How to Get Your Projects Published in Design Publications
In a highly competitive market, editorial features help increase name recognition and brand awareness, boost website traffic, and establish you as an expert in the field. The nature of public relations is rapidly changing and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve by ensuring your projects receive the attention they deserve. With print publications on the decline —Traditional Home is the latest magazine to devolve—editorial pitching requires more strategic thinking and big ideas. Plus, in today’s age, digital media is equally as important as print media. There are a lot of Do’s and Dont’s when it comes to pitching so we’re giving you a complete guide to editorial pitching for the design industry below.
Get permission from your client.
First and foremost, you must get permission from your client before you can publish your project on your website, social media, or proceed with media outreach. Homeowners who are willing to be named and featured, can strengthen the editorial appeal of the project and increase the chances of it getting picked up; on the other hand, many clients want to remain anonymous. Either way, editors and writers may request to interview your client to learn about the details and nuances of the project. It's essential to determine the level of visibility you'd like to get for your project and start the conversation early.
Have a unique point of view.
The most important thing you can do is craft unique stories about your process and firm in order to set yourself apart amongst competitors. Ask yourself, “What makes this project stand out from others?” and dive into the why behind your selections and the design. It’s also important to note that the fast pace of digital media requires the need for stories to engage audiences. The more comprehensive the story is, the more likely editors with move forward with a feature.
Invest in good photography.
From the exteriors to the interiors, it’s crucial to photograph the full home if possible. Every publication wants to at least see the living room, dining room, kitchen, and master suite. Other spaces of interest are the entry, family room, powder room, and additional bedrooms. If there are critical rooms of the house yet to be designed, you still want to consider styling and photographing the space so that editors can have the full context of the home. Kitchens and bathrooms are especially important because those are the spaces consumers care about most.
Remember, not all projects are worth photographing or pitching. If you've worked on a small project that doesn't align with your brand, don't shoot it. Publications are looking for unique interiors with a mix of showroom and custom furnishings, intriguing art and accessories, and sparingly selected retail pieces. The more unusual or bespoke a project is, the more likely it will get picked up; you have to evaluate if the project has a chance of getting published.
Have a list of your resources ready.
If an editor picks up your project, one of the first things they will ask for is a list of resources used. They’ll want to see if their advertisers or potential advertisers are featured and learn about the vendors, products, art, antiques, and vintage items represented in the home. Having this information up front shows that you are prepared and considerate of the editors and writers time since they are always on deadline and increasingly have fewer resources available.
Print editors are often working on 1-2 issues ahead of the issue out on newsstands, so there is often a long lead time from the start of pitching to when a project gets published. You can expect three to six months for regional publications and six months to a year for national magazines. Online features can land anywhere from one month to six months, depending on the publication and feature.
Harness the power of social media.
We can’t talk about editorial without mentioning social media. The rise of Instagram has changed the editorial environment for the design industry. Editors are looking to Instagram to evaluate your projects so you can use that to your advantage. If you are working on something big, use social media to tease out previews, get editors excited about your future work, and start a conversation. Also, be sure to retain exclusivity of the projects that you are pitching by reserving the main images for publication before posting to your owned channels.