I have been there. I used to sit in front of the computer, begging for a reply from a glossy, high profile magazine, in the hope of getting a coverage for my spa. And I know it seems easier to make Madonna retire than to get that coverage but you should stick with it because it’s so worth it. Not only can you attract leads and clients to your business, but you can also position your spa or salon as an industry leader.
Of course, if you have the budget for a PR person or agency, it’s them who get the grey hairs from all this hustle. However, if you are just starting out, have a limited budget or would rather DIY, I have the steps that got my spa featured in top publications.
Step 1: Create a list of potential blogs and magazines where you would like to get featured.
This step is quite obvious. However, I would like you to create not just a list of publications but to look for their past articles relating spas and salons.
You will need these points of reference later on.
Step 2: Connect with bloggers and journalists.
Once you have a list of blogs and magazines, look for their bloggers and journalists online and connect with them (like, share, comment on their work).
If they are familiar with your name, they will be more likely to read and reply to your email.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget the power of social media influencers! Many of these influencers have a large following, but no blog, however, you shouldn’t overlook them.
Depending on their popularity, they may be willing to create a post about your salon or spa in return for some gifts/free treatments, which could easily create a multiple X return for your business.
Just be strategical about your choice of influencers and target them only if their target market matches yours.
Some popular influencers to choose for spas and salons are beauty queens, models, actresses and media personalities.
Step 3: Look for story inquiries.
There is this site called “Help a reporter out” or just HARO where journalists and bloggers post their inquiries looking for ideas for their upcoming articles.
If you reply to these inquiries (with the right content, of course), you have a high likelihood of getting featured because you are providing them what they need, when they need it.
However, you have to be fast with your reply as the deadlines are quite tight.
There are some blogs that post their upcoming stories for which they are looking for ideas.
Look for “Guest posts wanted”, “Want to be featured?” and similar folders to get to know about these opportunities.
Step 4: Create your pitch
This is probably the most important step.
Some journalists and bloggers receive hundreds of pitches every day, so you have to grab their attention by your subject line and within the first few sentences.
Other than this, keep it short and sweet!
Step 5: Follow up
If you don’t receive a reply within a few days, send a follow up email, reach out on social media privately or call the blogger/journalist.
If you do receive a reply and a request for additional material, be as quick as possible with your response because I can tell you that journalists really appreciate it. I try to do so within a few hours.
Even if you receive a negative reply, be sure to thank them for letting you know.
Step 6: Post publication
Woohoo! You did it! Your spa got featured in the press! Be sure to thank the journalist/blogger for writing about your business.
Save the article and brag about it:
• upload it on social media: post the picture of the article with a link (if online) on your business page
• create a press clipping: collect the articles and showcase them at your salon for your clients to see
• upload it on your website, in the press folder
• encourage the publication to share the article on its social media pages: then keep an eye out on the post to reply to comments
Bonus tip: Should you bother with creating and sending out press releases?
If you want to get into top publications, they do not tend to reply to cold press releases (i.e. with no prior connection or inquiry), so if you are aiming at top media, then I’d say, don’t bother.
On this note, I’d add that I wouldn’t use press release distribution services (these are NOT PR agencies), because their outreach is impersonal and unsolicited and it is unlikely that you’ll receive a reply from any prestigious publication.
However, if you want to target smaller, local publications, they are more likely to reply to press releases.
What’s more, they are many times actively looking for press releases so if you have a press release folder on your website, they may proactively use the information for their articles.
(Sometimes they do not even let you know about it – one more reason to install Google Alerts and some analytics tool on your website so you can track your traffic sources, but that’s for another blog post.)