The PR Brief: contacting the media

Looking to shout about your achievements to the press? Whether you’re an award nominee, doing something amazing for charity, or simply trying to get your name out there, SLBPR founder Sharon Brigden has some top tips for contacting the media

First of all you need to create a press release about the news you want to contact the media about. You want to keep it quite snappy, because you need to catch the journalist’s attention. The first paragraph needs to include all of the key information: your ‘Who, What, Why, Where, When.’ You can bullet point this if easier.

The second paragraph should then include a mini biography of you, highlighting your success and experience (i.e. you’ve been a hairdresser for X years, have X clients, renowned for X), and any other achievements. You bring them in, get them more invested in you and why this news is important to you.

The third paragraph then features more details on the awards, or the charity, impressing the importance of what you’ve done. You can add a final paragraph with any additional information that you deem important. And that’s it! You want to keep everything to-the-point and entice interest.

And then – most importantly – you finish the release with all your contact details: email, phone number, social media tags. Journalists are busy people, the easier you make it for them to contact you, the more likely they will do!

Now you have your release, it’s time to send it to the press… but how? Do some digging and check the newspaper or magazine you’re looking to be featured in, and find out who is writing the kind of stories that you would fit in with. The journalist’s name should be listed under the headline, and once you have the right name you can often find the contact details for the journalists in the magazine/newspaper itself. If not, try Googling or ringing the paper/magazine and asking for their preferred contact method. Reaching out on Instagram DM or Twitter for their email address can also work.

The journey doesn’t end there though! Keep that relationship going. Invite them in for a hair service, or for a tour of your space if you have one, and stay in touch afterwards so that they think of you for any local business features they might be working on.

And the award goes to…

Looking for something to boost your profile? It’s never too soon to start preparing for industry awards.

Start now. Use the Notes function on your phone to make notes of things as you go, and take photos of everything – the great hair you create, community and charity activities you are involved in, media or social media coverage and reviews.

If you want to build your name then enter everything that is relevant to you. Don’t worry about being up against ‘the big guys’! Your entry is as valid as those submitted by more well-known names. You wouldn’t believe how many people talk themselves out of applying for awards they stand a real chance at winning.

Make sure you read and answer questions properly. Your entry isn’t a journal of your life thus far; you need to be sure to answer the question of WHY you should win this specific category.

If you are a hair award finalist, most brands and magazines will send you a press release to send out to your local media. Plus, they send social media assets to post across all your channels. Make sure you tag the company or magazines and the relevant hashtags for the awards, and be sure to tag your location as well, as local media likely monitor these hashtags to pick up stories.

If you don’t get through then you should ask the organisers for feedback – and don’t give up. Lots of the ‘big names’ have entered several times before being nominated. Good luck!

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