Back in the day, the only way for beauty and makeup brands to get noticed was to secure a spot inside a glossy magazine, along with celebrity endorsement. A lot has changed since then, but one thing is certain: PR in the beauty industry is still essential.
If you own or represent a beauty brand, beauty PR (meaning public relations for beauty products and cosmetics) is a niche that you should definitely get to know better.
To shed some light on beauty communications, I asked the experts from the best beauty PR agencies to share their thoughts. With their help, I’m going to show you examples of successful PR activities for beauty products and cosmetics, along with the insights on:
- How to do PR for beauty brands?
- What’s the best way to get media contacts to beauty journalists?
- What are the leading beauty PR firms?
- Analyze the right PR metrics
Let’s get started with your new favorite guide to PR for beauty brands.
How to do PR for beauty brands?
With so many different beauty products and cosmetics on the market, PR is often an essential tool to help these beauty and makeup brands stand out from the competition. If done right, that is.
Public relations for beauty products and cosmetics should never be treated as a temporary activity, but rather as part of a long-term, strategic plan. Before you start experimenting with different ways to get publicity in the beauty industry, make sure to ask yourself the following questions – as advised by Debra Locker Griffin, President & Owner @ Debra Locker Group:
- What makes the beauty brand stand out?
- Is the brand and/or spokesperson interesting and engaging?
- Can the spokesperson provide credible commentary on various topics related to beauty? The truth is: A dynamic spokesperson and/or unique brand story is often the difference between being included in a story or not.
Once you’ve got that covered, it’s time to get creative (and persistent!) to get the media attention that your beauty brand deserves.
Pitch the media constantly
Constant outreach is essential. You can’t reach out once and expect your product to stick. Beauty is a cluttered category – you need to consistently get your product in front of the media and provide interesting stats or information that they can use in their stories. – Jessica Goldberg, JOINT-CEO @ Rebel Gail Communications
What can help you with constant media pitches to beauty journalists is having a clear PR outreach plan in the first place. Start with figuring out what you want to tell the world about your beauty brand in the next few months. Then, focus on your media contacts.
Try to pitch only to those journalists who you already know, and be intentional with your outreach. Make sure to foster relationships with the media: always keep track of your conversations, follow-up whenever needed, and send a friendly email or two without an actual pitch inside.
Media relations can’t be built overnight, but with the right attitude and dedicated PR software up your sleeve, you should soon be getting publicity in the beauty industry.
PR for beauty & makeup brands: Sigma Beauty x Jeneration PR
Sigma Beauty is a global beauty brand, known for its innovative makeup brushes and cosmetics. To get coverage in top-tier beauty and lifestyle media outlets, the company turned to Jeneration PR for a digital press strategy. And rightly so.
Beauty public relations specialists from Jeneration PR leveraged their robust network of media relationships, used creative storytelling around key product launches, and managed to position Sigma as an industry leader. These strategies kept Sigma relevant and top-of-mind for the press contacts, even driving features in the midst of COVID-19.
As a result, Jeneration PR secured dozens of press features in online publications like Glamour.com, POPSUGAR, Byrdie, Harper’s Bazaar online, Who What Wear, and many more. All that in just three months.
Be timely & adaptable
To put it simply: media coverage is given to pitches that are timely and newsworthy. Without tying your pitch to what’s going on in the world and how media outlets operate, you’re likely to miss out on getting publicity in the beauty industry.
Keep an eye on big stories that you might have to compete with (such as the COVID-19 outbreak or Presidential Election), and pay attention to lead times:
There’s no use pitching your holiday stories to long lead outlets, including national print magazines, in November – they’ll have long closed those issues. Summer stories pitched to short lead (i.e. digital publications) in February also won’t get you very far, as such stories won’t even be on their radar yet. A good rule of thumb is 3-4 months out for long-lead outlets, and 1-1.5 months out for short lead publications. – Lindsey Smolan, Founder @ VLIV Communications
Also, if you want to do PR for beauty brands right, make sure to promote relevant products & cosmetics. Pitching a full-coverage and quite heavy makeup foundation might not be the best idea in the summer, whereas a lightweight moisturizer won’t get much traction during the winter.
There’s one little trick to outsmart the seasons, though: taking advantage of different “cultural holidays” (i.e. National Lipstick Day or Women’s Day) to become more relevant and timely.
PR for beauty & makeup brands: Color Up x Debra Locker Group
In August 2020, Debra Locker Group planned and executed a virtual launch for their beauty client, Color Up. Normally, they would have gone to New York for the launch but, due to COVID-19, the team of beauty public relations specialists had to figure out a different solution: online product launches via Zoom.
The Zoom launches were held on August 19 at 11 a.m. EST and 3 p.m. EST, based on the timing recommendations from trusted media contacts. The team shipped the beauty products in advance so they could be used during the calls.
After the online event, the team compiled a press release, product images & fact sheets, and e-mailed them with thank you notes to the media attendees. They also sent the launch details to their complete list of beauty and skincare contacts.
The results? Nearly 20 writers and editors for Allure, Bella, First for Women, Health, Real Simple, InStyle, and PopSugar, as well as many top freelance writers, were on the Zoom launches. The cost of the events was also much lower: meetings in NYC would have required at least three full days on-site, with the costs for transportation, lodging, meals, etc. well above $10,000 USD. The virtual launch was so successful, that the team plans to do more of them in the future.
Create some buzz around your beauty brand
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that creating significant buzz around your brand is likely to get you publicity in the beauty industry. Product launches and announcements, visually-appealing press releases, well-thought-out social media campaigns, and user-generated content are just some of the examples of how you can increase your reach and get the media attention.
As a long-time successful award-winning public relations expert, I have found that the press release is a very important tool in getting a product’s name across. It is the best way to help build brand awareness and to create a buzz for your project. Optimizing the press release to add embedded links to your beauty product photo, website, blog, and social media is a must.
You can also consider backing up the effort by sending out a press release to web-based wire services such as PR Newswire or Business Wire. They will further provide analytics reports to let you know where you received coverage. – Rhonda Rees, an award-winning PR expert in charge of Rhonda Rees Public Relations Company
Make good use of beauty brand advocacy
Beauty brands should not miss out on advocacy, especially if they want to stand out in the extremely over-saturated market.
Advocates don’t necessarily mean social media influencers. You can team up with beauty & makeup artists, hair stylists, beauty editors, and other industry insiders that might not have an impressive reach on social media, but can still become valuable partners.
The proof is in the pudding. Isolate key bloggers, influencers, and media outlets you feel speak to your brand and reach out. Make sure to include, in a concise yet informative way, details about your brand, its founders, and products. Make the pitch personal and try and include some interesting facts about the people behind the brand. Oftentimes that leads to more than just product reviews or coverage. If they love your products, they will be inclined to share your brand with their followers. – Matt Meyerson, COO/CMO @ Dear Self Skincare
Invest in samples & PR packages
Speaking of beauty brand advocates, there are at least a few ways to get them on board. You could throw an event (be it online or in-person) that allows them to test and promote your beauty products & cosmetics across their social media profiles, or send a PR package with the samples and wait for the reviews. For many journalists and editors, such PR packages are essential to be able to write about your brand.
Nothing speaks to the beauty and quality of your products as being able to test it out in person. Even though it’s an additional expense, beauty & makeup brands should be prepared to set aside a certain amount of samples per month to give away to writers and editors. They’ll need to touch, see, smell, and test out the efficacy of your products before covering them. They can’t rave about what they haven’t tried! – Lindsey Smolan, Founder @ VLIV Communications
How to get media contacts to beauty journalists, then?
There are three ways to go about beauty media contacts. You could:
- Access a Media Database for PR and get a beauty journalist list with just a few clicks,
- Purchase ready-made media list for beauty products,
- Research beauty media contacts and create a PR list yourself.
A lot depends on your budget. Having constant access to a media database means that all your contacts are always up-to-date, but you can also search for media lists for beauty products and relevant journalists manually if you can’t afford to purchase beauty media contacts.
In many cases, you can at least find their social media handles and use them for your PR outreach activities. It’s definitely more time-consuming, but also much cheaper than purchasing a PR list for beauty and makeup products.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you revise and update your beauty media press list frequently. Organizing your own media list for beauty products and building media relationships first before you start pitching should also be on your to-do list if you want to make the most of your beauty & makeup PR list.
With Prowly, you can access a media database with over 1 million contacts and search for the right beauty journalists and influencers to pitch your news to. Just specify the location, and choose “beauty” as the main topic. Once you find what you’re looking for, you can easily add the new contacts to your Prowly account.
What beauty media contacts should you look for, exactly? According to Debra Locker Griffin, the deliverables of your brand should correlate with the coverage of the media outlet. Her advice is to consider the following:
- If your beauty business is online, you should target beauty sites, bloggers, and influencers to build relationships,
- If you own a day spa, skin care center, or have a brick-and-mortar business, pitching local media outlets will help get guests through your doors,
- Industry trade outlets, such as DERMASCOPE, Skin Inc., GCI, should be on your pitch list no matter what your beauty products are,
- The same rule applies to TV, which is perfect for beauty products & cosmetics. Demos and before/after segments are visual and attractive to both producers and bookers. Television is a fantastic medium for reaching people in your market (or nationally), getting your name out in the community, and establishing credibility.
Always read, watch, and listen to the media outlets you pitch. By doing so, you can determine if your brand is a fit based on the topics that are covered and the demographics of the audience.
Protip: When trying to get contacts to relevant beauty journalists, don’t rule out freelance writers.
Many beauty and makeup brands strive for top placements in outlets like Vogue, InStyle, and The Zoe Report. While contacting editors on-staff is of course a great strategy, you should also look to see who writes for these outlets in a freelance capacity. As more publications sadly cut budgets, many turn to freelancers to create much of the content. Take the time to befriend and build relationships with these key writers, who yield a great influence. Many of them write for more than one outlet, so you can effectively get your product in front of multiple outlets at once! – Lindsey Smolan, Founder @ VLIV Communications
Best beauty PR agencies & specialists
The truth is: with no connections and PR tools in-house, you might actually want to trust hair & beauty PR experts with your products and cosmetics.
Relationships are key when doing PR in the beauty industry. If you don’t have any relevant connections, you should begin to cultivate them or work with someone who’s already familiar with beauty PR. You’ll have a much better chance of securing coverage this way. – Jessica Goldberg, JOINT-CEO @ Rebel Gail Communications
To make it easier for you, we’ve picked top beauty PR agencies for makeup and beauty brands around the world.
Beauty public relations – NYC & the US
Founded in 2015 by PR veterans Jessica Goldberg and Nancy Caravetta, Rebel Gail Communications is a full-service marketing agency with a specialty in beauty, health, and lifestyle brands. With proprietary tools, BrandfluenceXO, Rebel Rise, and Rebel Rumble, Rebel Gail helps brands reach their target consumers through digital, media, influencers, events, and brand planning. Rebel Gail was named one of the Most Powerful Beauty PR Firms of 2018 by the Observer and has won multiple awards for their client work.
After honing her expertise both working in-house and consulting for NYC public relations firms, Lindsey Smolan launched her own agency focusing on her love of communicating great stories and unique products from top fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands. Today LSPR is headquartered in Manhattan and counts gorgeous accessories, fresh fashions, and innovative beauty products in its client line-up, which makes it a top beauty communications agency in NYC.
Debra Locker Group
Respected for her communication skills and media relationships, Debra Locker has worked in public relations and journalism for nearly three decades. She is the President of Debra Locker Group – an award-winning, boutique agency that specializes in lifestyle, spa, wellness, and beauty. In 2020, Debra was named the recipient of the Women in Wellness PR & Marketing Award from American Spa. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Debra was the PR Director for the International SPA Association, as well as a TV reporter and producer.
In 2005, Jennifer Berson founded Jeneration PR, a Los Angeles-based boutique public relations and marketing firm that specializes in beauty, baby, and lifestyle brands. This top beauty PR firm creates strategic campaigns for clients encompassing press placements, celebrity relations, social media, and partnerships, just to name a few. All thanks to deep-seated relationships with beauty, parenting, and lifestyle editors at major publications, newspapers, and websites as well as television producers on both coasts.
Janice McCafferty PR
As one of the top beauty PR firms in the US, Janice McCafferty PR represents companies of all sizes and in all stages of development from indie beauty brands to celebrity-endorsed lines. Founder and CEO Janice McCafferty is not only a licensed hairstylist but a certified esthetician and nail technician. This unique feature sets us apart from other agencies due to our in-depth knowledge and understanding of how products, ingredients, and techniques work for both consumer and professional companies. With over 25 years of experience, her connections to top beauty editors, bloggers, influencers, and producers ensure daily outreach and coverage of your brand by the industry’s leading media and social media outlets.
Beauty PR agencies Toronto
Blend PR is a full-service boutique public relations agency that specializes in beauty, fitness, and lifestyle brands. Being among top beauty PR firms, the team behind Blend PR is truly passionate about the beauty industry, which allows the agency to create tailored and innovative PR strategies that bring beauty and makeup brands to life through newsworthy stories using media and influencer campaigns.
When searching for the best beauty PR agencies in Toronto, you’re likely to find Matte PR. It’s an award-winning PR firm, specializing in lifestyle, fashion, and beauty public relations. They successfully connect organizations with the right collaborators and create results-driven campaigns to secure valuable media coverage and digital impressions.
Beauty PR agencies London
PR specialists at Brandnation are more than familiar with public relations for beauty products – the team covers health, well-being, spa, cosmetics, and hair. Their holistic health & beauty PR formula is executed by a well-connected team of media and marketing professionals with superior industry knowledge and a real passion for brands and all things beautiful.
The team at Push PR uses their expertise, industry knowledge, and vast UK and international networks to create bespoke, effective, and inspiring print, digital and social media campaigns for the world’s leading luxury jewelry, beauty, wellness, and lifestyle brands. Their capabilities stretch far beyond those of traditional hair and beauty PR agencies to ensure maximum quality exposure and engagement with tangible results.
Beauty PR firms Sydney
Portobello is considered one of the best beauty PR firms in Sydney. It’s a 360° fashion, lifestyle, and beauty communications agency with a team of beauty PR professionals working across all areas of communications, brand management, publicity, and events. They’ve represented some of the most recognizable brands both globally and locally, which gave them second-to-none expertise across the beauty, fashion, food and beverage, lifestyle, sport, and youth sectors.
Analyze the right PR metrics
And to make sure that your PR activities are on the right track and drive results, you need to analyze the right metrics.
Here are two metrics to follow as a PR pro, along with tips on how to efficiently accomplish them:
👉🏼 Share of Voice in PR: How to Calculate Your Brand SOV
👉🏼 Media Mentions Guide: How to Track Media Mentions Effectively
We have also prepared special guides about PR metrics to leave behind (and what to use instead):
👉🏼 What is UVPM aka Domain Reach in PR? (UVPM metric alternatives)
👉🏼 What is Advertising Value Equivalency in PR? (+ AVE Alternatives)
Relationships with beauty journalists can’t be built overnight. If you decide to do PR for a beauty brand yourself, dedicated PR tools like Prowly can help you manage media relations from one place and get better at it to gain more coverage for your beauty brand. This includes:
- finding relevant contacts to beauty journalists,
- creating visual press releases that will do justice to your beauty products and cosmetics,
- setting up an online newsroom for all important information about your beauty brand that might interest journalists,
- sending your email pitches to beauty media contacts and monitoring their performance.