Bridal and wedding-related journalism has long been one of the strongest media categories in terms of circulation and ad pages.
But while it has traditionally been dominated by national reads, such as Brides, Modern Bride, and The Knot, those outlets are facing competition on newsstands from a growing number of regional publications, including Chicago Bride, Rocky Mountain Bride, and Manhattan Bride.
"We've seen a rise in these local magazines over the past few years, and they do tend to contact us more than the national bride magazines," notes Lauren Branche, beauty director with New York's Pierce Mattie Public Relations. "But they require a different pitch because they strive to match their demographic, and the interest of, say, a Chicago bride is totally different from one in Tampa Bay, [FL]."
Harriet King, publisher of the 10-year-old San Diego Bride & Groom, says she realizes most of her readers aren't relying solely on her title as they prepare for a wedding. "Many brides tend to get engaged around the holidays or Valentine's Day and buy all the magazines they can," she says.
King says brides-to-be increasingly turn to national publications first for trends and ideas, then they look to a regional bridal magazine for how to execute those plans. For that reason, she says: "We do use some national experts, but we also make sure we augment that with local sources for things like places to hold a reception or a pre-wedding party. We also focus on fashion that is particular to this area, knowing that a Southern California bride will not look like a New York bride."
One of the unwritten rules in bridal publications is that editors and reporters write more about companies that also happen to be advertisers. "For smaller local clients, it can really be a challenge to attract the attention of national bridal magazines or Web sites like theknot.com because, a lot of times, they want an advertising component," says Ed Nakfoor, a Birmingham, MI-based PR/marketing and retail consultant. "But magazines like Metro Detroit Bride are definitely more PR-friendly, especially for a small business like a florist or baker that doesn't have a budget for a national campaign."
Branche adds that regional bridal books can also be great national brands. "A regional bridal magazine will help a client's product get distribution in that area," she says, "so we do send out a lot of product samples to these editors, and we invite them to regional events."
PITCHING... wedding-related stories
Despite the success of theknot.com, which has a huge regional section, wedding-related content is a category where glossy print still rules, at least for now
Both national and regional bridal outlets tend to turn over their readership every 12 to 18 months, so you can pitch the same trends annually as long you update them with your client's latest products and services
This media category used to be strictly aimed at mothers and daughters. Now, grooms-to-be are having more of a say in wedding planning. That needs to be reflected in your pitch