After working at MTV in the U.K., Sasha Tong moved to Toronto where she quickly landed a job at eTalk. She’s been with the show for more than five years and heads up the fashion beat. Tong has been lucky enough to interview some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including everyone from Oscar and Juno nominees to talent at the Toronto International Film Festival; she’s been afforded some pretty crazy opportunities. Tong also now writes a weekly fashion and personal advice column on laineygossip.com.
How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
The most important way to grab my attention is with a pitch that’s quick and concise. If I have to read through a novel to get to the point, then I’ve already moved on. I know what will work and what won’t work for the show, so you typically don’t have to convince me. It’s really important though, that you know what eTalk features on a regular basis, so something like “how to wax your bikini line” just isn’t something I can feature on the show. Oh, and if you get my name right on the email, then that’s a bonus.
What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I always appreciate it when I’m dealing with a PR company that can get me everything I need on a tight turnaround. If you’re pitching me and I like it, I usually have to move quickly, so the more organized and resourceful you are, the more I love you for it. Because time is such an issue, I also find it useful when I can just shoot the shit with the publicist and be straight up. If I pass on a pitch I don’t want to feel like I’ve hurt your feelings.
What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
Hands down: when I’m stalked. I love a good follow-up email but if you start leaving messages on my work phone and my cell phone, that’s a quick buzz kill.
My pet peeve
Please, oh please, put the email all in one font. When I get an email and everything is different sizes, I know you’ve just cut and pasted and pressed send. I don’t need to feel special, but paying attention to a small detail like that goes a long way.
Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the publicists I work with are amazing. You guys are talented, innovative and creative. So keep up the good work.