A big part of my job is promoting Craft makers in the Cork area through my day job in Cork Craft & Design . I work really hard during Cork Craft Month each August to promote Cork Craftspeople and I thought I'd share with you some of my advice on getting great press coverage for you and your craft business (if that's your thang !).
Here are some of the things craftspeople can do to increase your chances of seeing their name in print:
Perfect Pitch :
Your pitch doesn't have to be PERFECT but it does have to be good. If you are not confident writing your own pitch then ask a friend to help you draft 300 – 500 words that describes your work/ background/ inspiration or recent news e.g. New studio space, new product range, working in collaboration with a local business or festival. Don’t forget to use spell-check and have a friend or relative read over your pitch before you send it out.
Carefully select your Target: Sending out lots of emails to everyone hoping that somebody will respond is not a very effective way of marketing yourself. Do some careful research and find out exactly what types of magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. are appropriate to your story. If you find a publication you’d like to feature in subscribe over a few weeks and pitch your initial proposal to the in the same tone that they use to communicate with their readers.
Address the recipient by name: Take the time to find out the name of the reporter, blogger or editor that you need to reach with your pitch, and address them personally don’t just ‘copy and paste’ the same letter to all. Take the time to research and in your pitch you may refer to a past article or feature you enjoyed.
Keep it Short & Sweet : Sending an email with an attached 3,000 word rambling story about your work just isn’t going to work. Send a straightforward, short email ensuring all the relevant information is in the body of the mail and not an attachment. Title your mail with a clear subject line. Be sure to link to your (recently updated) Website, Facebook and Twitter pages so they can learn more.
Picture Perfect: A picture paints a thousand words – it’s true and never more so than when it comes to promoting art and craft. If your images are poor then no matter how good your story is, you may struggle to get a publication to print your story. Invest in professional photographs or ask a talented friend with a good digital camera to capture some images of your work. When featuring a maker publications like to see an image of the artist at work – ensure you get a good photograph of you in your studio/workspace. Do not attach images or documents to your initial email (many journalists and editors have robust spam controls in place and emails with attached images may get deleted before they are even opened). Publications may send out their own photographer if they are very interested in your story but it helps to be prepared with your own images.
Time waits for no man: If you write a pitch on February 1st with the intention of being included in a story about Valentine’s Day, you are far too late. Pitch your story well ahead of time to be considered.
Make like a Boy Scout and ‘Be Prepared’: Whether your attending a local fair or an international trade show you need to be ready to take advantage of all opportunities. Journalists cover all types of events big & small. If you have a press kit on hand for them then you’re ahead of the game. If not, you are giving up a great chance to get covered.
Make sure you Follow Up : Once a member of the press or blogger has indicated interest in your work then it’s up to you to stay in touch with them. If they contact you be ready to send on more information images, dates or times when your available to be interviewed etc. Don’t just send out your pitch and forget to check your emails for the next fortnight. If they do not respond to you then do send a gentle reminder message to keep your work and your story in front of them. One of the great things about generating press coverage for yourself and your brand is that once you have gotten press with a publication, they know you and are more likely to come back to you in the future.
Keep Calm & Carry On: It stands to reason that not every pitch will lead to publication. Don’t become disheartened – your story can’t be the perfect fit for every publication or blog. Set yourself a target for how many pitches you’ll make a year (it could be one a week, a month or quarter). Stick to your targets and continue pitching your stories to the media and hopefully one day very soon you’ll see yourself in print.
Hope to see you back here soon!