Interview: Lindsay Kaplan, Publicity Manager, Time Out New York


Lindsay Kaplan is Publicity Manager for Time Out New York, including its print publications and online presence. She also handles social media and media relations strategy for these brands. Kaplan was previously an Associate Publicist at Oxford University Press.

In this interview, Kaplan talks about her media relations strategy (“There always needs to be a personal hook, rather than just a generic press release.”), who at TONY gets the most media requests (“Our editor-in-chief, Michael Freidson, loves doing press.”) and how she manages to balance doing PR for both the online and print publications (“…while our website traffic has doubled in the last six months, we remain a print product that is proud to have a leg in publishing and a leg online.”)

Time Out NY newsstand sales are up 24.3 percent over last summer. The total average paid circulation is 153,818. What do you think are some of the reasons TONY has remained successful in the face of drastic revenue declines at other publications?

Time Out NY is written for New Yorkers and not at them. We’ve taken the economy into account but we’re not patronizing to our readers. We’re continuing our years of service that we’ve given to the public. TONY was the first to publish cheap eats, and now you can find cheap eats everywhere. But a topic like that isn’t just a recession fad for us. There is always going to be a hip crowd in NY that looks to TONY for what’s cool to do without maxing out their credit cards. We’ve built the magazine on that readership.

How do you manage doing PR for the online property and still keep people excited about the print publication?

Time Out is a brand, so I promote the magazine and the website. There are also international guidebooks. It’s easy to keep people exited because we have so many outlets, but the voice remains consistent. Print will always be helpful to New Yorkers, because they can take it on the subway and thumb through the listings and that works to the magazine’s advantage. And while our website traffic has doubled in the last six months, we remain a print product that is proud to have a leg in publishing and a leg online.

What has been the most popular issue over the last year? What do you attribute to its popularity?

We’ve had a lot of buzz about our dating issues and had a lot of relationships come out of those issues! But we’re not just fluff. In terms of sales, we always do well with our “Weekend Getaways” and our “Great Walks.” Again, those are written for New Yorkers and that’s what New Yorkers really look for in TONY – the best of of the city in a new and different light.

You once said, “most of my pitches are just casual emails.” Tell us a little bit about your pitch process or media relations strategy.

I enjoy working with people and definitely pride myself as someone who fosters long term relationships over short term contacts. It’s really important in publishing because the media world changes so quickly. If you don’t have these personal connections, you run the risk of pitching a publication, rather than its people. We have to remember that these are individuals we’re attracting, not an entity. There always needs to be a personal hook, rather than just a generic press release.

Which reporters / editors at TONY tend to get the most media requests? How do you balance out scheduling media for reporters who are also chasing stories?

We’ve gotten a lot of coverage recently. In the past month, TONY was covered in depth in The New York Times. The magazine was featured on E! News, we were mentioned in Page Six, linked to in the Huffington Post, and have had some amazing blog coverage. In between all of that we were approached by CNN and BBC radio. We’ve also taken on a new branded segment on NY Nonstop that airs multiple times a day.

Often, we are approached to talk about New York: what events are hot, where to eat, or how to go out on a budget. Our editor-in-chief, Michael Freidson, loves doing press and we feel great about putting our most knowledgeable editors in the spotlight.

What’s fascinating about TONY is the amount of experts we have on staff. On any given day, I can walk into the kitchen and find the dining team discussing a food festival with the features group, or the music department is bringing in an up and coming rock band to perform in the lobby. The depth of knowledge here is extraordinary, which is fabulous for press, because we really have an expert on all things New York. My film team, for example, is often approached by A&E Biography, and the food team collaborates with NYC TV’s “Eat Out NY.”