Dear Design Doctor
I have been a fashion jeweller for 3 years. We have 25 stockists now, selling via our own online shop and other online retailers.
Everything is going well, but I really struggle with getting any press interest. I have send press releases and images, but I just don’t get anywhere. Any advice?
Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust, answered this question as The Design Doctor in Crafts Magazine November/December 2013 (page 26) where it was titled ‘How to work with the fourth estate’:
‘Fantastic to hear that your business is doing so well. And I completely understand you would like to add some press to complete your successes!
But as you have discovered, a press release won’t get you very far these days.
You will need to become more targeted and be a bit more creative in your approach if you want to get great press results.
My first question is: Why do you want press?
This might sound like a very obvious question, but your answer will identify specific objectives, each with a specific course of action.
If you want press to raise your profile or credibility then you need to focus on getting an interview on a popular jewellery blog or design magazine.
If you want sales then a (small) picture of your jewellery with your web address in the Sunday newspaper magazines is very worthwhile, especially before Christmas or Valentine’s Day.
However, in my own experience the impact of press is often lower than you might expect.
If you are launching a new collection then an email or brochure to your existing and newly researched stockists will be more effective than a press release.
You also might have discovered already that quirkier designs are often more photogenic for publication, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will sell.
Unless you get national or very frequent press coverage, your profile and sales will only really increase if you proactively share your press coverage with your niche audience through your own newsletter, social media or website. So, start with thinking why and how to use the press for your creative business.
The next question is: Who do you want to reach? What do you want to say?
- Consumers, trade buyers or your peers?
- Who are YOUR ideal clients?
- What specific papers, magazines or blogs do they read? There has been a huge shift from traditional press to online blogs, so make sure that you research both online and print press, aimed at consumers and trade.
- What are you communicating?
- And what do you want them to do (e.g. order online, commission you, recognise you)?
Develop a press strategy: what do you want to achieve from ‘the press’?
Identify clear objectives and goals by answering the questions above. Researching potential publications, journalists and bloggers will become much easier for you.
If you want to be successful with the press then you need to identify and start building relationships with specific people.
Sending out a generic press release doesn’t work, as it is not targeted or personal enough.
Think about yourself from the perspective of a journalist or blogger who needs to fill their publication.
- Are you a creative with a lovely photogenic house or studio?
- A successful, local, young business woman?
- Are you an expert with very quotable one liners?
Think about an interesting angle a journalist could focus on, or what the story is they could tell.
Have some fun researching a wide range of relevant publications to identify all the different options for you or your business to be featured in them: from interviews with portraits in your studio, expert columns, to product images in regular ‘Recommended’ columns, or product placements in styled photo shoots.
Make specific notes of the title of the recurring columns, and the name and job title of people who are responsible for creating them. Don’t approach automatically ‘The Editor’ but instead identify the name of the stylist or a junior features editor.
When you contact the correct person keep it short and friendly in the first instance.
Show you have done your research.
You even might want to pitch some story ideas or angles, specifically targeted at their publication and audience.
Don’t just rely on emails, as most journalists are very busy with overflowing in-boxes! Send a hand-written private view invite or beautiful package in the post, add to their Twitter discussions, or comment on their blogs. That will get you noticed!
Fantastic images are crucial for good press coverage, so attach 2 – 3 relevant image or link to specific page on your website.
Provide detail shots showing your work and skills at its best, as well as lifestyle images for scale and context. Also use images of products against a neutral background for easy cut out.
File any images professionally with your name and short description, don’t just call them ‘jpeg123’.
It might take a little while before some of the larger and more important publications will start to notice you, let alone feature you.
Continue building those relationships, and always be professional, friendly and helpful. Add a bit of persistence and luck too, and I have no doubt your press coverage will be much more successful.’
Are you successful with getting into the press? What are your secrets?
Have you got any more questions about getting into the press? Add them in the comments box below.