Digital PR: A Guide for Beauty Brands

- 6 minute read
Stack of newspapers with one highlighted, titles 'WORLD BUSINESS'
Digital PR and Campaigns Team Leader​

Our Digital PR Expert, Emma, came to us in 2018 after working for a traditional PR agency once graduating from a Journalism degree. Emma now combines her knowledge of traditional PR with digital PR, to get her beauty clients on the websites of national and regional newspapers, blogs and magazine sites to bring in traffic and create brand awareness.

The beauty industry is ever-changing and is doing so at a rapid rate. For that reason, digital PR never stops being a necessity. In fact, PR is arguably more important than ever to help your brand stay relevant and keep landing those links which drive SEO visibility.

What you consider a successful number of links could vary wildly from business to business, but there are some fundamental tactics that are universal within the beauty industry.

So, what are the most important parts of PR, and what does PR mean in makeup, skincare and beauty?

What is Beauty PR?

Simply put, PR for beauty brands means getting your brand, and your products, featured in the publications and websites that your demographic cares about.

There are several different PR tactics in the beauty industry, and different brands will choose to prioritise different kinds. But it principally comes down to whether you’re promoting your brand or your products.  

Venn diagram of ‘Brand’ and ‘Products’. In ‘Brand’ is expert quotes, campaigns, proactive PR, business news. In ‘Products’ is new product pushes, seasonal promos, best buy guides.

Brand PR

This is all about aligning your brand and its values with what’s going on in the world. Brand PR is particularly effective with beauty brands that have a distinctive value proposition or are highly trusted within their niche.

Some, for example, may choose to purely focus on providing expert quotes to journalists (known as reactive PR or newsjacking). You don’t need to create the story yourself, as it’s already being written by a journalist. Instead, you only need to respond to it and align your brand with whatever story is being written.

Proactive PR, as the name suggests, involves planning your stories far in advance of them needing to go live (usually around key events and seasons). This ensures that when the story gets pushed, it’s happening when the story is most relevant.

Campaigns are a more time-intensive form of proactive PR, but they offer a higher upside, with the potential to drive many dozens of relevant, high-quality links to your domain. Campaigns typically involve using external or internal data to tell a unique story that can’t be found elsewhere, and have a blog or asset housed on your website that journalists who feature the story can link to.

It’s these links that make brand-focused PR so valuable, as they act as a trust signal to search engines and greatly improve SERP visibility.

Product PR

Product PR, on the other hand, involves getting your products featured in Best Buy guides and spoken about by the people who matter. It’s perfect for brands with quality products that are different to the rest of the market, whether that’s through pricing, quality, ingredients, or anything else that makes people sit up and take notice.

Product PR for beauty brands not only drives relevant links to your domain, but is also a significant driver of conversion-focused referral traffic. Typically, you can expect to get fewer pieces of product PR coverage than brand coverage, but it is more likely to contribute directly to product revenue. 

Those who are searching ‘best foundations’ or ‘best long-lasting lipsticks’, for example, are searching with the intention to buy. So, these links will not only help your product pages rank higher in Google, but those who land on the page may also buy the product directly from the publication recommending it. It’s a win-win!

As publications have become more aware of the commercial power of their recommendations, product PR has become more closely aligned with affiliate schemes. If you haven’t already, it’s worth considering setting up an affiliate program to incentivise more publications to feature your products.

So, how else can beauty brands succeed in digital PR? Let’s explore:

Building Your Media List

Birds-eye view of a woman typing on a laptop.

To get started in digital PR for beauty brands, you need to know how to contact journalists that will publish or share your content. There are multiple ways that you can go about this creating this list, including several handy tools.

Journalist Databases

Knowing how to reach out to journalists is one of the first steps in digital PR. Journalist Databases, such as Muck Rack, grant you access to a database of international journalists. You can search for a relevant topic to your story, and these databases will recommend you journalists who specialise in that area.

Some journalists, however, might not pick the industry you enter as their main specialty, so be sure to do your own research as well, or try multiple topics. You should also search for similar stories in Google to see who’s covering them and make sure you’re not missing anyone obvious in your list.

Email Software

Once you’ve curated your list and sent out a press release, email software like BuzzStream can show you who has opened the email. With this knowledge, you can learn what you need to change for next time to get more engagement. Find out who’s opening it, and who has lost your email among the swathes of others sent their way.

Journalists receive hundreds, even thousands, of pitches each day, so being able to analyse what subject lines and keywords actually work for each journalist is key. Another great thing is that it sends automated follow-ups too, so you can chase a journalist without spending any additional time doing so later in the week. It’s always worth following up with journalists who you think could sell your content well.

As with all content, timing is key for relevancy. If you’re shouting about a topic when the main conversation has already passed, nobody’s going to choose your story. That being said, if it’s an evergreen piece of content, just because somebody didn’t pick it up now doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.

Nailing Your Tone of Voice

Woman in office space putting a sheet up on a busy white board.

For beauty brands, we know brand appearance is everything. When writing your press releases, therefore, you need to make sure you’re accurately representing your brand’s tone of voice. You need to make sure that the ideas you’re presenting are tonally suitable to your brand as well as the copy itself. You could put together or ask for a messaging deck to make sure you’re creating the exact same persona every time.

When it comes to sending out your press releases, you need to be engaging to journalists while still staying true to your brand’s tone of voice. The best way to get that engagement is to make your title, or email subject, something engaging that will make them want to read on. Think: How will you stand out against the hundreds of other emails they receive?

Keeping Up With Trends

Woman in her house, working on a laptop.

Perhaps the most important part of how to pitch to an editor is keeping yourself up to date on conversations happening within the beauty industry. When you brainstorm ideas, look at Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Vogue, and other popular beauty blogs and magazines to make sure your story hasn’t already been covered.

Equally important, though, is to make sure the conversation around your story is current.

For example, there’s no point in posting a Valentines-based story at the start of July, or talking about the festival season in January. Keeping on top of relevant stories with constant research will help you ideate content that will get traction from journalists.

If you’re late to a trend, some journalists will assume this is always going to be the case, and might not consider you for press releases in the future. It’s a competitive industry, and this is how a lot of journalists weed out the content they can cast aside. A journalist-PR relationship should be completely mutual. You want someone to come to you just as much as you’re going to them.

How is Beauty PR Different to Other Kinds of PR?

Beauty PR has a leg up on other industries because of one key feature: samples. When it comes to pitching products, you can use free samples to show journalists and content creators how great your products are, and without the high product costs that other industries face.

Another benefit of this is that you can vouch for a product personally better than you can for an experience. For example, mentioning that you love a particular shade of a blush or lip product engages the personal side during a pitch, which is perfect for building relationships and conveying product benefits.

How to Win with Beauty PR

At Foundation, we specialise in digital marketing within the beauty industry, so our beauty digital PR specialists can help you get the links and coverage you want to achieve.

We can help you with reactive opportunities, product placements, and PR campaigns to drive SEO visibility, spread the word about your brand and get involved in relevant online conversations. Get in touch to find out more.

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