As a crafter and small business owner, it’s probably likely that you got into your line of work because you loved to make things and not because you, say, really loved marketing and advertising. Unfortunately, if you own your own craft business, marketing and advertising are key pieces to your success, whether you’re super-skilled in those areas or not.
Entrepreneur Andreea Ayers has helped countless crafters and small business owners create and implement a manageable, actionable marketing plan to ensure that their products and services end up in front of the right eyeballs. In her class, PR for Crafters, she offered these ultra-important tips:
You need a few basics. Before you begin pitching your wares to the press, make sure you’ve got a few key ingredients locked in. The first is a cohesive plan of attack. Who are you going to contact? Which outlets are most likely to pick up your goods and when? Do they usually do a seasonal shopping insert or other retail package? What are you hoping to achieve?
Additionally, ask yourself a few questions about your brand story: Why does knowing about your products benefit them? Do you, personally, have a compelling story about how you got to where you are? Are your products made of an interesting textile or material? Do you have a fascinating method for making your crafts? Whatever the interesting thing is, make sure to highlight that.
Then, figure out what you’re sending out. That message will probably include assets to share (links to social media accounts with cohesive branding; visuals, such as excellent product photos), and ideas for how media members could use your products in a story.
Finally, package it all together in a clear press package and send it to those you think might be interested. After that, it’s time for the last two steps — being patient and being persistent.
Press opens doors. Getting written up in your local newspapers and magazines is not only a great ego boost — it’s also great marketing. Even a short snipped in a shopping guide or on a blog can send new customers your way. And, says Andrea, it can also help get you landed in brick-and-mortar stores.
“Retailers love products that are featured in the media,” she explains. “They love to know that you are working really hard to get publicity for your brand because it just means more sales for them. And they want products that the media cares about.”
When pitching your products to retailers, be sure to mention any and all press clippings your products may have, even if it’s just a small item. Those little things go a very, very long way.
It’s ok to feel not-quite-ready. “As entrepreneurs, we’re never quite ready,” says Andreea — and that’s ok. The best thing you can do is make sure you’re as ready as possible.
It’s always going to feel a little strange to pitch your products to the press, and it’s always going to sting a little when they pass on writing about you. But when that happens, just remember that a.) you’re doing everything you can and b.) there are plenty of other ways to drum up attention, as well. Spend some time connecting to media outlets on Twitter or Linked In, and read up on the kind of press your competition is getting.