How did I get here?

When I was growing up, I didn’t dream having a career in PR, if I am honest, I didn’t even know such a thing existed other than in the world of Absolutely Fabulous. When I was small, I had several dreams of what I would be which included:

Becoming a nun (I was about 8) – not because I was particularly religious but because I had a kid crush on Captain von Trapp from The Sound of Music. I don’t think wanting to marry a handsome man is reason to become a nun.

A heart and a lung surgeon (I was 11) – turns out I was ok at science (not great but ok) and biology was my best science but given I couldn’t really deal with any of the dissection stuff I doubt I would have been a success.

A lawyer – Not sure what prompted this desire.

I am sure if I spoke to my mum, she would have a full list of careers I had dreamt of. In the end I decided that I wanted to be a journalist and between the ages of 16 and 18 did quite a bit of work experience on local newspapers before heading to university to study a journalism degree.

I loved journalism until the point that I graduated and got a job as a journalist (well editorial assistant) at which point I realised that it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the intrusiveness, the fact you were expected to knock on people’s doors at bad times in their lives and I didn’t enjoy the newsroom atmosphere (shouty with a lot of testosterone). After only a year I had a rethink and decided I still wanted to write, and I wanted to speak to people and hear their stories and that led me to the world of PR.

20 years later and I still love it. I love hearing what makes people tick, how they got to where they are, why they need help and helping them share that story. Whether it is working with a charity, getting a small business seen, helping people promote the work they are doing I enjoy it. I still get the same buzz when an event goes well, or I see a client in print or hear them on the radio as I did when I started out. In fact I maybe feel it even more now since I started working for myself and have my own clients, because I really enjoy working with all the businesses, I do PR for.

What do you love about your work?

PR Tips 2: What do you want to achieve?

When a new client comes to me very  often they start the conversation by saying something along the lines of “I need PR help.” or “I want a press release writing”.  Both are reasonable requests.  I then asking them “What do you want to achieve?” Very often they respond that they want people to know about x, y or z.

But the question what do you want to achieve?  Is bigger than it may first appear.    As a business tackling PR think about what you want any PR or marketing activity to result in.  Do you want:

  • To increase footfall to a venue
  • Increase sales of a product or service
  • Get more enquiries about the service/product you offer
  • To convert viewers to buyers
  • Drive more people to your website
  • Just generally raise awareness of what you offer

Your answer to this question will determine how the PR strategy is executed and what calls to action are made in any releases, marketing and/or social media.

10 Ways PR can help your business

cropped-33362-beck-call-public-relations-logo.jpgIf you think that PR is just for big businesses think again. PR is a tool that can help all businesses. It’s a cost effective way of spreading the word about all the great things you’re doing, which will help differentiate your company from your competitors.
So, how can PR help your business?
1. It’s cost effective
A press release is a fraction of the cost of an advertisement and can often only be the cost of a call or email to the right person. An example of this is, over the past year I have been working with a client. The PR coverage achieved for them has reached more than 800,000 people and if it had been paid for advertising would have cost nearly £45,000.
2. Raises awareness
PR lets people know that you exist and what you offer. The more people see or hear about your business the more likely it is that you will spring to mind when they require your services.
3. Can improve your reputation
Everybody has an opinion about companies they come into contact with whether it be staff, customers, suppliers or investors. Having somebody work with you on your PR will allow you to manage your reputation.
4. It’s good for your bottom line
PR is less expensive than advertising and the benefits of PR can be much more substantial. One good media placement can lead to a substantial increase in sales and growth, and because many small businesses have a unique story to tell, they are interesting to the media.
5. Build brand values
Every business has messages they want to convey to their customers about their product, the type of business they are and who they are. Public relations is ideal for communicating these and, over time, helping you build a loyal customer base.
6. Gaining credibility
Great PR can give your business credibility. A positive endorsement from a third party in the form of a news story generates much more credibility than an advertisement.
7. Builds online reputation
In a world where more and more news is online, PR can help build your online reputation and improve your SEO. Once the positive press is online, there it will stay, meaning that whenever anybody searches for you they find stories about you. Your business will reap the benefits.
8. Supports other marketing and advertising activities
PR is a great way of supporting your other marketing activities. By integrating all of your marketing you can ensure that consistent messages are being delivered. If you are running an advert this will probably see an increase in people searching for information about your company, so it can help to have some positive informative articles out there
9. Can assist in a crisis
No business wants to be in a crisis but if it does happen PR can help turn it around and ensure that you get the right messages out to the public, staff and your stakeholders.
10. Help you achieve your business goals
Whether your goals are to increase sales or to raise your profile, PR can help you achieve them.
Hopefully you found these tips useful and informative. If you would like further advice or support then please get in touch. Call us 07974 306914 or email

Working from home & self-employment – My top tips

When I tell people that I work for myself from home lots of them say they wouldn’t have the motivation (believe me when you know you won’t get paid unless the clients work is done, you have motivation). Other people assume that I sit around in PJ’s all day watching Jeremy Kyle and not actually working, as great as that sounds I don’t think anybody would pay me for that
Like any work, of course there are days when my motivation is greater than others and I power through my to do list like a machine. Other days I am sat at my desk and at the end of the day I still feel I have achieved very little. To help me on my way I have certain things I do.
1. Exercise
This won’t be for everybody but I start each day with a gym session, not only does it keep me fit but it also clears my head and wakes me up before my working day starts, it also gives me a chance to see people (working from home means seeing other people is not always a daily occurrence). I would suggest everybody tries to fit a bit of exercise into their day whether it’s the gym, a run, doing some stretches when you get up or getting out for a walk when you take a break. It really clears your head.

2. Get dressed for work
I don’t sit at my desk in a suit but I don’t work in my pyjamas. I feel that by getting dressed, doing my hair and make-up I get into a work frame of mind. Also I’m not sure how keen my husband would be on returning home each day to me in PJ’s with my crazy bed hair.

3. Try and keep normal working hours
I generally try and keep to normal working hours this ensures that work time and social time are kept separate and obviously most of my clients work normal hours so I need to be available for them.

4. Take a break
I always take a lunch break, something I rarely did as an office based employee. Nowadays lunch might be at 3pm but I still take some time out to eat, read the paper or just chill. I have quickly realised that not taking a break doesn’t add to my productivity or creativity in fact the opposite happens.

5. Don’t over promise
When you’re self-employed work can be feast or famine. Sometimes you are overwhelmed by how busy you are and other times you may panic you’ll never get work again, during these famine times don’t over promise. You may need the work/new client/customer but make sure you only promise what you can deliver as otherwise they won’t be using your services for long.

6. Network
Even in your busy times try and make time for networking. You may have as much work as you can cope with but there will always come a time where client relationships end and you’ll need to replace that work. If you’ve already built relationships with those in your networking groups there is a chance that you may have already met your next client but, people buy from people and relationships and trust take time to build so it is no good starting networking when you have no work and expecting after your first meeting that you are going to leave with loads of work. It takes time. The other good thing about networking aside from the business benefits is the chance to get out, meet new people and speak to them face to face (working from home means a lot of phone calls and emails)

7. Market yourself
When you’re busy it can be easy to focus solely on your work and forget about your business. Try and set aside some time at least once a week (I do this daily) to market yourself and your business whether this is writing your blog, updating your social media, contacting prospects, creating newsletters, it’s really important to keep engaging with people and letting them know you’re there. You never know where the next bit of work might come from.

8. Go the extra mile
Your client has asked you to do x,y,z and you’ve agreed. Don’t let your work end there, if you come up with an idea or see or hear something that you think could be useful to them, let them know. Your clients probably don’t see you that often but want to know that you do consider them and it’s not a case of out of sight out of mind. Sometimes the client may not like your idea but at least they know you’re always looking for ways to help them, which will make them more confident in using a self-employed homeworker.

9. Get organised
I have a hand written to do list which I put together at the end of every Friday. This means I can relax and enjoy my weekends as I have already planned what I have to do the following week so don’t need to think about it, it also means that come Monday morning I can just crack straight on with work as I have already done my planning. My to do list always ends up getting added to on a daily basis but at least I have a base to start from and can prioritise my workload. By prioritising I can take advantage of one of the biggest benefits of working for myself, I can schedule in a cheeky afternoon off for lunch with friends or head off early for a weekend break.

10. Be patient
Going from a regular income and having a manager advising on what needs to be done, to becoming solely responsible for generating your own clients, setting your own rates and having no set time to start and finish work can be scary. There have been times when I have thought I am not going to make any money at all but it all works out in the end. If you’re new to this way of working the one thing I would say is be patient, use the quite times to market yourself, research businesses you want to work with and to get out and meet people.

If any of you have any suggestions on things you do to make working from home for yourself work for you let me know.

You can find out more about Beck & Call PR visit or email

Common PR Myths and Misconceptions

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As you can imagine, having worked in  Public Relations for the past 14 years I have heard people say many things about the industry and the people who work in it.  Here are some of my favourite misconceptions about the wonder world of what we call PR

PR and Advertising are the same

If I had a pound for every time somebody said “I don’t need any help with PR as I already advertise” I would definitely be a lot richer than I am now.  Whilst PR and advertising do inhabit the same ballpark they are not the same.  Put simply with advertising you are paying to tell the world about how great your business or product is, with PR a third party is telling everybody how great you are.


PR people twist the truth

This is a common one.  People believing that the job of a PR is to make something bad look good.  Whilst PR can help if you’re in a crisis to make sure you present your business in the best light and get the relevant messages out there, we are not there to lie.  If we lie it defeats the object of what we are trying to do, if we tell the world that a really bad product is great, we’ll soon get found out and the client will soon lose business.


It’s super glamorous

Personally I blame 90’s comedy Absolutely Fabulous for this one.  Whilst I love the programme I can only wish that my career had been spent at parties, swigging Bollinger, jet-setting and looking glamorous.  The reality is much of it has been spent having early mornings, late nights, missing out on doing things because I am having to work at client events and spending lots of time in hotels alone.  Luckily I love the work but can promise you that if glamour and being able to enjoy long boozy lunches is what you’re looking for in a career,  PR isn’t for you.

My Business is doing well – I don’t need publicity

This is the one I understand least because Coca-cola, McDonalds, Apple,Virgin and numerous other companies are doing really well and I can guarantee they all have a strong PR team behind them all the time.

Saving PR for bad products or when business isn’t going well is not an ideal strategy.  In an ideal world PR should be a constant on-going resource that you are making use of, I don’t mean sending out a press release every week, I mean managing how the public perceive you on an on-going basis, helping you raise awareness and  assisting you in not only look after your current client base but helping you tap in to that audience that don’t yet even know they want what you’re offering.

We’ve had publicity for A,B,C we’ll be in touch when we do X,Y, Z

This is way too common.  Businesses launch a product or event and want help with the PR of it, they get in the news, get a following and then end all PR saying they have something else coming up in six months and will be in touch then.  In the meantime they may not be doing any PR, marketing or getting people talking about them, so in six months time when it’s time for the next big thing it’s like starting all over again.

Put simply your PR should be consistent and on-going not a hive of activity for short periods and then nothing.  People are saturated with information in the press, on social media etc so you need to be popping up all the time to stay at the forefront of their minds.

PR doesn’t work

Just because your business isn’t in the media every week doesn’t mean PR doesn’t work.  It’s not all about making headlines.  Similar to the previous topic PR is about being consistent it’s like any other area of your business there needs to be a strategy and on-going work to ensure you get the best PR for your business.

Or in some situations it has been in it may not be working as the company isn’t taking the advice of the PR person they have employed.  On more occasions than I care to remember I have advised people and then when the advice hasn’t been taken told it hasn’t worked.  If you’re going to employ a PR person remember you’re employing them for their expertise so make sure you use it.  You know your business and they know theirs.


If you’re an SME considering adding PR to your marketing mix take a minute to have a look at our website Beck and Call PR