We spoke to Gabi Sheen, founder of Sweetpea PR, to get her top tips on mastering good PR for your bridal business
The bridal industry is pretty unique in that your customer is continually changing. As one bride gets married, another one gets engaged – and so it’s important to maintain a consistent presence to ensure brides are aware of your boutique and what makes you special.
Great PR is in telling the story of your brand and communicating this to your would-be brides. A great story tells them what sets you apart from your competitors and why your boutique should be top of their visit list!
Whether you stock exclusive gowns that brides won’t be able to find in any other story, or you pride yourself on your luxury boutique experience and knowledgeable customer service – decide on your story and go about communicating this through any PR material, advertisements and social media content.
Make sure your story is strong and consistent!
Don’t miss our guide to blogging for your business with Warren Knight for more tips.
A picture says a thousand words – beautiful imagery is key to your success as a brand and the level of press coverage you are likely to receive. If you are going to invest in only one thing, make it this.
Images, whether used on your website or sent to press, are your key sales tool so make sure they are impressive. A small investment in professional photos now could provide a huge return in the future.
When issuing images to the press, ensure they are high enough resolution and provide both model and product shots captured on a white background – this will open up further opportunities for inclusion.
The wedding industry blog landscape is vast, as are the national and local magazines to choose from. It can be overwhelming knowing where to start, so it’s important to spend some time profiling who your customer is.
What magazines do they buy? Which blogs do they read? And what Instagram accounts can’t they live without? Take the time to speak to your customers and find out where they go.
Often it will be far more beneficial to pinpoint a handful of press that you really want to build a relationship with than trying to target publications en-masse. Ultimately public relations is all about building key relationships with the right people aligned to your brand.
Watch our interview with content expert Caroline Bradley from Sorella + Co to learn more about how to connect with your audience online.
You may want to invest in a handful of advertisements or wedding directory entries with your chosen ‘hit list’ of media. It can be a great ‘in’ to get the attention of the press you most want to be featured by.
If you do decide to invest in advertising, this is the time to investigate whether the magazine or blog in question can also offer some form of support editorially.
Whilst most can’t guarantee, many will offer to feature up and coming news stories or run a review/competition in addition to your advertisement.
Participating in styled shoots can be a great way of getting ‘free’ PR for your boutique. It is also a perfect way to network with other suppliers and build up a little black book of contacts within the industry.
If you are approached to loan a wedding dress for a styled shoot, make sure you research the photographer’s work and the other suppliers involved – check that they are aligned with your brand’s offering and the style of your bride.
Also, try to find out which media publication the photographer/stylist will be looking to get placement for the shoot. Check this matches up to your ‘hit list’, or even better, if it is a publication you had only dreamed of being in.
If you are launching a new collection, or celebrating a business milestone, an event is a great way to meet the press and generate a buzz around your brand. If you are planning an event, be sure to work in advance and plan carefully.
Host the event in a convenient location with easy transport links and consider the best time to run your event. Think about running an event from lunchtime to the evening as this will allow press and bloggers who may juggle two jobs to attend.
Issue invites as far in advance as you can and allow time for RSVPs – the press gets booked up, so invite a good three to four weeks before.
Attend as many networking events as you can; you never know who you may meet and what relationships and opportunities may arise as a result.
It can be daunting, but try to remember that most people in the room won’t know each other either. At the end of a conversation, why not ask the person you are with if there is anyone else in the room that they would suggest meeting. This technique should lead to a chain of introductions to work the room.
If you have received some glowing press coverage, make sure you do something with it! Share coverage via your social media sites and upload to your website – not forgetting to tag and cedit the publication, photographer and any other supplier involved.
This all acts as a brand endorsement for your boutique. Ask for a magazine’s logo or a blog’s ‘As Featured On’ badge – these are great to add to your website and are instantly recognisable by your brides.
Social media could be discussed at huge length – it’s an essential part of your brand’s presence and another free tool at your disposal to communicate with your brides.
Read our guide to improving your business’s social media strategy here.
Brides are so savvy that they will most likely look through all your social media channels before making an appointment so make sure they are up-to-date and posted on regularly.
If you don’t have time to run a number of social media accounts, select one and do it well. Starting with an Instagram account and building a following through there is probably your best option. Instagram Stories can provide a great insight into the world of your boutique – enabling you to instantly show off the latest collections or share sample news.
Often it is quality not quantity that matters, so consider what you are posting and ensure the picture composition is in line with your brand’s aesthetic and the rest of your feed.
You can read even more expert advice like this in the Nov/Dec 2019 issue of Bridal Buyer here.