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Media Coverage for Your Spa

By: Ido Kadman
Posted: August 1, 2011, from the August 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

As a skin care professional, you are likely getting most of your business through word-of-mouth advertising. Many of you are already using social media to promote your spa. But remember traditional public relations (PR)? Are you using newspapers, magazines, television and radio to your advantage?

PR is not advertising—instead of paying for an ad, with PR, you can achieve the credibility that only editorial coverage delivers. An advertisement is self-promotion and is perceived as such. A mention in an article or on-air is a third party raving about your business. This type of exposure carries name recognition, improves your reputation and can attract new clients.

Attaining publicity entails either hiring a PR professional or a PR firm, or performing PR tasks internally, which requires knowledge, time and energy. An independent PR professional can often be hired for as low as $2,000 per month, while PR firms can run up to $10,000 per month. For a PR firm to promote a skin care facility, it may cost around $4,000–5,000 a month. When signing with a PR firm, you will be expected to commit to at least six months, if not one year, because results won’t be experienced overnight, and consumer magazines usually work on a four-month lead time.

If your facility is a small operation and you can’t afford to spend such amounts, consider doing the PR yourself. The most important thing is to create relationships with the media. Familiarize yourself with local magazines, newspapers, and television and radio stations in your area, and get to know the journalists who cover spas, beauty and health topics. You can do that by looking up the mastheads of the printed publications or looking up the websites of the stations. It would be wise to invite these reporters for a complimentary treatment at your facility.

But before you do all that, you have to understand the nature of media in general—your local media outlets specifically—as well as tailor your communication to each magazine, newspaper or station.