As a gal who is often approached by independent designers, we asked her to share her top tips for approaching the media and getting your products featured in magazines and newspapers.
Follow Ellie’s fail-sale steps to gaining exposure with the peace of mind that you’re in knowledgeable and safe hands…
Items from timemill
1. Timing Is Everything
Be aware of lead times. In the UK, monthly consumer magazines start compiling Christmas issues in July, so if you send out a press release about your Christmas products in September, you’ll have missed the boat. That said, while newspapers and weekly magazines have much shorter lead times, online publishers probably don’t have much lead time at all. So make sure you time your media releases appropriately.
Items by ChasingtheCrayon
2. Get Your Contacts Sorted
Target a specific journalist. Do your research – buy a copy of the magazine or paper and make a list of who writes the pages you want to get your products on. Contact details for all staff journalists are usually listed in the publication somewhere, or you can telephone the office number to find out who’s best to contact. Send emails to individuals rather than to general addresses and, for posted press releases, address envelopes with correctly spelt names and up-to-date job titles. It doesn’t hurt to send a physical, printed press release as well as emailing a digital version. Different journalists work in different ways and you want to cover all bases. Make sure you put the correct name and magazine title in the email content if you are doing lots of copying and pasting.
Items by mrYen
3. Be Specific
Keep it short and sweet. Journalists have hundreds of emails to wade through every day, so limit yourself to a few lines introducing your company and what your newest or best-selling products are. Attach a few low-resolution images, but don’t include large high-resolution image files at this stage, as it clogs up the recipient’s inbox and your message could even go straight to their junk mail folder if it’s too large. The same goes for a printed press release. A journalist just wants to know the basic facts and to see a few examples of what you sell. Remember to include your contact information clearly.
Items by CB78
4. Media-Friendly Photography
Images are crucial. Your Etsy shop is the perfect place to get creative and style some gorgeous lifestyle shots in settings to make your products look lovely, but most journalists will just require a high resolution ‘cut-out’ image of a product. You may not want to show blank background images in your shop, but take the trouble to shoot every item you sell individually on a white background (a plain, flat bed sheet or a big white piece of paper does the trick!) with a good quality digital camera and keep these simple ‘cut-out’ images to hand somewhere so you can email them across quickly if a journalist requests one. If you’re really tech-savvy you could cut the items out yourself using Photoshop or similar, but most publishing companies just need a simple image with no background interference for them to cut out professionally at their end. Often, journalists are working to a tight deadline and wont have time to call in a sample from you and shoot it themselves on a white background in a studio, so being prepared with these high-resolution cut-out images is a must. Make it clear on your press release that you can supply high-resolution (at least 300 dots per inch or DPI) cut-out images as well as high resolution versions of the pretty lifestyle images visible on your Etsy shop page.
Items by TeaAndCeremony
5. Be Available
Make sure that you’re available to answer emails and take phone calls every day. A journalist on a deadline isn’t going to have time to call you several times – they will simply find another product from another stockist. Similarly, if a journalist wants to borrow a product for a photo shoot, make it as easy as possible. Send it first class or next day delivery, and enclose a label with the return address written clearly on it.
Items by brookewolley
6. Be Persistent… But Don’t Overdo It!
Keep journalists informed regularly, but don’t bombard them every week or every time you introduce a new product to your shop. Post out press releases and CDs of images, email newsletters or releases and use Twitter to network as well as to send out links to your site. Create a list of journalists on Twitter and study their tweets each day to see what they’re looking for or working on. Make the most of networking events and make as many contacts as possible. Social media can be hard work, but it opens up a whole new way to contact people and get their attention.
A big thanks to Ellie for sharing her wisdom! Check out her Coral Interiors Etsy Finds.