The quickest way to gain notoriety, exposure and inquiries as an interior designer is to effectively market your projects, which includes pitching your latest work to magazines. While there’s no clear blueprint to getting published, rest assured you don’t need an expensive publicist to make it happen. Whether getting work featured online or in print is your goal, don’t give up, it can, and does happen. After years in the industry, I’ve learned some key secrets to help get your interior design work published .
- KEEP IT OFFLINE
Try your absolute best to keep project photos offline before your work has been submitted, picked up, and officially published. Most digital and print publications are looking for exclusivity, and that means original content that (1) hasn’t been published elsewhere and (2) hasn’t already been revealed across social media. Note: Updating your website portfolio is generally safe, as is sharing a handful of sneak peeks on Instagram Stories. However, when in doubt, be sure to check with the editor before posting. Once your feature has been published, it’s fair game to share and promote to your heart’s content.
2. RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS
Real talk: it’s painfully apparent to editors when designers submit to a publication they’ve never actually read. A little bit of research goes a long way, and it’s always worth the time investment before submitting. As you consider where to publish, be sure to carefully examine the types of projects each publication showcases and find the aesthetic that best matches your project. Some Magazines even outline the type of features they are looking for on their submissions page. By carefully curating your initial pitch, you’ll drastically increase your chances of being selected. Plus, you won’t waste any time waiting for a response from a publication that wasn’t the right fit.
3. SUBMIT PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPH
Here’s the bottom line: trying to get published without professional photography is a nonstarter. No matter where you are in your design business, it’s imperative to have your best projects professionally photographed, even when you’re just starting out. If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer in the early days, consider finding a photographer starting out and setting up a trade of services. This will give you beautiful, quality images to not only market your business, but to submit for publication when the time is right.
Most digital publications will require high-resolution, already edited photography that’s bright, clean and visually uncluttered. When it comes time to submit, attach no more than three photos of the project and offer to provide a Dropbox link should they like to see more. Or, simply follow the instruction on their submissions page.
4. CRAFT A STORY
Make sure your submission tells a compelling story – about the renovation, any challenges you faced, unique design moments, etc. In the body of your email, include a short intro to the project (about 300 words or less) including:
- Project Location
- Designer + Architect
- Design Style
- Interesting info about this specific project
5. PITCH ONE AT A TIME
To help ensure exclusivity, pitch just one publication at a time. You don’t want to be accepted by multiple publications and have to backtrack when they want exclusivity. Many publications (especially blogs and digital magazines) can’t respond to every submission. After two weeks, one follow-up email is appropriate. If you haven’t heard anything after your follow-up email, you can submit to the next publication. This politely lifts your exclusivity and opens your opportunity to submit elsewhere once those two weeks have passed.
6. ENGAGE ONLINE
Take the time to look up and follow editors of the publications that best align with your work. You can usually find key contacts in the first couple of pages in magazines. Spend time liking, commenting and connecting with them in a genuine way to begin building a relationship. Note, this will take time, patience and grace. Remember, building working relationships is often much slower than building online friendships. Be courteous of their time, energy and expertise.
Do you have to send a handwritten thank-you note to the editor once your feature goes live? No. But is it a thoughtful way to show gratitude for all their hard work? Of course. Editors remember the designers who were kind, gracious, and a general joy to work with—and guess what? Those are the designers they’ll want to feature time and time again. Make the process of collaboration a great one, and you’ll stand out in the crowd of submissions all the more. A little bit of kindness goes such a long way.
Lastly, if you do amazing work and it doesn’t get published, don’t be disheartened, sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time – it is not a gauge of your success or brilliance as a designer.