Magazine, newspaper and blog features can lead to more sales and help raise the profile of your brand. For some online sellers, press features have proven to be even better than SEO at getting customers to their stores. But what’s the best way to get your designs in front of journalists and bloggers?
We asked journalists Tracy Ramsden and Marie-Claire Dorking, founder of art, craft and design blog Creative Boom Katy Cowan, and Vogue-featured jewellery designer Kim Lawler from Finest Imaginary if they could shed some light. Here they each share their five top tips for getting your shop, your products and even yourself featured in blogs and magazines.
Featured image: Silver Key Necklace by Joanna Wakefield
Handmade Ceramic Mug by Laura Lane
How to get your work featured in a magazine
– 15 tips from people in the know
Tracy Ramsden and Marie-Claire Dorking from Skribe London
Tracy and Marie-Claire are successful (award-winning, even!) journalists who have written for Company, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, Red, the Observer, Daily Mail, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, and You and Your Wedding… the list goes on. Together they set up Skribe London, a consultancy that helps small businesses find their story. For bespoke, one-on-one sessions on how to get more press coverage for your business, visit www.skribelondon.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.
1. Find your story
Think like a journalist, decide what makes the story of your business unique and then the best blog or publication to share this story with.
2. Treat journalists like customers
Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, get to know them and build a relationship with them to learn what they’re looking for, what stories they are currently working on and work out how your business can help. Follow #journorequest on Twitter for story leads.
3. Read everything!
Not just the blogs, magazines and newspapers that you think might suit your products, but also other niche or off-piste magazines. Then work out how you might fit into their features, ie as a personal tragedy-to-triumph story, as an expert in your field, as a career mentor. You could even loan your products for feature photoshoots in exchange for a credit and link to your website.
4. Tailor your approaches
What works for Take a Break magazine won’t work for GQ magazine, so never send out a blanket, catch-all email or press release. Tweak it according to the different editors and, crucially, different potential consumers. Read the masthead of magazines and always contact the editorial assistant or features assistant first, then the commissioning or features editor.
Tip: the editor-in-chief is far too busy to receive and respond to press releases.
5. Make sure you are credited correctly
You’ve got the press – great! Now maximise it by making sure the blog or magazine fully and correctly namechecks your business and includes a link to your stop or website. That’s when you’ll see your story turn into PR and sales.
Katy Cowan, editor of Creative Boom
Katy Cowan is the founder and editor of the inspirational Creative Boom blog, an online magazine that celebrates, inspires and supports the creative industries. She is also MD at Manchester PR agency Boomerang
1. Have professional photos
Invest in a decent photographer to take photos of your products. Get some professional shots done of you, your studio and maybe even your work in progress too. Having great quality images will often determine whether you get media coverage. Try to create the same level of imagery that you regularly see in your target publication. Remember, the better the photograph, the more chance you have of getting featured.
2. Read the magazine cover to cover
Before you target any newspaper or magazine, read them cover to cover and explore regular features or columns where you think you might be able to put yourself forward. Women’s magazines have lots of ‘Shopping’ pages, for example. Find out who edits those, and send over what they need with a short, sharp pitch. So, if you see a Shopping page in a magazine and all they do is share a photograph, a short paragraph and a website link – that’s what you need to provide!
3. Use Twitter
First of all, follow all the journalists and writers you want to build relationships with on Twitter. Have a decent website with quality imagery and a link to a ‘Media’ page where journalists can easily find the information and images they need to write about you. Then share this web page on Twitter with certain journalists. Don’t be afraid to tweet: ‘Noticed your regular Shopping page, check out my latest collection here – all images/info for download’.
4. Build relationships
When you gain media coverage, make sure you thank the journalist afterwards and keep their contact details on file. You’ll want to build a relationship where possible and ensure that the journalist has you in mind the next time they need to cover something related to your business/products. Write down little notes about them if you get to know them, so you can ask them specific things next time. Remember, all business is about good relationships.
5. Submit a proposal to bloggers
If you want to get featured in the art and design blogs, bloggers often love a ‘series’ of work to share with their huge audiences. Why not create something that you know will get great traction and have the potential to go viral? Ensure you get some decent photography of your project before emailing/submitting your work to all of the key blogs, like Colossal, Fubiz, MyModernMet, BoredPanda and of course Creative Boom!
We have a Crafts section and we’re always on the look out for decent work to share with our audience. We’re so well known these days, that our articles have the potential to go viral. One last week attracted 25,000 visitors in one day! Email between six and 10 Jpegs of your work, at least 1,000 pixels wide, with information about you and the project to email@example.com.
Kim Lawler from Finest Imaginary
Kim Lawler is the brains behind Finest Imaginary. As well as being a professional maker who has had her jewellery featured in Vogue no less, she also helps other small creative businesses build their online arsenal by designing websites, offering her creative services, and writing guides to selling online. You can find more advice from Kim on her blog Kim Lawler Creative.
1. Have both lifestyle and white-background images
Magazines and bloggers aren’t always looking for the same kind of images, so have a mixture of really good quality lifestyle and white-background cut-out shots ready to make sure you have what they want.
2. Answer enquiries straight away
Journalists are usually working on very tight turnaround times, so make sure you can jump straight to that email or get samples in the post on the same day.
3. Be organised and press-ready
It pays to be organised with your items for press. I keep a folder in my Dropbox with high-resolution press-ready images – then I just send that link to any journalists who need them so they can download the images they need. I also have a Google document with all my product information, so I can quickly reply to any press requests with a copy-and-pasted snippet about the products I’m putting forward.
4. Engage with journalists on Twitter
Follow your favourite publications, and their editors/journalists, on Twitter. Engage with them in a non-businessy, authentic way and watch out for any press requests they might post. Keep an eye on the #journorequest hashtag – there are some interesting opportunities every day on that tag!
5. Make your products easy to find!
Be findable. Make sure your products are titled, described and tagged correctly on the sites you’re selling them through. Journalists will search for key terms such as ‘gifts for mum’ or ‘stocking fillers’. If you’ve got a product that fits those kind of guides, make sure you’ve got a line in your description saying so! Something like, “this handmade silver charm necklace is the perfect present for Mum this Christmas” will do the trick.