How to Structure a Press Release

E-mail a reporter who has previously written similar stories, for instance the media outlet’s lifestyle or beauty reporter.

Limited characters will appear in the reporter’s subject field, so get to the point quickly. Don’t waste valuable space saying “press release” in the subject line.

An optional but clever touch that could sway a reporter in your salon’s direction is to add a personal note giving her an incentive to visit your salon in person.

Repeat the subject line in the body of your e-mail as the “headline” of your press release.

"For immediate release" usually goes without saying, but it’s good to include the release date to avoid any confusion. Some PR-savvy companies will instead give an “embargo” date (meaning the news should not be released to the public before a specified time), but we don’t encourage a PR newbie trying that. A rushed reporter may simply overlook it, causing bad blood between you and the news outlet.

Definitely include the city and state, so that the local news outlets know you’re in the area (and the national media knows which city you’re in); the date is optional but best to include.

Explain to the reporter why this news is timely in the first paragraph.

Include at least one quote. This will allow the rushed reporter to theoretically use your release as is, without having to contact you for a quote.

If you can get a client to give you a quote for your release, include it!

Save background information for later in your press release, as you need to ensure the most news-worthy information is up front.

At the bottom of every release, include your salon’s boilerplate. This is simply a few sentences that very generally describe your salon, and you don’t have to change the boilerplate from release to release. Include your salon website.

Good reporters will want to follow-up with you to get original quotes and more information. Make this easy by including all of your contact information.

A relic of debatable origin, three hashtags (###) simply tell the reporter it’s the end of your press release.

Include several high-resolution images, attached to your release, so the reporter has everything together in one neat package. Include at least one photo specific to the release (in this case, a photo of your salon’s color block art) and at least one general photo, such as a photo of your salon interior.

Sample Nail Salon Press Release

To: reporter@citymagazine.com

Subject: Lola’s Nail Salon Offers Trendy Color Block Nail Art For Summer

I’d love for you to come by and try out a complimentary color block design yourself! E-mail me back with a date and time that works for you. — Lola

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lola’s Nail Salon Offers Trendy Color Block Nail Art For Summer

Torrance, Calif. — July 1, 2013 — With summer being the season for sandals and bright colors, Lola’s Nail Salon in Torrance is launching trendy new color block nail art designs for finger and toenails.

“We’ve seen a lot of color block designs on the fashion runways this season, and we wanted to make that accessible to all of our clients,” says owner Lola Stanton. “We purchased the summer polish collections, which are full of bright and neon colors, and have been creating a look book of designs.”

Color blocking is a technique where blocks of solid colors — with each color sometimes exuding a different texture — are placed next to each other to add visual interest. It is a fashion and beauty trend for summer 2013.

Lola’s Nail Salon prides itself on being up-to-date with the latest trends. Last summer, the salon decked its clients in a variety of ’80s glam-inspired talons and in 2010 carried three different polish lines of matte colors. Client Rose Brown says, “I’ve been coming to Lola’s every two weeks for the past five years. I always know they’ll give me a great set of nails.”

About Lola’s Nail Salon
Lola’s Nail Salon was established in 1983. It specializes in custom manicures and pedicures, such as the Citrus Sunshine Pedicure, and nail art, plus offers related beauty and grooming services such as hair removal and makeup application. See the full menu at www.lolasnailssalon.com.

Press Contact
Lola Stanton
Owner, Lola’s Nail Salon
lola@lolasnailsalon.com
(310) 555-5555

###

Attached Pictures Could Be Something Like:

Next page: Best practices and release topic ideas

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All Eyes on You salon in Manchester, England, was featured in a large story in the The Stockport Express because owner Katie Miles initiated contact with a reporter there. The article is now in a frame inside the salon — proof of the power of a press release.

All Eyes on You salon in Manchester, England, was featured in a large story in the The Stockport Express because owner Katie Miles initiated contact with a reporter there. The article is now in a frame inside the salon — proof of the power of a press release.

Press Release Best Practices

Keep production times in mind. Newspapers, websites, TV stations, and radio stations are usually OK with a short notice (sometimes even same-day notice), but magazines tend to work about three months ahead. For a magazine, your summer-themed press release should be e-mailed no later than March. “Contact the reporters in plenty of time giving as much information as you can to help your story. Try to include something that will make your story stand out,” says Katie Miles, owner of All Eyes on You salon in Manchester, England, which was featured in The Stockport Express, with the angle being Miles had fulfilled her dream of opening a salon.

Send your news to every outlet — big and small, local, national, or international — that you think may be interested in your story. But don’t put the e-mail addresses all in the same “to” field. Send an individual e-mail to each reporter or, if there are too many reporters for that to be practical, use the BCC field in your e-mail (though sending it to a ton of people at once will make your release more likely to get caught in a spam filter).

Regardless of if you get a response (as long as you don’t get a negative response), send a press release to the same media outlets about once a quarter to stay front of mind. You never know when a particular release will pique their interest or a slow news day will cause them to have a spot to mention your salon.

Follow up by phone with the reporter. This is optional and you may not always get a positive response, but if you feel strongly that your story should be in the paper, make a tactful call. Confirm the reporter received the press release, mention why the news would be of value to her audience, and say you’d be happy to work with her on that story or on other beauty stories.

Be prepared for follow-up questions. You want to send the press release as a full package — with quotes and pictures — but don’t just blast it off and turn off your computer or phone. In many cases, the release is just the beginning, and the reporter will want to do several rounds of interviews (such as one over the phone and one in person) before submitting your story. Be prompt and friendly with the reporter and you may even become a regular expert source for her.

Don’t ask to see the article or video ahead of time, though it may be OK to ask to review your direct quotes. Many media outlets have policies against releasing articles before publication. Let the reporters and editors be the experts in writing and publishing the story. If the media outlet has a reputation for inaccuracies or for riling up unnecessary controversy, then simply don’t send your release to that particular media outlet.

Thank the reporter afterward. Tell the reporter how much you appreciated the job she did, especially if she visited your salon in person or really made it come to life with a lot of detail. “As a thank you I mentioned and thanked the reporter personally on Twitter to create some awareness for him,” Miles says.

Press Release Topics

Here are just a few ideas of events and occasions that we think warrant creating and sending an announcement to the news media:
> salon grand opening
> salon anniversary
> adding a trendy new service
> adding an entire category of service (such as hair to a nail salon)
> salon charity event
> individual nail techs or the salon winning an industry award
> individual nail techs or the salon being featured in a trade magazine
> salon expansion
> salon relocation
> response to relevant news (such as your response to safety concerns about UV gel lamps)
> new salon ownership or management
> a celebrity visiting your salon (with the celebrity’s permission)
> record-breaking salon revenues

View the sample press release a little larger as  PDF here.

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