Let's say you've created the next big thing and know that it's going to sell really well - as soon as people find out about it. So, how do you go about pitching your products to the online press to get your work featured?
Here are 10 ideas for getting press that have worked for me and a couple of my crafty friends:
The best way to make sure that the creative powers that be find out about you and your work is to introduce yourself to them. If you sit back and wait to be found, you will likely be waiting a long time. There are many high-profile blogs and websites that feature handmade products. Some of the big ones are Design*Sponge, decor8, modish, and scoutie girl. My work has been featured numerous times on blogs both large and small, and well over 50 percent of those features have been ones that I asked for.
2. Read the Fine Print
Most of these blogs have submission guidelines, which you can find somewhere on their site. The guidelines will range from a simple “please let me know about your work” to very stringent guidelines about what email address to use, how many photos to send, and what types of products are/are not covered on the blog. If you want to develop a good relationship with your favorite bloggers, make sure to follow their guidelines.
3. Build a Press List
There are so many blogs out there that it is often difficult to know where to begin. Yes, a mention on one of the large design blogs can provide a great boost for your business (I would make sure you are ready for that boost before you ask for it!), but there are so many other great opportunities out there. You need to really think about who would buy your work and why. There are niche blogs for moms, crafters, knitters, foodies, and just about anything else you can think of. Once you’ve figured out who your target audience is, build a press list that you think will help you reach that audience, and begin contacting those bloggers to share your work.
4. Take Great Photos
Taking great photos matters and this tip comes from Bonnie Forkner at Going Home to Roost. Bonnie writes a blog that often features handmade work and also runs several shops on Etsy, including home to roost. "Great photos are the number one thing I look for when searching for material. Beautiful product shots taken in natural light (and no flash) will always give your photos the best look. When you email a blog or site for a feature, make sure to include 3 to 4 of the best images of your work. Some blogs have a specific aesthetic for their site, so don't fret if you don't land a feature, just move on to the next one!"
5. Show Your Work in a Handmade Marketplace
When I first began selling my work, one of the smartest things I did was to show my work in a handmade marketplace like Poppytalk Handmade or papernstitch. For a small monthly fee, you basically rent a space on these sites and set up a market to show your work. The market links directly to your shop so that buyers can purchase your work. In order to show your work on a site like this, simply visit the site and look for the submission guidelines, which typically include sending a few photos of your work along with an introduction of yourself to the site administrator. This is a great way to show your work to a large audience, many of whom are bloggers. I know for certain that my work has been found, bought, and blogged about by being part of sites like this.
6. Be a Social Butterfly
This tip comes from Natalie Jost of olive manna. "I'd say social networking is key. Without my blog and Twitter, I wouldn't exist online and no one would know about my shop, unless they did a random Etsy or Google search that happened to land on my site (1 in 1000 shot at best). So be active in the blogging world, talk about other people, and spotlight others, what goes around comes around if the motives are right. Be honest and genuinely social. Go back to high school and think about what made the 'cool kids' cool. I wasn't one, but it's my guess they didn't sit around worrying about why they weren't noticed."
7. Think Big
Have you ever noticed that some of the best press mentions occur when an artist releases a new collection? Instead of releasing one item at a time and hoping that it will be added to a montage of other people’s work, I like to create entire collections that are photographed together and tell a story. Bloggers love to show work like this because it looks great, and instead of having one item shown on a blog somewhere, you have the opportunity to have a collection of work shown, an entire blog post just about you!
8. Jump at Opportunities
Follow the blogs you love on Twitter and Facebook and jump at the chance to be a part of them. When your favorite blog is looking for a guest post, or is refreshing their list of links, don’t be afraid to send them an email. I once saw a tweet from a big-time blogger that she was in a jam and needed a post for the following week. I sent her an email right away and I got that piece of press! It was great for me, and good for her too.
9. Support the Blogs You Love
There are a number of bloggers who spend hours each week writing posts and the only compensation they get is from the ads they sell. If you love a blog, support that blogger by buying an ad. Sometimes they will be introduced to your work this way and may choose to share it with their readers. A post about your work may also be a part of the deal when you sign up to buy an ad. And even if they don’t post about your work, chances are someone who reads that blog will click on your ad and will become a fan of your work that way.
10. Try, Try Again
Believe me, I know it’s hard not to take it personally when a blogger decides not to show your work. I’ve been told no more times than I can even remember. Some bloggers are really lovely and will send you a note and others won’t, but don’t give up. Send the same work to another blogger and they may love it. Wait a few months and send some new work to that blog you love. You simply can’t afford to sit back and whine or wait for things to happen. You can get the press you want!
Samantha Hirst is the artist behind Inklore, a block-printed housewares and accessories company, based in San Jose, CA. Her work is all block printed and sewn by hand. In addition to managing the Inklore website, she also writes a journal that follows her work and the lifestyle blog, Good Measure.
Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com