Interior design inspiration and education are my main focuses here on the blog (with some personal updates sprinkled in of course). Another passion of mine, is helping to educate other designers on running a business, because design school is NOT business school – as most designers will tell you! I’m fortunate to also have a background in journalism and marketing, so I believe this has given me a leg up when understanding how to pitch and get press for your interior design business. My design work has been featured by many national online design outlets (such as Elle Decor, MyDomaine, HGTV, Domino, Rue Mag, Apartment Therapy, The Chicago Tribune – and more), and fingers crossed I’ll be in my first national print magazine Spring 2018. This is all with less than two years fully in business for myself, which is to say – it’s never too early to start seeking coverage!
If you missed past articles focused on running your design business, you can read My Top 10 Apps for Your Design Business and Branding Your Small Business advice too. You can also hear me talk more about my blog and business on A Well-Designed Business Podcast and Million Dollar Decorating.
I’m going to list all my tips below. But first, I would like to direct you to Amy Flurry of Recipe for Press and encourage you to listen to Amy’s interview on A Well-Designed Business. Besides beautiful photography and some pitching know-how, the most important thing you need is access to the editors! Buying a media list (and the fact that Amy as developed one for creatives) is genius! You still need to do your research (more on this below), but this makes your chances of getting through to the correct person much higher.
CLAIRE’S TOP TEN TIPS FOR HOW TO PITCH AND GET PRESS FOR YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS:
- Don’t be shy! Unless you have about $3K per/month to have PR agency pitch on your behalf, you have to get over the “self-promotion” hiccups and just put yourself out there. The squeaky wheel gets the grease in this case.
- This cannot be overstated – INVEST IN PHOTOGRAPHY. My largest business expense is photo shoots, period. Your work will not get featured without really beautiful photos and styling. If styling is not your strong suit, find a friend or hire someone to help you. Florals and additional props need to be factored into the cost of every shoot.
- Make a list first. Determine what online or print publications are a good fit for your style. Make a list of attainable press goals, and then your “reach” press goals. Visit those sites, blogs and pick up the print magazines. Figure out where some of your current projects could be a good fit and focus on planning future photo shoots to coincide with your pitch ideas, and the time of year the media outlets cover that topic.
- Continue your research. After creating your list of publications, and brainstorming how your projects can fit in the mix, narrow down the angles you’d like to pitch and find the editor/s name that writes that section of the magazine, web or blog. For instance, if you have a great BEFORE & AFTER of a kitchen project you’ll want to find the time of year that issue of the magazine comes out and the closing date for content submissions (can be months ahead of time for print – so think ahead!). You can often find this by googling (for example) “House Beautiful Editorial Calendar” – most magazines have these documents as online PDFs. and you can easily access them. Also, you can certainly submit work that does not coincide with an exact pitch or magazine topic. It’s a great first step just to make contact with an editor, and they may need other content (especially online sources).
- Create or buy a media list. Keeping an up-to-date media list is not easy, and editors can change quickly in the online landscape, but you can purchase a media list (see above Amy Flurry) or start making a list of your own. Instagram has made it quite easy to directly connect with companies (ask for the best contact to submit your XYZ project), or you can easily begin to follow and develop relationships with editors and writers from various publications. Look to your peers that are getting published, they are often thanking the editors who have featured them in the past.
- Be well-written. When actually drafting an email pitch, keep it short, sweet, well-written and include a link to very select photos. Editors get TONS of pitches, don’t be afraid to follow up one more time if you don’t hear anything in a week or two.
- Be responsive. Things move fast in the publishing world! I try to answer any emails to an editor or request for photos / quotes the same day!
- Think like an editor, but don’t do their job. When writing your pitch you can certainly reference a section of the magazine or style of article you think pairs well with the work you are pitching, but don’t go on and on about yourself or the project. You want to say enough that it sounds like you’ve done your research, but not so much that it sounds like you are telling the editor how to write the story!
- Position yourself as an expert. Besides having your work published, another way to get press is to be asked for your expert opinion. Do you have a speciality? Background in textile design, color expert, construction? Make sure you are also selling those skills that might not be as obvious!
- Get scrappy! Getting press takes work/time and sometimes lots of internet stalking (jk, kind of!) Use any resources available to you…i.e. friends in the industry, or friends of friends to get the contacts you need. My little sister’s work colleague was the person with the source that landed our living room on the front page of the Chicago Tribune home section, and it was all because I asked just about everyone I knew (including my sister) if they knew anyone who could help get our kitchen featured locally!
Alright, I know this is a lot to take in! I hope this was helpful, please let me know if you have questions happy to help if I can, and definitely listen to that podcast with Amy – it was very insightful!
XOXO – CLAIRE
PS. Amy has a free document to help you get started and her marketing is SOOO good (exhibit A below). FYI – I’m not getting paid by her to recommend her company, I just found her really helpful : )