Doing Your Own PR Takes A Little Time, Patience and Research

On Friday, February 10th I sent a letter (cost $.44) to Cosmopolitan magazine introducing myself, Wild Beauty and our body oils. This past Friday, February 17th, I received an email from the intern of Cosmopolitan beauty editor saying that I am welcome to send my samples of Wild Beauty’s body oil. How fantastic, amazing and awesome is that.

So how did I do it? Get informed. As most first time small business owners, we don’t have a degree in public relations. I didn’t, so I learned about it and did my research. Before I started approaching the press, I read several books, article, blogs and a few free online seminars and blogs on PR.

A review of the books I have read. Yes, I bought these books. I have a nice collection of books on small business.

I really enjoyed “The Publicity Handbook” by David Yale. Now this is a book for beginners with over 100 journalists and PR professionals tips and advice. I loved it. It was practical and a great read. David gives your the basics and breaks down each area of PR for print, media and more.

30 Day Online PR & Marketing Success by Gail Z. Martin  (I also bought her book 30 Days to Social Media Success. It helped my fine tune my social media presence.) – another fab must read. It’s not 300 pages. It’s straight to the point, easy steps with sound advice that works.

The last book PR Therapy by Robin Blakely. I enjoyed the book all though she gets very technical and gives you a lot of exercises. Some I thought were unnecessary but I did them anyway. I really enjoyed the excerpts on the small business she’s worked with. Also other small business stories of do it yourself PR and how they did it.

I wasn’t too thrilled with “The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott. To me it just didn’t seem to be a book aimed at beginners. It was more for people who have a experience. So I was turned off by it.

Next, I wrote down a list of magazines I wanted Wild Beauty to be featured in then off to Barnes and Nobles on my free days and spent a couple hours reading my target magazines. I checked out the products they featured and who reviewed them. I also purchased a few issues to get a feel of the magazine. I found who the beauty editor/beauty director depending on the magazine. Some of beauty editors other have beauty directors and the editorial address. The editorial address is where you will send your letter.

When I was ready, I set up my Excel spreadsheet and entered the name of the magazine, editor address, beauty editor or beauty director.  Every time you send a correspondence out make sure you highlight/mark down that it was sent. You don’t want the editor/director to feel that you are nagging / harassing with too many letters because you didn’t keep track.

I don't think I'll be hearing from them.

Time to craft your pitch letter. Keep it simple and to the point. One page, no longer. We are going to use my actual letter as an example. Make sure you have the name right. Of course that’s a given but double check. I sent a letter to The Today Show . I didn’t double check and I forgot to change the address part of the letter, which read.

Noah Kotch/ Senior Producer

NBC Today Show

379E-1 30 Rockeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112

But the greeting read – Hello Tom Cibrowski. Tom is the executive producer for Good Morning America. Yikes! I don’t think I’ll be hearing from “The Today Show”.

  • The opening sentence should catch their attention. Remember they get thousands of requests a week. Whether it’s with facts or an interesting quote, relevant to what you’re pitching. Here’s my opening paragraph:

Despite popular beliefs body oils are fantastic for your skin. It’s the synthetic fragrances, colors and additives being added that aren’t. I’d like a recommend a beauty product for your magazine. Wild Beauty is changing the way people think and use body oils. Our nourishing tonics for the skin and hydrating elixirs for the hair are created from century old African American Chickasaw Indian family recipes.

  • What is so great, amazing, interesting or beneficial about your product /service? Will it change the world? Solve a problem, this is your moment to wow them not lie to them or exaggerate the benefits: Here’s my second paragraph:

Wild Beauty infused body oils take two months to make. We infuse vanilla beans, tea leaves, pink rosebuds and more. The beneficial properties and natural fragrances permeate all throughout the oil. The body oils can be used from head to toe. Black Tea-sing Rose body oil doubles as a nighttime moisturizer. Cham Luvs Neroli body oil can be applied to thirsty dry ends. Kickin It body oil with sage and mint leaves soothes skin irritation from shaving and waxing.

  • Third paragraph is time to seal the deal. Closing paragraph:

All of wild Beauty’s infused body oils come in 2 ounce bottles. A little goes a long way. Our philosophy is keeping it simple. No lab. No chemist. No complex formula, just family recipes.  What you put on your skin shouldn’t be a complex formula needing a chemist and a lab to create. Sample and pictures are available. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

Here’s a true story:

Last year around this time, a great friend, I can’t say enough great things about her. She has a good heart and we inspire and support each other. She introduced me to a publicist doing a gifting suite for one of the more popular awards in Hollywood.

She said I could participate in the event. Her fee was $3200. I would payer her $1800 retainer and split the rest in two payments. Who wouldn’t want to be part of such a talked about event and in your dreams kind of media exposure? For a moment all I could think about was being part of the gifting suite but then reality brought me back to reality. I had only been in business 3 or 4 months. There was no way I could afford that. It wasn’t realistic.

She kept trying to get to me sign the contract. Say it was a great opportunity to get my body oils into celebrity hands. Okay, let’s see.  I would be going without eating, pawning valuables and scraping every penny literally to come up with that amount of money.

As the publicist was trying to convince bordering pressuring me to pay the astronomical fee while pushing the celebrity angle at me, it came to me.  Do I have so little faith in my products that I need a celebrity endorsement to influence people to buy? There were many other companies before mine that became successful before celebrity noticed them.  I make my body oils from century old family recipes passed down to me from my grandmother. I made these recipes with her as a child. That would be a slap in the face to my ancestry for not having faith in what has been passed down to from grandmother to granddaughter for centuries. I couldn’t do that. I decided to learn all that I could and do it myself.

Right now I have Organic Spa and Cosmopolitan magazines (just sent out) and a few popular eco/organic beauty bloggers trying samples of Wild Beauty’s body oils and bamboo candles. I’m waiting to hear back from them. I’ve made some great contacts and a few have turned into friends. It just goes to show you with a little time, patience and research you can do your own PR without shelling out a ton of money.

Felecia Scott

Founder / Wild Beauty


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