Lisa Smosarski, Stylist’s editor-in-chief, detailed how the brand is using its voice to highlight issues affecting its readership at an exclusive Cision media briefing on Thursday.
Appearing alongside Anita Bhagwandas and Arabella Greenhill, the title’s beauty director and fashion director respectively, Smosarski outlined how Stylist produces content to satisfy its “time-poor, thought-rich” female audience at Weber Shandwick’s offices in Holborn.
The trio discussed the launch of the publication’s fashion and beauty hubs, which have enabled Greenhill and Bhagwandas to oversee content across print, online and video channels. This is designed to ensure all Stylist’s fashion and beauty content is complementary and maintains a consistent tone of voice.
They also discussed the annual Stylist Live event, the brand’s social media activity and how PRs can work effectively with its various platforms.
PR and the Visible Women campaign
Smosarski said Stylist shows it shares its readers’ values by developing content that reflects the everyday issues professional women encounter.
“Throughout the year we will be working on different initiatives which will be split into different chapters,” she said. “The first was our suffragette issue. Now, we will be looking at what individuals can do in their own world and towards the end of the year we will be moving onto politics.”
With 2018 marking 100 years since the first women were given the right to vote, Stylist used the centenary to launch its Visible Women initiative to both celebrate women and raise awareness of the challenges they face.
The campaign runs across all the outlet’s platforms and celebrates inspirational women, examining how to promote female role-models to children in education and improving representation of women in the political arena.
Smosarski continued: “I suspect we will continue this conversation beyond the end of the year as it has really gained traction. Our audience is really excited about it, the industry seems really excited about it and of course we’re living in a huge time of change. Activism is at the forefront of our audience’s mind.”
She concluded that there will be plenty of opportunities for communicators to contribute to the campaign, including profile pieces and helping the brand with the initiative’s educational aspect.
How to get on the Style List
One of the magazine’s most popular – and PR-able – regular features is the Style List, which recommends 30 items to readers every week.
Smosarski revealed that Bhagwandas and Greenhill’s beauty and fashion teams always contribute five pieces each, with the rest compiled by Stylist’s Fran Brown.
“It’s all about the balance,” Smosarski explained. “Fran will look to balance out every type of product. For example, there won’t be more than two food items on any given Style List – one book, one DVD. If you want to get on the Style List, she is the woman to court.”
Greenhill added: “For fashion, we don’t do anything really in black or white as it doesn’t look that great.”
Make sure you target the right person
The team said one of their main bugbears when working with PRs is receiving emails not properly targeted at both the publication and the right team member.
Smosarski noted that Stylist aims to look through life with a feminist lens. As such, it will cover most aspects of female life. However, the team will not produce any stories involving diets or cosmetic surgery and features on babies or children.
Greenhill said: “[I get lots of] blanket emails which are not going to be relevant to me, such as something obsessively celebrity-based or something about a shopping page. I don’t personally work on shopping pages, so think about which person on the team you’re emailing.”
Bhagwandas added: “I do get sent a lot of stuff about cosmetic surgery and other things that we won’t cover.”
Provide great imagery and consider sending samples
Greenhill stressed how important quality, high resolution imagery is for the magazine’s fashion and shopping pages.
“Imagery is key,” she said. “We don’t shoot for our shopping pages so a very clear cut out is really helpful. Don’t send images in Dropbox or WeTransfer. We often don’t have time to download them. Something embedded is much easier for us to use.”
Smosarski joked that it was a popular myth that the only way to get something into Stylist was by sending samples. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule – beauty products and food.
“We try everything that goes in the magazine,” Bhagwandas explained. “We really make a point to ensure that what we’re putting in is brilliant and that we would want to use it. That’s a big part of what we do at Stylist.”
Smosarski added that this was the same with food, as the team would not want to recommend something which tasted awful!