When it comes to PR, interior designers can be left feeling confused and a little intimidated. What if I don't have industry connections? How do I know the right person to contact? What should even be in my pitch?
Thankfully, The PR Collaborative exists to put interior designers' minds at ease and help them land tons of interior design publication features in the process! Founded by Alex Abramian, The PR Collaborative is a space for new, emerging and mid-career interior designers and interior photographers to master the art of PR. Alex gives us a sneak peek into a day in The PR Collaborative by debunking some common media misconceptions for interior designers...
Myth #1. You have to have a bank of appropriate credentials before reaching out to the media.
Incorrect. Start your PR early, you don't wait to have certain accomplishments under your belt. The media loves to discover rising design stars.There's a lot of recycling of the same 50 designers in the media, so it's really exciting for an editor to discover someone who they've never heard of.
The other thing that I really want to emphasise: If you are considering approaching the media on your own without a publicist, you will be a breath of fresh air. Editors are drowning in pitches, and 90% of them are coming from publicists. So, if you're a designer or a photographer reaching directly out to a journalist, a writer, or an editor, you're going to stand out. Don't wait until you've met a certain "benchmark", get those media connections going earlier in your career. It will pay off in dividends as you get more work under your belt. Also, you don't need to be perfect but the photos of your work absolutely do. People will often come to me with their project shots and half the time I look at the images and I say, we've got to get it reshot. We can't go out to the media with this. It won't do you any good. In fact, it'll hurt you.
Myth #2. You need a polished press release in order to reach out to the media
Speaking to a journalist is not far from how you would send a text to a friend. You want to keep it really short, really specific, and you want to let them know if a project has been published or not. They are not looking for a press release. There are three things that really matter to journalists:
- Where is your project located?
- Has it been published before?
- What does it look like?
Myth #3. "The media only cares about what I do. They don't care about who I am"
The media wants to know more about you than just the projects that you've created—they want to know about the person behind the project. It's really important to play the longer PR gam: forging media relationships. The more you stand out the better it is. In every pitch, you need to include a photo of yourself and a bio about what you do. One of the best ways to engage an editor's brain is by putting a face behind the email. It is really important that your bio and your portrait tell the same story. Embed both of these within the email—nobody wants to click on a link if they don't have to. Make it go down easy, like a milkshake. Don't make more work.
Myth #4. You can only get one media hit per project
Landing multiple features for one project is all about understanding how to differentiate your pitches. First, you need to approach a national publication with a home tour. A national publication will only accept unpublished work, so it is wise to even keep your project off social media until you have landed this exclusive feature. If you're relatively new to the PR game, I'd recommend placing it digitally, not in print. If you wait for print for a national publication, you're going to wait forever but really you want to be becoming a media insider sooner rather than later. One thing to consider is that at the moment clients have a general preference for large, minimal, neutral spaces. The media on the other hand like mostly tiny, and mostly colourful. They're completely at odds. The way to combat this? Hunt for projects where you're going to be able to do something super colourful and also super relatable and accessible (not quite DIY but that kind of feel).
Once you have landed a feature in a big national publication, you can go to more local media with the same offering—they won't care nearly as much whether this project has been published or not. Step 3, you start looking for round-up stories. That's your "15 beautiful kitchens", "64 white bathrooms", "10 beautiful outdoor decks" etc. With these types of stories, it is not going to matter whether the work is published or unpublished, so you can repeatedly recycle the same images. This is how you start racking up 3, 4, 5, or 6 media placements. A common misconception I hear is, "They just did a round-up of white bathrooms, I can't pitch them another white bathroom." Don't worry about it. The media is constantly recycling the same concepts with different images, and ideas. Sometimes, you can even take the project apart and pitch it out for a specific room, specific process etc. The key is to mould your pitch exactly to the publication and how they like to cover homes. So, in one pitch to a house and garden magazine, you might say, "how I integrated the indoors into every room in the house", for another publication you might say, "how I renovated a kitchen without taking down a single wall."
Remember: not every project is going to take off! Often people have just 1 or 2 projects that get picked up at any given time and the rest simply aren't as captivating to the media—don't worry about it, that's just how the game is played.