Working from home with kids

I recently wrote a guest blog for The Resilient Mama about my experience of working from home with kids.  When I wrote it I wasn’t relating it to being at home working with kids whilst living through a pandemic but I think the tips are still relevant.  Let me know your thoughts.

 

Becky

 

The juggle is real

Being self employed and having a kid is great, but it can be hard. Yesterday my son was unexpectedly ill nothing serious but enough that he couldn’t go to nursery. A day that should have had six working hours in it, minimum, suddenly turned into one where I managed about two hours and that was only because of the babysitting services of Peter Pan and Bing.

Whilst I was trying to work through the shouts of Captain Hook I got to thinking about the pros and cons of self-employed life.

juggling

Pros
• Working when you want to work. The 9 to 5 never really suited me. I am productive in the morning and at night but in the afternoon my brain seems to need a little down time. Fine when you manage your own hours not so cool when you have a boss breathing down your neck.
• I can work with people I like. I am lucky I am in a position where I only work with people I like and get on with. This wasn’t the case when I first became self-employed but seven years on and it is one of my favourite luxuries of self-employment.
• No office politics. I don’t have to listen to who said what about who because to be honest I never really cared.
• Sports day, school plays, mopping poorly brows I can do them all. It might mean I have to use the TV to babysit or work late into the night, but I can be there.
• Social life and holidays. If a friend is off work and fancies lunch if my client work is up to date I can go, I can go for an hour, three hours or all day and nobody will question it. If I fancy a holiday I don’t have to check with HR or make sure that Janet in accounts isn’t off at the same time.
• Having babies, you can have all the time and all the cuddles with them if you choose to.

Cons
• People don’t think I have a job (well not a serious one). Some people talk to me as if it is a little hobby (yes that’ll be my mum). There seems to be far more status attached to jobs I have had previously with titles and company cars, even though I work much harder being self-employed I have to get the work, do the work, keep the client, manage my time, sort my accounts etc.
• Not secure even when you feel secure (could lose a client). Even when things are good and you’re full to capacity there is always that niggling feeling that things could change, that a client could have a change of heart or worse all your clients.
• Money, money, money (or not). I have most of my clients on retainer so have a good idea of my monthly income but there are always often clients that delay paying or struggle with cash flow which in turn affects my cash flow.
• Working holidays. I never really switch off, even when on holiday I check my emails and respond to journalists and enquiries. I keep reminding myself it is PR not ER.
• Having babies can be tricky. You get all the perks of the time with them but you either have to start back working for clients quite quickly and fit work round naps and often ad-hoc childcare or take some time out and go back to what seems like the beginning when they are a bit bigger.

What do you love and hate about working for yourself?

 

Rebecca Slater runs Beck and Call Public Relations http://www.beckandcallpr.co.uk

 

Going off plan

So, how are your plans and resolutions going? I know we are only two weeks into the year but I thought I would ask. In my last blog I wrote all about how instead of making resolutions I have just created a whole list of things I want to do in 2020. These things fit into the three categories family/home, business and personal and so far let me say it is a mixed bag.

Aerial yoga

One of my goals was to blog more, as you have probably guessed I am already slightly behind with that mainly because of…..life. I often find I am so focused on making sure I hit the goals that I have said I will reach for my clients (they are the ones who make sure I can eat so it is only fair) that I fall behind on my own.

On the plus side I have used my business Instagram more. Thanks mainly to The Self-Employed club and their daily prompts (check them out on Instagram @selfemployedclub). Their calendar of topics for the month as helped me some up with daily content ideas which takes a lot of the hassle and thought out of posting and I have found in the past with Instagram that followers do appreciate more personal content than solely business.

On a personal level I have achieved one of my goals as last Friday I tried aerial yoga for the first time and man it was hard, but it was really good fun. I ached before I finished the glass but am heading back tomorrow to give it a go again.

So, all in all it is swings and roundabouts on the goals front but the year is young and I only have about 50 things on the list so if I achieve one a week I will be on track.

Let me know how you are getting on.

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 sayhello@beckandcallpr.co.uk

What did you say you do?

What do you think I do?
What do you think I do?

A typical scenario for me is I meet somebody and the conversation turns to careers I get asked “What do you do?” I respond “I work in public relations” cue one of two responses:
1. A blank look and swiftly moving on
2. “Oh so you come up with adverts?”
Many people don’t understand what PR people actually do, which is understandable as it is a job where there is no typical day. To explain what it is I do here are a few examples of things that I have done recently.

Social media
Each week I manage the social media for three clients. This includes coming up with status updates, researching relevant content to be used on their chosen social media platforms this might be promoting events on Facebook, sharing relevant news related to their industries or managing Linkedin accounts. I also spend time analysing the stats to make campaigns more effective, what sort of updates are getting the most engagement? At what times are people most likely to see a post? Which updates are most likely to be shared or retweeted?

Blogging
I love writing blogs for clients and currently write for two each week. I come up with the topics, research them and ensure they are written in the voice of the business. This can mean going from writing about cleaning tips to telling people the beauty of holidaying in Devon.

Newsletters
Clients want to get their news and offers out to perspective customers but sometimes don’t have the time or know how, this is where I come in. I’m currently working on the monthly newsletter for a bar/restaurant I work for. I often have to work in advance so although it is only August I have my Christmas head on to make sure that customers know what fun they could have if they booked their Christmas party at this establishment.

Press releases
Lately I have been creating press releases on a variety of topics including an Arctic expedition, an author undertaking some crazy challenges and a charity event. When writing a release I first need to establish what audience the client wishes to target trade, consumer, specialist etc, what the call to action is and what the client wants the outcome to be. I then put it all together into what is (hopefully) an interesting story that will whet the journalists appetite to find out more. This leads me nicely on to what comes after the press release…..

Journalists
I spend much of my time finding the right journalist who will be interested in a client. A lot of what I do is about building relationships and getting the journalist to see my client as the first port of call should they need a comment on a topic related to their field. Journalists can be a PR’s best friend or worst enemy, sometimes they will really get on board with an idea and give more space to a piece of news than I thought, other times they can promise great coverage but if a big story comes in the story can be dropped like a hot potato.

Writing articles
This is different to press releases. Whereas press releases are there to tell the clients story to the journalist who may then wish to do a further interview, send out a photographer and often writer a longer piece. Article writing is putting the feature together for the publication, in their style on behalf of the client I am working for. In the past I have written features for a teen magazine as a 15 year old living with a disability, a thought leadership piece in the guise of chairperson of recruitment company and I am currently working on 1,000 words for a renovation publication on the behalf of an hotelier.

Media events
If you’ve got an event or an activity that you want the media to attend then I’m the person you need. A PR person will source the relevant media and journalist, send them details, invite them, create media packs with all your information in and attend the event to make sure you get to speak to the key people. My most recent press event was for a play that was opening in London, with only four days’ notice I managed to get 20 reviewers from local, national and theatre specific press to attend.

Pitching
Being self-employed means I have to spend much of my time pitching for new business. Pitching can vary some people just want me to produce a breakdown of what I can do along with costs, some want a full presentation and others want a formal interview, whatever the task I spend time researching the client to look at what the most effective way will be to reach their goals.

This is just a small amount of what working in PR means as well as organising events, finding celebrities to front campaigns, promoting my own business and networking. Hopefully having read this the next time somebody says they work in PR you’ll have a better idea of what this means.

If you need help with any of the services outlined above please get in touch at sayhello@beckandcallpr.co.uk or visit my website Beck & Call Public Relations

Network, network, network

Networking can be daunting, walking into a room full of strangers and been expected to speak about your business and yourself can be something that even the most confident amongst us dread.

I was in the fortunate position that when I started Beck & Call PR at the end of last year, my previous role had expected me to do lots of networking, but it was still scary going it alone, as now I wasn’t going to be excelling the virtues of the organisation I worked for, but my own business and more importantly me, but I overcame that and networking has worked well for me.

Since the launch of Beck and Call four of my clients have been companies that I have met at networking, which isn’t bad going in a few short months.  Here are a few tips I have for successful networking.

 

Don’t flit

If you’re going to network go to as many groups as you like but go regularly.  People buy from people so going to lots of groups once probably won’t result in much business but if people get to know you as a person, somebody they chat to on a regular basis and have learnt to trust they are more likely to think of you if they or somebody else they know needs your service.

Be true to your word

If somebody you have met networking asks you to do some work for them or somebody they know, no matter how big or small tell them what you will be able to do, by when and how much it will cost and then stick to it.  Don’t over promise and don’t under provide.  Your reputation is key to getting work.

Don’t sell

At some networking you might get chance to give a small talk about your business and what you do, at others it will be more informal where you mingle and get to know people.  If it is informal don’t go for the hard sell, chat to people, ask them questions about themselves and what they do and they will do the same in return, which is when you have the opportunity to tell them more about you and what you do.

 

Follow up

After attending a new networking event I always like to follow up, so I will drop an email to people I have met just saying hello.  With some businesses where I feel there is a natural link or where they might be able to help me or me them, I try and set up a meeting, just something informal a coffee and chat to give me the chance to learn more about them and vice versa.  Even if you get no business from these people you can make some good friends and contacts.

 

Finally…..

Be yourself

Remember everybody in the room has been new to networking at some point, so they will understand your nerves but as I have said all along people buy from people so just be yourself and you’ll do well.

 

To find out more about Beck and Call PR visit http://www.beckancallpr.co.uk

 

 

Common PR Myths and Misconceptions

Beck and Call PR logo

 

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