By Betsy Smith Isroelit, RBI Communications - PR Firm for Spa Finder
As part of Spa Finder's extensive marketing and communications services for spa property clients, Spa Finder continuously develops positive, targeted press and broadcast coverage for the more than 1,200 spas that it represents worldwide. To this end RBI - Spa Finder's Los Angeles-based public relations firm - works hand-in-hand with diverse media to shape and place stories that promote individual spas and increased spa participation across the board. These stories span the entire spa and reach across the entire media spectrum - from regional and trade publications, to the world's most prestigious, high-profile TV and news outlets, including The Today Show, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and CNN.
Based on our uniquely diverse, broad spa public relations experience, Spa Finder and RBI offer the following 5 tips to spa PR success - 5 basic (and cost-effective) things your spa can do to achieve your public relations goals.
1) Let Spa Finder Know What You're Doing - Take advantage of the value-added public relations services that Spa Finder offers to its spa partners by keeping us apprised of your spa's news. Tell us about the latest trends you're observing at your property (more men? more families?), as well as your business successes and your new treatment and service innovations. We are always looking to provide the media with real-world examples to anchor larger spa stories, so this represents a tremendous opportunity to generate powerful, cost-free publicity for your spa. If you think you've got spa news, please email us at [email protected].
2) Be Responsive - Public relations is the most cost-effective marketing medium, pure and simple. In fact, the standard industry formula gauges the value of a PR hit to be up to FIVE TIMES as valuable as a paid ad in the equivalent media outlet (i.e., the same newspaper, magazine, news show, etc.). The bottom line: It's always worth the time it takes to follow up on a story opportunity. Return EVERY journalist's call immediately and work to quickly provide the materials and information he or she needs to develop the story. This seems pretty basic, but given the crushing deadlines of journalists and the general chaos of their profession, a timely response is essential - an absolute prerequisite for PR success
3) Create Helpful, Solid Media Materials This is an extension of the above thought; but, again, it's definitely worth the small investment of time and money it takes to develop solid, helpful media materials to aid reporters. These should include beauty shots of your spa (at print quality resolution and available by email) and basic information sheets Beyond that, it's also a good idea to shoot some basic, unedited video of your property (for TV use), and to develop a database of positive customer testimonials (in print and/or video). In our experience, real-world customer quotes and feedback resonate EXTREMELY well with the press. They represent a very effective, low-cost strategy to add "meat" and validity to a story.
4) Don't Over-Rely on Press Releases - Press Releases can be an effective PR tool, but they don't take the place of good old-fashioned "pitching." When it comes to releases, be judicious. Literally hundreds of press releases cross the typical editor's desk every morning - and the VAST majority of them simply get lost in the shuffle. Often times, a focused 4-line email pitch will do more to open the door with a reporter than a 2-page release (and it'll be a lot less expensive). When you DO write a release, make sure that it functions as a helpful media information source, not a sales sheet.
5) Publicize Awards and Honors that Set Your Spa Apart - Objective, third-party awards (for example, Spa Finde r Magazine's Readers Choice Awards) speak volumes to the press - and your customers - about your spa's commitment to excellence. Be sure to research award opportunities and apply for them. Draft releases touting new awards (short and to the point). Of course, you should also prominently feature your awards and citations on your web site and incorporate them into your media kits and sales materials. A simple, cost-free nugget of objective industry or customer validation can be worth more than the most expensive marketing materials.