Danielle Kwateng is the lead news writer for the digital fashion site StyleBlazer. Over the last year, she’s played a huge role in turning StyleBlazer into a credible outlet for fashion news, analysis and the first word on the latest industry trends. Prior to joining the SB team, Danielle wrote for Glamour, People StyleWatch, Ebony Magazine and The Grio.
Here we talk about what inspired her to start writing, what her pitch preferences are and why it’s important to know your worth.
Hashtags + Stilettos (H+S): What are your day-to-day responsibilities as a news writer for StyleBlazer?
Kwateng: As the lead news writer at Styleblazer I’m responsible for covering fashion news, entertainment events and fresh market coverage. The overarching theme of my job is to be on the pulse of fashion, so I spend a lot of time out of the office meeting with PR houses and showrooms.
H+S: What inspired you to become a writer?
Kwateng: My love of the written word and how it can be used to clearly convey a message. My favorite writing is succinct with a lot of information in few words. That’s art to me.
H+S: What do you think is the biggest misconception about style writers and bloggers?
Kwateng: The biggest misconception about style writers and bloggers is that we work for free and our sites are a hobby. Trust: it’s a full-time job.
H+S: What types of stories, content or projects are you looking for?
Kwateng: Anything uniquely related to fashion. By “unique” I mean new ways to wear trends, clothing line launches or exclusives.
H+S: How do you prefer to be pitched? Phone/Email/Social Media? No Preference?
Kwateng: I prefer to be pitched via email, in press release form.
H+S: When is the absolute worst time to send you a pitch?
Kwateng: There’s never a bad time to send a pitch! I check my email seven days a week, so if I’m interested I’ll reply.
H+S: Biggest PR pet peeves?
Kwateng: Reiterating what I just said, “if I’m interested, I’ll reply.” Don’t blow my phone up or contact me on social media to read your pitch. One email and a follow-up are enough.
H+S: Name one thing journalists can do to have a better relationship with PR people?
Kwateng: Journalists can keep a rolling Excel document of all their PR contacts at different brands and regularly update it to be efficient. Always save emails and never underestimate who can help you.
H+S: How can a PR person or brand get on your “always respond” list?
Kwateng: First impressions are key, so by sending originally drafted emails addressing me–and not a bulk blast– is a good way to grab my attention. Try to personalize emails as much as possible and asking what we’re working on. That way you can cater what you have, to what we’re already working on.
H+S: Despite what research says about the journalism profession, being a writer/editor is still a covetable position. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Kwateng: Know your worth and your skill. A lot of people think they’re journalists but they’re really creative writers. Hone your craft and set limits on when you’ll work for free.
H+S: What do you think about IMG’s recent announcement that they were going to ban fashion bloggers from New York Fashion Week? Smart strategy or ill-advised?
Kwateng: Fashion, in its highest form, has always been an exclusive art form. So I totally understand the need to essentially weed out those who aren’t editors or invited guests. I think it’s a smart move for IMG to curb [the number of] fashion bloggers from attending, but they should also pay special attention to the growing climate of fashion and what some of these individuals bring to the table.
H+S: Complete the following sentences:
I had the most fun writing or working on… I love being in the field and writing about new designers, specifically black designers. There’s really no single place where they get shine, so for me to be a part of their growth is always cool.
I’m most proud of… Keeping stable work! As a post-recession graduate, getting any work in the industry has been hard, but fulfilling.
My dream interview would be with… Fellow writer Robin Givhan. I just know she has some juicy secrets about the industry and can offer some guidance about staying in the biz.
iPhone, Android or Blackberry? iPhone, simply because I’m used to using Apple products (laptop, desktop, etc.).
I have …unread emails in my inbox right now… This is gonna seem horrible, but 1,210. Don’t judge.
A fun fact about me is… As I mentioned before, I’m a HUGE foodie. I love discovering new restaurants. And living in NYC, there are endless options.