’ve discovered that not everyone follows this step. But I’ve found that a compelling asset can truly enhance a pitch. For media who are receiving hundreds of pitches each day, a sea of black and white lettering can become awfully repetitive. A stunning photo, on the other hand, just might grab their attention and entice them to read further. Plus, it’s always a good thing in my book to provide the complete view of your client’s brand/product.

 

5.) What’s been your favorite campaign you’ve worked on and what made it successful?

My favorite campaign that I’ve worked on has been operating alongside a client to build from the ground up their corporate social responsibility program, which focuses on furthering diversity. From brainstorming what the focus of the initiative would be, to crafting essential media, content and social media materials that communicate the details of the program, to connecting with media to raise awareness, to highlighting the progress and success of the initiative across the brand’s owned channels has not only been rewarding for me as a woman who comes from a diverse background myself, but as someone who believes it’s imperative that businesses give back to communities in a meaningful and authentic way, it has also been encouraging to see a client identify a real need and strive to make important and necessary change within their industry.

I’m proud to be a part of something that is providing opportunities to those who otherwise wouldn’t have them, and it’s equally significant that the client is able to establish itself as an authority figure on the topic, having tapped into an uncharted territory. What’s made the program successful is two-fold:

1.) there was a unique need that we identified that hadn’t been addressed by competitors in the space (or anyone else, for that matter) that would give the client the clear pathway to establish itself as a pioneer in this effort and 2.) the authenticity factor. Not only is the focus of the initiative within the realm of the client’s expertise, but they are also engaged with authentic partners who are helping to further the cause.

 

6.) What’s your best tip for measuring PR? What’s the most valuable KPI to track in your opinion and why?

My best tip for measuring PR is identifying key KPIs from the outset, and keeping a consistent tracking schedule (e.g. weekly or monthly). It’s also important to keep in mind that your KPIs may need adjusting as you meet or exceed your benchmarks. As for the most valuable KPI to track, Share of Voice (SOV) is the winner, in my opinion. Not only does SOV inform you of how you stand up against the competition, but it also has been proven to correlate to the brand/company’s revenue.

Ultimately, one of the top goals of PR (if working with a brand/product, specifically) is to raise brand awareness so that you effectively drive sales. By measuring your client’s SOV, you can gain valuable insights that tell you a lot about where they currently are in the market, where the competition is, and how to get where they want to go. In leveraging this data, you are better equipped to design even more impactful strategies that meet aggressive growth goals.

 

7.) How do you maintain relationships with journalists when you have no news to share?

Regardless of whether or not I have news to share, I regularly check in with my key media friendlies. Sometimes one might be working on a story that is a natural fit for a client because a relevant topic is trending in the news or on social media – and it doesn’t matter that the product in question isn’t new. In fact, I regularly place clients in round-ups and “best products” coverage despite this consideration. Other times, I might leverage a new trend idea, a seasonal moment or a use tips pitch that highlights the client in a new or unexpected way that sparks a journalist’s interest. For me, it’s all about staying in touch and creating newsworthy moments when there isn’t necessarily new news available.

 

8.) What’s your #1 tactic for building relationships with journalists?

My #1 tactic for building relationships with journalists is being responsive and reliable by providing them with what they need – whether that’s information for a story they are filing or backing off when they are clearly not interested in a pitch. While being assertive and following up is essential to landing coverage, sometimes a pitch just isn’t their cup of tea – and you need to know when to hang it up. Being overly pushy isn’t going to score you any points, but being responsive with detailed information that meets them where they are always will.

 

9.) What’s the best PR advice you’ve received or given to others?

Always be transparent. The media landscape is constantly evolving, but one thing that will remain consistent is the importance of owning your narrative. As cancel culture shows no signs of slowing down, it’s more important than ever to be honest and authentic with your claims. The last thing you want is to be responsible for your client being discredited or labeled dishonest in any way.

 

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If you’re looking for more tips from PR professionals, read about the best ways to secure top-tier media coverage from ARPR’s Practice Group Director, Cortney Williams.

Like this series and have a guest you think would be a good fit? Shoot us a Twitter DM or email us at info@onepitch.co and let us know who you’d want to see featured next! PS: you can recommend yourself too.

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Kendall began her journey at OnePitch as an intern in January of 2019 and is now the Marketing Manager handling all of the marketing efforts ranging from social media to content, and emails. She studied communications at San Diego State University and enjoys drawing, being outside, and practicing yoga in her free time.

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