How to get 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 is 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, Beach Metro News.
I knew that particular column functioned partially as a cheering section for the neighborhood. So I deliberately played that up in my press release.
“Maybe it’s my MBA training,” says Debra Gould, “but I really take a bottom line approach to decorating a home, especially if it’s with an eye to resale.” Gould is a professional ‘house fluffer,’ one of those people who can come into your home and provide you with a ‘laundry list’ of things that can be done to spruce your home up when you decide to put it on the market.
Her company, Six Elements, provides color consulting services tailored to her clients’ budget and do-it-yourself experience. In this hot Beach real estate market, she could be the person who could help garner top dollar for your home— and in a hurry. “My guiding principle in any house fluffing project is determining which efforts will make the most significant difference in the actual sale of the home.”
Gould, herself, just returned to the Beach area from a four-year creative exile. “Sometimes you need to get away for awhile to really appreciate what you’ve left behind,” she said. Call Debra at …, or visit either of her two web sites at …. and take advantage of her return to the Beach.”
In case you’re wondering, in those days (and in that city) “house fluffer” was a term used more often than “home stager.” That’s why you’ll see that reference in my press release.
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 from a press release was sent out in March/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. Find ways to make an editor or reporter’s job easier.
Budgets are tight so everyone in the media is working harder. Reporters have to blog, tweet, etc. on top of what they did before. They have more content to write, tighter deadlines and less time for research.
Don’t be intimidated and think they’re doing you a favor by writing about you. Approach the whole task of getting media coverage with a more useful mindset.
The media needs new and interesting content every single day! You’re doing 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 Boulevard Magazine after I approached an editor with a story idea. To improve my chances, I also provided 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 home staging 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 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.
Because I wasn’t afraid to share free home staging tips on my website, Michiana House and Home Magazine contacted me and ran my top 10 home staging tips in their August issue!
You’ll find more examples of my media coverage here.
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. I have not chased media attention at all!
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.” 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 website for my home staging business with a ton of content at that point!
There is much more on how to get media attention in my Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. That’s why so many of our students and grads have also appeared on TV, newspapers and in magazines.
Donna Dazzo says
Debra, as you know I was one of the three graduates with press exposure in Chicago. In fact, this article was actually syndicated from its original source to the newspaper in Chicago, so doubling (or more, I don’t know) my exposure. If you go to my Press tab on my website, http://www.designedtoappeal.com, you will see that I have lots of Press exposure. I hate to admit it, as some people might be envious, but almost all of them were about them seeking me out rather than the other way around. And this was due to your #5, having a strong internet presence. I almost always come up on page 1 when you google home staging or home staging New York City. If a producer has a story to produce or a writer has a story to write, they need to find someone and find them fast. Of course, internet presence means more than coming up on page 1 of google. You must have a good website and then when they google your name, you are found on other websites, in other articles, as well as the author of your own blog. All a strong internet presence as Debra says. And of course the other points Debra mentions are important as well.
Debra Gould says
Donna, thanks for popping by. I know what you mean about syndicated content. When I was in This Old House Magazine it got picked up by CNNMoney and a bunch of other sites. Ah the beauty of centralized media.
I’m not surprised you’re doing so well with Google and that the media is finding you.
Not only do you have your own site and blog, you’re active in Social Media and have kept a listing in the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers, for the past 5 years. You make sure you continue to send me news about your business so that I can write about you. You understand that every blog post and article I write that features you helps add to the evidence search engines have that you’re an authority on home staging. Plus you comment on this blog. If you’re curious how many times your name appears on my site alone (never mind the outside sites I’ve sent articles about you to), check this out. Go to the home page of StagingDiva.com, scroll to the bottom and then put your name in the search box (bottom left). It will come up with pages and pages of results!
Donna, you are a great example of the RIGHT WAY to do things and you are getting the media attention you well deserve.
So listen up all Staging Diva Graduates, you should be in the Staging Diva Directory because I’ll promote your listing all over the place. I’ve made multiple offers to write about you too! If you haven’t taken me up on it, now is the time to check out my Success Stories Submission Process. I don’t know how I could make it any easier!
Debbie Fiskum says
Some things we can put into practice right away! A little media coverage goes a long way so it’s worth pursuing. It’s all about getting your name out there and keeping it in front of people.
Debbie Fiskum, Perfect Transformations Home Staging Denver
Debra Gould says
Debbie, thanks for your comment. You’re so right. When you think of how much it would cost to buy an ad in a newspaper or magazine and getting some PR is totally FREE. Plus, you get a ton more mileage from being featured in an article than being in an ad, because we all know most people try to ignore the ads and focus on the content in the middle!
Donna Dazzo says
Wow, Debra, I did do a search on my name and there were at least 10 pages of results! Every comment I made on your blogs, every time you mentioned me and every time someone mentioned me in their comments on your blog, were in these 10 pages of results of the search for Donna Dazzo. Your blogs always come up in my google alerts on “home staging” because you know what you’re doing, and one of the best ways for home stagers to increase traffic to their own site is to comment on blogs or articles that come up frequently in google alerts for “home staging”.
Debra Gould says
Thanks Donna! I’m glad you did that search, it’s pretty cool! And you’re absolutely right about the importance of commenting on blogs. It gets your name out there and drives traffic back to your site.
For anyone who doesn’t know, another of the factors in the search engine algorithms is your site traffic when they’re determining your search engine ranking. So more traffic brings higher search results which brings yet more traffic, and on and on 🙂
Donna Dazzo says
Also just checked my google analytics and found that Staging Diva Directory this month was #3 source of traffic to my site after organic search (#1) and direct traffic (#2), and the Directory also was a 46% share of sources of new traffic to my website.
Debra Gould says
Wow Donna, that is totally great and I really appreciate you sharing this info! Not just for me, but so others can see the value of being in the Directory even if you have your own website!
I just got the same Google alert. Here’s the link;
Stacy Goade, Alaska Premier Home Staging says
Hey Debra – thank you for focusing some attention and web time on the topic of media for our home staging businesses. I’ve concentrated my marketing efforts this first year in business on learning about websites and search engine optimization and social media. Now I have my own business website but I continue to protect/enhance my internet presence by maintaining my listing on the Staging Directory of Home Stagers because it has and continues to be a source for driving hits to my business. With the media tips you provide above (and those in lesson 4 of the SD Training sessions) I am reminded I have several excellent strategies to use as I try to get “media” attention. Thanks!
Donna, I appreicate you for taking the time to clearly share the value of your website, directory page and social media sites in helping build recognition and opportunities. It’s inspiring for the rest of us and it bears repeating! There is a lot to figure out and set up in the first two years of running your own business and sometimes you don’t “get” what others are telling you until you have arrived at the time when it begins to make sense. Keep on sharing your valuable experiences and insights – I’m sure there are others besides me that appreciate it even though they don’t comment/post.
and that will be my focus over the next few months. .
Debra Gould says
Hi Stacy, glad you found those tips helpful. I agree that “sometimes you don’t ‘get’ what others are telling you until you have arrived at the time when it begins to make sense.”
That’s why it’s so critical to keep listening to your Staging Diva course recordings. You will find new things every time you go through them, and you’ll find yourself appreciating the material on a deeper level. Think of the information in there as a bit of a time release capsule. I explained what you needed to know as a total beginner but I also gave you lots of information that you would continue to incorporate as you learned more just from the experience of “being” a home stager in your own mind, versus “just a beginner.”
Stacy Goade, Alaska Premier Home Staging says
Debra this is another inspiring post, and thanks to Dana for reminding us (me) about the value of the directory page, our own websites and all the social media options available to us for connecting and building our web presence. I have to admit that I am still working to “get” the various social media set-ups down so I can efficiently build/grow awareness of my home staging business. The result is I have not taken time to carefully plot out goals for attracting media attention so Debra’s post here is invaluable, especially because newspapers and local publications are operating in more challenging times than in days one by. I did write a nice press release and have had one-on-one contact with the editor who has now “qued” my submission so it will eventually run. I contacted the Editor in Chief about a home staging blog but he emailed back and said he didn’t believe there would be enough interest in a home staging blog. I am not going to give up and there is not sense in reinventing the wheel – Debra has provided several different media strategies that I can work on. Thanks everyone – I appreciate any insights, and all advice, that anyone cares to share. I LOVE this forum!
Rachel Morris says
This article was very helpful. I’m learning so much about marketing and SEOs as I just started my home staging business. It’s so much to learn and I’m a bit overwhelmed at times. What is your opinion on hiring a PR firm to distribute a press release for you? I’ve been looking into taking that route but am unsure. Do you find it beneficial? Thanks
Amazing Spaces Home Staging
Debra Gould says
Thanks for commenting Rachel! I’m glad you enjoyed this article.
I’ve personally never hired a PR firm and I know that would be a very expensive route to go.
There are tons of things you can do yourself, especially with all the ways there are to distribute press releases online now. This is a topic we can discuss in more detail in the next Staging Diva Dialog call. I hope you’ll join us! We talk a lot about how to get found online in those calls.
Also, I suggest re-listening to Course 4 of the Staging Diva Training Program, there are many no-cost ideas in there to get your business noticed.