Marketing for Small Business – Getting published

Verity Campbell talks about the changing face of getting published

Earlier this year I delivered a CPD seminar for BDAV, Marketing for Small Business. Joined by two of your peers, Dean Picken from Designers by Nature and Jean-Luc Syndikas from Archsign, I unpacked a number of effective actions you can take to increase exposure for your services; Dean and Jean-Luc shared what works, and what doesn’t, from their respective practices.

One of the things I talked about was the changing face of getting published.

We know that in the good old days getting published was one of the best ways to market your practice – particularly through print publications. There weren’t that many of them and competition was fierce to get in them but if you were published you generally received good exposure. Prospective clients would see the article, cut it out, and you’d get calls – sometimes a long time later.

But these days there is a lot of architectural media. Not as many print publications, perhaps, but thousands and thousands of online architectural blogs, and they all need regular content because that’s what makes readers come back (which is what helps them sell advertisements and stay in business).

This means there are many more opportunities to get published and it also means competition is not so fierce to get in them. But it also means that there are many more projects getting published every day which makes it much harder for your project to get found by prospective customers.

Five years ago, one project publication might provide your practice with six months to a year of good publicity. These days one publication in an online blog is a bit like a shooting star. Here today, gone tomorrow. It lives on the internet of course, but not on the first page where people are likely to see it.

Here are two principles I work to which help projects get published today: pitch well and pitch often. Pitch well because it increases the chances your project will get picked up by the publications you want to get published in. And pitch often because these days you need volume of published articles so that you can have as many “shooting stars” out there as possible to be found by prospective customers.

These are my four golden rules to a great media release to increase the likelihood your project will get published:

1.  Don’t spam, build relationships. Treat editors with respect. They don’t have to publish your project and help grow your business, but if they like you and feel you value their time, expertise and professionalism, they’ll be more likely to want to help you out. Work out where you’d like to be published, what the publication stands for, and only send in projects you know would be a great fit for that readership.

2.  Write a great subject or headline for your media release to make a great first impression. The aim of the subject line and header is to get the editor to read on, to get your project past that crucial nano second inbox test. Avoid clichés (eg, “unique” and “beautiful”).

3.  Great professional photography. This is a no-brainer, but some businesses still aren’t investing in professional photography and are hoping to get published (or win awards). Like it or not, the bar has been raised in this competitive environment and professional photography is now essential to doing business.

4.  Publish regularly. Brainstorm 10 different ways you could talk about your project and pitch these to interested editors. Story ideas could be “Why are x-era houses ripe for renovation” to “should you buy brick or weatherboard if you’re wishing to extend?” This is how you can accomplish staying in the media between project profiles.

If you’d like to find out other ideas discussed in the seminar, the DVD of the talk is now available on the BDAV webshop: https://www.bdav.org.au/shop.

Writing, marketing and communications for design businesses. Join Verity Campbell’s weekly newsletter for new ideas, tips and advice for your building design practice. Sign up at www.veritycampbell.com.au/newsletter

Verity Campbell Communications: www.veritycampbell.com.au