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4 Steps to Securing Media Coverage

By: Debra Locker
Posted: June 29, 2012, from the July 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

As a business owner or independent contractor, you’re likely accustomed to making fast decisions and moving quickly. With public relations (PR), you need patience; it is a lengthy, strategic process that includes bumps and pitfalls along with high-fives and dollar signs.

Stellar PR programs include four ingredients: relationships, pitches, perseverance and patience.

Relationships. The second word in PR, as you know, is “relations”—as in relationships. Skin care facilities should employ the following PR tactics year-round; not just when events and launches take place.

  • Be personable; say “please” and “thank you.”
  • Be timely and pertinent when pitching a story.
  • When your spa is not a fit for a media outlet’s story, be able to make introductions to an appropriate expert.
  • When you can meet a journalist personally, do it. Desk-side meetings in media-centric cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, are a must for any company that is serious about national exposure.
  • Become a trusted resource, not just a one-shot deal.
  • Become friends with journalists on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, subscribe to their blogs and read their articles. Journalists love to know that people enjoy their work.

Pitches. Provide quick, catchy snippets for each pitch in order to hold journalists’ attention. When writing and delivering your pitches:

  • Think of what entertains you, and draft pitches that tell a story you would read or watch;
  • Offer expert commentary and Q&As for your areas of expertise;
  • Tell annual stories, such as holidays, back-to-school events and anniversaries;
  • Provide lists—for example: 7 ways to de-stress this holiday season with tips from your spokesperson;
  • Point out fads and trends by reading celebrity-driven websites to tie their habits into your pitches;
  • Host local events, such as girl’s night out and wellness Wednesdays; and
  • Be passionate in delivering your pitches—if you don’t believe in it, a journalist definitely won’t.

Perseverance. Any good relationship requires work. Sending a pitch with no follow-up won’t get you anywhere.

  • Stay on journalists’ radar. Monthly e-mails with new angles are appropriate, as well as larger quarterly updates.
  • Most journalists prefer to be contacted by e-mail; however, in your message, you may ask if a call or face-to-face meeting is possible.
  • It’s OK to send the same e-mail pitch up to three times over a few weeks. After three times, and no more than two phone messages, be patient and know that right now may not be your time.