Step Away from the Press Release

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The first press release was written in 1906, created by the Pennsylvania Railroad who had just experienced a major accident in which 53 passengers were killed. They quickly released a statement to the press in order to nip any rumours that might be published in the bud. A sensible idea you might think, and yes, it most definitely was. However fast forward 100 years, and similar statements are being released by companies left right and centre, but without this same vital reasoning. These days every small start up business in the world thinks that PR lesson number one is to nail the perfect press release. I’m here today to tell you why I think this is a wrongful assumption and usually a completely pointless exercise.

I hate press releases. With a passion. I’m now half expecting an angry mob of PR’s, bloggers, business owners and journalists to turn up at my door baying for my blood, but hold fire on those pitch forks for just a minute and hear me out…

For a lot of small companies, the press release is believed to be the most important first step in a PR campaign. The drill is usually a mailshot sent to journalists and bloggers, announcing some thrilling piece of company news that they hope the media will get just as excited over and therefore write about. It might be the launch of a range of products, a new appointment or a Summer sale for example. These emails are usually flanked with the imposing phrase “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” (capitals and bold type are obviously mandatory to demonstrate just how damn important this piece of ‘news’ actually is).

Forgive me, but YAWN.

“But wait!” I hear you cry, “I’ve been sending out press releases for years and I’ve got some great media coverage from them!” And while this may well be true, let me offer you another idea, one I guarantee will get you even more coverage in the long run and carry a lot more favour with the journalists you’re trying to impress.

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Business Bites: Being Hungry

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Photography: Ellie Gillard Photography

I’m hungry. I’ve been doing the Clean Program Refresh all week (more on this soon!) and whilst I initially moaned about being a little hungrier than usual, as I came to the end of the seven day programme I had a moment of clarity. In a metaphorical way, being hungry is undoubtedly a good thing. Hunger is what forces us to go out and make changes. Hunger is what encourages us to re-evaluate what we’re doing and if we’re on the right path. Hunger makes us long for something better and pushes us to achieve it.

I am hungry for change. To change how I do certain things and act in certain situations. I’m not perfect at this business stuff, but I’m doing my best. Muddling through in the best way I know how… Now please excuse me while I crack open this packet of biscuits to celebrate my amazing moment of clarity.

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♥ Did we exist before social media?

“A friend once told me that social media was like being at a party where everyone’s high on cocaine—they’re all talking at the same time and no one’s listening, all while trying to look good and sound smart.” Paul Jarvis

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One Bad Review

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Why is it that one bad review can negate all the great things people say about you? One mean comment, one snarky tweet, one dissatisfied customer? You know this already, but just in case you’ve forgotten it I’m going to remind you again: you can’t please everyone so don’t waste your time trying.

Of course we don’t want to give ourselves permission to ever do a bad job, if you do get a bad review it’s really important to analyse whether the comment is worthwhile paying attention to at all. It is from someone who paid you for a service or someone who’s opinion you value? If so you might want to listen to it, learn from it and make amends if you need to. However if it’s coming from someone who’s just having a big old moan (online most likely!) then I’m sorry but who gives a stuff what they think? You don’t owe these people a response or any justification at all in fact.

Does anybody watch Nashville (shameful admission alert, but I’m totally obsessed)? In a recent episode one of the main characters, singer Juliette Barnes, tried a new ‘sound’ at a concert. The first review she read of her performance was from a music critic in the audience who said awful things about it and her on twitter. Obviously it crushed her and her confidence and she spent hours, days even, reading and re-reading his comments and doubting her new direction completely. However, by spending her time worrying about what this one critic has said, she’d failed to notice the thousands of positive comments on the YouTube upload of the performance – comments from fans who actually part with their hard earned cash to buy her records. At the end of the day it is their opinions that really matter anyway.

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The Plateau

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I don’t know about you, but I always do my best thinking in the bath. I’m sure it’s something to do with switching off, being away from technology and allowing my mind to wonder. Regardless, as I soaked in the tub one day last week I started to think about business plateaus, or more specifically, what to do about them.

The first few years of running a business are a super exciting. You’re pushing yourself, growing and learning, all while (hopefully!) having a lot of fun as you go. Yes, it’s a scary time but it’s also a super satisfying one. If you’re doing all the right things, you’ll be into a steady flow of getting enquiries, booking clients, then getting too many bookings so putting your prices up a little bit, getting back to a steady flow… and so on and so forth.

But then, and likely around the two or three year mark, something different starts to happen. You, as usual, put your prices up a little bit more to stem the flow (you can only take on so many clients after all and no one wants to work on loads of weddings getting paid a pittance for each one) but the result is different… zilch… nadda… nothing. Suddenly it’s not so easy to get bookings. You ramp up your marketing and you’re still getting enquiries, but after sending out your price list people aren’t immediately coming back to you with the same joyful exuberance about confirming you for their wedding. They’re either trying to haggle or you simply never hear from them again.

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Where is the Turquoise Tornado™ Going Now?

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Goodness, what a rollercoaster The Blogcademy has been already, and today we’re about to take another upside-down corkscrew followed by a loop the loop because we’re adding even more dates to our 2013 world tour! Your headmistresses are nothing if not diligent, and when we announced the full wack of dates back in March, there were some outcries that we weren’t going down to any of the Southern US states… Well, your wish is our command and so we’ve added an Austin date in August. BRING. IT. ON.

But that’s not all. The Melbourne class sold out so damn speedily, that we’ve decided to add a second date on our way home from Australia. It means we’re pretty much going to be away from home for a whole month (!) but hey, we love ya and we know you’re gonna make it worth our while! Our poor suffering husbands will just have to hold the fort at our respective homes a little while longer I guess…

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So the 2013 world tour now looks as follows, click the relevant link below if you’d like to book a space on any of these classes.

New York (limited spaces remaining!)
June 22nd & 23rd
Patina

Minneapolis (limited spaces remaining!)
June 29th & 30th
Public Functionary

Austin
August 17th & 18th
VUKA

London
September 7th & 8th
Curtain Road Studios

Brisbane (limited spaces remaining!)
Proudly presented by Tourism & Events Queensland!
November 2nd & 3rd
Bleeding Heart Gallery

Melbourne (SOLD OUT)
November 6th & 7th
Lightdrop Studios

Auckland
November 9th & 10th
Generator

Melbourne (second date added!)
November 14th & 15th
Lightdrop Studios

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Business Bites: Magazines & Mini Meltdowns

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Photography: You are my Fave

Yesterday Gareth & I hotfooted it to Brighton for a mini shoot with the inimitable Lisa Devlin for our magazine. Did I mention that I’m working – hard! – on the next issue right now? Oh yes, I am soooo super excited about it because I just know it’s going to be even bigger and better than the last two editions. I’m actually taking the idea in a brand new direction and I’m super duper psyched to see what you all think about it! Onwards and upwards and all that…

In other news, next Tuesday I’m taking part on Cosmopolitan Magazine’s superblogger masterclass. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty darn nervous about it all. I’d love to see some friendly faces there, so if you’re able to get to London next Tuesday evening and you have a spare £30 lying around (honestly, what a bargain!) I’d love to see you. There’s a cocktail reception before it starts too so we can all gather for a drink and steady our nerves together. Now that sure sound like a jolly good plan to me!

Now please excuse me while I try not to have a mini meltdown…

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♥ How to know when it’s time to move on
How to write copy that goes viral

“The best approach is to write for just one person. Make an impact on just one person. Even better, make it so they can’t sleep that night unless they choose to make a difference for just one other person by sharing your message with them” Seth Godin

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