How-to Guides

Guide to PR for Interior Designers

Interior design PR is unique because designing is so visual. Publications are hungry for visual content. That means getting features is a win-win for you and the outlet.

You can offer a print or digital magazine existing images to use, that you have paid a professional photographer for (and retained the licensing for) or photographed yourself. 

In this guide to PR for interior designers, we show you exactly how to rack up exciting and lucrative publicity wins. 

Why publicity is important for interior designers

In some industries, PR is seen as fluffy or unimportant. Not so in the world of interior design. Great publicity can catapult your brand and win you bigger projects, brand deals, and unforeseen opportunities. 

Here are all of the reasons why publicity is worth the effort:

  • Builds your brand and authority – Adding a media page to your website and showcasing your coverage helps clients see you as the expert. This is a big step towards charging more premium rates. 
  • Can drive a temporary boost of inquiries – If the outlet has a decent-sized audience you can expose your business to a whole new audience of potential leads and customers, vastly expanding your reach.
  • Makes for great social media posts – Many of the people following you plan to hire you someday. Maybe they’re waiting until they purchase a new house, or until some funds get freed up. You need to stay top-of-mind with your followers and show them that you’re the best choice for when they’re ready. In addition to tutorials and before-and-afters, you should also post business wins. Sharing publicity features on Instagram and other platforms usually gets lots of engagement, meaning the algorithm boosts the post to more of your followers. 
  • Helps with your website’s SEO – In our guide to SEO, we explain how publicity affects SEO in detail. But for now, just know that when you get digital media coverage in the form of podcast interviews and online features, Google sees this as proof that you are the authority in your niche or local market. So, even if you don’t get an immediate burst of leads from an interview, it can still positively impact your marketing. 

How publicity compares to other strategies for growing your business

Yes, publicity is important. Yes, it can help you grow your business. But no, it’s not known for driving a steady stream of leads. 

As much as we all love publicity, it’s important to mitigate that excitement a little bit. If you’re in the earlier stages of your business, you’ll get better results from investing time into networking and Instagram

Later, when you’ve already got plenty of business coming from referral partners and social media, you can invest more time into PR. And even still, it should probably account for only 15-25% of your time spent on marketing (unless you are looking to build a big personal brand that takes you beyond offering design services and into more of a content creator and media personality sort of role).

How to do PR as an interior designer

We’re not going to lie. PR is a bit of work. But when you know how to break it down and batch it up, it becomes more doable. Here’s how. 

1. Figure out what makes you special

Don’t skip this step! First, you need to get crystal clear on your niche and your ideal target audience. You want to use PR to build your brand authority, so it’s important that the PR you go after will build that brand. For example, if you want to be the go-to nursery designer for NYC professionals, getting featured in parenting magazines might have a bigger impact on your business than getting featured in design magazines. 

2. Create a list of your target outlets

To get started, think of publicity as a pyramid. TV is at the top, then magazines, then digital publications, then podcasts, then guest blogs. Start your way at the bottom, and work your way up. As you go up, there will be more competition, and it will be harder to get featured on top sites and networks. 

Depending on where you’re at with your publicity journey, you can create a running list of target outlets for all of these or just a few:

  • Television
  • Print publications
  • Digital publications 
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs

Make a Google spreadsheet, and create a new tab for each of the categories. A spreadsheet is better than a document because you’ll be adding contact information to it later.

If you get stumped, check what other designers are doing. Type in some competitors or designers you love into Google News, and see what major outlets they’ve been covered in. You can also type their name plus the word “podcast” or “interview” to pull up more hits in a regular Google search (News results usually only include major news brands). 

Just Get Started Tip: Don’t pressure yourself to come up with a big list all at once. Instead, just start the foundation and add to it every time you discover another goal outlet. 

3. Make sure local media outlets are on your hit lists

Don’t ignore local media outlets, even if you primarily offer e-Design services. Local outlets are typically easier to get into, as there’s less competition. 

Sonoma magazine

Depending on where you live, there might be these local outlets:

  • Subscription print magazines
  • Free print magazines
  • Digital magazines
  • Radio stations
  • TV stations
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs

And if you do offer in-home services, then local publicity can bring in valuable leads, while national publicity will serve mostly as an authority-builder.

4. Research contact information (or outsource this to an assistant)

After you’ve got your list of target outlets, it’s time to start adding contact information. You can find editors’ information in a variety of ways. 

Sonoma magazine masthead contact information

Here are all of the ways you can find contact information for contributors, podcasters, editors, bloggers, etc. 

  • Contact pages – Blogs, podcasts, and other content creators will often have contact pages where you can find direct information. Avoid contact@, info@, and hello@ types of addresses unless it’s a one-person business, or they explicitly ask for pitches to be sent to that email address on the contact page. 
  • Mastheads – Every print and digital publication has a masthead, a list of the directors and editors and the departments they’re in charge of. Many mastheads don’t include email addresses, so you’ll need to use cold email software, PR software, email verification software, Twitter profiles, or LinkedIn email scraping software (all described below).
  • Cold email software – Cold email tools can be used to find email addresses for just about anyone. Snov.io and Hunter.io are popular options. Just pop in a website domain and you’ll be able to pull up several email addresses within that company. 
  • Email verification software – If you can’t find the email address of the person you want to contact, you could use Snov.io or Hunter.io to find the pattern of addresses at that company. For example, at Dezeen, we can see that email addresses are usually firstname@dezeen.com. So, you could guess the email address of a reporter or editor you want to contact by using that same format. Then, run it through an email verifier (also known as a bounce checker) to make sure it’s a real email address before you attempt to use it. 

PR for interior designers, finding contact information for pitches

  • PR software – You can also use a dedicated software for finding journalists’ contact information. Prowly and Presspage both offer media contact databases, though keep in mind that these tools can cost a couple hundred dollars a month. They will allow you to find contact information, and send out campaigns via email.
  • Twitter profiles – Many journalists include the email address where they want people to send pitches inside of their Twitter profile. So you can always check there first. 
  • LinkedIn email scraping software – You can find out what email address someone used to sign up for LinkedIn. This is most likely an email address that the person uses frequently. GetProspect and Prospecting Toolkit are both good options. 

Just Get Started Tip: If you can’t afford to outsource this, don’t pressure yourself to do all of the research in one go. Set aside an hour a week or a three-hour chunk each month to research contacts, and just add what you can, when you can. 

5. Create a media bio and pitch templates

Next, you’ll want to write a bio to describe yourself. You can include this bio on your media page, and you can put it at the bottom of your email pitches. 

Here’s an example media bio (made up 😏):

Desire Alaniz is a Los Angeles-based designer whose mid-century modern designs pay homage to the city’s architectural history and beachy ease. Her work has been featured in Brentwood Magazine and LA Weekly. When not designing, she can be found hiking the hills with her daughter and their pug.

Essentially, this template covers:

  • What you do
  • Where you’ve been featured
  • A fun fact about you

Then, you’ll need pitching templates for getting in touch with magazines and podcasts.

Here’s a pitch template for reaching out to print and digital magazines:

Subject line: Pitch – 5 Budget-Friendly Mid-Century Modern Design Tweaks

Hi [Editor],

I’m an avid reader of your publication and have really enjoyed your occasional features of local designers. 

I have a pitch that I think your readers would love. 

8 Budget-Friendly Mid-Century Modern Design Tweaks

Mid-century modern is a broadly appealing style because it’s classic, cozy, and contemporary all at the same time. In this piece, I’ll provide design tweaks readers can make, such as getting a new coffee table instead of a whole new couch, framing affordable art pieces, toning down color palettes, and sourcing retro accessories. I can provide the content and imagery for the piece.

About Me:

Desire Alaniz is a Los Angeles-based designer whose mid-century modern designs pay homage to the city’s architectural history and beachy ease. Her work has been featured in Brentwood Magazine and LA Weekly. When not designing, she can be found hiking the hills with her daughter and their pug.

Let me know if you’d like to see this piece from me!

Thanks,

Desire Alaniz

And here’s one you can use for podcasts:

Subject: Podcast guest: DIY interior design versus hiring an e-Designer

Hi [Podcast Host],

I absolutely love your [podcast name] and the [old episode name or guest name] episode has stuck with me for a while!

I’m an interior designer who specializes in mid-century modern spaces, and I’d love to share some tips with your audience of professional women. 

Some potential topics I can speak about include:

  • Easy mid-century modern design tips
  • How to hire an e-Designer, and how this compares to DIY
  • Building my business while being a single mom

I’ve been featured in Brentwood Magazine and LA Weekly. My combined email list and social media following is 15,000, and I would be happy to share the interview with my subscribers and social media followers!

Please let me know if you would like to schedule an interview, or if you have any questions. 

Thank you,

Desire Alaniz

6. Set up your email for pitching and tracking

Now, it’s time to put two and two together: your contact list and your pitch templates. You can use your main email address to start sending pitches, no fancy software required.

If you just use your own email sender, you will be in charge of tracking follow up. You can do this in your spreadsheet (create a column for when you send an email, and then follow up two weeks later). Or, you can use Yesware for reminders. This tool layers on top of your inbox so you’re not having to use a separate software.

Another way to stay organized is to have a separate email address for pitching, so you can see what you’ve sent and the responses all in one place (with no clutter from anything else). So, if your email address is desire@designer.com, your new email address for pitching could be desire.alaniz@designer.com. If you try this method, make sure to check that email address too!

Just Get Started Tip: The easiest way to send pitches is to use your main email address instead of a PR pitching software like Prowly, Presspage, or Postaga. 

7. Pitch weekly

Keep adding new outlets and contact information to your spreadsheet. And keep on pitching. Try to send 5-10 pitches to different outlets every single week. Follow up once or twice after the first email, but don’t take that contact off your list. You can always pitch them a new idea 6-12 months later. 

Keep in mind that some podcasts and blogs have forms for applications, so if you fill out a pitch form, add that to your spreadsheet to keep track of the date that you did that. It’s better to not follow up on pitch forms and re-submit the same idea. Instead, wait 6-12 months and pitch them a new topic. 

8. Leverage pitch-free resources

Pitching isn’t the only way to get publicity for your interior design business. 

Here are three ways to get publicity without sending emails: 

  • #journorequest – On Twitter, journalists will use this hashtag when looking for sources for their articles. You can type #journorequest + a keyphrase specific to your business to pull up more relevant requests. For example you could search #journorequest design, #journorequest interior design, #journorequest female business owners, #journorequest women entrepreneurs

Journalist request, PR for interior designers

  • HAROHelp a Reporter Out is a popular online resource. Journalists and bloggers use it to find sources for articles for big publications, popular lifestyle blogs, and small niche websites. Sign up for the email notifications, which go out 3 times a day. Scan through for anything related to your business, and respond with 100 – 300 words of your top tip, example, or story to share. Only spend time answering queries that you are a perfect fit for. For example, if the journalist specifically says they are looking for an architect, and you’re not an architect, it’s best not to respond. Instead, look for the queries where the journalist is looking for an interior designer, design expert, etc.

using HARO for PR

  • Optimized social media profiles – Check your DMs! If your social media profiles are optimized (quality images, clear specialization) and if you post on social media regularly, you will occasionally get reporters, bloggers, and podcasters asking to interview you. Check their follower counts first before you agree to make sure it’s a worthwhile opportunity. 

optimized social media profile

9. Use your wins to get more publicity

Don’t be put down if you have no publicity right now. You have to start somewhere. Get going with guest blogging and podcast guesting. Then, you can use these to get into bigger and better publications. Continually update your media bio to include the new coverage. 

You might also update your social media profile descriptions and headers to portray your coverage too. This encourages journalists and content creators to reach out to you. 

PR serves a lot of purposes for interior designers. It generates leads, spices up your social media posts, and helps you build your brand. Follow these tips, and you’ll soon have your own brag-worthy publicity. 

Check out DesignFiles for easy design tools, an active community of interior designers, and lots of helpful content. 

Try our design and project management tools for free.

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