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Spa Beauty PR 360

Pierce Mattie March 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

Editor’s note: This column is based on the author’s presentation “Spa and Beauty PR Trends for 2011 and Beyond,” which will be presented in the Advanced Education Conference Program at Face & Body Midwest Conference & Expo in Chicago March 12–14, 2011.

Let the media pendulum swing! Do you hear it? It’s telling you that although this social media boom is a ton of fun, keeps you busy and makes you feel like you’re a part of the public relations (PR) solution, you may have started to overlook the other facets of your spa’s PR campaign.

Even with smaller spas, reaching even just one media contact, giving them a great service and allowing them to experience your menu can have a huge impact on your business. Having solid media relations and press mentions could mean being busy during the slow summer months. Getting the buzz going could allow you to increase your prices, thus enabling you to work fewer hours, but still bring in the same revenue, or even more. Solid PR can create a tangible voice for your spa so it doesn’t go unnoticed.

Regardless of whether you are using a PR firm or handling communication efforts internally, ask yourself the following questions that may or may not apply to your business.

  • Is there a healthy mix of PR coverage for your spa online, in print, and on television and radio?
  • Is this media coverage converting to spa bookings or retail sales?
  • Is communication with local journalists, producers and editors occurring as frequently as it is with bloggers?

If you answered “no” to any of the above, then your spa’s PR is not well-rounded, and you are only capitalizing on a fraction of the opportunities available.   

Why 360° matters

Can you imagine if your spa only did one type of facial? You wouldn’t run your business that way, and you shouldn’t run your PR outreach that way. Consumers typically need to see a message seven times before it resonates with them. In today’s new world of digital communication, those seven points of contact can happen across many media platforms. From magazines, newspapers, television and radio to websites and blogs, consumers seek out information from multiple sources. 

So what constitutes a holistic assortment of press? You will want something close to the following.

  • Magazines: 3–10 a month
  • Television: 1–3 shows per quarter
  • Web/blogs: 4–10 a month
  • Radio: 2–4 shows per quarter

Establish relationships

So how should a spa go about establishing relationships with various media outlets? Here are some basic tips.

  • Tools required. Have a press kit—both printed and online—that includes the basic 5 Ws of PR: who, what, when, where, why and how, as well as images of treatment rooms and the staff.
  • Invite the press. Extend invitations to the media for treatments and comp the service cost. If media representatives have a good reputation and are with established media outlets, they usually will have the treatment, and then consider what type of editorial opportunities they may provide in return.
  • Remain compelling. If there is nothing new or different about your spa, you will not get media coverage. Make the experience unique, whether by applying some over-the-top mask or offering the latest piece of equipment that no one else in town is offering.
  • Treat them the same. You may wonder whether your spa should treat a blogger differently than a magazine editor or a segment producer. The answer is no. Treat them all with five-star service.

A 360° approach

Spa public relations is unique in the sense that it costs very little to get the process initiated if managed correctly. The return on your nominal investment can be high; some spas have been able to renovate, expand into multiple locations and launch their own branded line all due to the media coverage that resulted in more and more clients. The best advice is to avoid dumping all of your energy into one media channel, such as radio or online with social media. Try a 360° approach where you’re reaching your new consumer in print, online and with broadcast.

Pierce Mattie travels the world extensively representing some of the industry’s top spas, salons, resorts and beauty products. He is a graduate of New York University, a licensed esthetician, a published author and lives in Manhattan. His firm, Pierce Mattie PR, has been named one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. magazine several years in a row. Pierce Mattie PR is ranked by O’Dwyer’s as the North American leader in fashion media relations.