5 PR Tips to Get Your Interior Design Project Published in a Magazine
I have worked with countless interior designers over the years, and the question on everyone’s mind is: How do you submit your interior design project to magazines? While you can hire me for that, there are a few things you need to know before you begin that will make the process a lot smoother. Here are five tips that answer some of my most frequently asked questions from interior designers.
If you’re not sure you are ready to place your interior project, click here to read my top PR Tips for Interior Designers.
1. ASK PERMISSION: You need to get permission from the homeowner before you submit photos of their home to a magazine. You also need to make sure they are happy to be part of the story, which could include having their photo taken in the home as well as an interivew. Not only will they want to use the homeowner’s name, but often they will even want to photograph the homeowner. It will vary from project to project how much you, the interior designer, are included in the actual piece. Of course you will be mentioned, but you need to know that sometimes that is all you will get (which is still great btw!).
2. YES, THEY NEED A RESHOOT: Even if you submit gorgeous scouting shots (more on that later!), magazines like Architectural Digest, and Elle Decor will reshoot the project for print and sometimes even for online. Make sure that you have permission from the homeowner to reshoot, too!
3. EXCLUSIVE MEANS ONLY ONE SOURCE: Print magazines want exclusive projects that have been completed in the last year. That means that you should not post the project to your website or social media, and if it’s already gotten press online or with another magazine, it is unlikely that you can get it placed in print somewhere else. Of course there are outlets that may not care, but it’s way better to be safe than sorry. I think it is perfectly fine to tease projects on your social media, but stick to vignettes, construction behind the scenes and small details. In other words, save the hero shot for after it is published.
4. SHORT AND SWEET: As with pitching anything to magazine editors, you have to find a way to keep your email very short and impactful. I recommend attaching a PDF document outlining all the features and sources of the home, and then keep your pitch to two short paragraphs. Embed ONE hero image into your email and link the rest of the images to Dropbox.
5. EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY: This should go without saying, but you need to submit professional images (“scouting shots”) even if the magazine is going to reshoot the project. If you don’t have a photographer that you work with regularly, do research to see who the big interiors photographers are in your area. It can definitely help to have a well known photographer shoot your project, and sometimes they will even have relationships with magazines. Make sure that you negociate the terms of your photos ahead of time. This is a huge mistake I see so many designers make. Shoot with a photographer who will let you use the images for your social media, website, and press for the price that you pay. If the photographer wants a separate fee to use for press, find out what that is in advance in case you have to purchase those rights. You don’t want to get in a situation where a magazine wants to use your photos and the photographer demands a really high rate. It’s so rare these days that magazines have budgets for photos. If necessary, hire a prop stylist to make sure every picture tells a story.
Second to photos, there are three other factors I have found that will pique the interest of a magazine: If the home owner is high-profile, if there is a really unique story about the property, if the designer is high-profile (Architectural Digest recently told me they only consider well known designers or well known home owners for print). Otherwise, whether or not your interior design work is published will be determined by the design, and whether or not it fits into the magazine’s editorial calendar. For example, Elle Decor’s July/August 2019 issue was themed travel and hotels, so every single feature had to fit in with that theme.
I get it! Pitching yourself to the media can be scary, intimidating, and extremely time consuming. I created my project placement service for designers like you who would rather hand over this part of the job, leaving you more time for what you do best—designing! Read more about my interior placement services and how it works right here.