Keep Local Press Focus On You – 10 ‘To Do’s & ‘To Don’ts’

Posted by Sharon Esche Irving under Building Authority, Consumer Editorial, General, News Releases, Strategy, The PR Mindset

No Matter How Busy You Get With Other Things, Keep Your Sights on the Local Press – And They’ll Keep Their Sights On You!

It doesn’t matter how many salons or spas are in your town – you need to stay creative in keeping in touch with your local newspapers, magazines, anchors, and TV segment producers.  Keep up that great consistent effort on your part to keep showing up in clever, relevant ways that keep them turning their attention your way.  Notice that I said ‘consistent’ … not ‘constant’ when it comes to sending them one-page press releases (max) or interesting e-mails about what’s going on at your salon/spa of reader or viewer interest.  Always ‘inform’ them – not bombard them – with news they can use.

Earlier in my career as a newspaper reporter – turned Beauty/Fashion/Lifestyle Editor,  I developed a list of preferences of how I liked to be dealt with by local salon and spa professionals in Boston.  All these years later as a beauty PR professional, I have never wavered from how I liked to be communicated with then – and how I communicate now with local beauty editors.  Having been there once taught me a lot about what to do – and better yet, what NOT to do in winning the attention of local media in a positive and professional way.

Here are some of my local communications tips that will serve you and your business  well if you apply them regularly.  I know I am preaching to the choir to many of you, but these important Do’s and Don’ts bear repeating and remembering.


  1. Do target 10-20 press people in your city and keep them briefed on ‘what’s new and what’s next’ at your salon or spa.  Stay focused on this influential group. Remember, they are like gold to your business if they decide to give you some coverage or ideally, actually become a client.
  2. Do present them with your Salon or Spa VIP Card for services to get them to come in to ‘your world’ to try a service, meet your team, and discover what you’re all about.
  3. Do let them know in a nice, brief e-mail that you and your team would love to have the opportunity to do the hair and/or make-up ‘for camera’ for any upcoming photo shoots or special supplements they might be doing (like fashion, bridal, beauty or  lifestyle editorial they’re planning).  They may be using models or ‘real people’ they are featuring for one reason or another.  Often, the local magazine or newspaper/special section supplement needs your talent to finish someone on the cover.  Note: They can come to you – or you’ll go to their shoot location.  Often due to limited budgets, the media loves to hire someone who can do both the hair and the make-up. Remember, you’re doing this for the PR exposure more than the money so be very negotiable (even free if you need to). Get your foot in the door for future shoots.  MAKE SURE YOUR NAME AND THE SALON/SPA NAME IS CREDITED FOR YOUR WORK!
  4. Get creative around the seasons and the holidays and send something nice to those on your targeted press list.  At least twice a year, send a beautiful basket of beauty products that you carry, rounded out perhaps with a beautiful hair brush and comb (maybe with our salon/spa signature) and a beautiful little note.  There are lots of special occasions to acknowledge the hard-working journalists of the world – Spring Assortment of  cosmetics and skin care products, Summer Haircare beach basket with signature beach towel and/or t-shirt, etc.  For the early morning live talk shows, send the anchors a great breakfast basket for perhaps one of their birthdays, an anniversary of the show itself,  to celebrate or support a popular local event, etc….you’ll often see your basket ‘on air’ on the anchor’s desk thanking you for thinking of them and their early morning crew on the set.
  5. Enter your salon or spa name on all the on-line community event calendars offered by most print and broadcast local media.  If you’re having an event or participating in one for a good cause, give your salon/spa name some local PR mileage by being seen on the scene in these monthly event listings.  Go check them out first to see what they feature and then post your events and activities where appropriate.  You would be surprised at how many people in the community pour through these regularly.  Doesn’t cost you anything to get visible on this level of local awareness.


  1. Don’t ever fail to show up for a photo shoot should you get the opportunity – even if something tremendously better is happening that day or you feel horrible. Many salon pros have done this – and many have failed because they only did it once!  It’s a small town (even in NY) when it comes to editors talking to each other; when you don’t show for a photo shoot or cancel at the last minute, it’s just not cool. (you wouldn’t believe how often this is done…a real career breaker).
  2. Never ask the press why you didn’t get more ‘space’ or air time when they decide to cover you for something. They hate ‘attitude’ and love ‘accolades’ from you.  All they really want to hear is ‘Thank you for giving me the opportunity’ and ‘I got a lot of  positive and immediate response from clients from being in your column or on your show!”
  3. Never call the press and ask “Did you get my press release?” This is probably their most hated question from anyone who ever sent them press materials in hopes of being written about.  What they hear you saying is “Why haven’t you called me yet…I sent you something about me … wasn’t it interesting enough to call me immediately?”  Better to give them some time to start seeing your great materials begin to cross their desk. If you don’t ‘inspire’ them to call you the first time, perhaps they will the second…you just never know when you’re a BeautyPRPro in progress.  Anything can happen at any given time.  If too much time and too many ‘trys’ come to pass, there’s nothing wrong with a phone call to your targeted list so see what else they might need from you (or other suggestions).
  4. Don’t forget to say ‘Thank You’ when anyone in the press covers or credits you in any way.  Send a little personal hand-written note  of appreciation. If it’s special coverage, there’s nothing wrong with sending a bunch of fabulous flowers from you and your salon/spa team for the great editorial mention!
  5. Don’t send beauty/fashion photos of models that are not professional.  Editor’s pet peeve: Sending photos of real clients to show what’s new in cut, color and make-up.  Even if your client is gorgeous in person, the camera always gives her or him away as ‘not professional’ and editors go over-the-edge on this.

Of course that’s not every do and don’t.  What’s your experience?

Photo: Duane Burnett

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One response to “Keep Local Press Focus On You – 10 ‘To Do’s & ‘To Don’ts’”

  1. Darren Stork says:

    Wow- I’m surprised to read about the number of professionals that skip a photo shoot. Any opportunity, no matter how great or small, should be seized. You never know who will be where, who is paying attention, and how that seemingly insignificant opportunity will connect you to something bigger and better.

    Great post!