Hands down, the number one question I get from interior designers is how to get published. Having your work featured in print or online is not only a validating milestone in your career, but also an excellent marketing opportunity for your business and brand. But pitching to magazines and design sites can feel daunting if you’re new to the process. As an editor for over six years now, I can tell you that there are definitely steps you can take to improve your chances and also a code of etiquette to follow. I hope these tips help!
Keep your projects offline until published:
All magazines, digital and print, look for exclusivity when it comes to publishing a project. In short, we want to be the first to share your story. If it’s already made the rounds on blogs and Instagram it’s not going to be very exciting to our readers. So, if you have a project you’d like to submit to a publication, hold off on putting the images on your website or anywhere else on the web until after you’ve been published or determined to go in a different direction.
Match your submission to the right magazine aesthetically:
At Rue we receive so many great submissions of beautiful, well-designed spaces. As pretty as they are, however, if they don’t fit our magazine’s particular aesthetic it unfortunately isn’t likely to make it into our magazine. When choosing which magazine(s) to submit your projects to, do your research and find the publication that best matches your design aesthetic. With so many great shelter publications out there, you’re bound to find the perfect place to showcase your work.
Pitch one publication at a time:
Back to our point about exclusivity. No two magazines or websites are going to want to publish the same design project, so be careful not to accidentally overcommit a space. Pitching one magazine at a time is considered respectful in the publishing world. And it’s totally fine to ask for a timeline on when you’ll get an answer back so you can plan accordingly.
Pitch a creative story idea and provide scouting shots:
When contacting an editor, it helps if you’ve already thought of a story idea to pitch to them, rather than simply submitting images of a project. A beautiful space is wonderful, but we’re also interested in telling the story behind the home/designer/owner and if you can help paint that picture in our mind, the more likely you’ll stick out among other submissions. Think of ways your story can offer something new and stand out from the rest. And don’t forget to attach scouting shots of your project! The good news is that there’s no need to get professional photography at this point (though it definitely doesn’t hurt) as most magazines will want to reshoot the space anyway- iPhone images will suffice for scouting shots.
Think about building a long term relationship with the editors:
Be sincere in your outreach to editors. Try first to build a genuine relationship with an editor as someone who supports their publication, rather than mass mailing your pitches to them. This approach is more likely to naturally develop into a relationship overtime, and when a specific need for a story comes up, you’ll be someone who is top of mind. Keep in mind that being published doesn’t always happen over night, either. Often, it’s a process that takes a lot of time and requires patience.
Be easy to work with:
Looping back to our previous tip on building long term relationships, the easier you are to work with, the more likely magazine editors will consider you a lifelong resource to their publication. Avoid being put into the “high maintenance” category for best results. You might not always agree with an image that runs or the wording of a write-up, but trusting and respecting a magazine’s decisions is important in maintaining a good working relationship with editors.
Have an online presence to increase your chances of getting “found”:
Let’s face it, media is being consumed more and more online each day. It’s where many of us do our shopping, get our news, find design inspiration, and much more. Editors are more likely to find you if you are an active participant in the digital conversations happening in the design community online. In fact, Instagram is the number one place I scout for interesting people and projects to feature. Consider having an online presence like leaving your electronic footprint in as many places as possible to be discovered.
I hope that was helpful! If you have any specific questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to answer.
If you liked this post, then you might also enjoy reading about my journey of starting Rue magazine.