Sophie Warburton, stylist and shopping editor at the Daily Telegraph, on relaunching the fashion website, the mix of high end and high street content and why PRs need to place the reader at the heart of their pitch.
You’ve been stylist and shopping editor for the Daily Telegraph for nearly a year – tell us about your role and what you cover.
The role is incredibly diverse; covering both menswear and womenswear (and a bit of beauty) for online, the newspaper, Telegraph Magazine, Stella and supplements. It is a mixture of sourcing product to illustrate fashion features, compiling retail pages and shooting main fashion.
How closely do you work with the rest of the fashion team? How many people are on the team?
The team works very closely together and collaboration is much encouraged at The Telegraph, be it bouncing ideas off one another or a writer and stylist teaming up for a specific feature. We are a big fashion and beauty team working across many platforms; around 15 in total.
The Telegraph fashion website has just been relaunched with a new look – what has changed?
The new site is, hopefully, far more user friendly. It still contains large amounts of well thought out, well presented content, with a balance between breaking-news stories, longer length reads and product. The relaunch has been part of a successful online drive for The Telegraph which saw a new record of 104 million unique monthly visitors in May.
Have changes to online impacted the print fashion content?
We have always thought of the two platforms side-by-side. All our content has to work in both formats, and resonate with both readers. One of the great things about online is that we have very clear analytics about reader engagement, and what type of stories they are picking up on. We would be foolish to ignore this when it comes to the print content.
What does The Telegraph reader look for from style and shopping content?
They are not afraid of spending money, but want something that will last them more than just the season. Our readers are happy to shop both the high street and luxury stores, but are ultimately after chic and timeless buys. We are pushing for our male reader to be a little more adventurous!
How much feedback do you get from readers?
A huge amount from the print readers – they love to write in and share their opinion. We are hoping to encourage greater engagement across Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms. Reader feedback is invaluable.
How would you describe your relationship with PRs?
We try to get out and about to meet with as many PRs as possible, although time is at a premium. Email is the best way to pitch to the team, and we want to be as responsive as possible, giving feedback, be it good or bad (or occasionally ugly).
How best can PRs help with content?
By pitching well considered products and features that are relevant to our reader.
Are you only interested in exclusive content?
Not necessarily, but if it’s not exclusive we need to have a different type of access, different peg, and different imagery.
What should PRs keep in mind when pitching ideas?
The reader (and time constraints).
You also edit a bi-weekly men’s retail column in the paper. Anything PRs can do to help?
The column alternates between shopping pages and news stories. Any interesting new brand, store, or product launches are always much welcomed. It is great if they can share as much information on the initial email as possible, and always include imagery as it is pivotal for the page.
Finally, we understand you have a weakness for unusual jewellery. What is your most recent unusual buy?
A ring, which I love, by the brilliant new London-based jeweller Gee Woods. She’s one to watch.
Sophie was talking to Gorkana’s Richard O’Donnell