Holy Grail for the luxury PR world

In a recent issue of How To Spend It, adverts for Maserati sports cars, Cartier diamond rings and the Four Seasons hotel in the Maldives sit alongside editorial on collecting modern art and bespoke fishing expeditions in Mongolia.

It does not take a genius to work out at whom this glossy Financial Times supplement is aimed. The newspaper's advertising department describes the weekly readership as 'the world's biggest spenders'.

As a result, How To Spend It is the Holy Grail for PR professionals looking to target high-net-worth AB1 readers. There is, however, an art to securing coverage - in short, know your freelancers, and anticipate their needs.

'The editor, Gillian de Bono, has a regular stable of incredibly high calibre freelancers such as the writers Lucia van der Post and Julian Allason,' says Virginia Webb, a travel PRO and director at Flagship Consulting. 'It is worth knowing these freelancers extremely well, as they pitch their ideas directly to Gillian.'

sunseeker luxury yachtWebb worked with Allason on a feature for one-time client Tahiti Tourism, and has secured an article on behalf of another client specialising in travel concierge services. The magazine is known for covering a topic comprehensively to satisfy its discerning readership.

'It will not do a piece on one specific hotel,' says Webb. 'It is more like think pieces. If it is an emerging destination, there needs to be a mass of the right sorts of accommodation and an element of choice. '

She adds that PROs should work far in advance. 'Because of the calibre of the freelancers, there is a very long lead time,' she says. 'These freelancers have busy diaries as well. They are aficionados.'

It is not just a travel publication. Fashion PR profesionals can get a look in - as long as they know where to target.

'The PROs with the most success have really studied the magazine, know our regular columns and writers and have thought about what stories tick our boxes before pitching,' advises de Bono.

Frank PR founder Andrew Bloch has gained column inches for clients that might not immediately fit the How To Spend It mould, thanks to careful planning. 'The product placement sections, Technopolis and Eclectibles, offer some really good opportunities to generate great exposure for clients,' he explains.

As well as being PR-friendly, it is one of the few high-end titles that unabashedly caters for both sexes. 'The readership includes both CEOs and their wives so it has high prestige,' says Good Relations CEO Teresa-Anne Dunleavy, who secured a spread on 'Boats That Rock' for a speedboat client.

She adds: 'How To Spend It's target audience was spot on for our luxury client XSMG. Everyone saw it as real coup.'

QUICK FACTS

Circulation: 440,000 (ABC figures)
Frequency: Weekly

Contacts
Editor
Gillian De Bono
gillian.de.bono@FT.com
020 7873 3203

Editorial assistant
Rochelle Reef
rochelle.reef@FT.com
020 7873 3203

A MINUTE WITH ... GILLIAN DE BONO, EDITOR, HOW TO SPEND IT

Gillian de BonoHow does How To Spend It fit in with the overall FT brand?
In simple terms, the FT helps readers create wealth and How To Spend It helps them enjoy it.

Are you open to PR pitches?
I receive at least 50 PR pitches every day, usually by email, and these are potentially relevant to all the subjects we cover.

How can PR professionals help without being a nuisance?
Blanket press releases that make no attempt to target appropriate titles are a pet irritation. Clear subject headings on emails are really helpful when sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Do you have any plans for the year ahead that you can tell us about?
We launched a Friday edition of How To Spend It 18 months ago to cater for weekday readers of the Financial Times who do not always buy the Saturday paper. We will be increasing its frequency next year and we will also be launching a standalone website.

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