Design Week editor Tom Banks shares the motivation behind the launch of a new course teaching creatives how to market themselves.
Few creatives know how to market themselves successfully or how to partner with the press to elevate their work, but there are tactics and techniques for securing column inches. Thankfully, Tom Banks, editor of online design magazine Design Week, has created the Designers and Creatives: How to Talk to the Press course to help emerging designers and creatives improve their PR efforts and gain media traction.
Having created the useful course because of the number of irrelevant pitches Banks personally receives, he decided to take action and create a pragmatic guide to share what editors look for when commissioning editorial. That way, creatives can get their work featured in media outlets without the need to pay for professional PR services, and it means they can autonomously represent themselves.
"As a designer, nobody knows your work like you do and rather than engage a PR to promote it for you, I can show you how to do it yourself, saving a lot of time – and money – in the process. The benefits of speaking to the design and creative press include finding a new audience, getting your work in front of potential clients and improving your SEO so that you're more visible, but there's a lot more to it than that," says Banks.
With 14 years of editorial experience beneath his belt, he assures, "I can help creatives to take control of their own profile."
The course provides ways for creatives to cultivate better relationships with the press, including how to get their work featured in articles and efficiently share their expertise across features and thought pieces.
The hour-and-a-half-long course promises to be a cost-effective way of shedding light on the pitching process and training creatives to think like journalists while teaching them to perfect their pitches, press releases and interviews.
Here are Banks' four top takeaways for creatives wanting to improve their marketing prospects:
1. Know the benefits of talking to the press
Why is being featured in the press so important for budding creatives, and how can it help scale up careers and businesses?
Press coverage is vital for creators seeking new audiences of like-minded peers, potential clients and industry contacts. Plus, it's a guaranteed way of increasing website traffic and getting more people to see their art while raising their creative profile.
"After you've got to grips with talking to journalists about your new project, you can make yourself available for everything from soundbites and vox pops to being an interview source as an expert on a particular subject," says Banks.
Editors accept and encourage experts to relay their knowledge and experience in the form of opinion pieces – something that's covered in more detail in the course. Rather than putting out passive thought leadership pieces, Banks suggests ways that creatives can contribute to bigger creative conversations that will grow their reputations over time.
2. Make sure your client is happy for you to talk about a project
Check in with your client to ensure they agree with you about talking to the press about a particular project. Banks suggests speaking with them before offering any interviews and being transparent about the intention and direction of the interview to prevent any issues from arising further down the line. This can be easily forgotten during pitching and while preparing for media engagement.
Press coverage is vital for creators seeking new audiences. Plus, it's a guaranteed way of increasing website traffic and getting more people to see their art while raising their creative profile.
3. Talk to the right title
Many pitches from PRs and designers touting new projects fall foul because they're not targeting the right publication. Consider who you're approaching and why before tailoring your pitch to them. The course looks at the best ways to communicate with journalists and how to maintain a good relationship with specific contacts to leverage opportunities.
4. Write the perfect press release
When thinking and pitching new projects, you'll need to write a press release that grabs the journalist's attention and sells the idea to them. Some journalists will use the press release as a source for their story, but many will want to interview you further to do their own write-up, receive fresh quotes and carve out a unique angle.
Despite this, a release will help to pitch the project and gauge initial interest from the journalist. In the course, Banks covers how to write the perfect press release and how to make your pitch stand out.
If you think you could benefit from the Designers and Creatives: How to Talk to the Press course, click here to sign up. The live one-off online course will take place on 30 November at 2pm and will include a workshop and live Q&A session.