How to Maximise your Public Relations
Public relations, also known as PR, is the art of maintaining your reputation and earning favourable public opinion for yourself or your business. PR in the beauty industry could consist of promoting new products, services or achievements within your salon, or personal and professional achievements from yourself or other staff members.
One of the best methods of maximising your PR exposure is through the distribution of press releases, whether online, to local press or to trade magazines. However, there are a few things that you need to consider first, such as your salon's USP (unique selling point) – what is it about your salon/offering that will make your release stand out amongst competitors? Whether you're discussing a competition win, charity fundraiser, in-salon event or new treatment launch, you should also always mention the fundamentals of your salon offering: who you are, where you are and what you can offer.
The next step is to create a list of journalists and editors whom you wish to contact every time you have news to share. Ensure that this list is updated regularly as you find out who the correct or best contacts are for each publication. You may find that different publications like to receive PR in different ways, so learn what works best as you build relationships with your contacts. Your release needs to have a purpose, and should be targeted and meaningful to the publication in which you are sending it to in order for it to be successful.
PR can also become an essential element of your overall marketing strategy and can provide content for other marketing channels, including your social media or blog. By sharing your releases across your web pages and social media platforms, more people are going to be able to find out about the exciting things that are happening in your salon.
Here is what the PR experts have to say:
• Heather Hughes, UK Director at NovaLash:
“PR is one of the most powerful marketing tools to get your salon noticed and to maximise business opportunities. It's a great way to communicate exactly what services your salon offers, and unlike straightforward advertising, editorial, in many cases, is more believable, as the review or recommendation is being shared by an unbiased third party.”
• Emma Rowbottom, Founder and Director of Seven Publicity:
“All of your promotional activity, such as seasonal campaigns, client offers or competitions should be extensively communicated via all available and appropriate channels, such as point-of-sale material, vinyl window displays and online.”
“Whether it's an anniversary, charitable initiative, a new shoot or show, all news is good news. Research, statistics, product news and collection imagery can all be used to grace the pages, and sometimes covers of, a magazine.”
• Laura Robinson, PR Manager at High Definition:
“Whenever you are sharing your business' latest news with press, always contemplate if the content has an interesting story. It sounds simple, but if the news isn't exciting, it probably won't be picked up by a publication.”
“PR & social media go hand–in–hand for so many reasons; great PR can be shared across a business' social media account, whether that is announcing a new collaboration, vocation, competition, press-cuttings or celebrity endorsements. Whatever the coverage, make sure it is shared across social media.”
• Martin Bamborough of MegaMix Nails:
“Making people aware of your business and getting people talking is never a bad thing. It may not lead to a return in footfall today, but it may in the future, and unlike direct marketing, it is more subliminal. It sends out a message that an advert can't, underlining that you care, that you are part of the community, that as much as you are a business and want to make money, you also like to give back."
However, if you are already short of time and are unsure how to add PR into your salon marketing strategy, there is the option of hiring an external PR agency to help ease the pressure. Many professional brands will also offer their salons PR support in a number of different forms, including awards, competitions and releases regarding their latest products, which you can use to your own advantage.
• Sharon Seymour, Salon Owner of Concepts Beauty & Wellbeing, Huddersfield:
“I decided to hire a PR agency rather than asking a member of the team at the salon to pick it up, as it requires a lot of work. With agencies, you have the comfort of knowing that there's a team of media experts working on your behalf who can manage everything for you. They will bounce ideas off one another to come up with the best possible strategy for you. It's comforting to know that PR is their sole focus.”