Despite the rise of online outlets that fiercely compete to bring the latest and greatest to the young demographic, when it comes to the cutting edge of fashion, music, and lifestyle, in many ways it's still a print-driven world.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the continuing success of niche influencer magazines like The Fader, Nylon, Anthem, Paper, and Vice, all of which seem to be thriving by catering to an audience of hip, edgy, and urban trendsetters.
"They remain very important because their readers tend to be the influencers in everything from fashion and music, to technology and everything else on the cutting edge," explains Erika Klein, founder and president of Shout Public Relations, whose clients include fashion brands such as Hot Tuna.
She adds that while Nylon and others do feature celebrities on their covers and in their pages, you don't really need a high-profile name when pitching them. "Their readers tend to be the leaders - and not followers - of what celebrities are wearing," Klein says.
But being on the cutting edge does mean these outlets want fashion, music, and other content well before it reaches the mainstream. "There is no such thing as waiting until the right time," explains Alex Wagner, editor-in-chief of the music/lifestyle magazine The Fader. "If you've got something, even if it's not out now, we still want you to send it to us, because the earlier we can get stuff, the better."
As far as tips for pitching these influencer outlets, Klein says the real key tends to be strong visuals, even though most of the magazines will eventually end up doing their own photography for the actual stories. "We work closely with our client's art director on all the collateral, whether it's a press kit or e-mail blast or catalog," she says. "Being visually appealing is very important."
Andreas Herr, co-publisher of Anthem, adds that while exclusives aren't required, "we have to be able to differentiate ourselves. We definitely don't want to work with PR people that want to whore their story out to everybody."
Given that this is content aimed at a very cutting-edge 15- to 34-year-old demographic, Herr notes that a lot of the audience is migrating online. But he adds: "Our audience definitely appreciates the aesthetics of our magazine. There's a lot of content that makes sense online, but there's also a lot of content that makes sense for print. And in many ways, those two worlds are changing a little bit, which gives print publications like ours the opportunity to sustain themselves."
Pitching... Niche influencer magazines
Many of these influencer outlets tend to have regular themed issues, so know the timing of those, and reach out to editors early with the appropriate clients
Unlike traditional fashion or lifestyle magazines, celebrity angles don't really help that much, unless you can really offer something fresh and different
Despite relatively modest circulations, magazines like The Fader and Nylon have a reach well beyond their numbers, because their editors are often used as expert sources on the latest trends by the mainstream press