Strictly for Students| by LeAnne Velona
Every stylist knows word-of-mouth advertising is effective for building a steady client base, but that isn't the only way to bring in new clients.
This is why it is important to stay connected with media to promote yourself or your salon. Doing so consistently will help establish your brand and keep you profitable.
One might ask why don't you just advertise your services instead of reaching out to media and asking them to write about you?
When looking at newspapers or magazines, readers are typically more swayed by editorial content than advertisements. This is because flattering claims made in ads aren't objective.
In contrast, a story in a magazine that says a stylist or salon is considered more trustworthy and legitimate by readers since the facts have been researched by a reporter or editor. Media coverage builds credibility for you or your salon and improves your reputation, which can translate into more profits.
Journalists get lots of emails and calls daily from businesses wanting feature stories. To make yourself stand out from the competition, you need to be able to clearly express why you or your salon is special and considered one of a kind.
If you are approached directly by a reporter about a story, here are a few things you should keep in mind. First, ask the reporter their name, contact information, and the outlet they write for. Then, find out what their story is about and what type of information they are looking for. This will help you decide if this is a good opportunity for you.
If you decide to move forward with the story, find out from the reporter what he/she needs from you and by when. Media usually work on tight deadlines and you will need to meet their deadlines. If the opportunity doesn't sound like a right fit or you feel uncomfortable with the line of questioning, it is okay to politely decline the interview. Above all, remember to always thank media for their time and interest.
Keep in mind that writers are offered free beauty treatments all the time. If there is a writer that expresses interest in trying out your services in preparation for a story, provide a treatment free of charge. This allows the writer to experience firsthand the services they are writing about and recommending to readers. Treat the writer well and graciously. It will likely pay off with a positive story. Do everything you can to make sure the experience is perfect.
When speaking to media, keep in mind they are looking for a newsworthy story about you or your salon. Whatever you are sharing with media should be timely and relevant. For example, if speaking to media in the middle of summer, you can highlight a treatment that soothes dry summer hair or skin. You can also offer seasonal treatments or packages (like a prom beauty package offered in May) to keep your services timely and relevant.
Once your hard work pays off and a reporter writes a great story about you or your salon, you can maximize the coverage by framing the story and putting it up near your workspace. If you have a website, you can upload the story to the website as well.
Getting media coverage doesn't happen overnight. It takes consistent communication with media over a period of time to secure press coverage for you or your salon. This will mean responding to emails for reporters, making calls, and fulfilling any other media requests. At times, this may be frustrating since it is a time-consuming process, but keep in mind that building a solid reputation with consistent media coverage can help build your business significantly over time and result in more clients and profits.