So, I thought I was going to write a super duper post on PR tips (now that you’ve started to think about what your strategy is), but then the fabulous Grace Bonney and the team at Design Sponge wrote a Biz Ladies pitch all about how to pitch- all of which is true, so I am going to save some breath and link to there when the time is appropriate. Here, some step by steps.
There are, to speak generally, two kinds of media one can get in bridal: submitting real weddings and to a lesser extent participating in styled shoots and the second is being quoted/having your product/service showcased in written editorial (think cake stories or floral stories or a piece on the hottest trend in ring pillows). We’ll tackle Submitting Real Weddings a bit later, but for now- the question is- how do you get your service*/product in front of the editors and writers.
1. Pitching. Ye olde fashioned (and more expensive way) is to put together a printed collateral piece that’s well designed or that IS your actual product (think cookies, etc) and send it out to all the bloggers, editors, etc on your press list. This is only as effective as your follow up. A call or email to make sure it was received is a great opening to have a real talk with the person (especially if the product or service or mailing is really good! Michael Antonia sent out Mix Tapes each month when he was getting his brand out to the East Coast and I used to FREAK when I’d get them b/c they were so good.). Another tactic is the emailed “press release” or pitch. This is where I will hand it over to design sponge (DO READ THIS) because as a blogger who is pitched on a very regular basis I can tell you that short, sweet and simple is always the best way for me to notice it. Again, you should be following up on any and all efforts that you make and the tone and detail are KEY. Get the names correct- check if you might know people in common with the person that you are writing to (it’s a smaller world than you think) and be sure to include images of anything you want them to see in the email so that they can respond without doing any work (Honestly, even a screen grab of your site splash page guarantees they saw it while a link to your site is a risk they won’t click).
2. Submitting. Gwen Stefani said in an interview that she would always know as she was writing it when she had a hit song on her hand, and to a greater or lesser extent this is true with weddings… especially if you are the planner or designer since you are aware of the details before most anyone else is. The difference (and fabulous thing) about weddings is that there are many different kinds of hits and we don’t have to all be Rihanna- you can have a hit country song or an R & B hit- every publication and blog has it’s own voice and what might be perfect for one place isn’t right at all for something else, SOO as you are contemplating your submissions assess if the wedding seems like it might be a good fit. Don’t set yourself up for failure by submitting something inappropriate… unless it’s part of your strategy to get noticed (but more on that below). The other place where even the best weddings fall down is in prep with the photographer for those really needed detail shots. You need to discuss and, in my experience, preview as many of the details with them as possible so you can arrange a game plan. Build that time for these things into your day. Every editor is different in terms of how many images they actually want to see (I love when people want to see everything), but the real trick is to start to study what are the images that every publication/blog wants and to be sure that you include those (and the best one… I used to include 4 versions of similar shots and that isn’t as strong as just simply sending the best one).
3. Getting noticed. A third tactic- which is more of a side dish if you will- meant to be used in tandem (especially in PREP) for tactics one and two is what I think of Jedi Mind Tricks, but is really just using social media strategically. Repin pins from that blogger or magazine you are targeting (that was a great tip from Keija Minor, the editor of Brides), be sure to FF them on Fridays on Twitter, leave comments on their blogs. I may not have used Favors by Dorinda yet… but you can bet that I know exactly who she is and what she offers because every Wednesday like the clock strikes she sends me a WW on twitter. It’s a subtle form of brand awareness that can make an editor more open to reading what you have to say or speaking with you when you follow up. Along those lines, sometimes submitting a lot of work to a lot of places when you are just getting started isn’t a bad idea (as long as the work is in the realm of publishing quality)- because it’s a way to get the editors familiar with your name/brand/work. Even if someone takes a pass at the wedding, they may add you to their radar.
*a Final note on pitching your service when your service is planning… or in essence, you are pitching YOU- always be aware of how you are a gold coin in your market and pitch on that quality.
Ok, school’s out for today. If you have any thoughts to add, please do join in the conversation and of course, I’ll respond to any questions left in the comments section if you have them. Today, your visual candy is the valentine I made over at the Design Sponge workshop. It’s an homage to Jon Bon Jovi (get it? Get it?)