Skip to main content

Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 32 of 39

Press and Media Coverage

Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

32. Press and Media Coverage

Lesson Info

Press and Media Coverage

We're gonna have a special guest, my friend christina loss I told you I'm in the last segment she's at tweet suite on twitter if you want to follow along with her, tell her what a great job she is doing you can do that there and she's put together a really great presentation for us and what makes learning from christina's so special is that she is already a part of our community she's already heavily involved in the craft scene she knows a lot of people she knows what our challenges are she knows what press and media is good for the kind of businesses that we want to create she has been there she's been a part of that she's also a maker although I don't believe you have a small hammy business anymore but you used to have a nazi shop christina really understands who we are and what we're trying to do and the best ways for us to do it so I am pleased as punch to welcome christina lof so normal have a seat please at the magic table show yeah that carry show I hi everyone it is very funny ...

so I work a creative creative I've, um in the marketing department and I'm lucky enough to focus on marketing for our craft channel and for money in life channel, so um I'm not usually on this side of the camera uh like a special exception yeah, ok was really good on my history and so I do mostly marketing right now, but my history npr is I worked at chronicle books for about six years I worked on their lifestyle categories, so I was I worked on all the craft books parenting health wide range of of books on dh then from there I moved tio place called hello lucky which some of you might know they do letter press design stationery wedding on day were actually my authors a chronicle and then brought me over to do their marketing npr for them so that was super fun. Yeah, so I'm going to talk a little bit about my experience I haven't outline I really want this to be karen I kind of went over like what we should touch upon, but I want this to be like I want to help you guys here and online, so ask questions tell me what you want to hear if where this it might be two basic just let us know it looks like a collaborative shout out the more you can participate the better job we can do for you the more you tell us what you want to know about media and press that way will provide that to you if we know how to do it and if we don't, we'll figure it out but the more questions we get on a big big topic like this, the better off we all are. If you're wondering something, somebody else's wondering it to see that clicker yes, it's the green button, by the way, ways case you're wondering remember that for your first segment, by the way, I've loved seeing everyone stuff in the galleries, and it is this kind of set, a new feature, and it is so awesome and because I'm in the craft channel two it's blown away and I'm like going shopping off of the galleries I know there's a lot of really great stuff there, so we'll start, which is the basic what is pressing media coverage? Pretty basic, pretty simple, but it's basically getting your work and news of your business written about in magazines on blog's newspapers, radio, tv, that's all considered press um why you should care, why should you care? Why should you care? This is, you know you want to let people know about your business, so you've spent all this time working really hard, creating this amazing handmade business and now you want to let the world know about it. So I think this is like the most fun part didn't mention I also take on freelance clients now, so I'll work with crafters and creative people I usually just trade because I have a full time job and I want our in crafty things so I usually did on a trade basis so but so that kind of keeps me you are going to be but you know um anyway so you just did the press for courtney's book on it did and I'm going to talk a little bit about that. So a friend of mine courtney cerruti just published a book with quiet called why she take one o one washington wanna one has one hundred different projects to do with washington and that was super fun yes because why she taped my producer here justin calls it crafters crack because I'm always like trying to pull out more washington find washi paper steel your washi tape whatever it is I can do to get it so sorry what what kind of shape? I'm no washi tape it's japanese paper tape and it comes in patterns and prints like decorative masking tape and it's really good for for I used him it's a business expense so I write it off I used to do my mapping I plan my stuff out on my wall of wonder at my house which is where I work on all of my projects with theories index cars and build my maps and I used washi tape to put it all on the wall because it will come off the paper and off the wall without really damaging anything you can use in washington w a s h I ok, somebody really should double check that though I know you're right okay way I'm not so sure yeah way as they got great, so going back so what are the benefits of your business? Is still very small that's like the time you want to try to get press because you want to like I said, let the world know on and educate people about what you're doing and how you're doing it right and the possible outcomes fill orders ready to be filled fill those orders if you get lots of orders if you do get some press small but like press usually leads to press, so once you get one thing, even if it's small it just starts rolling it that's the goal sometimes there's no change at all and you just keep going, but once you've done your first initial outrage, you have the tools you need to go back at it, so it gets you organized. I would say that yeah being prepared, which I assume we're going to talk about a little bit more, but being prepared for the results of press is something important to really think about before you try to court and it definitely does press begets press somebody starts talking about you, somebody else starts talking about you and it can go on and on and on and I think also paying attention to media and getting press is really important for people who feel like they don't want to talk about themselves this is a way for you to get somebody else to do that for you and all you need to do is talk to somebody who wants to do that for you the media wants things to promote so if you can offer them something that makes their job easier they're very grateful and if you're uncomfortable really talking about yourself are pushing your business all the time then develops a media relationships and have them do it for you so I was going to go over the toolbox so what you need to court press you guys carry has been going over everything you need so if you follow what she's told you to do, you will have it so you need a good web site because you need a place for people to land and learn more about you and to see photos of your work read your story that leads into photos I know I've heard so much throughout this class it really is great photos are so essential I have a quote in here later from an editor friend of mine and she said the photos is what she notices first solo press releases and we'll talk about press releases later but I think if you have a beautiful strong photo okay, that'll go a long way. Eso your story knowing your story, knowing what makes your business different and unique. I've heard a little bit about some of your businesses, and I think you have such great stories. So think about what makes your business different and really highlight that on your site. You should have samples ready just in case they ask. I'm not big on sending samples, I think that it's best to send an email with information and photos, and then if they ask, then you can follow up with samples because often times editors will get a lot of things and they don't they don't keep them, they don't, you know they don't want them it's not really going to do you much, um, and then hooks. So I think it's really important to create an editorial calendar on dh with this, you want to think about your products and you're like your story and kind of map out? Look at the year I always tell people I work with think about what every outlet is writing about, so we know there's always stories around holidays like mother's day. How lane christmas there's so there's different opportunities in each of those holidays to kind of to pitch things. You have a great story about your mom and your business and how she was a part of how you started your business that's a great mother's day story so it doesn't even have to be specifically about your product it can be about like this inspirational beautiful story about your mom and you take notes e I should say really quickly that in the workbook spreading the news that section starts on page one fourteen so so that's where I would start is looking at it looking at the year looking at the holidays and because carries right the media they need stuff to write about they're looking for stories so when you go to them you're helping them because you're you're making their lives easier so you go to them with a great story if they're doing a mother's day gift guide round up well here's a great product that I make that I think would fit well into what you would be normally covering um and lets one editorial calendar will really help with that because when they excuse me I think day two and a half my voice is going a little bit but they're working way ahead of these deadlines so if you wanted to pitch a mother's day story you need to put that on their calendar early enough for them to actually be able to make use of that information like we're in june right now and you know it's happening holiday you know the international gift show in new york city is going on right now with all the holiday decorations magazines air starting together together everything they're going tohave for halloween if that's not already done and it's s o there's a long lead media and there's short lead media long laid is magazines basically on dh some and tv for special events but for so for long made me long laid media you're right in when I was in publishing in july we would pitch christmas holiday gift guides so if you want that print media you need to plan out and work backwards from there and then with bloggers and online press it's a little bit different when I was doing the press for courtney's book I emailed people about two weeks before the book launched and there's usually a much quicker turnaround there so so they can there's a little bit more flexibility there definitely and that's that's where the editorial calendar really becomes an important tool for your business yeah um so hooks that is all part of what we're saying about editorial calendar and I think it's really important to know the media you're reaching out to a cz well I can't remember if I have this later I'm sure I do but you have so a plan is what we're going into next so you want to know who you're going to be reaching out to and when you're going to be e mailing them so and I think it's important to know the media and no, a particular editor like do you read their blogged? You comment on their block, like, become a part of their community and what they're doing before you even email them about your product so that when they see your name pop up, they recognize you devised a plan. So the first thing you need to figure out is what you want press for. So is it a new product line? Is that a website? Is it a book release an event? Is it just general awareness about your brand? And then you determine your targets, and this is who you're going to reach out to. So when I work with people, I always tell them we're going to do fifteen going to reach out to fifteen different media outlets, and we're going to do five that feel really attainable five that are kind of a reach and five that are like our dream places to get coverage on. And the reason you do that is because you want to get that low hanging fruit, like a good attainable one would be a local like local press and creating like a story around like you're a maker and a specific city and, you know, you know your local newspaper. Would maybe want to cover what you're doing especially if you can connect that if if you could find the hook that brings in another thing that's happening in your city if you make all of your products from your local scrap reuse center like that's a good story and those air also good photos you shopping in the local scrapper use center you know so if you could make a lot of different captions that are important to your city for local media that's a really great place to start and then once you get some press you can also you put that on your website and people when they land there they see that you've got impressed and I think that is attractive to the media oh she's been written about here and then they can just click through and see the story and learn more about you that way too the press you get is more social proof it is more proof to the general audience that you are trying to cultivate that you are good at what you d'oh so once you do get press it's essential that you share it and that you let people know about it because people like recommendations we all like to know what do you like is that going to work for me and getting media coverage is a great way to reassure people that you know what you're doing people like having things recommended to them. Yeah um great so then the next thing is to create a spreadsheet and I'll show you really quickly one of mine this is how I tracked everything I have who I'm reaching out to the girl the contact email the date I reached out to them and notes on what happened on dh this is just idea this too because I really need to keep track of when I'm working with clients need to be able to tell them like here's what happened here was the result and it also you want to go back to press teo and you wantto if you haven't heard from them you khun reach out again in a week or two weeks on and you want to keep notes so you're not bugging them too much yeah it's really important to know to keep track of your communications it's one one more thing that you can actually track and that you should track because you do want to say to people we last spoke two weeks ago or I heard back from you three weeks ago and you asked for x y z if you're guessing at that it's not as helpful to you and you can spend a lot of time trying to track down communications that you've already had so if you can keep a keep a spreadsheet of what you're doing and when you'll know when you need to do it again and it will save you a lot of time and you might learn things so you might learn from an editor o I don't actually cover, so I actually, you know, you might learn little neat things, and this is where you want to keep those notes, too. So when you go out again, you have more information. S o s release an email. Do you want to talk about press releases, if lenient? Okay, so I think that if there is, if you know very little about the press or the media, one thing that all of us know is the term press release. We've heard that before sounds really familiar to us. I think most of us in junior high and english class, you sort of learned who, what, why, where and when? And I no longer think that press releases are effective. So if you are thinking about writing a press release for your business, while I do think that there is a time in a place for them, I think it's more like a media reminder versus something that you need to worry about doing for your business these days. So much happens online that you can get a lot farther and a lot faster by sending a personal communication, then you can buy and that's, you know, I was a publicist for a long time, so press releases were really something I did with your name in the corner and then you know the title for immediate release and then it's all caps and the bottom it's number sign number sign number sign it's very it's, very it's, very formal and they're just not really useful anymore email is sort of taken the place of the old fashioned press release that I want people to not worry about them. If you were specifically asked to turn in a press release to somebody, then then you can go ahead and look up how to do that, but it shouldn't be the main way that you tried to get pressed. Now if you would like to get press immediately. Yeah, and I think that so and I was going to go into why an email is more important and I think that really everything that would be on a precedent press release you should just be able to find on your home page, right? If you're promoting a particular product around a particular time, you want to just be able to provide a link and have. When I was doing press for courtney, she had a a big image of her book on her home page and info about it there, so I knew that if the editors I was pitching went there, they would find more information, so use your website in your home page for that too so what I do to pitch is also a press release usually involves an attachment and attachments can get caught in spam filters so you don't want to attach anything when you email the press um you just want to have all the information in the body of the email it's usually two to three sentences long or actually about paragraph or so and you want to tell people who you are what you're doing, why you're reaching out to them um why you think what you're pitching is relevant, so give them that hook again? It's mother's day I have this great story this is my business, this is why I think you should, you know, would fit and I think that's also where you make it known that you know that block or you know, that web site that you're pitching to because that's really important so you want to make it so that they know you read they're bog let's say we're pitching bugs so they want they want to know so you can compliment them teo on a regular column or a regular feature that they do and also will give them confidence in you that you know who their audience is and that's why you're writing to them so you're saving them a little bit of of wonder or a little bit of time in trouble of really having to research you even more if you write to them and say I'm a good fit because of x y z I like your articles on abc than they think ok? This person is familiar with me and who my audiences so they're going tio give me something that's useful to my audience it doesn't it won't work to pitch ah blogger that that you're not a good fit for because it's just not a good match and it's not a good use of your time either even if it is a really big or popular blawg if your ideal person isn't going to be there it's not going to be useful for you to be there so don't bother just because it's a big deal absolutely on dh you can provide a link to more photos either on your site or I've used flicker I've created pinterest boards for clients where it's a winter sport of the entire line but their their new line so that it's you could see big beautiful photos there they can easily grab them so you want to make it easy for the press to grab the photo off your site if you're if you're pitching long made media and magazines they usually need high res photos so usually they'll ask for them but online lo rez is fine big enough so that you know you could email it and put it on your site and they can grab it off um so I agree good job. So I have a great quote to that I'll get to you and you want a pale tailor your pitch, which we talked about a little bit, um and really think about what they're going to be covering what they already cover, what they need on, why it's relevant for them, if you know your customer really well to you can say, I know that you you know, this kind of person reads your block that's my customer, like I make wedding comics, I'm going to keep going back to you because there's so many good hooks there too. Wedding bloggers often do gift guide round ups or, you know, every friday they'll do a bunch of great new products they love that be the perfect place for for your products. So, um, I think thinking about that, too, and really where you fit in anything to add, you're wonderful. Yeah, so again, this is my ritchie, and this is a standard, a press release that I'm going to go by really fast, but like kerry said it has it has the phone. Oh, it has the and this is a book book, press release, to which I think those air kind of always more traditional and more the formal it has gives you all the stats, so this is a quote that I love so I asked natalie drew who was a longtime editor of craft magazine and in the first edition of the handmade marketplace f y I little sharia she so she now has a blood called coquette on which is a fashion she's in the fashion blogging world now but I asked her to tell me about it uh pitches she loves getting and pitches she doesn't and she kind of gave me this great quote that I'm just going to read because I think there's some good bits in here so she said I have always found excellent pitches to most importantly include one to two great photos again photos always goes back to that the's hero shots are usually what will catch my attention pitches should be concise a few paragraphs max and lead me to inquire more should I want more info pitches should always include a you earl and price info as well as where to buy if applicable I like the text in line in the email and do not like it when it's all rolled into award dr pdf again it's an attachment and I know her just talking out press releases that doesn't want it I think the quality of images don't show through when they're in the other documents and it's not as easy for an online writer or blogger the copy and paste necessary quote so that's another thing right? Like we're making it easy for them so make it so that they can just copy and paste in there so what's in a media kit basically this is I like to think of a press kit media kit as a resume for your company and honestly, everything in your media kit is on your website so we kind of went back and forth and we talked like do you need to pick me a kid to people really? But I think it can be nice for if you're recording some really big process for me and it's especially nice too this is one of those things that you want to think about in advance you don't want somebody to come across your product or your work and say I want to write a story about you in two days time I mean, all this information and four hours and this this has happened to me more than once where somebody wants tio they had another story drop away they could have a variety of reasons of why they want your information with a quickness and it is much, much better to have it prepared and ready to go whether or not you choose to see keep it on your website so anybody could see that any time is up to you but it is wonderful to have these things in a folder on your desk top of your computer at the very least ready to go in case you get quick request because there is nothing worse than scrambling and thinking, I don't have a really great photo I don't have a head shot of myself I don't know the answers to these questions because not only are you going tio p an iq about how to answer them in the best way because this feels like a really great opportunity, but you're gonna worry about what you're doing, so your panic is going to cause you teo question everything you're trying to do and in cause you to scramble and that's really not the way you want to approach these things because it's already really exciting to think that you're going to have this opportunity, and if you add confusion and mayhem to that, just do yourself a favor and don't so yeah so it's about being prepared and oftentimes people will have a link where you can click it and download a media kit so it can be just a few pages of pdf with all of these things on it. That is what I have yeah, and I think that's a great thing to have because again I think you're always thinking about how do I make it easy for this editor? How do one thing and easy for press and when you think about it so these beautiful photos you're taking, they're going to be on pinterest they're going to be out in the world you're doing a great job on social and and so people don't just land on your site right and they might not email you first they might just get out everything they need from your website and then decide to write it but not everybody tells you when they're going to cover you too if they just discovery so so make it really easy for them and you'll know when that happens even if they don't tell you because you'll notice a great increase in traffic and sometimes that will happen to me where I'll think what you know I've gotten so that's a huge number of subscribers my newsletter and I can't figure out where it's coming from but that's where the ability to track my stats is is a really wonderful thing I can go in and see where these people are coming from or where they're finding near wise so it's much you will figure it out if somebody doesn't ask you for permission first if they just contribute to your overall success you know and I don't know maybe you guys talked about this but creating google alerts with your company name is a really good idea to because then you'll catch it if someone has loved about you or mentioned you so you know have a google alert where it's it's the name of your company maybe your name so if anyone is talking about you in the press I think that's it it's a great way and then you'll get a notification and then you'll be really happy do any of you already have google alerts? Yeah, yes, yeah, I have those too, and I tweaked them all the time and change them around all this time because they had made marketplaces actually fairly common term and are in our world and so sometimes I get a lot of things that I you don't need to know about, but they're also a good way if you have a competitors that you know about or if you're kind of watching someone in the world that you could do that to you could set up a google for them for a little bit just to see where they're getting covered where they're getting talked about because then that will help you figure out oh that's a great dog for what I'm doing to that place will be interested in you as well. So letting in the media kit you need your company's story which is already on your website background on your business when you started what makes you different and what your customers will get, which is just info about your products, right? Your mission statement product info so like natalie said in that quote, how how much your products costs where people can order them can they get them on your site? Can you get them somewhere else? A look book I have some screen shots in here coming up from that cnn because I'm a huge fan but they also their site is just awesome and I think it shows really well how to have this information available uh photos again great photos great photos where people can download them if you want a link to download those too if you have a photographer who took your photos and you need to give them credit, make sure you have that really clearly in there true, you definitely need to say photo credit x, y z whoever that person is, you need to give them credit for their work contact info how they could get in touch with you if they want more information and press so any press you've already gotten have that in your media kit because again that's validating you and showing the press oh well, they were covered here and so that's important have you ever gone to somebody's web site and you see the logos of organizations and newspapers or blog's that they've been featured on that's what people are doing? They're they're they're providing social proof to new people who come to their website that what they make is is worthy to warrant this kind of coverage jj and one somebody believes that somebody else is going to and somebody else is going to and it's a big so snowball down the hill of six so, you know, keep track of that and pay attention when you see that kind of thing and somebody else's website. Because those are all possibilities for you, too. If you have something in common with them.

Class Description

Most artists and crafters are easily inspired to create new work, but getting inspired to build a business that shares that work with the world can sound like a much more daunting prospect. Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business, is ready to teach you everything you need to know to break into the online marketplace and share your work with the world.

Kari will help you determine the online sales venue that’s best suited to your handmade goods. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of both selling through an existing online marketplace (like Supermarket or Etsy®) and setting up your own independently-operated website. You’ll also develop the optimal marketing strategy for sharing your products with the world, from social media to blogging to branding and packaging. Kari will cover essential best practices for running a successful crafting business, including confidently setting price points, creating media kids, acting as your own publicist, and much more.

No matter what you make, this course will give you the confidence to see the things you have to offer as uniquely valuable to customers, the inspiration to take your work to new heights, and the foundation you need to ensure your business’s success.



Kari Chapin's course, Start a Handmade Business, was a game-changer for me. Her content was presented in such an accessible, engaging, easy-to-digest, and oftentimes hilarious way. At the same time, she did not sugar-coat things. Having a handmade business is a job and requires work. I love that she emphasized that fact. Not only did she give the nut and bolts of how to start a handmade business but spent a lot of time on the emotional component of being an artist trying to sell her work. Her guests (Skype and in-studio) were well-chosen and showed the rapport she has with her community. This showed that she lives what she teaches. The interaction with the studio audience and online community was integral to the course because it showed real-life examples of business owners at varying stages in their career. (I was so lucky to be one of the studio audience members. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!) This class was a comprehensive look at handmade businesses that everyone from fledgling businesses to more established businesses can benefit from. I highly recommend this course! Thank you Kari for sharing your mind-blowing wisdom and warm and fuzzy heart with us! And thank you CreativeLive for having this awesome resource for the creative community! --Cathy Pascual,


Well, it's been a few days since the course and I am still pumped. Kari said a few things in particular that I needed to hear and I'm so grateful for that. I have been involved in the facebook group she put together and I am so happy about that. It's an awesome resource and my fellow creatives have been very helpful and encouraging. I totally recommend this course to any creative entrepreneur at any stage in their journey. Plus she is cute, funny and has just the right amount of snarkiness. I so enjoyed it!

a Creativelive Student

I loved this course with Kari Chapin! Her wealth of information delivered with such an honest and funny voice was refreshing and inspiring. I have accomplished things in the last few days that have languished on my to-do list for a year or more, largely due to this class. Kari is very down-to-earth and just plain adorable! I highly recommend this course for anyone creative who has or wants to have their own business.