All interior designers dream of landing a feature in a recognised interior design trade publication. Not only will your designs look beautifully in the gloss spread of a magazine, but a trade publication feature is also a great way to bolster your reputation in the interior design industry and attract new clients.With the ever-mounting costs of running an interior design firm, is hiring a professional publicist worth the expense? Or can you successfully manage your own PR and marketing? Here's a complete guide to managing your publicity as an interior designer and landing a feature in your dream magazine.
Do interior designers need a publicist?
An interior design publicist can help you to build brand awareness by showcasing your brand in relevant media outlets such as interior design trade publications and on social media. Before taking your brand to the media, a PR professional will help you to consolidate your brand messaging, identify your USP, and determine your target market.
For interior designers, the ultimate PR win is landing a feature in a celebrated interior design magazine such as Architectural Digest or House & Garden. However, capturing the attention of journalists as a new designer can be tricky. A publicist will likely have an existing relationship with journalists and editors, as well as a wealth of knowledge of their specific criteria which will make it easy to break down the initial barrier between you and the industry.
That being said, a publicist is not your only ticket to getting published. Many interior designers pay high prices for a publicist to bag them precious press opportunities, but others have taught themselves the art of PR and have successfully landed PR opportunities as a result. To successfully manage your own PR you need to be savvy, organised and, most importantly of all, yourself.
How do interior designers get published?
Contrary to popular belief, publications want to publish relatively unknown interior designers, even with small portfolios of work. Star-studded interior designers might receive requests for publication, but the majority of the time editors commission interior designers based on their pitch. Which means that the only thing between you and a feature in the interior design publication of your dreams is a stand-out pitch!
Another quick win for having your work published is to submit your work for interior design awards. There are thousands of interior design awards spanning all levels and niche areas of design, all of which are a great way to gain publicity for you and your business. Whether you choose to submit your work to magazines, awards or other media outlets, a great pitch is your ticket to success. We've prepared a bank of practical pitching tips to help you sell your brand, get the attention of journalists and present your best work—all you have to remember is PITCH.
How to pitch to an interior design magazine
Perfect your interior design pitch and land features in top interior design publications following our simple pitch writing formula. All you need to remember: PITCH.
(P): Position yourself as the expert
People want to read the stories and advice of experts, so you must convince journalists that you are one. Use real examples to illustrate your expertise and don't be shy in sharing what makes you stand out from the crowd. That being said, remember this is not a sales pitch (they are not a client!) One foolproof way to position yourself as an expert is to share your recent and relevant awards or achievements. A fresh perspective also makes you seem well-informed and trustworthy. Try offering a teaser of your original research about different interior trends and their effect on the current market.
(I): Intrigue with your subject line
Journalists and editors receive hundreds, or even thousands, of pitches every day. The key to standing out from the crowd: your subject line. First, clearly state that this is a pitch. Don't assume editors will automatically know why you're getting in touch. The rest of the subject line should both inform and intrigue. What can the journalist expect when opening the email and why should they bother?
Quick tip: avoid your subject line being cut off by keeping it to approx 50 characters.
(T): Tailor your pitch
Let's get straight to the point—your pitch will end up in the trash if it sounds generic and bland. Don't even think about sending a copy-paste email template to every journalist in your mailing list! Take your time and personalise each pitch to fit each editor. Get to know them a little bit by browsing through their previous work and socials. For extra bonus points, reference something about them or their previous work and what inspired you to reach out to them in your pitch.
Also, always consider their medium. Be clear as to whether this journalist works in television, radio, newspaper, magazine, blog site etc. You don't want to tell a radio journalist to "write about your brand".
(C): Cut to the chase
It's called an elevator pitch for a reason! If it helps, you can even pretend you're writing a Tweet and have to stick to the character limit. You'll get that concise and punchy pitch by writing something your recipient can read in less than a minute. One to two paragraphs are enough to present your idea as it is easier to digest and understand. Providing a brief synopsis highlighting the relevant points can make the journalist invested and inclined to learn more. You want to provide a teaser, not the whole story.
(H): Hawk your portfolio
Great! You've got the journalist's attention. Now seal the deal by sharing your stunning portfolio! The best way to get your portfolio up to scratch is to invest in a professional interior design photographer. Not only will your portfolio look sleek and polished, but so too will your website and social media feeds. You'll likely have many pictures to choose from, but there is no need to share them all. Select a few images that align with the tone of the publication you are pitching and are relevant to the topic. If you're looking to be featured as an expert on kitchen renovation, time to showcase that beautiful kitchen you just completed.
What next? Your post-publishing to-do list
Congratulations! Your well-crafted interior design pitch paid off and you landed a feature in an interior design publication. Now what? We get it, you want to "ride the wave" and begin pitching your next project, but hold on just a second! Whilst there is an overwhelming amount of advice on how to get published as an interior designer, there is very little on what interior designers should do after being published. If you want to really make the most of a PR opportunity, how you act after getting published is just as important as the magazine feature itself. Take the following steps to make the most out of your press as an interior designer.
Maintain a relationship with the editor
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn—there is an abundance of social platforms to help you maintain professional relationships. Follow the journalist/editor who commissioned you and you'll be first to see future opportunities they advertise. Not to mention, they'll be kept up to date with any exciting new projects you post and may even initiate contact with you because of them. Maintaining professional relationships requires time and effort. But even a like or comment here and there goes a long way. Also, it's nice to show support. Everyone appreciates a boost in social engagement here and there.
Repurpose the content for your socials
Getting published is a great achievement—you deserve to show it off! Share your published work on all your social media platforms—again and again! This way, prospective clients will see that you are an established interior designer, well-regarded in your field. Remember to tag both the publication and the journalist in all promotions—a re-share is great for reach! When posting images to your Instagram feed, use captions wisely—you could use an excerpt from the interview or share an explanation of your process. Also, use your Instagram stories to share direct links to the article. You should link to the published article in your Instagram bio too.
Use this feature, to help land your next
Always use your published PR to jump-start another PR opportunity. Landing your first feature is the hardest part, but you will be surprised at how your now-published work editors' attention. The fact you have worked with other journalists before proves you are experienced, professional and reliable—so make sure all future editors know that from the outset!
Hiring a publicist for your interior design firm is a fast-track ticket to landing features in interior design publications, but it is by no means the only way to get published as an interior designer.
Instead, you can master the art of pitching to journalists by being original, personable and professional. The job doesn't end after landing a feature in a top interior design publication. Post-publication you should look to maintain a relationship with the magazine editor, promote your work on social media and use the publicity as social proof to help land your next trade publication feature.