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"The Independent Artist"
Issue V, April 2009

Page 6

Public Relations 101 for Jewelers: Q&A with Lisa Torch of Director Force Media PR
an interview by Holly Olinger, Mixed -Media Artist, NAIA Board Member

Lisa Torch

Lisa Torch is the principle of Atlanta based Director Force Media PR. Her clients are seen in publications such as Elle, Vogue, InStyle, Veranda, US Magazine, People and Brides. They include fashion and jewelry designers, hotels and spas, and restaurants in the US and Puerto Rico.

Introduction

An effective advertising campaign is only the beginning of the media relations strategy that jewelers need to adopt in order to effectively present their product lines to the public, publications, and retailers. Distinguishing your brand through the use of Public Relations will provide you with the opportunities to have your lines appear in national, regional, trade or general lifestyle publications. Additional opportunities for publicizing your jewelry designs include events, gift bags, talk shows, awards shows, music videos, and special promotions. These avenues of exposure are developed through a comprehensive and sustained effort to place your brand before the industry decision makers who choose editorial content including fashion photo shoots and industry promotions.

A public relations consultant can help you get free (but not guaranteed) editorial coverage which is an implied endosement of your designs. This powerful sales tool enhances the image of your line and creates the must have buzz that helps readers infer that your work is cutting edge and highly sought after.

The PR process is not complex, but requires ongoing efforts to keep your name and brand before the right people who can help publicize your work and increase your sales. Ms. Torch outlines her basic strategies for helping her clients get these desired placements in the following article. You can adopt her strategies and successfully implement your own PR campaign.

HO: How do you begin the media effort for a jewelry designer?

LT: We begin by reviewing fashion and lifestyle publications to determine which ones best cater to the designers demographic and price points. We pay close attention to what editors are already using and determine if their designs work within the existing style of the publication. We also make sure to keep our editor lists current. Magazine personnel change jobs regularly and its important to keep our contact lists up to date so we can most effectively pitch your work.

HO: How do you present a designers work to the editors?

LT: Pitching to the media and then following up through mail, email, and personal contact are vital to our PR strategy. This process is ongoing and constant. We also create and distribute press releases for your brand when you launch a new collection, have news about your line or business, and when you have a trunk show.

If you have a special piece that fits in with a project that an editor is working on, we send them photos, usually via email. When we start working together, we will ask you for a catalog of your images in both high and low resolution as well as price lists and store lists. We maintain all of this information in our files so that you can be properly credited if a publication offers editorial coverage.

We also contact editors to ask them what they are working on and what they need for upcoming issues. Publications need a continual source of new products and current news to complete their magazines.

Many editors send out email bulletins to inform publicists of current projects. We are always included on those lists and we follow up by asking which issue they are working on, whether or not they need images or actual pieces for a photo shoot. If they are calling in actual pieces, we obtain complete information about the shoot, when the piece has to arrive, where it is going and when you can expect to get it back.


Additional Resources
Mastheads.org There is a subscription fee to use this service, but the research into current editor lists is done for you. A great work saver!!

PublicityInsider.com A publicity newsletter that includes PartyLine a list of new publications

PRWeb.com
Low cost distribution service for formal press releases. Even at the $40 level, top placements in search engines including Google News, Yahoo News and eMedia Wire are possible.

HO: What is the process if a magazine wants to use a designers jewelry?

LT: Once an editor asks for samples, we will provide you, the designer, with a complete name and address for sending your pieces. We ask you to protect your merchandise by emailing us a copy of the inventory you are sending. We also ask for a Letter of Responsibility from the magazine to protect you from theft or damage. If your pieces have retail values of over $10,000 we also ask them for an insurance letter. You should label all packages and include consignment memos detailing the items with full description of pieces, the wholesale and retail price, and your contact information for returns.

Many times editors will use interns to re-package the pieces for return. If your work is delicate, provide them with complete packaging instructions. Do not assume a staff member will realize the full value or fragility of your work. If you have special packing requirements include details!

HO: How do you follow up on magazine placements?

LT: Your consignment memo is your record, and key to tracking the shipment. You can use it to both sign out and sign back in your pieces. We then find out from the editor what issue they are working on so we can follow the progress of the photo shoot or image placement. When an editor contacts us for credit information, its an indication they are using your jewelry in a shoot or for a feature story. When all goes well, and your piece or image appears in the magazine, we then create a clip book with scans of the image pages where your work appears. We store them and send them to you at the end of each month. Retaining digital clippings gives you the option of cleaning up imperfections and creating a comprehensive catalog of clips you can present at trade shows or during future projects. The record of your success in getting editorial coverage is a promotional tool in itself. Be proud of your placements just like you are of your designs; they are good indicators of your studios brand recognition and success.

Contact Lisa for a complimentary PR and strategic relations evaluation at 678.443.8502 or on the web at: DFMPR.com

Connie Mettler, continued from page 5 ...

was great at wysiwig and I learned a little html for when things got sticky.

2. Typepad.com

Last January I moved ArtFairCalendar.com to Typepad.com. I pay the pro rates of $14.95 a month for hosting, although they start as low as $4.95 a month. Visit: ArtFairCalendar.com to see a sample of a Typepad site.

3. WordPress.com

My first blog (ArtFairInsider.com) was hosted by WordPress.com. This is a free site.

Visit www.ArtFairInsider.com to see what a Wordpress blog looks like.

4. Ning.com

My new site, ArtFairInsiders.com, is a social networking site for artists with a price of $19.95 a month. Visit ArtFairInsiders.com to view a Ning.com site.

If you want more details about the steps for building a website, visit ScottFox.com. Youll find an excellent article, Web Site Startup Checklist, free and downloadable if you subscribe to his free email newsletter.

I never imagined that Id be replacing art fair earnings with an online business, although I was part of the team that took the first Apple computers and installed them in the Detroit Public Schools, but my son pushed, prodded and cajoled me into establishing a presence online to promote art fairs and artists. With my background in the business it has been a natural combination.

Heres the conclusion:

If I can build web sites and keep them up to date, you can, too

If I can have a #1 Google-ranked web site, you can, too

If I can turn my life experiences into an opportunity to earn money online, you can, too

You can get online and have a web site up and running for less than the average price of a booth fee. Instead of filling that upcoming weekend with a marginal art fair, take that time and money and build a web site. It will pay off much longer than the sales made at the fair.


Next time: The web site is built. Whats next?

Connie Mettler, publisher of ArtFairCalendar.com and ArtFairInsiders.com is a charter member of NAIA, partner of photographer Norm Darwish and participated in art fairs for 25+ years, and has organized and consulted with art fairs in the Midwest, including the upcoming (April 17-19) Great Lakes Art Fair in Novi, MI.

Connie credits her online expertise to her son Scott Fox, author of Internet Riches and an expert on small business marketing on the Internet. His e-commerce web site advice, email newsletters and free downloadable reports are available at ScottFox.com.

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