Image credit: The Curious Department – Attire editorial product feature
So, you’ve built your creative brand, you’ve got a trunk load of awesome products and you’re building yourself a growing customer base… but what next? How do you take your business to the next level and really start to get your name out there? That’s where PR comes in.
First up, what is PR?
First of all, PR isn’t advertising. PR is all about building relationships, fostering communications and third-party endorsements.
Why invest in PR?
Every brand or business depends on their reputation to ensure success and survival in this competitive world. PR allows brands to add a layer of credibility and recognition, one that can only come from endorsement. In today's competitive market, reputation can be a company's biggest asset – the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you a competitive edge. Effective PR can help manage reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all organisation stakeholders.”
Think about this – if you’re at an event and there’s a poster on the wall telling you that a new product is the best in the world, would you believe it? You’d be dubious, sure. But now consider, a friend tells you that this product is in fact, the best thing they’ve ever used. Then, another friend says the same thing. Then, you read in a magazine on your way to work that this new product is in fact as good as they claim… Now you’re starting to believe the poster, and you may even be thinking about buying this product. Each layer of PR is further strengthening your own opinion and justifying this new product – and you’ve not even tried it yet!
Getting your name out there
To be recognised, you have to be visible. But how do you become visible – especially to those that matter? Before you embark on any kind of PR strategy, you need to make sure you’ve built your customer base as much as possible, and you’ve established some of your own creditability and brand trust. A journalist won’t take a chance on your story if you’ve got nothing to back it up.
Starting with ‘why’
If you want to spread the word about what you’re doing, you need to find your story. Your story starts with the very first idea you ever had about your business. The one that led you to where you are today. It has a heart, a soul and above all it has a human right at its centre (you!).
People want to connect with something that came from someone – and they want to believe in something. So think about what makes you unique – and what a journalist would want to write about if they were to feature you. For example, do you host workshops? Are you ethical? Recycled? Does your family feature in your business? Do you help the local community?
Telling your story
So now you’ve nailed your story and your USP, how are you going to tell people about what you’re doing?
Aside from your usual activities, like utilising social media and your email database, making mates with the media could be the push you need to get your business flying.
Knowing your target market
Before you reach out, you need to know your market. You need to understand
- Who buys your products?
- Why do they buy them?
- Why do they connect with you?
Think about the kinds of content your audience consumes, and target those kind of magazines, websites or channels to get featured. You need to be relevant to the right audience and this transcends into the publications and channels you’re going to talk to.
Once you know what kind of content your market loves, go and buy those magazines! Sign up to the websites. Read them, cover to cover, absorb everything you can. Note down what works. Think about what looks good. What makes you get excited? Once you know that, then you can deliver THAT to the people that matter, and it’ll be easier to get featured.
Having a bank of product shots that can be used with little to no editing is the best way to get featured in magazines, on websites or shared on social media. But, your own iPhone shots won’t cut it. Investing in professional photography may seem like a big outlay, but by sending beautiful shots, in the right resolution, you’re saving the editors time and money, so you’ll be more likely to get in to the magazines and articles you want to.
Image credit - Press Loft Instagram
Get featured the easy way with Press Loft
Reaching out and packaging up your story is something you should actively strive to do, if you want to get featured in the most relevant places. But, what if you could get your products into the real world and get top journalists and influencers writing about your products right away?
That’s where Press Loft comes in. We chatted to Celine Dibert at Press Loft to get the lowdown on this exciting platform and discover how it can help you boost your business.
Can you tell us a bit about Press Loft? How does it work?
We are a PR platform that specialises in connecting brands in the Home & Gift sector with journalists, bloggers and influencers who are looking for exciting products to write about.
We do this by first setting brands up with an online press office, which houses all of their product images, product news, press releases and contact info, making it easily accessible online for journalists 24/7. Then we showcase this content to our network of 17,000+ journalists and bloggers who use Press Loft to source products and brands to write about. When a journalist spots something they want to feature, they can easily download the image and product info straight from the site, and the client is sent a notification with details of the upcoming feature. We basically make it nice and easy for journalists to find what they want to write about and this means we are then making it easier for clients to get press coverage.
As well as the image library, brands can also receive requests/ leads from journalists, send press releases and we have just launched an Influencer Outreach program that allow brands to collaborate with influencers in their sector. Our influencers currently have a combined following of 32 million!
We monitor the press for our clients too - trawling hundreds of titles to spot where clients have been featured. Last month alone, we generated 10,000+ pieces of coverage for brands on Press Loft!
What kinds of businesses can sign up with you?
Any online shop, brand or manufacturer in the Home and Gift sector can join Press Loft, it’s the perfect platform for beginners and PR experts alike to boost press features online and in print. We currently work with thousands of brands, from big names like Etsy, Farrow and Ball, B&Q, Made.com, The Contemporary Home, Loaf, The Curious Department... through to small boutiques and artisans who use Press Loft to manage their PR and secure press features for the products they sell.
We currently offer a 60-day free trial to show how is all works (this is a no-obligation offer and no credit card required)!
What would you say are the three main benefits of signing up with Press Loft?
- Companies who use Press Loft will be putting their products in front of the right media contacts, all day every day, so it’s a sure-fire way to boost their press coverage and also save hours per week emailing journalists and tracking results.
- Being featured in the media is a great way to increase brand awareness, improve SEO from the top-quality backlinks and increase website traffic which all works to boost sales!
- Most journalists are on a super tight deadline, so having your content on Press Loft is really key to make sure you are not missing out on any potential PR opportunities.
Image credit - Press Loft Instagram
Any tips and advice for new businesses signing up?
Good images are the key to generating lots of press coverage, so we think this is the most important place to start. Some of our top image tips are:
High res images
Make sure you have you have high-res images ready before starting on Press Loft or embarking on any PR activity. Print journalists and most online journalists need top quality images to feature in their articles which don’t pixelate when either they are zoomed or printed. We recommend no smaller than 1000 x 1000 pixels, or ideally 1-3mb.
Cut out images account for 65% of secured coverage
Whichever products you have, try to have simple cut out images available as they are the easiest to include in ‘get the look’ features and the all-important shopping-type pages and gift guides. Of all coverage secured from Press Loft downloads last year, nearly two thirds came from cut-out imagery.
Online publications love lifestyle images
If you have the budget, invest in a shoot with props and styling. Online publications and blogs love beautiful and appealing lifestyle images: most of the time, they are the kind of images you can find in sliding galleries. These are also easy to share on social media platforms like Pinterest or Instagram, lifestyle images are also more likely to receive comments & engagement.
When your imagery is ready, we normally recommend uploading at least 50 images on your Press Loft account (but the more the better), it’s the best way to start getting results and coverage! As soon as your images are live on Press Loft, journalists are able to browse, download and use your content in their shopping pages and articles.
Press Loft in action
Our very own brand ambassador, The Curious Department, has been using Press Loft to get traction for their business – and they’ve had some great success. We asked them about how it’s been going…
Image credit: The Curious Department – Period Living product feature
How did you find the process of uploading your product shots to Press Loft?
Simple and straightforward. Not gonna lie, with so many products (90 and counting...) it does take time, but it’s worth the effort and investment.
How many times have your products been featured?
In terms of tracked features, we've had around 30 or so, across online blogs, local publications, notational syndications and international glossy magazines. It’s been a really broad mix, with images being downloaded every week for consideration in upcoming features.
Would you recommend Press Loft to other small businesses and retailers like you?
Absolutely, and I already have. It’s definitely an investment, but if you are serious about growing your brands reach, it’s a cost effective way of maximising your opportunities to grow beyond Instagram and influencers and taking it next level!
Discover Press Loft for yourself
Secure press coverage in just a few clicks with Press Loft. Connect your brand to an extensive network of 17,000 journalists, bloggers and influencers always searching for new products to talk about, and leverage PR in ways you never thought possible!