Linda West Eckhardt is someone you want to hire if you have a food, gardening or lifestyle topic. For the past 5 years Eckhardt specializes in what she calls “New York Power tours”, with astounding results.
“Give me one day with your client in New York and I can book 7 appointments with top editorial outlets that usually yield from 4 to 10 breaks in America’s top magazines,” she says. And she’s not all talk. She delivers.
For one of her clients, http://www.MackenzieLtd.com, the desksides (clients meet with the editors at their actual “desks”) she booked resulted in features or mentions In Style which they later chose for their ‘best of the best’ piece that went on the Today Show. So her client got two spots in the magazine and one spot on the Today Show.
Other placements she’s gotten for her various clients include: Town and Country, Essence, Country Living, Martha Stewart Living, O, the Oprah Magazine.
Wow. Typically, this kind of success takes months or years.
“They were so happy with this tour, they rebooked for the fall and we did two days and 12 appointments.”
Here is an example of one of her pitches:
Remember when you were a kid, laying in the hammock on a lazy summer day, flipping through the catalog? And you wanted everything you saw. And finally, your mom would say, OK, pick out one thing. Just one, and that can be your birthday present. And you’d be so excited you could hardly wait until your special gift arrived.
And now you’re the grownup and part of your job is picking mouthwatering foods to go into your periodical. How do you know what to choose? What do people want? How much time can you devote to this task when your desk stacks up with piles and piles of work besides picking the perfect cake, or the best balsamic, or the ideal cheese. So many products on the market. How are you supposed to know what’s best?
Enter Laura McManus, the food-obsessed CEO of Mackenzie Limited, a small, exquisite food catalog.(www.Mackenzieltd.com) On a daily basis, Laura tastes as many as 40 food products to make those critical choices for her mail order business. She has faced up to 79 balsamics in one taste test, and 65 Red Velvet cakes to find the right one, and endless cheeses to pick and choose to create collections that people will order over and over again. Since she and her father bought the company in 1984, she has increased the business time and again, and this fall will ship a million catalogs to her hungry fans, up from 600,000 last year. Laura McManus has emerged as a trend setter in the gourmet food world and has become the one to watch.
Laura will be returning from a scouting trip to Europe and will be in New York City for one day only, I’d like to bring her by to meet you. She’ll be previewing some of her great finds that will set the trends of tomorrow. She’ll have hand-crafted cheese from her visit to a Spanish cheese maker, she’ll have extraordinary balsamics, some of them really old and syrupy, and some of her company’s landmark smoked salmons from Scotland. You can have a first look at the hot new trends of tomorrow. Laura is somebody you need to know and I’d love to make the introduction.
Take a look at your calendar and see if you could give us 15 or 20 minutes of your valuable time. You can taste along with us these fabulous finds. For just this once, you get to be the kid again. Try everything. No need to pick and choose. Laura has done it for you. I’ll call you to set up an appointment, and watch your fed ex box for a sneak peek at Mackenzie’s new catalog. You’re gonna want what you see. And we can send samples. Just ask. 973 762 4857
Linda West Eckhardt
James Beard Award winning cookbook author
Public relations consultant for Mackenzie Limited
Spotlight Food Public Relations
Didn’t you just love reading that letter? It was fun, fast paced, visually exciting and explicit in just what an editor could expect the client to deliver. As an avid gardener I immediately dashed to the website to see what delicious food I might find. Didn’t you want to do the same?
Eckhardt inspired me into instant action. Which is what you want a pitch letter to do. And she told me in no uncertain terms what I could and should do, without being too bossy. Worked for me.
When I asked Eckhardt what she attributed her phenomenal success to she said two things.
- I’m a journalist.
- I use the giftlist.
As a journalist who has sold over 250 pieces to magazines, Eckhardt understands exactly what the media is looking for and how to package it properly so it’s media ready. Even if you’re not a journalist you can follow suit. She explained to editors that their 15 minutes with her client would be well spent. They weren’t just going to have an idle chat.
Eckhardt also mentioned that she used the giftlist as an essential tool. All the publicists I know swear by it.
The giftlist highlights all the holidays, special events, and seasonal specials all year round for print contacts at national and regional magazines, the top 250 daily newspapers, wires, syndicates and news services, as well as national network, cable and syndicated television shows, plus national radio. Editorial calendar information is targeted at the “December Holiday” season.
Don’t overlook *Spotlight Branding* which tells you how to get your products (from beverages to sporting gear) featured on Pilots or TV shows. You know, when you see a name brand sitting casually on someone’s desk don’t think it’s ended up there by accident. Someone either paid for that prime spot or negotiated the placement. You can do the same.
Desksides are the equivalent of publicity speed dating. Getting your client in front of editors in person gives them the opportunity to get a powerful, condensed session that can directly translate into feature articles and TV appearances.