PR insights: Hot tips for brands on how to work best with media and influencers

20 years ago, it made sense for beauty brands to reach out to celebrities to push their products. At the time, celebrities were the most influential, and while that still carries on to this day, consumers are looking for a partnership that feels more authentic.

In 2023, the fastest and most effective marketing strategy is to work with social and mainstream media personalities. The internet is an ever-growing landscape, and when utilised correctly, it can change the course of a brand’s trajectory. Whether that's working with an up-and-coming TikTok star or getting your product in the hands of an influential beauty journalist, times are changing, and businesses need to keep up.

"It is crucial that your brand's marketing strategy has strong media and influencer partnerships. The best way to do this is to find a PR agency that has relationships with the editors and talent you best align with. These relationships are the key pieces that build brand awareness and community and earn trust within your niche," says Jessy Marshall, founder and director of PR agency Hive HQ.

With the market being so saturated, finding the right people to work with isn't an easy task. Before reaching out to someone, there are so many factors to consider: Do their values align with your brand? Who is their demographic? Who have they partnered with in the past? It may seem overwhelming; however, PR professionals such as Marshall possess the skills to get your brand and its ethos in front of the right people.

"If you are a brand looking for a PR agency, decide on which media and influencers you wish to build relationships with and seek out the agencies that have those connections," says Marshall. "Look at the brands currently getting the placements where you believe your brand belongs and seek to find out which agency is getting that coverage. Finding an agency that can actually deliver results will be all the difference to you achieving your goals."

In 2022, a report by the Australian Financial Review revealed that Australians spent a record $62 billion shopping online, with 1.4 million Aussies buying goods online almost daily. This number is set to increase year on year, so it makes sense as to why shoppers are turning to social media and digital media to influence their purchasing decisions.

PR executive Sabrina Damiano is well-versed in beauty brand/media partnerships, saying that she "firmly believes that the two work in synergy with each other."

"You cannot have one without the other. My best piece of advice would be to really understand your target audience and which mediums they prefer to use i.e., digital, TikTok, Instagram, or magazines," says Damiano, who is currently working for PR agency Stark Matthews. "Paid influencer campaigns can be expensive — in order to get the best ROI, you need to look at sell-through, previous campaigns, and authenticity — it's not just about likes or followers anymore (all of which can be bought). It's about engagement and credibility.

"In terms of media, it's not enough to just push a product; we need to tell a story and build a mutually beneficial relationship. Media professionals are notoriously time-poor. If you give them a great angle relevant to their publication and their readers, plus all the assets, they will most likely run with it. Make it easy for them!"

While fostering a relationship with both influencers and media professionals is equally important, the two serve entirely different purposes. Influencers provide quick results and help boost the visibility of beauty brands, while media elevates the profile of the business.

"Media should be viewed as a long game. Not only will you speak to media on your brand ethos and values, but keeping media updated on upcoming launches, retailer partnerships, new ambassadors, and events is a way to consistently gain media coverage," says Marshall. 

"Having the right PR agency helps guide you as to where you should be featured and who can best write those articles, ensuring that your story lands and your coverage gets results."

If you're a brand owner, now is the time to work on an influencer and media strategy, and ideally, work with an agency that can help you reach your goals.