PR = Patience Required

Reena-DIYPR4.jpg

There’s a saying saying that goes, "don't compare your Chapter 1 to someone else's Chapter 20."

Whichever way you define success, it's always so important to remember that it does NOT happen overnight. The same thing can be said about publicity. We often hear from potential clients that they are ready to commit to PR and looking for "quick wins." While it's true, news can spread overnight thanks to the Internet and particularly social media, embarking on a PR campaign does not automatically guarantee fast results; in fact, you're technically not guaranteed anything. The ONLY guaranteed method of appearing in the media is through advertising or a sponsored spend. Earned media, just as it's called, is up to editorial decision-making. It's the job of your publicist to counsel you on how to create the best chance for that decision to be a yes. And chances are, he or she is going to have to ask more than once. It comes down to story ideas, budget, relationships, timing, branding, creative assets available, and so much more. That's why we often say patience is an important ingredient of a successful publicity campaign, along with persistence and hard work.

When building a brand, the value of earned media is significantly greater than any other type of media for long lasting awareness and reputation. So while it may take months or even years to land a positive feature story in the New York Times, for example, the payoff is this: you will ALWAYS be able to say "Featured in the New York Times" for as long as you and your business shall live. This is infinitely more valuable than "Featured in an Influencer's Instagram Post" or "Banner Ad Once Seen on the Internet." Yes, influencer relationships and banner ads do have their place in an overall marketing strategy. It’s important to diversify! But remember that if your story is documented, that press is permanent. For anything to live on as long as it does, it's going to take time to get there. But we promise you it's worth it.

Are press releases outdated?

are press releases outdated

So much of the work we do as PR professionals is preparation. Long before any media outreach, we are compiling fact sheets, photography, video, biographies, and so forth so that when it's time to pitch, we're prepared with the assets that we know journalists will want to help them with their editorial decisions, researching for an interview, and developing the story itself.

A press release – and moreso a press kit – is often part of this preparatory step. The purpose of the press release is to communicate the details of a special announcement from the source. Press releases are therefore valuable in sharing that information in a quick and concise manner. 

However, the practice of press release distribution can be considered outdated. There are six publicists for every journalist, and each of those journalists is receiving an abundance of sterile press releases to their inboxes every day. Rather than relying on mass distribution to get the word out, we suggest (and practice!) focusing more on personalized pitches to a journalist we know covers the beat. It's absolutely more time consuming, but because relationships are so important in this business, investing the time to build those relationships is of the most importance. Including a link to a press release or an EPK in that personal pitch to learn more makes sure your bases are covered: you've taken the time to develop and suggest a great story angle to the journalist as well as did some of that homework for them by supplying a press release and supplementary information should they need it.

If your end-goal is a story about your business and not just a news brief, I would suggest pitching a journalist a story idea – not just about the brand itself – instead of crafting and disseminating a press release. If you want to create an announcement and share it, use it as part of your pitch; or, create a video announcement and include it in your pitch. That strategy is two-fold: you'll be able to float at the top of an ocean of "For Immediate Release" emails, and you can also use that media on your owned channels, such as your blog, social media, and e-newsletter. 

Want to learn more about how our personal approach to PR can help your earn your brand recognition? Contact us!

How beauty brands can make the most of PR and social media

Photo: beautyheaven.com.au

Photo: beautyheaven.com.au

The world of beauty PR and promotion has changed so rapidly in the last decade. More than ever, social media is as important as all other marketing efforts, and if you aren’t engaging in some form of PR, you are definitely missing out.

So how do you make the most of the opportunities for promotion in the beauty industry?

Where beauty brands once had to be in the glossy pages of a magazine to be considered successful and get noticed, brands are now more eager to create buzz on social media in order to increase their image and brand awareness before anything else. Oftentimes, features in publications and other print media will stem from a good social media strategy.

Creating a Brand Voice and Story

Regardless of where your media coverage is coming from, all of your promotional efforts should fall under the same brand voice and story. As it is for every brand, even outside of the beauty industry, continuity and evidence of thoughtfulness are what will truly legitimize your efforts.

Brands may find it helpful to write down exactly what their mission is, what tone they want to adopt, and a create a definitive mission statement. What makes your product more worthy than the thousands of other beauty products that have the same function? Create a story that will make editors want to cover your product over another. If necessary, create your own new category of beauty, focused on a unique aspect of your product.

Instagram Scrolling Doubles as Research

When you find yourself inevitably scrolling through Instagram during a slump in the middle of the day (we’ve all been there!) take notice of what is trending and on the rise in the beauty industry. Trends and ‘the next big thing’ change nearly every few days, so stay on top of what’s hot and what’s not. Brands may also find it helpful to follow MUAs (makeup artists), influential and indie magazine editors, and more traditional influencers who dabble in beauty.

You may be thinking, yes, scrolling through instagram is fun, but how is that helping me get the word out about my brand? The answer is simply because you’re staying well informed! Half of the heavy lifting we do in publicity is in the preparation. As soon as you see a trending topic that fits your brand while scrolling, you can send a story idea, products, and offer yourself up as a source for editors, influencers, or celebs before it’s published. The time and relevance of your efforts can lead to landing a coveted spot in their publication or on their social channels!

Make use of Advocacy

As a beauty brand, you can’t miss out on advocacy if you want to differentiate your brand to stand out in the extremely over-saturated market.

Photo: Kaymeenmcadams, instagram

Photo: Kaymeenmcadams, instagram

Advocacy comes in all different forms, especially in the beauty industry. Advocates don't necessarily have to be an ‘influencer’ that you would find on Instagram, although those aren’t a bad choice. Send your products to industry insiders, like MUAs, who will include your product in their kit and use it on their clients. Editors of magazines might be getting married, or always post about their puffy eye struggles (which, you will know about because of your Instagram research!). If you have a product that fits their needs, send it! If it works, they will usually share it with their coworkers and friends, and at the best, share it on their social media channels.

You may also find it beneficial to partner with someone to be your advocate, such as a MUA or hair stylist. Some artists will sign partnerships with beauty brands and agree to exclusively use their products on clients. This is a good way to get the word out, ensure user-generated content, and have more control over your coverage.

Many brands already make use of this fun and effective strategy. Makeup artist Kaylee McAdams frequently partners with many makeup brands around award season. She executes a full face makeup look using only the products from her sponsored brand and then shares some of the behind the scenes process to her 52K followers. Her sponsorship with Chanel created a buzzworthy pink glow on actress Sadie Sink for the 2018 Golden Globes.

Regardless of whether it’s in your budget to pay for advocacy, ensuring it is as organic as possible is key! Beauty is an investment, and people place immense value in their products, so try to let advocacy happen as authentically as possible, even when money is calling the shots.

Create Buzz

In the modern beauty industry, creating significant buzz around products is ultimately what will get you the best PR. Product launches and announcements have become essential, creative, and highly-anticipated social media campaigns with every aspect planned out beforehand. If you want to capture that traditional media coverage, creating anticipation and hosting experiences that will make journalists want to write about you can be your ticket to perfectly captivating content.

Photo: blushlondon.co.uk

Photo: blushlondon.co.uk

In 2015, famed ‘mother’ of makeup, Pat McGrath sent models down the Prada SS16 runway with startlingly bright gold lips that instantly created an online frenzy in the beauty world. After creating plenty of buzz about the gold looks by sharing images of her work on her social channels, McGrath announced that the gold pigment was to be her first official product in what is now the billion dollar company, Pat McGrath Labs. Just days later, she partnered with Instagram to record her launch event for Gold 001 in Paris. The feeling of FOMO was very real for anyone who wasn’t reporting about it, and the event gathered so much media attention and coverage that the Gold 001 sold out in just days.

Your brand might not be able to send models down a haute couture runway wearing your products as a covert and masterful unveiling, but the sentiment and motivation are the same for any beauty brand. Anticipation and good social media planning, as well as creativity, are essential to creating that buzz, and obtaining the best PR for your brand.

ROI, ROI, and more ROI

At the end of the day what ultimately matters is ROI (return on investment, for those who don’t know!). If you’re spending more on your marketing budget than you end up with in sales, you probably aren’t hitting the right beauty niche for your brand, and are most likely losing out on other, more valuable opportunities. If you find yourself in this situation, re-evaluate your mission, and the unique aspects of your product. Try to find what tactics will make you stand out amongst the competition, and get creative!

FACTEUR PR is proud to partner with a number of beauty, health, and wellness brands on everything social media and PR, having secured earned media coverage from a number of top industry publications, such as Allure, Refinery29, PopSugar and more. Interested in learning about how we can help? Contact us!

How to know if your business is ready for PR

Photo: Marina Claire Photography

Photo: Marina Claire Photography

"How do you know if you're ready for PR?" This is a question we often hear from potential clients. They know they want to gain exposure for their brand, but what does it take? I addressed this very question with Modern CLE on Sunday’s Behind the Story event at the FACTEUR PR office, and wanted to share the insight with our readers here, too.

The fact of the matter is, you always need PR. You always want people saying great things about your brand, so you need to initiate that by being a voice for your brand. PR is more than just media relations. It’s events, it’s customer service, it’s managing how you interact with people when they walk through your door, it’s the messaging and imaging you deliver through social media. Now the question of when to know if you need to hire a PR pro to increase your exposure boils down to a couple things. 

1. Do you have a strong brand? If the look and feel is consistent, your mission and values are apparent, you know exactly who your audience is, the tone and voice of your content is in line with who you are as a brand, and the business itself is operating as it should, you’re going to be ready for communicate all of that clearly.

2. Can you afford it? When you’re hiring a PR person, you are paying for their time, not for a media placement like in advertising. To give an example, a full-page ad in Martha Stewart Living is $233,000. An article will only cost you the time of the publicist, which includes everything from researching the opportunity, creating and compiling creative assets, putting together a press kit or materials, story ideation, sending samples, pitching, securing, follow-up, interview coordination, reporting, and so forth. However, the important thing to note is that editorial coverage is never a guarantee and not always on your schedule like advertising, but arguably its value is higher because you have a reputable third party endorsing or covering your brand. 

3. Can you handle increased recognition? It’s not always an immediate correlation that PR leads to revenue. Rather, PR elevates reputation, which can absolutely lead to greater revenue. So make sure your business can scale to meet the demands.

At FACTEUR PR, we offer scalable public relations services, from coaching to committed engagements. If you have any questions at all, drop a comment below or contact us!

Case Study: How this brand broke through a saturated market to earn 250 million media impressions

The project

Oak & Honey Events is an earth-friendly event planning company based in Northeast Ohio. In addition to planning weddings and nonprofit special events, the brand also produces its annual Recycled Wedding Boutique, a flea-market of sorts for couples to sell their used wedding wears and wares while alleviating some of the carbon footprints created while planning events of a large scale.

a press kit helps tell your brand story.

a press kit helps tell your brand story.

The plan

FACTEUR PR created a yearlong integrated Public Relations plan and executed the plan through targeted media outreach over a period of six months. We created a dynamic Electronic Press Kit (above), an educational and actionable infographic, and developed thoughtful pitches to both local and national media outlets. How did our pitches stand out in a competitive field such as weddings and event planning? Our strategy heavily revolved around positioning the company’s founder as an expert in the field of sustainable event planning. 

The RESULTS (so far!)

More than 250 million media impressions across media outlets including Martha Stewart Weddings, Good Housekeeping, Brit + Co, Brides, Bridal Guide, and locally on Cleveland.com and the Akron-Beacon Journal.

What the client had to say:

“I started working with FACTEUR last year. I previously was using a national PR group that works with many vendors in the wedding industry. It was very cookie cutter and was not customized to our specialty, so I was looking to make a change. When I started working with Reena she had done her research and presented a PR packet customized to us. We have had a lot more PR coverage than previously not only locally but nationally as well. I was so happy after the first three months I signed for another three to help continue with our PR plan. I can not speak more highly of her and the team. They really go the extra step to make sure you get the bang for your buck.”   -Melanie Tindell, Oak & Honey Events


FACTEUR PR is a boutique studio devoted to public relations, social media, content marketing and digital creative services for emerging and established brands and businesses. Interested in collaborating? Contact us

Our newest clients will adorn you!

There is always a multitude of changes going on as transitions between seasons occur, and FACTEUR PR has been along for the ride! In the last month, we have been excited to have added four new clients to our roster of brands we love, deepening our commitment to the creative community! We’d like to introduce them to you here on our blog!

Avarelle Cosmetics acne patches

Avarelle Cosmetics

This company was founded just over a year ago and sells their line of products exclusively on Amazon. The Avarelle Cosmetics skincare line currently consists of acne cover, treatment, and spot patches, as well as an acne treatment spot solution and rejuvenating herbal infusion sheet masks for every skin type. Based in New Jersey, the brand sets itself apart in its use of all-natural ingredients to combat acne, as well as the diversity in its products, particularly with its level of coverage and variety of sizes. Avarelle is made with Tea Tree Oil, Calendula Oil & Hydrocolloid Dressing. These treatments can be applied day or night, are easily concealable with or without makeup, and can be snipped to size to heal acne and its scars quickly and safely. Avarelle aims to ultimately boost confidence while solving skin and blemish issues.

VersaSpa Sunless Tanning Products

VersaSpa

Sunless, Inc. is the global industry leader in healthy, UV-free tanning and the power behind the well-known, most in-demand home and salon-applied spray tan brands: Mystic Tan, VersaSpa and Norvell. With its headquarters in Cleveland and an office in Nashville, Sunless’ mission is to help its broad range of consumers not only look better, but feel more confident in their own skin. Its products are not only safe, but easy to apply in four minutes or less.

Liza Michelle Jewelry Collection

Liza Michelle Jewelry

The essence and beauty of objects found in nature is what inspires the designer behind Liza Michelle Jewelry. Liza Michelle Jewitt Rifkin creates handcrafted fine jewelry and objects, utilizing a method of casting natural objects in solid metal. Founded in 2013, the company produces with a commitment to craftsmanship of the finest quality and environmental sustainability. Inside her Ohio City studio, each item passes through the designer’s hands and carries the story of her process and the clients.

Shannon Michael Style

Shannon Michael Style

Shannon Michael Style is an Ohio-based beauty consultant and retailer, primarily focused on hair and makeup artistry in the bridal and celebrity industries. Led by Shannon Dyer, the company contracts artists for numerous events throughout the year and most recently expanded to include a premium makeup line to offer both its online and in-person clients. This fall, Shannon Michael Style will begin a new chapter in its business by aligning fashion with its beauty brand. Bridal gowns designed Dyer, thanks to her background in design, will sell direct to consumers in several bridal boutiques. Utilizing her business strategy to incorporate fashion into the beauty brand positions Dyer’s company as a industry leader and offers a full experience for her consumers. 

We look forward to all of the creative projects ahead!

Be Perennial: Three tips from PRSA Georgia’s 2018 conference

PRSA Georgia 2018

“Bloom where you are planted,” Elyse Hammett, APR, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, says. “Plant your seed, dig hard, take on every single thing you can from every single direction because the more you dig, the more you bloom. You want to be perennial.” The room full of aspiring public relations professionals is silent as everyone listens to her speak on how to find your path.

This advice comes from a panel of impressive speakers discussing the differences between Nonprofit, Agency, and Corporate career paths at Public Relations Society of America Georgia’s 2018 Braving the New World Annual Conference on March 23.

Conferences offer ways to grow professionally while also being able to connect with likeminded people during an engaging event. I represented my local PRSSA chapter at Braving the New World and would like to share three of the major takeaways from my experience at the conference that benefit both students and professionals interested in public relations and marketing.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Companies are expected to be more than just companies in today’s market. Simply having a good product and supplying it aren’t enough anymore. Businesses need to be engaged with their audience and enact what is known as Corporate Social Responsibility, often abbreviated as CSR.

CSR is a business’ recognition of and implementation of environmental or social wellbeing causes. Research regarding Gen Z and the types of companies, products, and corporations they chose to support points toward a growing preference of social responsibility in business. Young people today are more likely to support businesses who act in part as activists and use their product or wealth to benefit causes outside of themselves.

It is no longer a recommendation but an expectation.

Businesses should brand themselves as fans of their content, with consistent personalities and voice to stand apart from the standard advertisements people avoid and scroll past on their feeds.

Building Brand Voice on Social Media

How do you brand and advertise your company in an authentic way?

In a world where social media is so prevalent, people are becoming more aware of and are producing negative reactions to advertising and losing trust in corporations. How do you brand yourself or your business in a way that reaches people? Today, businesses are not just competing with other businesses online but with friends, family, and interests consumers hold. They have to find a way to stand out against competing forms of content the average person finds more important or engaging than a typical ad or corporate social media page.

Josh Martin, the senior director of digital and social media for Arby’s, spoke about the importance of being bold and targeting niche communities online. By creating fun, visual content that feels very personal to specific groups of people, your content has a bigger impact on those specific consumers. While not everyone will get the joke or reference you are trying to convey, those that do will feel a more personal connection to your brand which strengthens the voice of that brand across all platforms.

Essentially, businesses should brand themselves as fans of their content, with consistent personalities and voice to stand apart from the standard advertisements people avoid and scroll past on their feeds.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Public relations and marketing change daily. These fields force professionals to constantly adapt to new trends and information. With this in mind, it is important to take hold of the work you do and cultivate your craft. The best way to get better at something is to do it over and over again. PR and marketing are no different.

Focus on blooming year round in everything that you do. Maybe that means taking on a new client in an area you aren’t exactly familiar with or taking a fresh take on the work you do for current clients.

Whatever it is, bloom where you are planted. Be perennial.


Chloe Taylor is one of FACTEUR's Spring 2018 interns. She is a junior studying Public Relations and Mass Media at Valdosta State University, where she's also an executive board member of its PRSSA chapter. 

Hot off the presses: recent client news

recent client news

It's been a busy winter season here at FACTEUR - and for good reason! From USA Today to Food & Wine, we've been helping our clients land stories in national, regional, and local outlets. All together, that's 73 million eyeballs -- not counting social media hits! -- on FACTEUR client brands and businesses in one month alone. Take a look at the list below! 

Client: The Flying Fig
Industry: Food & Drink, Restaurants
Story: "50 Female Chefs in 50 States"
Outlet: USA Today
Timing: March 2018
Impressions: 1 million each day
Preview: Chef Karen Small has owned Cleveland's The Flying Fig for almost two decades, infusing sustainable agriculture from small farms and local food artisans into her menu. Read the full story.

Client: Oak & Honey Events
Industry: Weddings, Event Planning
Story: "5 Wedding Professionals Using Sustainable Practices"
Outlet: Brides.com
Timing: March 2018
Impressions: 4 million each month
Preview: Melanie Tindell, founder of Oak + Honey, is an expert in sustainable event planning practices. “I was working as an interior designer and doing some non-profit event planning on the side...During her first few years as a wedding planner, she was shocked by how much waste she was seeing. Read the full story.

Client: Heidi Robb
Industry: Food & Drink, Styling
Story: "How to Become a Food Stylist"
Outlet: Food & Wine
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 27 million each month
Preview: According to Heidi Robb, a food stylist who got her start with Food Network star Michael Symon, food styling requires more than an eye for aesthetics. “A stylist needs to be well-versed in the manner with which food and ingredients behave in all stages, from sourcing raw ingredients to preparation techniques to how foods will hold and for how long to preserve maximum freshness and beauty,” she says. Read the full story.

Client: Oak & Honey Events
Industry: Weddings, Event Planning
Story: "25 Interactive Food Station Ideas"
Outlet: Bridal Guide
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 4 million each month
Preview: Pretzels with dipping sauces – like mustard, nacho cheese, and caramel – are sure to delight your guests. It's also super easy to create an eye-catching display; event planner Oak & Honey Events created this simple display with plywood, copper pipes, and metal hooks. Read the full story.

Client: The Flying Fig
Industry: Food & Drink, Restaurants
Story: "Midwest Traveler: Northeast Ohio's Old and New Taste Traditions"
Outlet: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 3 million each month
Preview: Karen Small is the godmother of the Cleveland farm-to-table scene, using lessons learned from her Italian immigrant grandparents and the decade she spent raising sheep and cows and canning for the winter on a back-to-the-land homestead. Read the full story.

Client: Oak & Honey Events
Industry: Weddings, Event Planning
Story: "11 Creative Ways to Give Your Wedding a Personal Touch"
Outlet: Cleveland.com
Timing: February 2018
Impressions: 5 million each month
Preview: Northeast Ohio event planner Melanie Tindell wants everyone to walk away from a wedding thinking about how it perfectly encapsulates exactly what makes each couple special. As the owner of Oak and Honey Events, she’s always looking for ways to add one-of-a-kind elements to every big day. And often times, it’s the smallest details that make the biggest impact. Read the full story.

 

Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered

Friday.png

This new year is off to a busy start, but we want to make sure we take the time to give back with a bit of what we know and have learned! Every Friday on the @FACTEURPR Instagram Stories, we answer a PR or marketing question you've asked. That includes media relations, advertising, social media, influencer engagement, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, etc. The videos will stay live on Stories for 24 hours, and we will add the most recent ones to our Instagram page Highlights. 

To ask a question, send us an email, drop a comment below or leave a comment or DM us on Instagram.  

We look forward to connecting with you and hope you find this series valuable. And as always, we're always here to help with your specific public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative needs! Contact us here.

How to pitch an event to local media

how to pitch an event to local media.jpg

Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!

Q: What is the best way to pitch your event to local media?

A: Before you pitch your event to the media, consider these three pre-pitch points:

  • What makes my event unique?
  • Who would be interested in my event?
  • Why is this relevant right now?

From there, you'll be able to identify if there could be media interest and where to start pitching, which leads us to our first step.

1. Find the right reporters or editors at your local publications or stations who would cover an event like yours.

If you're hosting a fashion event, find the style editor. If it's a restaurant opening, find the food writer or arts and entertainment editor. Follow he or she on Twitter and Instagram, read their latest stories, engage with them online so by the time you reach out to them, it's not necessarily the first time they are hearing from you. 

2. Make contact with enough lead time.

Email is always a good way to pitch a story, but keep in mind, journalists get a boatload of email. Reach out the first time about 4-6 weeks before your event. Give your email a subject line that sounds like a headline to make it compelling enough to open. Make sure your email is as concise and to the point as possible. I always say "lead with your lead." Keep the most important information towards the beginning - it's a good idea to include the three pre-pitch points I included before step one. You can insert a press release or a JPEG of your invitation, too. I suggest an invitation because editors are very visual and will most likely want to see pictures accompanying text, which is what they will give their readers, too. 

3. Follow up once, maybe twice. 

If you don't hear back after sending two emails, you may assume the reporter is either not interested or didn't have time to write you back. If you follow-up twice with no response, cease your outreach - you don't want to come off as annoying. Depending on the event, if you did reach out to a local TV show producer and didn't hear back, try contacting the news desk and see if it can be a news segment instead of a program feature. 

4. Thank them. 

Journalists juggle a lot. Make an impression and go out of your way to send a thoughtful thank you email or better yet, a thank you card if they covered or attended your event. And there's also no better show of your appreciation than sharing the story and thanking the writer in a Tweet or Facebook post. 

5. Prepare for next time.

If you didn't receive a response or if the media wasn't interested this go-around, don't be discouraged. There could be a number of reasons- the editor didn't see a fit, the publication recently covered an event like this, resources didn't allow for coverage of the event, the timing wasn't right, etc. Be sure to take the time to evaluate the who's/what's/why's to the event you're planning (see the first point about pre-pitching). And if your first or last event was a smashing success, use that in your next pitch. Remember: media relations is an ongoing process! Good luck!

Do you have a marketing and communications related question you'd like to see answered? Share it in the comments below, send an email, or head to our Instagram page and send us a direct message!

Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

 

Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.

6.png

Pin this!

Bookmark this blog post on Pinterest.