Beauty Publicists Share Their Top Tips for Beauty Business Owners and Practitioners

Media exposure can do wonders for any business. When it comes to your beauty business specifically, publicity can provide awareness, help to grow a loyal community, and establish you and your business's credibility in the industry.

Since not every business owner will be able to afford public relations (PR) as a part of their strategic communication strategy, knowing how and when to use publicists is crucial to the success of your brand. I spoke to three beauty publicists, who I have worked with for years as trusted sources to the industry’s top brands, products, and leaders in the industry, to share their media tips to help you stand out from your competition and take your business to the next level.


Anna Maclellan

Anna MacLellan

With a passion for all things beauty and wellness, MacLellan has executed top communications campaigns for mass and indie brands over the past 10 years – spanning industries from sustainable skincare to leading aesthetics innovations. MacLellan loves learning the unique ins and outs of the brand ethos to truly become an authentic storyteller for all editorial conversations and consumer initiatives. She is constantly immersing herself in new areas of the industry to become a true strategic partner and counselor for her clients to drive measurable results. Currently, MacLellan is an Account Director at Autumn Communications.

“A PR team or agency can’t guarantee sales. Rather, it is about awareness, visibility, and community building,” responds MacLellan when I ask her to define PR and the value an agency can bring to a business. “This is a great question and one that comes up quite a bit with our clients who want KPIs. We are not paid media buyers or advertisers. Our job is to make sure that brands and thought leaders are part of meaningful conversations that reach new audiences and that can be conduits to open new business channels. At this point, this is where marketing and sales teams come in to help move it along to the sale. However, if I get a brand into Allure, a buyer is going to see it and that could lead to sales, which is a measurable result. A customer must see a brand in that funnel before they connect the dots to make a purchase.”

Since many agencies help brands and individuals get national exposure, I wanted to hear MacLellan’s thoughts on when it makes sense for a local business to engage with an agency or publicist. “I would say when the goal for a smaller retail business is to expand into either new markets or look at it from a tourist perspective and what kind of potential customers might be visiting the region,” responds MacLellan. “If for example your local business gets covered in a round-up in Conde Nast, it could open opportunities to access new clients. Furthermore, it makes sense for regionally based businesses to speak with an agency if they have an eCommerce channel or content component to their brand.”

With years of experience with both established beauty brands and start-ups, I wanted to know if she had any sage advice to share with our readership.

“The importance of really any industry, but beauty specifically, is to have a short, succinct story that directly explains your brand’s mission. A lot of brands use generic words like green, earth-friendly, and clean. You need to have a clear-cut message or consumers will read right through that, especially the younger generations,” she tells me. “They need to connect with the brand, and they want to clearly understand the mission statement and resonate with one that is genuine. When our founders get interviewed, it is important to stand out but tell the perspective on the brand and not just be another face moisturizer. Consumers don’t appreciate being misled and see through any dishonesty really quickly. We work with brands to keep cutting down their message to the important points. Some cases need a little more context. But a brand should be able to be described in two sentences or in 30 seconds or less if the pitch is over phone or zoom.”


Carolyn Rogers

Carolyn Rogers

Carolyn Rogers is the founder of Sunny Communications, which specializes in placing beauty products on camera variety of entertainment platforms including programs like Disney +’s ‘Godmothered‘, Apple TV’s ‘The Morning Show,’ HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm’, ABC’s Mixed-ish, NBC’s ‘Sunnyside‘, Hulu’s ‘Dollface’ and ‘Little Fires Everywhere,’ Netflix’s ‘Black Excellence’ and ‘Dead to Me‘, and Showtime’s ‘City on a Hill’ and ‘The L Word,’ to name a few. In addition to product placement, Roger’s agency offers a variety of services including retail support, celebrity product seeding, strategic partnerships, awards season sponsorship negotiation, and pr for makeup artists and hair stylists.

“I didn’t set out to start Sunny Communications or even be in the PR industry, actually,” Rogers shares with me on how and why she created her agency. “It all serendipitously fell into place when I left my previous job and brands started to approach me through makeup artist referrals. I really have honed in on the importance of professional artistry in my beauty PR company and it has all grown from there.”

With Rogers’ expertise in garnering PR for esthis and makeup artists, I wanted to know what kind of value publicity can bring to this type of practitioner. “If you are at a point in your career where you feel like you really want to get your name and expertise out there it may be worth engaging with a PR agency,” responds Rogers. “I definitely suggest finding things about your artistry or profession that make you stand out or what you'd like to be known for once you engage in PR. Here are some articles to cite where esthis have been used for their skincare and ingredient expertise and makeup artist for their product and trend knowledge: W Magazine, Us Weekly, Coveteur, InStyle, and TZR.”

When it comes to valuable advice for beauty practitioners who are just starting out or who have their eyes set on creating a beauty brand or business to attain their own press, Rogers emphasizes how important it is to know your brand. “See where there are white in the industry. Do your research. Network, network, network. It’s all about relationships.”

For anyone interested in Rogers’ services, you can contact her on Instagram at: @sunnycommunications


Shannon Comstock

Shannon Comstock

Note PR is a full-service communications agency specializing in the beauty and wellness space. Founded by Heloise van Eeghen and Shannon Comstock, the pair believe in honoring each brand’s unique mission by crafting tailored media strategies to share their voice with the public. With the beauty and wellness industry welcoming new brands every day, it’s imperative to approach media relations with a bespoke mindset; Note PR identifies quality audiences that will move the needle for your brand in a meaningful way. This is not achieved with a one-size-fits-all approach. Through thoughtful storytelling and transparent communication, Note PR helps clients own their share of the conversation. Note PR is bespoke, transparent, and impactful.

“I’ve worked as a publicist for about a decade, representing brands across the beauty, wellness, and grooming industries. While I had the fortune to work under inspiring founders at a few leading PR agencies over the years, I’ve always had the itch to explore going out on my own,” Comstock tells me of why she created Note PR and how describes her experience in the industry. “However, that is a daunting prospect in any career field! The stars aligned, and I met my now co-founder at my last agency gig. We were both working as Beauty Directors, spending far too many hours chained to our desks; after many late nights we realized we could explore creating our own agency, where we could have the luxury of choosing the clients we worked with, the strategies we followed, and the work-life balance we both desired. Fast forward to summer 2019, and Note PR was born.”

When I ask Comstock what PR can do for a brand, person, or business and at what point a beauty company should engage with an agency she tells me, “I often refer to the Rule of Seven when discussing the value of earned media. This “rule” says that a potential customer “needs to see or hear your company’s message at least seven times before they take action and buy from you. If you were to pursue this via paid media (digital advertising, SEO, Out-Of-Home marketing, etc.), these seven interactions would certainly add up (and would carry less weight, as customers are savvy and know when they’re being sold to)! PR comes in to help you meet your customers where they are, sharing your message through product placements, founder features, gift guides, thought leadership, and so much more. If your company has the budget, it’s so valuable to engage with a PR agency even before you launch. Beyond securing tons of buzz when you hit the market, they can also help you hone communications such as your brand mission, founding story, and product positioning.”

Note’s localized business clients (such as a dermatology office) have found great success from national PR placements. “Is there anything better than hanging up a framed interview in Vogue?,” Comstock cheekily asks me “National exposure elevates a local businesses’ status as an expert in their field and gives their clients confidence that they’ve found someone who’s recognized beyond the four walls of their office!”

When it comes to sharing any sage advice for beauty businesses looking to gain media exposure, Comstock echoes the sentiments of the other PR experts included in this post. “It is so important to understand your point of difference, whether you’re an expert/provider or building a beauty brand. It’s a notoriously crowded space, so it’s critical to find your “why,” and then to communicate that message at every touchpoint of your brand.”

Takeaway

Media exposure for beauty brands, businesses, and practitioners can provide tremendous value. The most value will be derived when your beauty business is ready to expand, create more brand awareness, build a stronger community, and garner authority in your industry.

While there are some media efforts that you can do on your own, when the time is right, it behooves you and your business to speak with media and publicity professionals. Another invaluable (and intangible) benefit of working with an agency is the relationships they have with media and editors, which can take years to develop.

If a publicist has strong editor relationships, one phone call or email could land you and your business a feature in top-tier media outlets. I can attest to this as a Forbes contributor that there have been many times through the years of working with all of the women included in this post that that is exactly what happened–especially with brands, products, and services that are new to the market.

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