Portfolio is the in-flight magazine for premium Emirates passengers. MediaSource spoke with editor Matthew Pomroy about story angles for a global audience, the updated tone of the magazine and why generic PR pitches should be avoided.
What kind of stories do you cover?
Portfolio is the magazine for first and business class on Emirates flight (and lounges) worldwide and the passengers travelling are generally wealthy, high-spenders, educated and globally minded. So it’s a broad remit for content, but there tends to be an undercurrent of money, luxury, wealth or business in most of the features. The ‘Living’ section at the back is more luxury leisure and covers topics like style, hotels and travel.
Are there special considerations for PR when pitching an in-flight magazine?
The best thing to do is look though the magazine, because it’s not so much what we cover, it’s how we cover it. If your PR firm won’t send you on a first-class flight in the name of research, you can see an issue here.
Remember that it’s not just a magazine for Dubai or the UAE. Portfolio is on planes and in lounges in 146 destinations in 83 countries. Someone flying from London to Sydney in first class is not going to be interested in a new cupcake business in Umm Suqeim, so overly local stories won’t run. A feature about the UAE getting involved in space travel to Mars, however, is interesting to a global audience. It does make it harder to pitch, but the upside is hundreds of thousands of people in 146 destinations in 83 countries can potentially see your client.
Are there editorial sections more receptive to PR than others?
The ‘Living’ section carries style and grooming for men and women, hotels, food, coffee-table books, etc., so would probably be more receptive. Features rarely come from PR pitches.
What makes for a well-crafted pitch?
When it’s clear you’ve actually seen the mag and are aware of how we cover topics. When I started last year, we re-designed the mag and changed a lot of the editorial style to be less about the typical CEO interview, and more a mag that a CEO might want to read.
What pet peeves will land a pitch in the bin?
When it’s obvious that the pitch is just part of a mass mail-out, and about something clearly not relevant. And being offered an “exclusive” that is clearly nothing of the sort is irritating.
Are images, and other accompanying material important to include? Any formats to avoid?
High-res images are always required. There’s been a recent move towards using DropBox which is really good as I can see all the high-res images and choose which ones I want to download. WeTransfer is fine, but it can take a long time to download gigabytes of images only to find they are not usable – they’re catwalk rather than product shots, for example. And if it’s a product shot, putting the price as part of the image file’s name makes it far more likely to be used. Chasing prices is a huge time-suck for journalists, so we tend to favour ones that have prices already included.
Is there a best time to pitch you?
It’s never too early. And although six weeks is usually fine in terms of print deadline, I try to work in advance so pages and sections can already be full by that stage.
How can PR professionals build a productive relationship with you?
By sending relevant information that shows they’re aware of what the magazine covers.
How do you feel about being pitched via Twitter?
I’d really rather not. Same for Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp or any other social media. Email is still best.