Knitters, potters, stained glass makers, woodworkers, metal artists and anyone who sells arts and crafts from home often have a difficult time convincing traditional media and bloggers that they’re worth covering.
From a journalist’s perspective, these can’t be real businesses, can they? Of course they can.
Craft businesses have long been important to the U.S. economy and constitute a $15.4 billion-a-year industry, according to a 2010 study by the Craft & Hobby Association. If you’re treating your passion—what you love to make—as a business, it’s time to also get serious about your PR and publicity.
Spread the word about what you’re making and the business issues you’re facing. Offer interesting angles or hooks, and you can find your way into blogs, onto the TV news and radio talk shows, and into newspapers and magazines.
Here are seven ideas on how to promote your home arts or crafts business:
1. Become active on Pinterest.
The world’s Number 3 social media site is the perfect place to share gorgeous photos of your own products, as well as photos that tie into what you sell.
Do you make glass vases? If so, pin photos of colorful, elegant vases of every shape and size, even though many of the vases aren’t your own. Here’s a great example:
2. Don’t hesitate to discuss your business problems and how you’re solving them.
How are you dealing with price increases for raw materials such as copper? How about higher prices for shipping?
Are you selling on Etsy and, if so, how are you dealing with many of the Etsy problems that other crafters are grousing about?
3. Share your social media success stories.
Most of the big success stories we’re seeing about things like Facebook contests are often about companies with big brands.
Bloggers, especially, love it when they can write a David & Goliath story about a small craft business that hit it big because of an app, or a contest, or a campaign that went viral and pulled hundreds of orders.
4. Create Google Alerts for the types of crafts or artwork you’re selling such as woodworking, knitting, stained glass, etc..
Once a week, or once a day, or as soon as news appears online, Google will send you an email alert with a link. This will help you find content and identify journalists and bloggers who are writing about your craft.
I tell Google to email my alerts to me once a day. I also requested all content, including blog posts, news items and videos.
When you find an article written by a reporter, or a blog post, you can check out the blog, then pitch an idea about your business using my 5-part formula.
5. Submit press releases and photos to the New Products sections of magazines.
This section, probably more than any other, will welcome news about what you’ve made.
Let’s say you sell jeweled dog collars. Look for New Products sections in dog and pet magazines.
6. Scour the National Public Radio website for programs that might want you as a guest.
You must pitch a great story idea or angle. But NPR—which places a heavy emphasis on culture, lifestyle topics and the arts—is a perfect venue for you because , particularly if you sell more upscale items that would appeal to their more upscale audience.
At the website, you can use the search box to look for archived programs that already have featured your topic. Listen to the programs. Decide if you’re a good fit. If so, pitch!
7. Offer to write a guest blog post for bloggers whose audiences are part of your target market.
Let’s say you make glass or ceramic flower plates, a type of garden art, like the ones I wrote about here. Contact a gardening blogger and offer to write a guest post, accompanied by photos, that explains how to make them.
“Why should I give away my secrets?” you ask. Because most people won’t take the time to make th eitems. If they want them bad enough, they’ll buy them—maybe from you.
Those are my ideas. If you like tips like these and you’re in any industry, subscribe to my weekly ezine, “The Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week,” from the sign-up box in the right margin of this blog. The newsletter takes just a few minutes to read and is filled with tips on how to generate publicity using traditional and social media.
Readers love the periodic “Help This Hound” feature that lets them ask a publicity-related question and get answers and ideas from my other subscribers.
(Stained glass photo from Bigstock.com)