Blog for Saks! Enter here for your chance to win a spot on Saks Fifth Avenue’s freelance writing team. This is the second in a series of four posts brought to you by SaksPOV , designed to give bloggers the information, tools and opportunity to explore the journalistic potential of fashion blogging.
Many of us start blogs as a way to keep our skills sharp when it comes to writing and talking about or keeping up with fashion. Your blog can be a calling card or gateway to a job if you’re smart and savvy with your content! A great clip to pass along to a potential employer or publication you might want to contribute to is an interview.
Don’t be discouraged by any disadvantages you’re already assigning to yourself because of lack of inexperience or a perceived lack of credibility. While it’s true that some higher-ups in the fashion industry may have no time or interest in talking to an up-and-coming blogger (or a well-established one, for that matter) – so what? We say go for it anyway. Consider reaching out to local figures, designers, PR agencies, models, shop owners, etc to build up a body of work and create a solid reputation for yourself. Just like you, every business, brand and shop is looking to get their name out there as much as possible.
Here are IFB’s best tips for landing and executing a great fashion interview:
Make Your Pitch
- The key to securing an interview is starting with the right approach.
- Most likely you’ll be making contact by email, so start it off with either “Hi [first name],” or “Dear [first name / Mr. or Mrs. last name]” depending on how formal you need to be.
- Like any pitch to a brand or a publication start by briefly introducing yourself, and explain why you’re requesting an interview. Provide as much context as possible in the quickest way possible. (This may take some consideration and editing so take your time!)
- Make yourself available by phone, email, skype or in person – you never know what might work best for your subject (and if you want the scoop, you’ll do what it takes).
Do Your Research
- When your interview has been granted or confirmed, its time to step up your game. You should devote some serious time to studying and seeking out past coverage about your interviewee.
- The more you know about the person you are speaking with (and the company they work for) the more fluid and interesting your interview will be. Additionally, if you come prepared, your interviewee will take you more seriously, and perhaps be willing to share more!
- Knowing the right information leads to asking the right questions. Provide context for what you want to know to show your subject that your interest is genuine.
- If possible, read past interviews with your subject to get feel for how they respond to certain questions and make sure you cover new ground.
Be On Time
- Fashion people are notoriously late, but you cannot be. Make sure the where, when and who is contacting whom is confirmed in advance, so there’s no missed connection.
- In fact, if you’re meeting in person – be early.
Ask The Right Questions
- This ties back into doing your research: you’ve got to be prepared in advance.
- Figure out what you want to know – that means asking yourself some questions first!
- Decide what kind of result you’re aiming for: Is this a timely news pieces about something that just occurred? Is it a profile of the subject? Is this a serious or light-hearted piece? Figure out your angle and build your line of questions around that.
- Hot tip: If you conduct your interview via email, it’s sure you’ll get well thought-out answers and complete sentences, but you leave little opportunity for spontaneous questions and growing the conversation as you can in person or over the phone.
Create Your Article or Post
- Go back over your notes and highlight all the best quotes. You may want to lead off with something really dynamic or punchy.
- Try and find a theme, message or inspiring take-away from your answers that you can build your article around.
- Don’t be afraid not to gush – flattery will get you far but honesty will get you farther.
- When you push your post on social media, be sure to “@” tag the necessary people, brands, companies, etc!
You will need one or all of the following:
- Your starting questions already written out
- A recorder (most smart phones have this feature, but you can also purchase an inexpensive one)
- Lightning-fast fingers for writing or typing answers as you hear them
Whether you’re reaching out to a boutique owner down the street or the editor-in-chief of your favorite magazine, politeness and professionalism are the foundation of a successful interview and the building blocks for a relationship that can last far beyond a fifteen minute question-and-answer session.