Celebrity and lifestyle content
I remember being quite shocked when the then-editor of GQ, Dylan Jones, revealed that about 70 per cent of features in the men’s magazine came from PRs and press offices. It seemed – at the time – to be not very, well, journalistic. It went against the idea of writers unearthing stories, of using their contacts and resources to build up ideas.
But, of course, magazines have always worked more closely with PRs than newspapers – when one thinks particularly of celebrity and lifestyle content.
Now – when done well – creative pitches from PRs work really well for news operations too. I’m not talking about spurious surveys or ‘top tens’ with only the vaguest of sources (I’ve written quite in a prickly way about this before…). What I mean is letting writers and editors know when a brand has an interesting backstory, or if via an interesting collaboration there might be access to talent that’s otherwise elusive. It’s super-helpful – and not just in the dog days of August!
I feel quite strongly about this because I ran a feature with Shiza Shahid in the Telegraph Magazine last weekend – you might not know the name but she created the ‘Always Pan’ that you will definitely have seen on Instagram. She has a really interesting background and a brilliant work ethic, both of which make a good magazine feature – and it came via a PR, of course.
I knew some readers would grumble at the idea of a profile of one business (I’m sure we’ve all seen comments along the lines of “is this an advert?!”) and so I ran it with a panel on other ‘disruptor’ brands – it made a great package.
So yes, I have a different view of Jones’s M.O. now.
What Lisa Thinks…
“I liked the well-put-together content in this press release from WWF, not a source I had considered in the food sector. Barbecues are definitely a hot topic this summer (pun intended)”