Getting media attention for a home staging business has been a hot topic lately. Recently after writing about 3 Staging Diva Graduates featured in staging stories in Kenosha, Nashville and Chicago newspapers, a home stager in Alaska wrote that she was having trouble getting local papers interested in writing about her.
Here are 5 tips to getting media attention for your home staging business:
1. Remember that YOU are NOT the story!
The local media really don’t care that you just opened your own home staging business unless you are writing to the editor of a local paper who has a column specifically for this purpose. Some community papers have columns about new small businesses, stores, restaurants, etc. in the area, and approaching them can be quite effective.
My first coverage as a home stager was from a press release I wrote (that was used word for word) in an “Eye on Business” column for a neighborhood paper. You can see how I hooked the editor in by looking for the story on my media page (scroll down towards the bottom).
2. Write a press release that has a timely news angle.
To increase the chances of your press release getting picked up, tie in with something that’s already in the news or is especially timely. For example, an accountant could get some coverage with tax saving tips if the press release was sent out in April. The same release would be ignored in July.
Similarly, as a home stager, color consultant and interior redesigner, there are obvious seasons where your tips in these different areas would be most useful and interesting to readers.
3. Think about ways to make an editor’s or reporter’s job easier.
No one has the budgets they used to for extra staff so everyone in the media is working harder. Plus, when you consider that they now have to blog, tweet, etc. on top of what they did before, and there’s a 24 hour news cycle that didn’t exist in the past, they have more stories to write, tighter deadlines and less time for research, etc.
Rather than being intimidated and thinking that they are doing you a favor by writing about you, approach the whole task of getting media coverage with a different, and more useful, mindset. They need new and interesting content every single day and you can do them a favor by providing it! This in no way means you should approach them with arrogance or hint that they owe you some coverage. Either of these attitudes will get you absolutely nowhere!
First you need to do your homework. Read the publication you’re thinking of approaching. Notice who the reporters are that write about the kinds of topics you have knowledge in. Then approach them directly with a story idea that fits their topic and style. Approaching them is so much easier to do than in the past because you can often find their email addresses on line.
Another way to get a reporter’s attention is by adding meaningful comments to blog posts of his stories. This has a side benefit of letting you link to your own home staging website! If you don’t have a website, and you’re a Staging Diva Graduate, make sure you join the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers so you’ll have a professional Internet presence.
You can also approach an editor, again with a personalized approach. I landed a feature story and was on the cover of a magazine after I approached an editor with a story idea and offered to provide a list of all the sources they’d need for the story! I had been reading the magazine for a year and I knew what kind of story they’d like and pitched my idea that way. Unless you fit with their editorial style and target audience, there is no way they’ll cover you.
4. Don’t be afraid to give away your expertise.
Some home stagers mistakenly believe that if they put too many of their tips and ideas into articles, blog posts or press releases that no one will hire them because they’ll do the work themselves based on that advice.
The truth is, the way you prove that you’re the right person to hire is by showing you know what you’re talking about. A potential client will be inspired to reach out to you when they are impressed with the quality of information and portfolio photos you’ve shared with them in advance.
Just last week I got a call from a writer for Michiana House and Home Magazine who want to run my top 10 home staging tips in their August issue.
5. Have a strong Internet presence that positions you as an expert.
Reporters work on tight deadlines. The easier it is for you to be found, the easier it is to get media coverage. Other than my very first press release to the local community paper, all my other media coverage has come from them seeking me out, rather than the other way around.
My absolute best day was when I spoke to The Wall Street Journal in the morning for a front page feature in their Home Section on insider secrets that I use to stage my own homes to sell. I was just walking in the door after picking up my child from school that afternoon and ran for the ringing phone to hear, “Hi, this is Les Christie from CNN, I’d like to interview you for a story.” At first I thought it was a prank, how could CNN want to talk to me, let alone on the very same day as The Wall Street Journal?!
Now you could say I was just “lucky”, but let’s face it, there are thousands of other people either one of them could have called. I believe in making my own luck and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I had just started 3 blogs the week before and I already had a home staging website with a ton of content at that point!
I cover more on getting media attention in Course 4, Staging Diva Sales and Marketing Secrets to Boost Your Home Staging Business.
Readers, have you used any of the techniques described here or tried a different approach? I know your thoughts will inspire and help your fellow home stagers. Please share your experiences by commenting below.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager and she developed the home staging courses to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love. Debra has an MBA in Marketing and worked for many Fortune 500 companies prior to becoming a professional home stager in 2002. She has been a published writer on the subject of marketing since the 1980s.