Struggling to get noticed? UK Handmade portfolio member, Lindleywood, has been featured in many major UK magazines and newspapers, plus on national TV and radio. Helen Lindley tells us how.
Image courtesy of Theo Paphitis #SBS
Lindleywood has been fortunate to be featured in many media areas and when UK Handmade asked me to compile some tips on getting noticed my initial reaction was, “It just happened!”
But after considering, I realised there were some key things we do.
Here are a few pointers, although the list certainly isn’t fully comprehensive!
1. Tell everyone
Really important: tell everyone you know about your business. I don’t mean treat them to a lengthy business history, but one short sentence – two at most – about it. If you can tell your friends and family what you do concisely and clearly then it will be easier to tell strangers. Write it down and learn it. Not parrot fashion as you’ll need flexibility. If anyone asks me what Lindleywood does, the approximate one sentence version is, “We hand-make bespoke wooden boxes.” (The two sentence version adds, “Products like unusually shaped bird boxes and wedding post boxes.”)
2. Get business cards
Having cards creates a professional image, plus you can give them to people you’ve been chatting to in point 1 to help them remember you!
3. Join business networks, locally and online
There are some very good networks on social media, especially for creative crafts. Also look online for local networking groups, as local areas tend to have their own networking groups rather than being part of a national organisation.
4. Sponsor local events
We’ve donated prizes, helped charities, and sponsored events in our village, which have resulted in newspaper and magazine coverage. You never know who might see your work.
5. Use social media
Social media is key to a business, whatever its size. Use Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram under your business name. We’ve had products featured in magazines and mentions on radio stations as a result of social media posts. This can be a seemingly unintentional post – we’ve had mentions on BBC2 and BBC6 Music from a simple tweet we sent, and were asked to write an article for a craft magazine following a post we made on our Facebook page.
6. Write press releases
There are free How-to guides on the internet. Start with your local paper and progress to bigger publications as your confidence grows. If you find success with your press release, ensure you maintain the dialogue. Editors and journalists tend to move around publications so it could open doors in the future.
7. Work with others
Working with – and promoting – other businesses can be helpful for everyone concerned. Plus it feels good to be a part of a team.
8. Sell on 3rd party websites
Have storefronts on 3rd party websites. Some have a joining fee and you will generally pay commission on sales, but some of the sites take care of marketing. And we’ve found lots of journalists use the better-known sites to browse for products to feature, at no cost to you, in their magazines. We’ve been shortlisted for, and won, business awards on NotontheHighStreet.com, with an article in the Daily Mail business section as a result. We’ve had a product on ITV’s Love Your Garden after a researcher spotted our caravan bird box on a site. This also led to me appearing live on The Alan Titchmarsh Show!
9. Tweet Theo Paphitis #SBS
On Twitter, Theo Paphitis (ex-Dragon’s Den) runs Small Business Sunday using the hashtag #SBS. Every Sunday on between 5pm-7.30pm businesses send a tweet. Theo chooses six businesses for a retweet from his account. Winners join the #SBS community, get a page on the #SBS website, and attend a free annual business event.
10. Take up free trials on Press Loft and other PR services
Use the free trials available with PR services. We’ve had magazine coverage from them and kept the journalists’/bloggers’ contact emails after the trial has finished.
11. Enter business award competitions
Many business awards are free to enter. You could get shortlisted or even win! And often there’s social media promotion surrounding the awards, which might mention you. An online search will help you find the national ones, but also remember local ones which are usually promoted by regional newspapers. And those business networks we mentioned earlier will often tell you of others too.
There’s no definitive way of being noticed: this is an overview. Do bits little and often, and never stop learning!
About the author:
Helen Lindley runs Lindleywood with her husband and business partner, Simon. They have been hand-making wooden products for the home and garden from their workshop in Lincolnshire since 2008. A hobby which turned into a full-time job for them both. Their products have been featured in many of the major UK magazines and newspapers, plus on national TV and radio.
If you are a UK based designer maker and wish to be considered for our premium portfolio account, please apply here http://ukhandmade.co.uk/directory-application.