I have specialised in Beauty and Well-being PR for almost a decade and in that time a lot has changed. I remember the days of manually measuring the size of a piece of coverage to get the AVE, faxing over coverage, and binding reports for hours.
Here are the top five ways I see how Beauty PR has been changing most recently… (most of these are probably also the ways PR in general is changing too…)
The Digital/Social Media Era – this is probably the biggest change to have happened in recent years. The fact that PRs can now get their message across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc means we have so many more opportunities for elusive ‘coverage’. Twitter is usually the first for news, before even the major news sites. Trending topics can be turned into topical press releases. Plus you can reach the whole world in one click. However, this makes embargoes much more difficult to enforce. Skype allows us to connect with businesses all over the world. It just wasn’t possible/was very expensive previously.
Beauty Bloggers – these guys are part of the above but I think they deserve their own section. Many PRs were unsure of beauty bloggers when they first came onto the scene, and they were definitely treated as second-class citizens to traditional journalists…that was until PRs saw the potential. Beauty bloggers are seen as unbiased, therefore more trusted in their opinions, therefore more influential. They can also turn posts around relatively quickly as it doesn’t need to be signed off by anyone but themselves. Now they get treated in exactly the same way, or even better, than journalists. The problem comes when it seems everyone and their Mother is a blogger now. Clever Beauty PRs won’t be dazzled by follower figures which can be so easily bought, and will always be asking the right questions: Who is your audience? How long are they on your site for? Which is your strongest social media channel? The Beauty/Lifestyle blogger world is a bit of a minefield now but there are many gems!
Competition – there are SO many Beauty/Lifestyle/Well-being brands out there. The worldwide reach of the digital world in point no. 1 is great but also means as long as a company ships to the UK, they are competing with the UK market. Also, the big corporations are buying up more and more brands and controlling more of the industry. What all of this means for Beauty PRs like myself is that relationships and creativity are key. I have worked for many years to build strong relationships with the top journalists, bloggers and influencers. An email with my name is much more likely to be clicked on than someone they don’t recognise, and I’m meeting them regularly to strengthen these relationships even more. This cannot be underestimated. Also, creativity is required in order to compete with those brands with huge budgets. My experience tells me what is worth spending money on and what isn’t, and also how to make a relatively small budget have maximum impact with creative ideas.
Well-being/Wellness – this is a trend I am personally loving. Due to the first point, we are constantly ‘switched on’. Who looks at their phone last thing at night and first thing when they wake up? It can be a positive but also a negative, and out of this a strong well-being trend grew to give us time for ourselves. Yoga, meditation, mindfulness. All of these seemed like a bit of a fad, but with centuries of history to back them up, people soon realised the benefits and ‘wellness’ shows no sign of going anywhere. Beauty journalists/bloggers are often very interested in this side of things too. New well-being/wellness brands are launching every day and I am hugely passionate about this side of the Beauty industry.
Freelance Life – my last point is something I’m personally going through right now. Over the past few years I have been noticing more and more Beauty PRs becoming freelance or moving in-house for a brand. As I turned 30 and looked at my life, I decided to take the plunge and join them. I must say I’m wondering why I didn’t do it sooner! It allows me to be a lot more flexible, to have more control over who I work with and what I do. In my opinion, brands get a better deal through having this flexibility with their PR and aren’t getting bogged down in any agency politics. I am also more vested in my clients now as I am personally responsible for the PR strategy and plan (not to mention the income which is an incredible motivator!). I am confident this is a trend that will continue for many years to come.
There we have it. All these trends I’ve identified regarding Beauty PR have both positive and negative aspects. I’m an optimistic so see all of the above as an exciting and intriguing time for Beauty PR, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! Would love to hear your thoughts.