M's Musings

Thanks, 2020. Hello, 2021.

It’s been one heck of a year. No doubt.

I am sure you have your own journal full of memories of this year - the good, the bad, and maybe, the ugly. It’s likely material for a best-selling novel with drama tucked in every corner of every page. I have mine too.

But as a realistic optimist, I like to focus on the positive things this year has brought me.

One of them is the fact that if it wasn’t for this year and the pandemic, I would not be writing this note to you.

When the pandemic kicked in at the beginning of this year, I quickly realized that as a self-employed PR consultant, my job security was more than shaky. Not that it is stellar in any corporate job these days. However, from my previous life in corporate, I vividly remember how the contractors were always the first ones to get cut if the numbers didn’t add up. It was definitely time to kick Plan B into gear.

As it happened, I’d been noodling a project for a good couple of years: Creating a...

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Does An Interior Designer Need A Press Kit?

The terms press kit or media kit float around often when the topic of PR comes up. You may wonder what exactly they are, and if you need one. Let’s dig into this a bit.

Many people use press kit and media kit interchangeably, but no matter what you call them, there a couple of fundamentally different kinds.

MEDIA KIT

A media kit is a packet of information that magazines and a lot of bigger blogs use to sell advertising and sponsorships. It usually includes information about their audience and reach, the types of ads and promotions they are offering, and pricing. Sometimes it includes an editorial calendar, which is the only connection with PR, otherwise it is a sale tool.

PRESS KIT

A press kit is also a packet of information, but it’s designed to provide background and content information to the media. Journalists use it when they are looking for content to write stories and articles. 

Brands and companies use press kits to release comprehensive bundles of...

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Plan For 2021 Like A Pro

As we are approaching the end of the year, I am sure you are starting to reflect back on this crazy challenging 2020. I don’t know about you but I am more than ready to move on to 2021!

I am a big fan of planning and goal setting - annually, monthly, weekly, even daily. In truth, I can go completely overboard with planning because the ideas keep coming, but I have to reign them in because it’s just me, myself and I running this show for now. And as Antoine de Saint-Exupery says:

A goal without a plan is just a wish. 

If you are anything like me, it helps to follow a system. It’s so tempting to just have dreams that live and flourish in your head, but since we are all running businesses, it’s imperative that we write down our plans and goals. It’s proven that just by doing so you increase your chances of actually following through. It’s something about the brain-to-hand connection that makes you more likely to stick to your commitment. But...

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HARO How-To

After last week’s note about taking advantage of HARO queries, I’ve received a number of questions about HOW you go about submitting a good pitch. If you missed last week’s content, HARO connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their content with sources (YOU!) who have that expertise.

It can be intimidating to write a pitch, I know it. But it’s not that hard if you just follow a few guidelines.

Here are my golden HARO rules:

  • Submit EXACTLY what the query asks for, nothing more and nothing less.
  • Keep it SHORT. Don’t spend hours writing a novel. All they are looking for are a few sentences max.
  • Write like you SPEAK. This is especially true if you feel like you are not a great writer. It’s fine! They are looking for content, not poetry!
  • Don’t OVERTHINK it. Write it down, and hit the send button. Done is much better than perfect.
  • Never include ATTACHMENTS of any kind - they will NOT go through.  If they ask for images, put...
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Low-Hanging Fruit

diypr public relations Nov 10, 2020

Today, I want to talk about a concrete way to get you some PR coverage. The dream scenario for every PR person or every person who does their own PR probably is that media are knocking at your door because they want to feature you, your brand and your product or service. It does happen, but it’s rare and usually the result of many years of doing proactive PR. 

That said, there is an easy way to get started! There are services out there that channel requests from journalists to potential sources. A little bit of the burden is still on you because you have to keep track of the queries to find the ones that are a fit, and of course, you have to submit your pitch.

The most popular of these types of services is called HARO, which stands for Help A Reporter Out. It was founded by a PR pro and now is owned by Cision, a PR software company. The good news is that it’s completely FREE, at least if you settle for the basic version, which sends you three emails a day with...

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Decisions, decisions...

I have a few rules when it comes to how I show up on social media and in marketing my business, one of which is to stay away from religion and politics. That’s clearly not because I don’t have an opinion and beliefs. An old boss of mine once called me the most opinionated neutral person he’s ever met, ahem, and he may not be completely wrong.  (If you’re not following, it helps to know that I am from Switzerland.)

That said and knowing it’s Election Day today, making choices and decisions is something we do every day. Some are easy, some are hard. But all of them have consequences. 

Whether or not you do PR is obviously not a life-or-death decision and won’t decide the political direction of an entire country for four years but it does have an impact on your business trajectory. As Jim Rohn said, you cannot make progress without making decisions. 

In politics, this means you choose a candidate and cast a ballot. For your PR, it also...

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What is PR?

Over the last years, I’ve had many conversations with interior designers. I love to learn about everyone’s business, find out what makes them unique and what the challenges are. One of the things that naturally comes up is PR. A question a lot of interior designers seem to have is what PR really is and when it is time to start doing it. Lucky me, this is one of my favorite topics!

If you ask me, I can honestly tell you that any stage of an interior design business offers plenty of opportunity for PR.  I’ll go into more detail on this topic next week.

What I want to tell you today is that, in reality, you are always doing PR whether you know it or not. PR stands for Public Relations, which literally means it encompasses all the communications you have with your audiences - your clients, your vendors, your partners, your staff, your neighbors, your community, your peers, and so on..

Public Relations consists of many specialty areas including:

  • Reputation...
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Fight Overwhelm And Conquer PR

Are you feeling overwhelmed? And adding PR to your to-do list seems impossible for many reasons - but maybe it makes it even more overwhelming because you simply don’t know where to start? 

I thrive under pressure. It’s ideal for me to have too much to do in order to function at my best. My guess is some of you are in the same boat. However, there is a fine line between healthy, positive stress, and negative overload. So, how do we create or preserve that healthy balance?

As business owners, we are juggling a lot of things, often wearing all the hats. In my experience, if I’m feeling overwhelmed it’s usually because I’m not organized enough and I don’t have my priorities straight. Meaning, I’ve let my inbox fill to overflowing and my task lists (yes, plural) are spread out in a crazy combination of sticky notes and Google tasks. At that point, it seems impossible to add one more thing. And maybe you are there with me, even if your list...

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Dare To Be An Expert

It’s interesting how things come full circle. I have been doing PR for more than twenty years. Time really does fly, whether you’re having fun - or not. Kidding aside and being the optimist I am, most of my career in PR I would definitely list in the positive column when I look back. I’ve certainly learned a lot, traveled a lot, been to many tradeshows and events, written a lot, talked a lot, attended a LOT of meetings, build great friendships, and landed some very cool media placements along the way.

But you know what? There are still moments when I feel like a novice. There are so many things to know, and part of the wisdom that comes with experience is knowing what you don’t know. Do I know all the editors at all the design magazines? No, definitely not. (They keep moving around too!) Do I know how to write a pitch that 100% will turn into a placement? No, definitely not. (But no one does!) Do I meet all the pitch deadlines and is my...

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5 Steps to Get Started With PR

When I ask interior designers what they struggle with the most when it comes to doing their own PR, the common thread in a lot of the answers is along the lines of:  Everything, I don’t even know where to start.

So, I thought I’d give you some pointers. Here are five basic steps you can take to get you started:

  1. Go to the closest bookstore and buy a handful of magazines that you’d like to be covered in. Read them, and imagine where you would fit in.
  2. Organize your projects, including photos, and think about which one would make a good feature in one of the magazines you researched.
  3. Track down a contact at the magazine you identified.
  4. Write a short email with highlights about the project you chose, an image link, and why you think the readers of the magazine would like it.
  5. Send the e-mail.

This is what we call a pitch, in a nutshell. Pretty straight forward, right?

You're ready? Go for it! If you are not ready to give it a try, tell me what is holding you back....

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