Monday, 14 July 2014

Generating new opportunities for the businesses of Swindon

As a director consultant at BNI, I have recently had the opportunity to launch a new chapter, Excel BNI, in my hometown of Swindon.

Launching with a Visitors Day breakfast meeting at the Campanile Hotel, we invited a range of local, talented professionals, from many differing industries, to learn more about the organisation and how you can generate a steady stream of business referrals.

BNI meetings are proven way to discover fantastic business opportunities through "word-of-mouth" marketing, Last year, with members of BNI passing on more than 6.9 million referrals which generated more than £2 billion worth of business for its members.

The Excel BNI chapter is the latest addition to the 6,000 chapters already thriving in the UK and across the world.

We have been working hard behind the scenes in the run up to launching Excel BNI, so it was very gratifying to see a fantastic attendance at the breakfast meeting, with all visitors engaging with each other, swapping business cards and discussing their business and how they are looking to grow it.

If you are interested in joining Excel BNI, please visit the website - httpwww.bni.eu/chapter.php?chapter=2283 - to find out how to get in touch and see how our chapter can grow your business. 

Friday, 6 June 2014

Learn how to start your own business

I am to be a panelist at the upcoming O2 Smarta 100Startup Secrets: How to Launch a Profitable Business’ event in Bristol, on Wednesday 11 June 2014.
                                                                               
I'll be discuss her experiences of building redheadPR and other previous companies. She will give advice to new business owners and people who plan to launch a new enterprise.

Smarta is a terrific organisation to be involved with. It’ll be great to share my knowledge, help promising entrepreneurs build thriving businesses and network with interesting people

Also speaking are Ed Brown, co-founder of Friska, the quality, value led food outlet, and Esther McMorris, founder and director of business transformation experts, Nine Feet Tall and Smarta COO, Matt Thomas, will host the event.


Startup Secrets: How to Launch a Profitable Business’ Takes place at the Watershed, Harbourside, Bristol, on Wednesday 11 June from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Tickets are free, yet spaces are limited. To secure your place, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/startup-secrets-how-to-launch-a-profitable-business-bristol-tickets-11185346673.  

The art of storytelling

Stories can change what you do, how you act and what you think. So it’s not unreasonable for great leaders and CEOs to use storytelling to inspire, persuade and motivate. Storytelling strengthens communication and makes complex ideas understandable for us all. It put things in context and helps to explain and educate. It can enhance the relationship between teller and listener, feed the imagination and strengthen belief.
Storytelling can create legends.

One great storyteller was the late Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. Anita was a legend and an amazing entrepreneur. She travelled the world listening to stories from tribes, communities and employees. 

Anita listened and talked not just about skincare and cosmetics but about human rights and environmental issues. She used these stories to show how to do business, sell innovative products and help consumers understand what they were buying into.

With Anita, customers could be part of a movement. They could change things. Anita believed in the power of words, images and action. She inspired and mobilised people through explanation and education. 

The Body Shop was built on communication. Internal communications were as important as external and every available space, from bags to windows, was used. Anita was a pioneer of activism PR at just 17 years old. She wrote books and used PR for everything she and her company did. Nearly everyone knows the story. 

The importance of the press release

The press release is a traditional PR tool which, when well written, is a vital part of your storytelling. The key elements here are an attention-grabbing headline, a concise introductory paragraph and, of course, a great story. Up-to-date background information is then used to position the right elements within the press release and give the document the critical mass needed to satisfy even the sternest of journalists.
Journalists are inundated with press releases every day so don’t let copy with mistakes fall into their hands. This is key to building relationships with journalists and being seen as a reliable and professional source.

At redheadPR we generate comprehensive lists of journalists for every client. For example, the media database for one of our fashion clients that works in the gardening industry covers both the clothing and gardening sectors. When creating the database, we developed lists of relevant fashion and garden journalists and made sure we knew the best way to contact them. 

Client backgrounder and biographies

Backgrounders and biographies need be produced quickly. They are vital when seeking editorial coverage for clients. Journalists want extensive background information for potential features. Information has to be both relevant to the journalist and central to the client’s message. Biographies should provide substantial information about the achievements of individuals you want to arrange interviews with.

The spine of the backgrounder and biographies will remain relevant throughout the duration of your business. They should, however, be easily adaptable as it is important to keep them up-to-date.  

Once the client is embedded, press releases will need to be created. It’s a good idea to set a definitive plan of all the copy you are going to create, then get it written and signed off early by the client. This shows you are proactive and ahead of the game. The Christmas period is a key opportunity for exposure, for example, so I get all our clients’ seasonal copy written by September.

I cannot overstate the importance of this type of planning. It will prevent problems and stress, so do yourself a favour and make a comprehensive blueprint for every client you have.