One of the questions new designers often ask me is how they can get more press coverage for their products. One of the best PR agencies I work with is husband and wife team Seen PR, recently rebranded from PR Girl (a name which amused me no end, given than for a long time David Gorrod was the only “PR Girl” I had met!)
They always approach me with relevant and interesting products and designers, so I thought they would be the perfect people to ask to share their top ten PR tips.
Seen specialise in PR for the contemporary design industry – furniture, lighting and home accessories. They work with emerging designers and established brands, retailers and design-related events and exhibitions.
Next week, Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust, is back with her tips on niche marketing, but for now, over to David and Louise…
1. Invest in good product images. No matter how amazing your product is, without decent images the press will not feature it. It is as simple as that. Good professional 300dpi photography (appox 30cm x 20 cm in size) is worth its weight in gold and essential if you want to be taken seriously in a competitive industry. Keep your images simple and they will have a wider appeal. Make sure they are well lit and taken on a white background. Try to avoid shooting against a black background, even if your products are white.
2. Hire a stylist. You’re creative, right? Yes, the chances are you are, but that doesn’t mean you’re a stylist. If you want styled images in addition to basic shots on a white background, hire a professional stylist. The initial cost laid out will pay dividends.
3. Press Releases. These are a key tool in communicating to the press. It is vital that the first paragraph of the story interests them and holds their attention. If this is the case, they will look at the photos you’ve supplied along with the story and make a yes/no judgement. Should it be yes, they will then go on to read more of the release. Your aim is a punchy first paragraph, good images, easy to understand text and if it’s digital, laid out easily for them to copy and paste if necessary. Try and cover the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘where,’ include an image or two and don’t forget to add your logo, social media addresses and contact details.
4. Build up your press contacts. Research both print and digital to see which publications would be best suited to your work and make a list. Look at some back issues to see who has been featured recently and how. What were the images used like? why do you think they chose to feature ‘that’ product? Email or telephone the publication to ask if it’s not clear to whom you should send your press information. Some journalist contact details can be found in the publication itself.
5. Know your lead times. Check the lead times for the publications on your press list. How far in advance do they work? If in doubt, ask them. Some long lead consumer press (monthlies) can work up to 3 months in advance on features, although some ‘new product’ pages are filled nearer the time of issue. Short lead consumer press (weeklies) work around 4 weeks in advance but main features will be longer. Blogs generally work 24hrs in advance, but can often feature product / news within a couple of hours if they think they have a ‘scoop’. However, this isn’t set in stone so always check.
6. Be quick to respond. If a journalists calls for information or images be sure to reply as soon as you can. Journalists are notorious for calling stuff in at the eleventh hour. If you’re too slow in responding they might have to go elsewhere.
7. Get social. Spread the word (for free) by ensuring you sign up to social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Flicker and Pinterest and use them to communicate to your industry. Use them as places to post up your press releases and images. Ensure you use a separate dedicated page for your business, not your private one! Alongside social media, a simple website or blog is the norm these days. But, as with everything, keep it simple and user-friendly.
8. Use show PR. Many exhibitions and trade shows will include a service whereby the exhibition’s PR will collate all the releases from all the exhibitors and make them available to the press in form of a shared server or as a CD. Alternatively, they give all the exhibitors the opportunity to upload information and images themselves to a dedicated part of the exhibition’s website. If the above is the case, do make sure you use it! This is included as part of the cost of the stand package, so it’s a key tool. Get your releases and images in early and you stand a better chance of having them picked by the press.
9. Show-off your press. So you’ve got coverage? Don’t keep it to yourself: shout about it! Seriously, when you get press be sure to pop a scan of it onto your blog or website. As your press coverage gallery grows so does your brand and that will appeal to your customers no end.
10. … and finally: Always remember that you are marketing yourself and your business with every email and press release you do. So always be yourself. Be professional and always be positive. Your audience, the journalists, the press and all those you need to contact in the media are quick to recognise a positive attitude and respond favourably.