Sabina Ptacin President of Red Branch PR and Co-Founder of ‘Preneur and Danika Daly, Founder of Danika Daly PR know a thing or two about public relations. As publicists, they work with emerging designers to not only pitch their business in hopes of media placement, but to also grow their band. At The Emerging Designer Meetup, they shared their best PR 101 tips to make the process easier and manageable for those doing their own DIY PR efforts.
Here are 6 tips for emerging designers and small businesses:
1. Prepare your toolkit
If an opportunity arises, designers should be prepared with certain items that are available in hard copy and digital formats. For branding purposes, a bio and about section about your company is necessary along with a professional headshot. A look book and line sheet is also a must and should include contact information and product details. Clear photos of your product are extremely important because it’s often the first time someone will interact with your brand. Plus, for electronic outlets, these are the photos that will most likely be used as most as they don’t do their own photo shoots.
Designers should also be prepared to send out samples if requested. They should be labeled and also placed in a professional looking package (e.g kraft bag, box or garment bag). In the end, the items in your toolkit don’t need to cost a lot of money, but it’s essential that they are professional, clear and do a good job of selling your brand.
A press release is a nice to-have, but what a designer needs is a solid pitch. The key to crafting a good one is to including the following:
- A relevant headline that will attract the reader’s attention
- A greeting that is tailored to the person your are emailing
- Bullets instead of text to easily explain the clear and concise content your are trying to communicate
- Photos that are embedded or links can be included to give the reader a glimpse of your product
- Signature that includes your contact information such as a link to your website and phone number
3. Research and strategy
Having a public relations strategy will help you stay focused and make sure you are contacting the right outlets.
Before reaching out to a member of the media, be sure to have read the publication or watch the outlet regularly so you know what they cover and are familiar with a few of their most recent articles. This will keep you informed and knowledgable and may be your way in to that contact; especially if you mention that you enjoyed their last article.
Danika suggested a reading day which includes going to the bookstore or library to look at all the magazines that could work for your brand.
Once you’ve identified media targets, create an Excel sheet with their contact information and notes so you also build your database. To understand what you will pitch, use editorial calendars. These are usually found in the advertising section on the outlet’s website. For example, InStyle’s editorial calendar details what they are planning for the year and includes deadlines.
4. Finding and connecting with the media
There are several ways to get an editor’s contact information. One easy way is to look at the masthead of a magazine. You can also Google them, search on social media outlets such as Twitter and LinkedIn. There’s also tools that combine social media and professional information into one platform. Rapportive is a tool for Gmail users that is free and provides users with a lot of detailed information along with space to write notes.
5. Importance of social media
Social media is now a must because it helps designers foster relationships with their network and easily allows brands to get exposure for free. Since there are so many platforms, designers will have to find which one is right for them.
In regards to the type of content you are delivering, Sabina mentioned that designers should think of content like going to a dinner party. The conversation is not all about you, but a balance between your audience and the brand.
6. What to avoid
- Don’t send a mass email to anyone
- Never send a sample that wasn’t requested because the media receives a lot of product
- Avoid lists that make you pay because research can be done on your own
- Don’t re-write a published article or make changes and send it to the outlet
- Politely follow-up, but don’t stalk
- Reaching out to the media when they are out of the office such as fashion week or when they are on air!
Connect with Sabina Ptacin Follow @SabinaRedBranch and take advantage of a ‘Preneur membership by using the code Emerge to receive 20% off of a monthly or annual membership.
Emerging Designer or have a resource to share? Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.