M's Musings

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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Help Is On The Way

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we wear many hats. It’s a lot to take on and handle on a daily basis - your actual business, interior design, or PR in my case, finance, operations, HR, tech, all the admin stuff, it never ends.

I am three years into being self-employed after many years of enjoying corporate perks like an IT help desk (I miss that!) or a corporate travel department (really missed that when I was stuck in Las Vegas for three days last year!). 

What I realized after a while of trying to do it all by myself is that it’s okay, no, it’s absolutely essential to ask for help.

I love learning new things, but there are just areas I will never be really good at, like graphic design, tech or, yikes, accounting. And even when I thought I couldn’t afford it, I brought in just a little bit of help for some of those areas, and it’s been worth every penny. I also believe in coaching and have been in different kinds of coaching and...

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Procrastination or Self-Care

Like every serious professional, I have a plan for my business. As a matter of fact, I am a huge fan of planning, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I am of course talking about the part where you brainstorm, think big, dream, come up with new crazy ideas, the fun stuff, not so much the part where you put it all in a spreadsheet and track the details. If you know me, you know it’s true...

But seriously. I usually send out my note to you on Tuesday and I write it somewhere between Friday and Tuesday morning, depending on how much life is happening when. Between school starting for my kids, soccer games, onboarding a couple of new clients, and creating and hosting my Master DIY PR digital course, there just haven’t been enough hours in the days lately. (I really should get a cleaning lady, too.)

So, last Monday, which was Labor Day, I felt super stressed because I had so much work on my to-do list, writing this email being just one of them. No thought of...

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Market Your PR to Stand Out

How do you feel about marketing? Is it something you love or just a necessary evil?

Either way, it is a must. I was reminded of that in a recent chat I had with Jason Lockhart, the CEO of Kitchen & Bath Marketing Solutions,  for my Design PR Insider membership. He said: “If you want to grow your business, you have to do marketing.”

The two crucial things every interior designer needs to do to grow her or his business, according to Jason,  are:

  • Social media
  • E-mail marketing

I am sure neither one of them come as a surprise to you, and hopefully you are doing both of them! 

Jason said something else in the interview about PR that I had never thought of in that particular way. A media placement gives you a USP, a unique selling proposition, which is just jargon for something that differentiates you from all the other interior designers. And that’s what you want! 

It’s the job of marketing to leverage your uniqueness, and PR placements...

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