Friday Q and A with Sarah Tomczak - Executive Editor of Red Magazine
Sarah is Executive Editor of Red Magazine and mother to two girls, Coco & Sylvie. She started her career in journalism 20 years ago at Sugar magazine and has worked at Glamour, Daily Mail and Shine in London, and YM and Us Weekly in New York. She’s also the author of four books including How to Live Like A Lady and Panties: A Brief History.
1. What makes you open an email from a PR?
Usually knowing the PR already. I receive so many emails and don’t have a PA to sift through them on my behalf, so it’s the ones I already have a context for that I make the time to open. Either that or a straightforward clear subject line that explains what the email contains, if that if information is compelling.
2. Would you open emails from PR’s you don’t know?
See above. It’s definitely worth the effort to build a relationship with a journalist as these are always the PRs I will support, or take the time to connect with. But if the information is super useful, I will always open and file the information – even if I don’t always respond immediately.
3. Do you answer your landline during a working day?
No. We work in a more agile way at Hearst now so are not always based in our central office. It’s also a personal bugbear to receive work phone calls on my personal mobile phone. Email is absolutely the best way to contact me, although I answer a lot of messages over Instagram too.
4. Do you like images within a PR pitch?
Absolutely. I can instantly see if something is relevant then it removes the hassle of having to ask to see images. I’d rather have a couple attached to an email though so I can request more, rather than receiving a link or a WeTransfer.
5. When is the best time for you to meet a PR?
For me it’s generally for a half-hour coffee during the day. I have young kids so I really try to be strict about how much I do out of office hours. It’s also extremely useful if people are able to travel to our offices for a quick meeting.
6. And which day suits the most?
Fridays are usually really good for me as less people work from the office that day – although I generally do – so I have less internal meetings put into my diary. 3pm or 4pm is a good time to pin me down!
7. What are your top 2 tips for a PR trying to secure coverage?
Send your emails to the right person – you’ll be surprised how many times people pitch me wellness products or tell me about a new jewellery brand. You have a much better chance if you contact the right department for your product. Also, make sure the products you are promoting are actually correct for the publication – we don’t do restaurant reviews in print for Red and we don’t have a ‘health news page’ but these are the kind of press releases I get sent on a daily basis.
I also like it when people send a personally tailored email rather than what is clearly a round robin and don’t be afraid to be tenacious. Sometimes I have every intention to reply and get caught up in something else. Politely chasing once or twice is totally okay in my book.
8. Are you happy to be contacted via social media / what are the boundaries?
Yes, occasionally – I think people usually send more tailored pitches if they contact me this way and it shows that they are making an effort to see what I am about, which seems more personal. I don’t want to be bombarded though! I still only reply to work correspondence during the week though.
9. Spirulina or Sauvignon?
10. Stylist or The Spectator?
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