Navigating beauty PR during COVID-19 can be confusing, but we’re here to explain what you can do to respectfully continue promoting your brand. Below is a simple 4-step process you can follow to take control of your own press activities during this time along with a way to seek free, outside help. Of course, the plan below is a small fraction of what a typical PR agency does for their clients. While it is simplified, the process is much more complicated than meets the eye. However, this can get you through in a time of need and back to a place when you can rely on the expertise and relationships of a trusted PR professional once again.
1. Create Your Own Media List
If you’re a beauty brand now handling your own public relations, you might not know where to start without your normal agency’s help. Your brand no longer has access to the firm’s contacts and relationships. You have to start from scratch, gathering the names and email addresses of beauty editors, freelancers and writers who are still creating beauty content. But, don’t freak out!
So, how do you start building your own media lists? Our best piece of advice is to begin by researching your competition. Pinpoint your top competitors and see which media outlets are writing about their products. You’ll also want to enhance your search by looking up key features of your brand. If you only sell Vitamin C skincare for example, you should search for stories on Vitamin C skincare using Google News.
You’ll want to use the Tools option to search for results in the past month to ensure the stories are timely and that the authors still write for the outlets that are returned in the search. Looking for articles on acne, anti-aging, et cetera, et cetera are all fair game too as long as the topics are relevant to your product line. Opening up the search like this will yield more results and more options.
During the research process, create an Excel document for the stories you have just found. Begin by naming columns for the media outlet, article headline, and article link. Also create columns for the writer’s name and writer’s email address. This will be the start of an internal document that you’ll use when pitching your products. Here’s a template to get you started.
2. Research Each Writer
Once you’ve accumulated a list of 25-50 articles, it’s time to research each writer and add to those columns. Your first thought might be to go to LinkedIn, but we’ve found this information is often outdated. A writer’s social media profile, on the other hand, will tell you exactly who they are writing for and how to contact them. We suggest starting with Twitter and Instagram. Add this information to your spreadsheet.
As a bonus, you’ll also get a glimpse into their lives by looking at their posts and watching their Instagram Stories. This kind of insight will help you reach out in more respectful and mindful way.
3. Set Up Affiliate Marketing Networks
It’s important to note that affiliate marketing is more prevalent than ever. This is because referral links have become the primary drivers of revenue for many media outlets. The writers you’ve just found will likely not feature a brand unless it has an affiliate connection. If you are sold at a major retailer online, or even Amazon, you’re already covered.
However, if you are selling your beauty products through your own website, you will need to hook your site up to a popular affiliate network like ShareASale before pitching. It will be very difficult to secure media mentions without this add-on. You can learn more about affiliate marketing for beauty brands here.
4. Craft and Send Out Your Pitch
Now that you’ve filled out your spreadsheet, it’s time to craft your pitch. Currently, writers are starting to put together Mother’s Day content, so here’s a resource to get you started on pitching from this angle. Self-care and at-home treatments are also great angles to take when pitching this month. Have your press release template ready, but don’t simply send it to everyone on your list.
Take the time to pitch each writer individually, mentioning the article that helped you find them and why your products would be a fit for pieces they may be in the process of writing. You can do this!
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We hope this blog helps to shed more light on navigating beauty PR during COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to help.
P.S. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out on your own, some PR agencies are offering flexible options right now. Many are even offering free PR services to brands in need. It may be worth asking your former agency if they can do the same for you.