4 Trending Story Angles for beauty, makeup, and skincare brands

Working on a daily basis with beauty brands, beauty media, and beauty influencers gives my agency ongoing insight into the latest developments and trends within the beauty and skincare industries. As a special holiday gift to you, we’ve rounded up a few story themes we know editors are currently exploring.  We think these angles will be even more prevalent in 2018. If you’re in need of fresh idea for pitches for your beauty or skincare brands (or just curious as to what’s hot in the beauty industry!) read below some of the story trends that are truly piquing editors’ interest!

Giving Back Year-Round

Partnering with a charity can be a great way to boost brand awareness and create good will amongst consumers (as long as the partnership is authentic and makes sense for the brand), but one trend my agency has both been seeing from brands and editors is partnering with a charity year-round, as opposed to select times during the year. While breast cancer awareness charitable contributions and holiday gifts that give back are always great, editors are looking more and more for brands that have incorporated giving back on an ongoing basis as opposed to a one-off. Understandably not all brands have the bandwidth to donate throughout the year, but if you have a way to partner with a charity/non-profit in a way that makes sense for your brand, stress that when reaching out to editors.

Superfoods in Beauty Products

If it goes in your green smoothie, there’s a chance it might have great benefits for your skin (in addition to being healthy for you!) – and editors will want to hear about it! Spinach, kale, quinoa, turmeric, ginger…all buzzy superfood items that we constantly read about in health and wellness publications as being good for you also might have surprising skincare benefits. If you have a product that contains any of these trendy food ingredients, and can speak to the exact results it can help deliver (no exaggerating please…editors can see through that!) then send over a concise pitch. Even better if you have multiple products/clients that have these foodie ingredients!

While breast cancer awareness charitable contributions and holiday gifts that give back are always great, editors are looking more and more for brands that have incorporated giving back on an ongoing basis as opposed to a one-off.

Amazon availability

We’ve all become pretty dependent on Amazon (where else can you get coffee filters, PR Couture’s fabulous Ready to Launch book, and travel packing cubes all in the same place?) and that includes the audiences reading top websites, magazines, and blogs! Editors (particularly in the digital space) frequently have round-ups of products with Amazon availability – whether the story is for a one-stop shop where you can get all your last minute holiday gifts or travel friendly beauty sets you can shop on your Amazon Prime account, the ease and convenience of Amazon is often highlighted by writers. If you are carried on Amazon, make sure to let writers know that to increase your chances of placement!

Inclusive Beauty Products

From the Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line to Mented Cosmetics range of nude polishes, beauty companies are creating products to cater to a much wider audience than ever before. Editors are looking for much more than the traditional five shades of foundation that only work for a limited group of people or the one shade of nude nail polish – truly diverse color selections that can work for a variety of both skin shades and tones are something beauty media is very interested in hearing about. Additionally, any marketing or advertising campaigns that showcase diversity and inclusivity, from CoverGirl’s first “CoverBoy” James Charles to Sephora’s “Reach Out and Gift” commercial featuring their own employees that celebrate a broad range of beauty are of interest to editors. As with charitable gifting, make sure any such campaigns are authentic and organic to the brand, and not just jumping on a bandwagon for the sake of exposure. Editors and media are very smart – make sure the branding is meaningful and sensitive so as not to be labeled as tone deaf.

And there you have it. Keep these story angles and trending topics in mind as you draft up client story opportunities in the New Year.

Is Storytelling Over, When Editors Become Influencers & The First Teen Vogue Summit

 Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of December 4, 2017

Why retailers are moving their holiday ad strategies away from storytelling (via Adweek)

10 influencer marketing trends to look out for in the new year (via PR Daily)

Here’s what missed from the first ever Teen Vogue Summit (via The New York Times)

Just how much are retailers willing to spend on social media influencers? (via Retail Dive)

Get some inspo for marketing strategies in 2018 with these social media campaigns (via Social Media Today)

Grow your brand with Facebook and Instagram live streaming (via Social Media Week)

Why Glossier’s Emily Weiss recommends building the customer into the brand (via Business of Fashion)

Editors enter tricky ethical territory when it comes to influencer work (via Fashionista)

Beautycon Media CEO spills about what political strategists can teach us (via Teen Vogue)

Let’s face it – it’s tough being a female business owner in America (via Quartz)

Your 15-Step Influencer Collaboration Checklist (Free Download)

This article is part of the Influencer Marketing Series, written and sponsored by Shopping Links, an online marketplace designed to make it easier for Bloggers and Brands to connect and collaborate. For $100 off your first collaboration, use code PROFF100.


Some publicists might remember time when bloggers were simply a new kind of writer to pitch — an afterthought on press lists headlined by editors at Vogue and Travel + Leisure.

For those of us who have seen the rise and flourish of bloggers over the last decade, the idea that brands now pay to collaborate with them perhaps isn’t surprising, but it still presents challenges in the PR world — the old publicist’s guide book doesn’t exactly cover sponsored media! And as a recent Fashionista article highlighted, many in the industry are still drawing the line between editor and influencer. At Shopping Links, we have found that the most successful brands draw a clear distinction between media exposure and influencer collaborations. The leaders of these brands have embraced the greater directional control that comes with sponsoring a campaign, while focusing on long-term relationships with bloggers whose audiences closely align with their own — thus allowing them to leverage the value of creating a strong mental connection between the brand and the blogger for their followers.

Having managed hundreds of influencer collaborations for brands, ranging from emerging designers to Fortune 500 retailers, we have had a front-row seat to what has provided the greatest ROI on a collaboration, and how agencies can help their clients get the most out of each influencer relationship. Some improvements, such as moving from a campaign-by-campaign approach to a more relationship-focused one, take time, but we have also seen brands make big leaps with small steps. More often than not, disappointment is simply a result of mismatched expectations.

Many influencers began as regular consumers with a passion project, and even business-savvy bloggers can forget a detail. Setting clear expectations, from whether or not your client will allow affiliate links in their sponsored content, to what image rights they would like to secure after the campaign, can mean the difference between real frustration and a real return.

We have created an Influencer Collaboration Checklist with strategy questions, requirements to convey to influencers, and a list of clickable resources from our library to help you cover every base and set the right expectations. Download and bookmark for your next campaign!

How to Find & Leverage Creative Experts to Help Expand Agency Capabilities

Agencies, Public Relations, Illustrators, Photographer, Creative Professional

Written by Alex Perry, Perry Rose Media. 

At some point or another, agencies will likely run have an idea for a client campaign or project that requires outside help to ensure a flawless execution. Hiring creative experts from a related industry, whether they be commissioned or collaborative, open up the breadth of what an agency can provide. I’ve found success partnering with illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, makeup artists, hair stylists, bloggers and stationers.

In working with creative professionals outside of your own company, you give yourself, and importantly, your client, the opportunity to upgrade what’s possible in terms of campaign development, experiential marketing, visual design and so much more. With key partnerships in place, much like in an influencer partnerships, brands can boost the value of these collaborations by extending promotion by said partners, many of whom have their own substantial online presence.

As you think about how to refine or expand agency offerings in the New Year, consider the role of freelance or boutique creative agencies with complementary skill-sets.

1. Build a Local Network

We’re quite spoiled in this modern age of being able to foster global relationships office but don’t ignore the opportunity right in your backyard.

Like many, I have passion for supporting homegrown, small businesses. Fostering strategic partnerships with creative professionals in my area has allowed me to take advantage of immense talent from individuals and groups with home I already share a personal connection through our shared location.

For me, a relationship with creative professionals comes from my participation in a local chapter of a much larger, international network of photographers, event planners, videographers and more. This has lead to my involvement in styled shoots – which is notably a great way to obtain vast, cost-effective content for social media for my clients and myself. It has also allowed me to share my experiences, and in return hear about others’ experiences in business. For you, it could be these things, something different, or even something more.


2. Expand Your Search

Now, while working with local talent is wonderful, it’s also not the only way to find ideal partners. For agencies with multiple locations, or clients based in different places, it’s a smart strategy to network in key areas. Build a little black book of thoughtful, fruitful relationships with creative professionals, and then use this curated directory of ideal partnerships to elevate your work for your client’s benefit when the opportunity arises.

Ask your editor friends who they enjoy working with, check those credit tags on Instagram posts, take advantage of suggested account to follow, and check credits of your favorite magazines. One trick is to save images on Instagram into collections for each client. Then, when you’re ready, you know exactly who you have identified as a potential partner.

3. Bring creatives in early

A creative mind is a terrible thing to waste! The earlier you can invite your outsourced creative team members to review project goals, timelines and key messaging the better. You may find their input to be invaluable in terms of opening up new creative solutions or trade secrets to keep that budget down.

Even if you don’t have a specific project on the horizon, it’s never too early to set up a few meetings to find those business owners who align with your mission and vibe. You may want to partner on an agency-only initiative in order to test the working relationship, or give a small project (for a new business pitch, for example) to begin to build a portfolio to use for future client buy-in.

About Alex

Alex Perry is a bridal and beauty brand manager whose work has been published online and in print. She launched Perry Rose Media in 2015 and the agency has grown into a creatively driven communications agency that offers everything from from strategy, to copywriting, to wardrobe styling, as well as creative direction and social media marketing. In 2017, Alex was recognized as the Emerging Communicator of the Year at PR Couture’s Bespoke Communication Awards. Connect with Alex on Instagram, @perryrosemedia and visit Perry Rose Media online at perryrosemedia.com.

Pinterest AutoPlay, PR Conferences to Know & L’Oreal on Innovation

 Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the weeks of November 20 & 27, 2017

Time Inc will now be owned by Meredith Corp (via New York Times)

Is Public Relations headed back to the days of simple propaganda? (via Forbes Communication Council)

Why retailers like Modcloth shut down on Black Friday and gave back instead (via Modcloth Blog)

L’Oréal shares tips on innovation for businesses (via Marketing Week) 

A new financial product redefines the future for consumers (via Racked)

Why the key to success is collaboration (via Complex)

These are the PR and Marketing Conferences to add to your calendar for 2018 (via Air PR)

In need of a laugh? Check out the most hilarious holiday ads of 2017 (via DesignRush)

Attention die-hard Amazon Prime users, Costco might actually be cheaper (via LendEdU)

Check out Pinterest Autoplay and what it means for the future of video marketing (via Social Media Today)

5 Tips for a Stress-Free Company Holiday Party

Written by Sara McGovern,  Junior Account Executive, Litzky Public Relations

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” may be true, but it’s also one of the busiest seasons for work! Q4 in the PR industry is notorious for last minute projects and reports, particularly when it comes to consumer products. While yes, everyone’s in a rush to finish the year and head out for the holidays, it’s important for agency leaders to take a beat and recognize their employees with some sort of end of the year holiday party.

At LPR, our Party Planning Committee (otherwise known as the “PPC”) is an agency staple. The PPC plans exciting events year round, ranging from office happy hours and scavenger hunts to field days and holiday parties. I’ve served on LPR’s PPC for two years (which means two holiday parties!), so today I’ll share my tried-and-true tips for throwing your own fun, engaging and unique holiday party, too!

1. Plan your party for the last day of work

Whether you choose a traditional agency holiday party or opt to close out the year with your own NYE-inspired bash, don’t make the mistake of scheduling your event during the work week (even though weeknight venue costs may be less expensive). We like the idea of scheduling your party for the very last day of work before the office closes down. Much like the last day of school, employees will be truly excited to celebrate and able to enjoy the the moment without worrying about last-minute client work (or too-much-Champagne-head for that 9 am conference call). With no work scheduled for the next day, you’ll have the night open for a post-party after party too!

2. Make it easy to show up

Pick a location close to the office, such as a local restaurant or bar to make it easy and convenient for employees. Depending on the size of your company, you may want to rent out a banquet hall or party room in a restaurant to comfortably fit everyone – which, if you’re in a smaller city like Hoboken, may mean a car ride away. Our LPR group of 25 employees has outgrown our local restaurants, so we venture to nearby towns with larger venues like Jersey City and Edgewater. With that, we always make sure to provide transportation so our employees get safely to and from the venue. Uber’s always worked for us, but you can take it one step further – and fancier! – by renting a party bus or limo if that fits your agency vibe.

3. Feed everyone

Food is half the fun, so be sure to think about menu options that fit everyone’s needs and preferences. One trick is to add a line to the bottom of the party invite RSVP should anyone need further accommodations (noting an allergy, for example) for the menu. Typically, it’s good to have a few vegetarian and vegan options (including fish and strictly vegetarian) along with non-alcoholic beverages for people to choose from.

We always make sure to provide transportation so our employees get safely to and from the venue.

4. Hold a gift exchange

Nothing beats getting – and giving – gifts! To get everyone in the gift-giving spirit, host Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Set a reasonable price point so you’re not putting people out. For our Secret Santa, we use Elfster.com, a website that virtually organizes a gift exchange! The best part is that each participant can post their own personal wish list to make it easy to find things that stay well out of the regifting pile.

5. Make it meaningful

Add some fun twists to your party to get everyone involved. This could be going around the table saying what your best moment of the year was, or giving away prizes for the “employee most likely to…” or awards for stellar employees who rocked in 2017. At the close of a year it’s valuable to take some time reflecting on the past and setting the tone for an even better future together.

While cramming in last-minute requests and already “working” on 2018 may have you dreaming of a holiday break away from the office, there’s no better way to start the New Year than one last hoorah celebrating your roster of rock star employees.

PR Industry News: Beach House PR, CLD PR, Faulhaber Communications & More

The Eighth Floor Strategic Communications announces its representation of Wingman.

Beach House PR is excited to be working with Supersmile and Eyeko. Beach House will handle Supersmile’s public relations and influencer marketing as well as Eyeko’s influencer marketing efforts.

Little Bird Kitchen will be represented by Lynette Nicole PR.

CLD PR is honored to announce their partnership with Israeli Haute Couture Designer, Berta.

RIOT Media Group is now representing The Chakra Girl Collective, a society of modern, spiritual women who also happen to drink wine, keep up with the Kardashians and enjoy a good shopping binge.

Sydney Reising Creative will now handle all public relations efforts for WANT Les Essentiels.

Faulhaber Communications is excited to be working with Donnelly Group, Barber & Co. and Native Shoes, as it expands its west coast presence.

Krupp Kommunications appointed Lara Cohn as the new Vice President at their New York City office.

Issa PR is thrilled to announce the launch of an exclusive film project with BMW that will showcase a tour of world leading private art collections throughout Europe.

AMP3 PR will now represent TALIA, Silk NY, and Suggesty.

The 40 Lifestyle Influencers You Need to Know in 2018

This guide is part of the Influencer Marketing Series, written and sponsored by Shopping Links, an online marketplace designed to make it easier for Bloggers and Brands to connect and collaborate. For $100 off your first collaboration, use code PROFF100.

influencer research made easy.

Whether you work in fashion, beauty, travel or lifestyle PR, securing the right influencer can thrill a client just as much as a front-page feature — and having a few go-to bloggers in your back pocket can mean the difference between hours of research and a quick email. We put together the 40 Influencers You Need to Know in 2018 to make that part of the job a little easier. Every blogger is personally selected by our Shopping Links team based on their content quality and ability to produce results. Click the images in the sections below to see each blogger’s full profile with examples of their past content, social media metrics, domain authority and Google Analytics. 

We hope these metrics take the guesswork out of which bloggers are likely to produce for your clients so you can celebrate by sneaking in a little time on Instagram for yourself! 


A fashion blogger and self-professed denim lover from the UK with a passion for mindfulness, Sinead writes about travel, style and interior design, making her a versatile option for clients across different industries.


Active on multiple channels, including Pinterest and YouTube, French model and blogger Meryl is a great option for clients looking to expand beyond Instagram. With a travel section that spans more than 20 destinations from Croatia to Coachella, Meryl is also a go-to for brands looking to create compelling content in beautiful settings.


A fashion blogger with a strong YouTube audience and down-to-earth vibe, UK blogger Hayleigh shares her personal style while motivating others to find their own. We love her beauty product features and “shop this look” section, which makes her brand collaborations feel organic.


A bilingual fashion blogger and new mom, Paola has built her audience through her genuine personality, unique style and must-have product features. A master of Instagram Stories and a dedicated blogger (with new posts every day!), Paola is strong across all channels.  


A florida native in London, Haley is a nurse-turned-blogger who writes about fashion, travel and home decor. She has maintained a big following in the USA with strong traffic on Pinterest and Snapchat. We love her Holiday section with gift guides and dedicated shopping pages.


A North Carolina fashion and style blogger with a dedicated wedding section and shopping page, Emily is an ideal option to keep in mind for clients looking to reach American shoppers in the 25-34 age range. We also love Emily’s home decor advice and book reviews.


Sydney-based fashion blogger Andy is one of our favorites for chic, simple looks with a vintage vibe. A versatile blogger for brands who need someone who can reach multiple markets, Andy attracts active followers on six continents, with half her following in Europe and lots of interest in Australia, the USA and Southeast Asia.  


Based in Baton Rouge, “A Pinch of Lovely” blogger Krystal shares her whimsical style with a dash of beauty advice, shopping guides, and evergreen sections dedicated to seasonal looks. She is strongest on Instagram, with a dedicated following in the American south.

Ohio native Angela covers everything from food to fashion, but it’s her beauty tips that have helped cultivate her following, leading to her recognition as a PopSugar Select Blogger. A true multi-channel blogger, Angela has particularly impressive holds on YouTube and Twitter, making her a great option for brands looking to run tutorials.
A San Diego blogger with international roots, Olia covers all things beauty with a special focus on skincare. With a strong domain authority and a global audience, this multi-lingual blogger is a great option for brands who need to reach a wide range of demographics — and age ranges. Her audience includes a good percentage of women in their 50s and 60s.
A beauty and travel blogger with gorgeous imagery from six continents to peruse, Irene has also recently added “Mommy” to her categories, broadening her audience and blog topics to include day-to-day adventures with her young daughter. Strong on YouTube with a global audience, Irene is a great option for beauty brands who want unique imagery and effective tutorials.  
A new mom and personal style blogger, Hayley aims to share moments in life that inspire happiness, while creating an inspirational space that welcomes all personal style. We love her “busy life” beauty advice, with tips from lash extensions to hair coloring, making her a great option for brands looking to reach career girls and moms alike.
A former journalist turned wardrobe stylist and digital influencer, Erin specializes in styling “real” women. Her goal is to make great style attainable, and she succeeds, sharing her expert styling and shopping tips through YouTube and her blog, both of which have a strong following. pulvinar dapibus leo.


Runner and Pilates enthusiast Krystal is a great option for fitness-focused clients looking to reach fashion-minded consumers. The Texas-based blogger posts an even mix of fitness and style content with a strong blog readership and a dedicated Pinterest audience.


A fitness professional and mom of two, Kate is the blogger behind “Beyond Fit Mom,” a motivational site with workout tips, recipes and shopping guides. Her focus on meal plans and weight loss makes her a great option for health and wellness brands, as well as nutritious supplements.


A model, personal trainer and self-professed fitness buff, Lauren is the embodiment of athleisure, with stylish outfits and inspiring lifestyle shots in between food porn, workout tips and even career advice. Her professional modeling past makes her a great option for editorial-style shoots or content a client may want to repurpose for ad campaigns.


Healthy living entrepreneur and yoga instructor Candace is one of our favorites to follow for recipes, rejuvenating poses and online yoga classes. We also love her retreats and comfy travel style recommendations. Her strong YouTube and blog audiences make her an ideal pick for brands looking to boost their video content.


New mom Lindsay is more lifestyle blogger than fitness fanatic, but we love her “I have no time” workout routines and gear reviews, which make her a good selection for health, wellness and active brands looking to reach audiences who don’t necessarily identify as fitness freaks.


Kate is the writer, photographer and recipe developer behind Cookie and Kate, a food blog featuring fresh vegetarian recipes. A former art director and now full-time food blogger, she spends her days making vegetables and whole grains look good.


Sisters Emily and Barbie invite brands to share in their food & travel adventures, complete with delicious recipes, hotel & restaurant reviews, city guides and more. Keep these versatile bloggers in your back pocket for lifestyle brands who need influencers with diverse, dedicated followers.


A health, beauty and lifestyle influencer, Hayley treats her followers to delicious recipes, wellness tips and product ideas, from nail polish to moisturizers. Her audience is split between the USA and Europe, making her attractive to global brands looking to reach both sides of the pond. pulvinar dapibus leo.


A self-proclaimed “Man of Style,” Australian blogger Samuel is a leading Instagram influencer with a dedicated following in New York and Australia.


Larry is an Australian lifestyle blogger with a focus on men’s fashion along with travel & lifestyle. He showcases his personal style through different looks and shares products to help men up their style game.


An Instagram influencer with a strong domain authority and an audience as dedicated among women as among men, “The Kentucky Gent” is particularly appealing to food, lifestyle and travel brands.


Parker is an LA-based menswear blogger who gives guys a sense of how to create their own personal style. Although his dedicated followers are mostly American men, his readership spans six continents.


MR. TURNER is a menswear, lifestyle and travel blog founded in the Summer of 2015. Created to frame a spectacle of the beauty in life based on three of the largest factors that have influenced Mr. Turner: Fashion, Life and the World.

How to Fire a Client Professionally with a Disengagement Letter

Written by Adriana Marie, owner of AMCONYC. 

After 10 years in the fashion world, I encountered my first client that didn’t pay their invoices, despite even numerous emails and friendly attempts to collect. I closed their account and sent them a disengagement letter to avoid any confusion.

While a formal disengagement letter is standard practice to effectively fire a client, it can be a challenge to maintain ones professionalism when honestly you’d rather scream,”I’m wasting way too much time pleading for your payments and acting like I actually believe your endless excuses,” or “you’re totally taking up all of my time and I have other clients who appreciate my efforts, thanks bye!”

Your best bet is to simply put the situation in the clearest terms possible, ie breach of contract, and call it a day. Should this happen to you, keep this list of what to include handy (and then call me for a virtual cheers and a hug).

What to include in a disengagement letter:

Recipient Name
Recipient Address
Re: Disengagement Letter

After you get through the easy part, the body of your letter is very important. I like to illustrate why I am terminating the agreement, what is owed due to their breach and a friendly “sayonara.” As a template, I use something along the lines of the following:

We are honored and pleased to have served you in connection with your PR and fashion show needs. Unfortunately, contrary to our agreement, you have not paid your invoices in full for the past several months. I enjoy working on your account, but you are consistently late with making payments while I continue to meet the goals and objectives of your account.

At this time, the outstanding and overdue fees and expenses total ($xxx.xx). My firm desires to continue our relationship through the end of the agreement but will not accept late payments or partial payments. Moreover, you expressly agreed that the fees would be paid. Out of respect for my time and for my other clients, I can no longer accommodate this type of relationship.

I strive to provide my clients with the best service possible and unfortunately I am no longer able to do that for you because of the consistent unpaid fees. We are closing our files for this matter and removing it from our active files list.

We always strive to meet the expectations of our clients on each individual matter that we handle for them. We thank you again for allowing us to help you with your PR need, we truly appreciate the opportunity.


It’s simple and to the point. I always include a monthly report for them so they can see all of the work that was executed, media secured and what’s pending, aka what they have to lose.

It’s tempting to continue these sorts of client relationships, in the hopes that they will one-day change, but trust me, it will continue to be a headache and will take time away from your currently amazing clients who can see their way toward paying an invoice. PR is not an easy job and most clients appreciate the work and effort put into their accounts, but it’s inevitable to get that one bad apple of the bunch. Make sure you are prepared!

Have you ever had to make the tough decision to fire a client? What was the determining factor and how did you handle it? Share your experiences by contacting me on Twitter!

About Adriana

Adriana Marie is the owner of AMCONYC, a PR and events agency with offices in New York and Miami. The agency specializes in fashion & beauty and producing well executed fashion shows & shopping events. Connect with her directly on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

PRGirl Wrap Party Panel Recap + Photos

Last Tuesday we celebrated the wrap of Season One of PR Girl, the brand new original reality web series, on the San Diego FIDM campus.
Attendees were first to watch the last episode, The Reunion, before it was made available online, and stayed to enjoy a vibrant panel discussion (fueled by a fair amount of House Wine, coffee from Dangerous Coffee Co and goat-cheese and candied bacon waffles from Local Krave), about growing your empire through digital media. 
The panel was moderated by Tanya Rivas, Founder of PR with Heart, and featured PRGirl Creator/Producer Farissa Knox, in from Chicago, PR Couture Founder and PRGirl partner Crosby Noricks, as well as Alyssa Mopia, Co-Founder of The Casual Creatives podcast and Founder of the blog-based interview series Coffee and Convos. Panelists were treated to complimentary makeup, courtesy of Girl on the Go Spa.
We absolutely loved the opportunity to connect with so many of you in person and look forward to getting out from behind our laptops even more in 2018! 

6 Strategies to Get a BIG Return with Influencer Marketing (even with a TINY budget)

This article is part of the Influencer Marketing Series, written and sponsored by Shopping Links, an online marketplace designed to make it easier for Bloggers and Brands to connect and collaborate. For $100 off your first collaboration, use code PROFF100.

As many publicists have experienced over the last decade, blogger outreach and influencer management have become as much a part of the job as maintaining strong editor relationships — particularly for PR pros with fashion and lifestyle clients. Relationships alone, however, are often no longer enough to land exposure with leading influencers, turning publicists into equal parts storycrafter and sponsored content negotiator. What can you do when clients aren’t used to paying for placement, or just don’t have the budget to land the influencers they want?

As it turns out, you can accomplish quite a lot with the right tools! We work with PR agencies and brands alike looking to secure big results on a small budget, and they have found great success with a few consistent strategies. Here’s how to run an effective influencer campaign, even on a shoestring budget:    

1. Leverage your existing audience/customer base

The competition is fierce out there for bloggers! Even leading influencers need to continuously build their following, and if your client has a strong social presence or customer list, you can leverage your audience into a collaboration — allowing you to secure top bloggers who might otherwise be out of your budget. The benefit of this reciprocal exposure is actually twofold: not only does it convey a strong relationship between the influencer and brand, but it also gives your client valuable content for their internal marketing efforts.

MARKS & SPENCER demonstrated the power of influencer content recently through multiple email campaigns, A/B testing campaign imagery against influencer imagery. Holding all other variables constant, M&S saw higher click-through rates, click-to-order rates and revenues from influencer imagery across all campaigns. In a swimwear-focused EDM with blogger Lisa Hamilton, for example, the brand saw a 33% higher click-to-order rate and 21.6% higher revenues compared to in-house imagery. In a separate womenswear campaign targeting Australian customers, the brand saw an incredible uptick of 82% in revenues, with 66% higher revenues for a similar A/B tested campaign targeting American customers. 

Understanding the value of influencer content and that of your own client’s audience to an influencer can help you secure cost-effective collaborations that greatly benefit both sides.

2. Plan ahead for gifting needs

Done correctly, gifting can be a great way to get your client’s product in front of the right audience without stretching your budget. We talked more about this strategy last week in The Inside Scoop on Influencer Gifting, but here a few points that become particularly important when you’re budget-minded: firstly, plan ahead. Make gifting part of your contract, so you have inventory set aside in advance and can select your influencers accordingly. Gifting becomes far more seamless when you can quickly take advantage of  opportunities for exposure. And, you when you know your limit in advance, you can better decide if an opportunity is worth the product.

In a swimwear-focused EDM with blogger Lisa Hamilton, for example, the brand saw a 33% higher click-to-order rate and 21.6% higher revenues compared to in-house imagery.

3. Take advantage of Influencer Marketing Solutions

It’s no longer necessary to manage influencer outreach piecemeal, with a ton of moving parts and way more program management than is often in the budget. We created our influencer gifting service specifically for agencies after seeing how difficult and time-consuming the whole gifting process can be. With our turnkey service, you receive the direct contact information for 10, 25 or 50 influencers with least 10k Instagram followers. Influencers are required to post on Instagram within 30 days. When you’re looking to leverage your client’s product in a short period of time, turnkey solutions like this are often the greatest bang for your buck. We recommend doing a little research and seeing what tools are available for you.    

4. Think Beyond Instagram

Although you’ll have better success with smaller bloggers when you’re gifting without additional payment, you can maximize your reach with each influencer by playing to their strengths. Look for influencers who specialize in Pinterest or Facebook, or who have high domain authority and strong blog traffic. Go beyond the obvious categories as well, and dig deep into niche opportunities. Thinking beyond follower count on Instagram, for example, can help you see a greater return from diversifying brand resources and story opportunities.     

5. Integrate Affiliate Opportunities into Outreach

Affiliate marketing is largely outside the realm of PR, but can be a great way to boost sales and engagement if a client is interested in influencers, but doesn’t have a huge budget. As the name suggests, affiliate links give influencers commission on sales they make from their blog articles and social channels, and they can be a great complement to traditional influencer campaigns. And thankfully, now you can add on a network of over 14,000+ influencers to your existing affiliate partners. When you run a collaboration on Shopping Links, you can easily add affiliate links as a requirement to your collaboration, then manage the results transparently in the platform. We give collaboration results by influencer, so you can show your clients which bloggers performed, giving them the highest return on investment.    

6. Collaborate with noncompeting brands

Boost your bargaining power by collaborating with noncompeting, complementary brands and open up the potential to secure opportunities that have more impact, even with a small budget. Roundups that feature seasonal products or “outfit of the day” features benefit every brand involved. If you represent a designer, for example, you might partner with an accessories or shoe brand on a collaboration to create the perfect look for New Year’s Eve or a big night out. If your client is a hotel or tour operator, you might partner with a luggage brand or skincare product to showcase travel essentials. If your agency represents multiple verticals, there even may be opportunities to take advantage of synergies between existing clients.   

The above strategies will help you keep your budget in check for short-term campaigns, which can certainly feel like the bulk of client requests! As you work to educate clients on the value of long-term influencer partnerships, prioritize client campaign requests (or those you pitch yourself) around investing budget into strategic relationships. This means identifying bloggers whose audiences closely align with your client’s target demographic. At the wrap of a particularly successful campaign partnership, take the opportunity to discuss ongoing ways the brand could continue to work together. Recurring partnerships are a highly  effective way to establish familiarity among potential customers, and a sense that the influencer truly endorses the brand. We have seen the investment in long-term relationships pay dividends time and again for brands of all sizes, and we recommend this approach whenever you can afford the patience of a long-term campaign.

PR’s Gender Bias, The Rise of the Stylist & Real Talk re: Editor Swag

 Fashion PR Fridays: Top Fashion, Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media News

…for the week of November 13, 2017

The PR Industry continues to suffer from gender bias (via PR Daily)

Publicists weigh in on the longstanding practice of gifting editors and it’s a doozy (via Racked) 

What fashion startups can learn from Nasty Gal and Bonobos (via Fast Company)

Celebrity stylists discuss their growing influence as print magazines collapse (via Fashionista)

Why are there fewer millennial entrepreneurs in comparison to previous generations? (via Entrepreneur)

The fascinating unknown work that goes into Hermès’ window displays (via AnOther Mag)

Podcast “super listeners” could be more useful to marketers than you may think (via Adweek)

A “cabi party” might just be the perfect holiday gift this season (via NPD)

Do marketers really know anything about their consumer’s in today’s digital age? (via Social Media Week)

The importance of forming connections with millennials in an era of fake news (via Marketing Week)

#Gratitude: 5 Ways to Give Thanks to Your Employees All Year Long

agency culture work life balance thank you

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on all the things you’re grateful for – family, friends, and, of course, that delicious turkey right in front of you – but as a business owner, this gratitude should extend to your employees. They keep clients happy, prospects impressed and the day-to-day grind so much more enjoyable. Of course they deserve your thanks!

But, as the weeks, months, and crunch times get crazy – especially as we wind down the year —  it’s easy to forget how impactful a simple “thank you” or expression of gratitude can be. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is upon us, and there’s no time like the present to begin saying “thanks!” Here are a few of our go-to employee gratitude strategies to turn that office potluck into a meaningful, motivating employee experience.

1. Give a toast

If you are having that office potluck (lucky you!), kick it off with a nice toast showing how much you appreciate your employees and highlight some milestone successes you’ve seen this year. You can keep this vague – congratulating the agency as a whole – or go targeted, calling out those who have gone above and beyond with their work this quarter.  This is a great motivator, any time of the year.  It’s especially appropriate around the holidays.

2. Make Friday your “thanks” day

As we go through the week, time gets tight and deadlines grow like wildfire. I realize that. But come Friday – the sometimes slower weekday – take time to go through your team’s weekly accomplishments and send a quick note showing them appreciation. This can be weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, but scheduling some time in your calendar to reflect on employees you should be thankful for will keep you accountable – and your employees motivated.

3. Give a “shout out” when it’s due

While sure, we all “pretend” to hate the spotlight, sometimes it’s fun to be recognized among your peers! Translate this into your weekly or monthly agency meetings, highlighting  those employees who have been total “rock stars” for your firm. Try to mix up who you appreciate when, of course, but giving proper praise when it’s due – and in public – will ensure employees feel rewarded regularly.

4. Offer a “token of thanks”

Verbal praise typically fits the bill, but if you’re looking to go above and beyond for an above-and-beyond employee, you can take it one step further with a small token of thanks.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot – it’s truly the gesture that counts and will be remembered.  This could be a $10 Starbucks gift card or a lunch on the agency —  any sort of out-of-the-box expression of gratitude will have your rock star grinning ear to ear (and feeling truly appreciated).

5. Share your gratitude with senior leadership

If you’re managing teams but have a manager yourself, don’t forget to include your own boss on gratitude emails. While it’s great to have appreciation coming from a direct manager, younger employees feel particularly proud when senior-level bosses and CEOs can see their successes. This is as simple as hitting “cc” – but can do wonders for employee morale.  And, it’s always a great way to make sure that the ‘powers that be’ are aware of everyone’s efforts.

Sure, it’s easy to get in a work rhythm, knowing your team will be there to perform outstanding work daily, but taking a step back and putting your gratitude into words or action will ensure employees feel valued and fulfilled this Thanksgiving and beyond!

How to Close the Deal on a Celebrity Brand Endorsement Campaign

The Celebrity Endorsement Series is written by Billy Bones, founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. This is part 3. Read parts 1 and 2.

Now that you’ve identified the celebrity you want to endorse your product and the kind of deal you want to offer them, there’s one more step. Unfortunately, you can’t just call the celebrity and ask if they’re interested (unless you happen to know them, in which case, go for it) – you need to work with their representatives. In your case, that likely means their agent and their manager.

In a nutshell, agents are solely responsible for finding work for their clients and for negotiating the contract. Managers, on the other hand, provide their clients with career guidance, which means they can either make or break a potential deal with a celebrity. Managers can best be described as the CEO’s of their clients’ businesses, so you’ll need their buy-in on any potential partnership with the celebrity you’re targeting.

Tailor Your Pitch

Depending on whether you’re reaching out to the agent or the manager, you’ll need to tailor your message according to what’s most important to the specific representative. With agents, that’s pretty straightforward: you’re offering a potential deal that will make their client (and the agent themselves) money.

With managers, you’ll need to demonstrate how you know their client is the ideal fit (on both sides) for a potential partnership. You need to convince the manager that the potential endorsement deal is a great opportunity for their client’s brand.

When you reach out, the most important thing is to be concise – agents and managers are busy, so you need to provide as many specifics as you can in as short an email as possible. Keep it to the key details using the “Who/What/When/Where/Why” format:

  • Who are you interested in? (The celebrity you’re targeting likely isn’t their only client.)
  • What do you want them to do?
  • When do you need to know whether they’re interested?
  • Where would their client have to go to promote your brand?
  • Why do you think your brand is a good match for their client?

Also make sure your email includes some sort of call to action – you’re more likely to get a response if you leave the reader feeling as though some sort of action on their part is required.

Always Negotiate Terms

Unless you have an unlimited budget, odds are you’ll want to save money however you can. So when reaching out to celebrity representatives, don’t make your first offer your best one. Instead, set a limit on how much you can spend, then take 10% off that number and make that your first offer.

By slightly lowering your opening offer, you’ll leave yourself some room to negotiate if the agent of manager counters with a higher figure. And if the counter offer is way out of your price range and it seems like you’re not going to reach an acceptable number for both sides, don’t be afraid to walk away. For most smaller or start-up brands, the profit margin for endorsement campaigns may be thin, so it’s important to save money wherever you can – even if that means passing on the celebrity endorser of your dreams.

Partnering with the right celebrity on an endorsement campaign is one of the most effective tools you can use to boost brand awareness and drive sales.

Celebrity endorsement deals are pretty easy to navigate once you get the hang out it. If you want to set your brand apart from your competitors, a well-planning endorsement from the right celebrity is a huge step in the right direction.

About Billy

Billy Bones is the founder of Booking Agent Info and Moda Database. Moda Database is a celebrity stylist contact list that provides businesses with the contact information for celebrity stylists, and their celebrity clients. Booking Agent Info provides you with the contact information for the official agents, managers, and publicists of celebrities.

The Inside Scoop on Influencer Gifting (Stop wasting time + Product)

This article is part of the Influencer Marketing Series, written and sponsored by Shopping Links, an online marketplace designed to make it easier for Bloggers and Brands to connect and collaborate. For $100 off your first collaboration, use code PROFF100.

Influencer gifting can be one of the most effective ways to gain exposure for a client, particularly when they need to make an immediate impact — but as many publicists have experienced, it’s not always easy. Researching bloggers can take hours, and often your top choices don’t respond right away. You can go back-and-forth a dozen times just to finalize delivery details, and follow up for weeks after to ensure the post is published. By the time you share the results with your client, your agency’s margin has often vanished. 

Thankfully, as the influencer market has evolved, so have tools for publicists that have made engaging influencers and tracking their results much easier. With a little strategy and the help of the right resources, you can see all the benefits of product seeding without wasting inventory or your staff’s time. Here are five tips to get the maximum return from your next campaign: 

1. Stop researching influencers one by one

Finding influencers who align closely with your client’s target audience rightfully feels like time well-spent. After all, choosing the right medium to share your brand’s message is exactly what good publicists do. But when you need to engage several influencers in a short amount of time, hours spent poring through blogs and Instagram accounts can quickly add up.

This is where technology can help. Influencer platforms give you access to a network of influencers, so you can either sort through bloggers based on keywords, or post a collaboration message and engage qualified bloggers who express interest. Options range from technology-only platforms that use software to build their databases (if you see platforms boasting hundreds of thousands of influencers, they were likely built this way), to more service-oriented platforms with networks built through relationships. At Shopping Links, for example, we have just over 14,000 fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencers that have each been reviewed by a member of our team.

The best platform for you will depend on your existing relationships, your target audience, and your client’s KPIs. A tech-focused platform works well if your client’s goal is general awareness across multiple demographics, or if you already have strong influencer relationships and just need a tool to help execute the campaign. Relationship-focused platforms work better when your client wants to reach a specific demographic, and you need a resource to help you find the right influencers. Relationship-focused platforms also typically offer more detailed targeting options than their tech counterparts. For example, we encourage bloggers to connect their Google Analytics to their Shopping Links profile so brands and agencies can get a sense of each blogger’s audience demographics. One of our favorite industry resources, Influencer Marketing Hub, has a great list of platforms to suit different types of campaigns. No matter which one (or few) you choose, taking advantage of these publicist-friendly tools will free up your team’s time while increasing your quality of influencer partnerships.

2. Set your minimum threshold at 10k followers

 “Micro-influencers” have been heralded extensively over the last year as the key to stronger engagement, and while this is certainly true when comparing engagement percentages of smaller influencers to Chiara-level stars, your clients also want to see reach, not just a higher percentage of likes and comments. To see the greatest return across all KPIs, we recommend setting a threshold of 10k Instagram followers, with a “sweet spot” between 10k and 100k. Here’s why:

A minimum of 10k followers allows you to take advantage of the swipe-up functionality on Instagram Stories, which we have found to be particularly effective for brands seeking an immediate impact, such as traffic and sales for a specific product. A threshold of 10k followers also increases the likelihood that a blogger has established a professional process for working with brands. Emerging bloggers may be more receptive to gifting, but they also require more management. Targeting the 10k-100k follower level, which many marketers have indeed defined as “micro-influencers,” gives you an engaged audience at the highest possible reach for bloggers still likely to selectively accept gift-only collaborations.

3. Figure out each blogger’s strength, and your own leverage

When you run a gifting collaboration without payment, you often have limited negotiating power, particularly when you target leading influencers. Bloggers with 10k followers may accept gifts more readily, while those with 100k aren’t likely to accept gifted only opportunities very often. (When they do, it’s generally because they love your client’s product, which is great — but they’re not likely to accommodate specific channels, placement or timing.) Understanding each blogger’s strengths can help you get the most out of each collaboration and the bargaining power you do have. If a blogger has strong website traffic and a high domain authority, for example, it would be best for you to request a blog mention. If they’ve developed a strong Pinterest following, you can request that they add a pin.

A minimum of 10k followers allows you to take advantage of the swipe-up functionality on Instagram Stories, which we have found to be particularly effective for brands seeking an immediate impact, such as traffic and sales for a specific product.

You can also leverage non-exclusivity to gain exposure across more channels. A blogger may not be willing to create a new blog or Instagram post featuring your brand alone, but they may be very willing to include your client as part of a multi-brand post around a specific topic, like the holidays. This can work to your client’s favor as each featured brand shares the content across their own channels, introducing the brand to new, relevant audiences.    

4. Make gifting part of your contract

One of the biggest bottlenecks to gifting actually starts with your client contract. Negotiating the number of pieces and types of product you can send influencers can take more time than you expect. When you need to make an immediate impact or secure a placement quickly, having an allotment of approved, ready-to-gift product can mean the difference between landing some great exposure and losing an opportunity. Incorporating an inventory of product to gift as part of your contract with the client saves you the headache of those last-minute approvals.

5. Experiment with different audiences

One final, overlooked benefit of product seeding is the opportunity to experiment with different demographics and take some risks without the expense that comes with a paid collaboration. Within each gifting campaign, work with your client to select one or two new demographics or geographic markets to test. Be sure to diligently track the results of your test bloggers against influencers within your standard markets to understand where your biggest opportunities lie. The value of knowing your best-performing demographics is one reason we track campaign results by individual influencer, which allows brands to compare the reach, engagement and affiliate revenues of every blogger they engage. Although many agencies successfully track campaign results internally, this is another area where we recommend finding a good tool or platform.

Incorporating an inventory of product to gift as part of your contract with the client saves you the headache of those last-minute approvals.

The time to manually update results week by week, even if done by an intern, can take away from other important tasks, while leaving you open to human error. We track campaign results over three months to account for the natural time it can take between seeing a post and a consumer engaging or purchasing; we recommend making this your benchmark for any tracking service you choose.

Whether your client is launching a new product or looking to boost seasonal sales, product seeding can be a highly effective way to land exposure with an impact. By approaching each campaign strategically and leveraging tools and platforms to help you identify influencers and track your results, you can avoid avoid the time of unnecessary account management and the expense of wasted product, while helping your clients achieve their campaign goals in a way that clearly demonstrates your agency’s value.

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