I’m so excited to introduce our newest segment “Success Stories”, where I’ll be interviewing wedding industry influencers that have had a lot of success with public relations. My hope is that you can learn from their experience and see how your brand can successfully work with the media.
To start us off, we’re talking to Harmony Walton, who has one of the most impressive press portfolio in the industry with hundreds of media features!
Name: Harmony Walton
Check out her Press Page: http://www.bridalbar.com/press
About Harmony: The founder of The Bridal Bar and host of Bridal Bar Radio airing on America’s Talk and iHeartRadio, Harmony Walton has over a decade of marketing, consulting and brand representation experience in the luxury wedding industry. She began her weddings career as a contributing editor to a national bridal magazine, at which time she discovered the need to support engaged couples and wedding professionals through a more diverse and hands-on approach to marketing, advertising, and connecting. And thus, The Bridal Bar was born. With much media attention and a vast celebrity clientele (including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett, Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley, among others), in 2011, Harmony expanded the brand with a destination weddings and honeymoons blogsite, Jet Fete by Bridal Bar. Harmony is also the host of Bridal Bar Radio, the only talk show about weddings powered by Clear Channel and airing weekly on iHeartRadio, and speaks frequently around the world.
What publicity have you received for your business?
My business has been fortunate to receive a variety of media mentions, including news sources like The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Associated Press, and USA Today to entertainment and celebrity television shows like E! News and Access Hollywood and most bridal media outlets, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, and many more.
Our first important feature came from Daily Candy and many more media opportunities quickly followed. Perez Hilton even gave me a nickname in one of his articles, which actually stuck among my friends.
One recent success has been the number of times I’ve been quoted as an expert in The New York Times this past year. I’m fortunate to get regular mentions on a variety of wedding topics and that’s something I’m proud of, when an outlet or writer comes back to me more than once as a trusted source.
Was getting publicity a deliberate part of your marketing strategy?
I had worked in celebrity PR and then as a contributing editor for a bridal magazine before launching The Bridal Bar, so the bulk of my marketing strategy was publicity driven. I was lucky in that I had a unique business model, a good story, good branding, and I knew what I was doing so getting great placements came quickly. And it’s still an important part of the business today.
How were you able to get featured?
Since I had experience in PR, I ran (and still run) my own PR campaign. When I started my company, I created a media kit, targeted the outlets and editors I wanted to work with, and through my campaign, made myself known to everyone in wedding media and many in lifestyle too. I do my own outreach, I have built my own relationships over the years and in the end, made a lot of friends because of it. I think that’s helped me be a repeat source because I’m not going anywhere!
How has media attention changed your business?
In the early years, a media mention in the right place could fill up our voicemail in one hour of a show airing and overnight change our scope of influence in the market. I would not be where I am today without the ongoing support of the media. It’s likely the single best thing I’ve done for my company.
What one piece of advice would you give to wedding professionals looking to get publicity?
It’s important to be an asset. That can mean a lot of things. If you’re quick to reply to a press inquiry, you have artwork ready to support things you speak about and are quoted on, and you have the ability to tell a great story for that specific outlet and audience without feeling the need to be a commercial for yourself, then you’re on your way to being a great asset. Once the editor or writer trusts you and knows they can rely on you, they’ll come back to you time and time again, even when they move jobs – giving you even more exposure across multiple platforms. My very first story on The Bridal Bar was with a freelance writer who still includes me in a variety of outlets today, 12 years later, and it’s because she can count on me to be an asset – to help her, to better her story and not just better my bottom line.
Thank you Harmony! Stay tuned for more How They Did It features on our blog.
– Sasha Vasilyuk