Today on the blog, I talk to Ann, a PR Consultant and Freelance Writer with over 10 years of insider media experience, who specialises in helping small business owners navigate the world of PR as well as to build and grow a long-lasting brand.
Read on to learn why you should be tapping into PR for your small business and how to get started.
When I was little, I always had my head buried in a book. I loved following the characters and the twists and turns of classic fiction. Years later, this love of books led me to doing an English Literature degree and a subsequent Masters in Journalism. I have since worked in PR, as a Marketing Manager, and as a journalist for newspapers and magazines.
When I worked as a journalist, my inbox was full of pitches from inspiring independent brands but often they didn’t have the information or imagery I needed to feature them. Having 10+ years of media experience meant I had a solid grasp of what journalists wanted and I knew I could demystify the PR world for small business owners.
I realised that working with a PR agency felt out of reach for many smaller brands, so I decided to set up The Small Business PR Club, to share the advice and expertise small businesses needed to confidently approach journalists and secure coverage.
My aim with the club is to remove the overwhelm and confusion around PR and give small business owners the support and tools they need to stand out in the crowd.
The first thing I always recommend is to focus on your story. In my free Facebook group (linked below) I share PR training and advice, and one of the most common concerns I hear from small business owners is around having nothing to say. I believe that every person reading this right now has something worthy to say, it’s just about framing your business story in the right way.
When journalists read pitches from small business owners they tend to ask themselves: “Why now? “Why is this story relevant at the current time?” “Does it interest my readers?” Answer these questions in your pitch and you’re already making the journalist’s life easier!
The biggest reward for me is seeing small business owners, who have worked hard to learn within the membership, secure coverage or enjoy significant wins. It’s always the action takers that see results, and it’s really exciting for me to be part of their progress.
My members have been featured in Red, Stylist and The Telegraph over the last few months (to name a few) and I’ve had messages from clients recently to say media coverage has boosted their sales and led to collaboration and wholesale opportunities. It’s true that PR can often be the catalyst for much wider business growth.
Yes! You must have spotted my hashtag #slowauthenticbusiness on Instagram. For me, slow and authentic business means working in a way that fits your lifestyle, without worrying about pressure from external forces to ‘hustle’. It’s about finding what success means on your own terms.
When you’re a business owner there’s a misconception that you should be ‘on’ all the time. Yes, it can be tricky to take time off, but setting boundaries is a really important part of running your own business.
Feelings of burnout and overwhelm are common for small business owners, but physical and mental resilience is essential for productivity. So first and foremost, I encourage all my clients to look after themselves as individuals.
It’s also important to acknowledge that none of us has all the answers. My membership is full of like-minded people and I encourage openness and honesty within our private Facebook community. My clients can also approach me at any time with questions about their business.
Is it extreme to say I live and breathe independent business? Much of my spare time (and pocket money) is spent shopping with small brands. The media are more supportive of independent brands now, and I wanted to help bridge the gap between journalists and small business owners. I find it really rewarding when new artists, makers and creatives are given a platform to showcase their work to a large audience.
From my own business perspective, I knew I could continue to work with 1:1 clients and run the membership side-by-side. Having my own business also gives me the freedom to write for pleasure, rather than being governed by magazine deadlines or advertising restrictions. Of course, I’m a writer at heart so I still pick up commissions here and there.
It’s hard to pick a favourite but I do gravitate towards independent magazines because I love to see how they champion small brands. I have a subscription to The Simple Things magazine which I always read with a big mug of tea and a slice of homemade cake.
The Small Business PR Club gives independent business owners the training and contacts they need to do their own PR, all for an affordable monthly subscription.
The membership brings together a range of PR and marketing learning materials aimed at helping business owners thrive on their own terms.
We have created detailed road maps to ensure members are supported at every stage of their learning. The platform is being developed every day and we’re about to add training around SEO and email marketing.
It’s clear that many businesses are exploring forms of marketing outside of social media, so it’s an exciting time to be working with small brands who want to focus on their wider media presence and audience growth.
You can find Ann on Instagram at @annfionamartin and join her Facebook Group ‘Small Business PR Community’ here. Be sure to visit her website for more information on Ann’s services and all things PR.
Ann was an exclusive guest speaker in October in the Blossom membership space. Every month we host up to two guest expert sessions (including a Q&A), as well as group coaching calls, general accountability support and relaxed co-working sessions.
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