How To Pitch: Danielle Kwateng-Clark, ESSENCE Magazine

November 28, 2017

Danielle Kwateng-Clark, Entertainment Editor for ESSENCE Magazine

ESSENCE Magazine is the leading lifestyle, fashion and beauty magazine impacting more than 8 million African-American women monthly for more than 45 years. With nearly 10 years of journalism experience, ESSENCE appointed Danielle Kwateng-Clark as their Entertainment Editor in January of 2017.

When she’s not diligently keeping us informed with the latest breaking news as it relates to Hollywood, music, film and television, Danielle is busy curating for her digital shop, TheVolta.co, a place for talented artisans of color to sell their goods while highlighting other creatives in the field. Her passion includes championing women and artists of African diaspora.

DCI sat down for a Q+A with Danielle as she shared tips on how to effectively pitch this prestigious publication and what to keep in mind when marketing to diverse millennials.

How long have you worked with Essence? What do you love most about the magazine?

I’ve been working at ESSENCE since the top of 2017. As many women of color will attest to, this publication has been an integral part of my childhood and adult life, so working for an iconic brand is humbling. But aside from its legacy, ESSENCE is filled with smart, witty, fun and some of the most creative people I’ve met in publishing. The team is a joy.

What elements influence whether or not you read a PR pitch?

Short and sweet. If the client is someone I have interest in, I’ll bite. Never overload with too much information from the get go. Also, emails are preferred over phone calls.

What is your pet peeve when being pitched and/or working with PR professionals?

Being harassed. If editors are interested, 8 times out of 10, we’ll let PR professionals know ASAP. We don’t hesitate on a good story. It’s also never good to come back and pitch after we’ve turned it down.

What type of story ideas pique the interest of your readers?

Humanizing celebrity stories and pieces that tap into intrigue. If you ever thought, “how does this work?” or “who’s behind that brand?” —the pieces that answer that question do well.

Have you found a growing interest in travel related stories with Essence and Essence readers?

Yes. Millennials are interested in exploring the world more than any other generation before us. We want to know what to expect before we arrive and how to make the most out of a trip, that’s often been monetarily saved up for.

How can Destination Marketing Organizations be more conscious about marketing travel to the African American consumer?

Consider the experience of a black person when traveling. Meaning: Is the culture inclusive? Will we feel at peace? Where can we go to explore and feel safe? While African-Americans are incredibly diverse in where we want to travel, I think in general, everyone (regardless of race) enjoys feeling safe and comfortable in their own skin wherever they go.

Should PR professionals be incorporating social media-ready content in their pitches for you? What role does social media play in sourcing story ideas for you?

Yes! I think PR professionals can definitely look into places trending on social media (Instagrammable destinations) or places for foodies. There are so many accounts that readers follow for the visual experience of going somewhere— why not play off that interest?

What has been your favorite place to travel for a work or personal trip, and where are you most looking forward to visiting next?

I recently went to Albuquerque and stayed at a lavender farm. New Mexico is never somewhere I’ve thought of going but it’s absolutely stunning and the culture is so rich. I’m looking forward to visiting Toronto, Northern California and Italy as well.

Have you been keeping up with our How to Pitch Series? Tweet us at @aboutdci!

Laura Cyrille

Written by Laura Cyrille

Laura Cyrille works in DCI’s Tourism Practice on traditional and digital marketing campaigns for travel destinations around the globe. Prior to joining DCI, Laura provided digital and marketing support to the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

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